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The Girl On The Train is, perhaps, an odd choice of title for a novel about a woman, Rachel, in her (presumably) late 30s, divorced from her husband and commuting on a daily basis from the Home Counties into central London.

In fact, the novel is not really much more about Rachel than about Megan, a woman whose garden backs onto the train line, and Anna, the woman for whom Rachel’s husband Tom left her.

On her journeys to and from London, Rachel often sees Megan in her garden, sometimes joined by her husband Scott. Of course, Rachel doesn’t actually know the couple – thinking of them as Jason and Jess – and imagining the wonderful and happy life they must be leading. Rachel, lodging with an old university friend and submitting her soul to the demon drink. So when Rachel hears that Megan is missing, she can’t help getting involved.

The plot is a twisty, turny thing brought to us in first person narration by each of the three women – Megan’s narrative taking place over an earlier time period. Rachel’s memory plays tricks with her, meaning we have to fill in gaps and infer the real picture from those around her. Rachel, in particular, is an impetuous woman who jumps to early conclusions. Hence, she finds a succession of grand theories behind Megan’s disappearance, and champions each one with vigour until it is replaced with the next. This leaves the reader constantly guessing, sometimes one step ahead of Rachel, and sometimes on step behind. It is complex and well done.

On the other hand, the three voices are way too similar and it can be too easy to forget who is narrating, given that the same cast of characters pops up in all three threads. I understand that the voices sound quite different in the audiobook so the similarity between the narrators is not a problem. But for readers of the written text, it is a shortcoming.
 

Arguably, though, it could be seen as appropriate that the three voices are similar since Tom seems to be working his way through similar women, just replacing the existing partner with a new one.



There is quite a female feel to the book. It is about relationships and emotions; insecurities and disempowerment. However, it stays the right side of the chick-lit barrier; it is a good psychological thriller that both men and women would enjoy.

 
****0

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I enjoyed this book very much  and now a huge best seller in hardback.Kind of a British Gone Girl.

For those interested in starting this book it is the book at bedtime this week on BBC Radio 4.http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b061qhtk.

Edited by Clavain

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I read this book on vacation and enjoyed it.  Perfect for a vacation.  I had read Mr. HG's review and so worked to keep the voices straight and so didn't have a problem.  I thought each "girl" was seriously messed up in some way, but of course

that's what makes them appealing to Tom.

.  I did figure out what had happened although I had hoped that

it was Anna once she found out about Tom's affair with Megan because Anna was my least favorite of the 3 women.  Oh well.

 

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I admit to finding this book a struggle and I'd probably have abandoned it if it hadn't been a book club read.  I thought the pace was too slow in the beginning, in my pedantic frame of mind I thought (being smeone who always looks in the windows and gardens of house and having been on many suburban trains in and out of London) that it was highly unlikely that the line would have been close enough to the houses for Rachel to see that much detail, especially to be able to describe what someone looks like to the police - and let's be realistic there really aren't that many mornings in England when it's warm enough to sit outside at 8 o'clock in the morning.  Finally I thought it was rather predictable, you knew that Rachel was going to be proved right in some way and yes I had a reasonable idea of who did it too from about half way through.

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There was a lot of hype about this one so I decided to check it out from the library because I joined a reading group that wanted to read it later on in the year.  I also figured that at some point someone would ruin it for me so I wanted to read it ASAP.

 

The book is not like Gone Girl in my opinion.  Gone Girl is about a marriage.  This one is about Rachel mostly and her issues.  The other two women have issues too.  I think its kind of a weak book though.  I'm not sure why it is so popular.  

Maybe its the style of writing, such as the three women that narrate and that as you read you find out more and more, but the similarities sort of end there.

 

It was entertaining at least but it doesn't really get entertaining until 2/3 of the way through.  I don't feel gypped for the time spent reading it, but I also wouldn't say its the best thing I've ever read.

Edited by Biochemisty-n-Classics

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The book is not like Gone Girl in my opinion.  Gone Girl is about a marriage.  

Have to disagree there. Thought the book was all about a failed marriage and the marriage/relationships of people.

Strangely learnt today the film version will be set in New York featuring the lovely Emily Blunt.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3158285/Hollywood-version-British-bestselling-thriller-Girl-Train-action-London-New-York.html

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I did enjoy this book. It is really gripping and I hardly put it down while reading it (unusual for me!). I thought the characterisation of Rachel was interesting - in some ways quite a moving account of what it is like to be a rejected woman, driven into alcoholism and weight gain, and generally undervalued by society. I think it was great to see a heroine like Rachel. I did wonder why she was so penniless when surely Tom would have had to pay her something for her share of the house? But maybe she drank it all away. Having said all that, it has to be said that it's not Tolstoy, the plot is a little bit hard to believe towards the end, and like other people above I also felt that too many of the characters were too similar. The title is also silly - Rachel is a woman in her thirties I would guess. It seems to be the thinking that to sell it helps if you have "girl" in the title. (What happened to the feminist view that adult women should not be referred to as 'girls'?) 

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I have just finished this. I found it a bit of a slog, to be honest. As others have said, the voices are all very similar, so it was hard to keep the narratives separate. The two central men were very similar too. It was as if the writer thought her target audience only want to read about people who are like them, or who they want to be like (young, attractive, newly married home owners.)

 

I found Rachel extremely annoying with all the calls to her ex and her compulsion to keep going back to the street. I thought the middle bit of the book was very slow, without the good writing and insights into character which would justify slowness, but it did pick up towards the end and I was glad I had bothered to get to the end. Not worth the hype, though.

I did think it read like a film pitch, and I'm not surprised that it has been picked up for a film.

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I read this a while ago and passed it onto my Mum, who loves books like this. I think I picked up on the basis that it was sold with the 'if you liked Gone Girl...' and I loved Gone Girl but this wasn't in the same league. I got the narratives easily confused at the start and I didn't like Rachel very much. She just seemed to wallow in self pity far too much and I thought 'why would I want to read this?' I also found her a little bit creepy - she was just unlikeable and you don't necessarily have to like a character in a book to enjoy the book but too much of this book hinged on Rachel and her downward spiral. I also guessed the outcome fairly early on which didn't help.

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Tried reading this book and found that Rachel and her drinking was annoying. Got as far as her waking up bleeding, injured and dirty and I put it aside. Sometimes the amount of alcohol she was supposed to consume sounded to me enough to render her unable to walk let alone journey on a train.

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