A passionate young soon-to-be medical doctor with interest in writing and #HealthForAll

The Girl on The Train

Title: The Girl on The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Year published: 2015
Pages: 478
Format: Paperback
Price: IDR 125.000 (at Periplus Book Store)

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life -as she sees it- is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. 
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?


I have been wanting long enough to read this book since I first saw it on my book recommendation shelf in GoodReads sometime on 2015, but because I was so busy with school and other projects in campus, I was unable to read or even purchase it, until yesterday when my plane home got delayed for 4 hours and I decided to buy the book to kill time. 

So, I finished the book in 3 days, in 3 different places whatsoever (Jogja, Makassar, and Ambon). At first, I wasn’t actually into the genre, I’m more into romantic stories but I thought I have been curious about this book for some time now and its a loss if I don’t finish the book. 

The Girl on The Train is told in 3 points of view by 3 different women. Rachel, Megan and Anna. The book was set according to time and points of view, when you first open the book you will be told the story from Rachel’s point of view. 

Rachel used to have almost a perfect life with her now ex-husband Tom, during the almost end of her marriage she has turned into an alcoholic and a very unstable woman. She could not stand a day without drinking, but the thing is when she drinks, she forgets. Rachel gets on the same train every morning and night and loved to observe the place she used to live in just across the railway track. She adores the couple lives in number 15, even naming them Jess and Jason, from Rachel’s point of view, they are a perfect couple, living a perfect life. Until she saw something she couldn’t unsee and she got mad (well, sort of).  I have my favourite quote from Rachel on page 45,

“I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts. Who was it who said that following your heart is a good thing? It is pure egotism, a selfishness to conquer all.”

I can relate to what Rachel’s feeling, in a sense that I understand that she went through the awful phase of her life and have seen what damages of “following your heart” can do to you and the people around you. But what I couldn’t relate from the character Rachel was that she was so full of anger, from the words written Paula Hawkins, Rachel is indeed portrayed as a very angry woman especially when she’s drunk (which is almost all the time). I hated that her life was so awfully related to her selfish ex-husband Tom and his new wife Anna and I feel sad for Rachel that she had to go through all that alone and not having anyone to comfort her, to understand her. But, my hope’s up during the mid of the book when character Rachel showed her will to change for better, for good. She was (finally) attracted to someone, something other than her ex-husband Tom. Jess and Jason (the names she gives them), the couple live on number 15. I think that why Rachel got attracted to this couple was partly because of her confusing memory and her curiosity, on how she felt that since she was the one who saw the thing on the perfect couple patio, she has to be involved.

I like her good intention to help unlock the mystery and still partly sad for her because at first, no one believed her, I mean who in their right mind would totally believe in a drunk, right? and I get mad when she was getting better but chose to drink again, thankfully she managed to keep sober until the end of the book.

Megan is Jess. well, to Rachel, she is.
Megan was artsy, she used to open a gallery near her and Scott’s house but she got tired and was still haunted by her dead brother Ben. Scott advised her to go see the therapist and that's where she met Kamal Abdic and Megan started getting better, really. Until that Saturday night, the night she went missing. The night when Rachel was there too, near the place where Megas was last seen by anyone. 

I think that the point of the book lies in the mysterious case of the missing woman, Megan. I find it quite hard to relate to Megan because well I agreed with Rachel that she has almost everything why would she do things she did? In the book, it says that Megan was bored with life, with the routine of doing only that and that she needed a distraction from all of it especially from the haunting memory of her dead brother Ben. But that was when things got very tricky, as a reader, I couldn’t help but to guess what is Megan’s motives, why she went missing, who took her? Because of Megan I speculate a lot and pointing fingers at other characters in the book as one to hold responsible for the reason why Megan went missing. But, when the book almost come to the end, I was left with the horror of the biggest plot twist! I do not want to elaborate with fear that I may spoil the story to people who haven’t read this book. All that you have to know is that Megan was full of secrets and motives and that gives me goosebumps because these things are real. In a sense that, no matter how much you think you know of a person, their true motives, their true intentions are never truly showed. You think you know them but when you think you really do, something happened and exposed the real ugly truth.

Anna is Rachel’s ex-husband new wife. She lived together with Tom and their baby girl Evie in Rachel’s old house, the one Rachel used to live in with Tom, house number 23. Anna and Tom did have an affair when Tom was still with Rachel, but, if you put yourself in Tom’s shoes, the affair was sort of inevitable, wasn’t it? To have your drunk and very sensitive wife clinging to you all the time, the fights and the problems might just be the reason why Tom couldn’t handle Rachel. But I know that Tom’s way of ending things with Rachel was wrong and I was hoping that Anna could well at least show some pity to Rachel but she didn’t which made me mad. The character Anna was shown to also have some dilemmas, now that she has a daughter and all. But what happens at the end of the book will surprise you, I believe, like it surprised me.

The conclusion is that I like this book, a lot. Even though the characters are fucked up somehow in their own ways, and that because Paula Hawkins managed to keep me up at night, angry and wanting to finish but not wanting to finish the book simultaneously. I gave this book 5/5 because of the well-written and the amazing plot and subjectively because this is the first thriller novel I read in 2016.

I would like to recommend this reading for people who liked Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and for people who like psychological and thriller novels. Because trust me, the story is wickedly good that you will find yourself unable to hold the rush of wanting to turn the page, to know what's happening on the other pages of the book. Happy reading!


  1. I must recommend reading the book The Girl on the Train: A Novel.
    I just finished reading it today, and my conclusion is that its a really good book.

    I ordered mine from Amazon and they delivered it in only TWO days.
    Here is a link for the book on Amazon:
    The Girl on the Train: A Novel


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