Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins

I'd waited to read this bestseller because of all the hype, contrarian that I am.  I don't care much for mysteries and the inevitable plot twists and turns.   To my mind, mystery writing is like being a magician - you need to divert the reader's attention, mislead them so they don't see the sleight of hand and identify the perpetrator.  Hawkins does a masterful job of keeping you guessing without stretching credibility.

Rachel, a divorced woman sees the backyards of homes in the neighborhood where she used to live as she rides the train to work.  Her self-esteem is shattered from the divorce and its instigating event and she daydreams about the people and the perfect lives that she sees passing by, finding her life wanting:
"Let's be honest: women are still only really valued for two things - their looks and their role as mothers.  I'm not beautiful, and I can't have kids, so what does that make me?  Worthless."
Then a woman in one of the homes goes missing and she thinks she has information that could help find her.  She's a poor witness, having become an alcoholic and still harassing her ex-husband and his new wife.  She recognizes her failings yet continues to give in to her depression and self-hatred:
"Drunk Rachel sees no consequences, she is either excessively expansive and optimistic or wrapped up in hate.  She has no past, no future.  She exists purely in the moment.
She continues to struggle to be sober and the story tracks her redemptive action that resolves the mystery.  A great read, sorry I waited so long!

Published:  2015  Read: December 2015  Genre: Fiction, mystery

ISBN: 978-1-4104-7776-7

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