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Review: 5 reasons to read The Girl on the Train before you see the film

Let's start with a confession: I wasn't interested in reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins until I saw the trailer for the upcoming adaptation. I had sort of vaguely heard of it, but wasn't sure it was my thing. Boy was I wrong!

Too often I only discover a book exists once its movie publicity ends up in front of me, and that's a damn shame. I often then find the idea of just going to the cinema to find out what happens much more appealing, but I know I could be depriving myself of great reading experiences by taking the lazier option.

So while I'm late to the party on this one, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. I wasn't sure what to expect but ended up enjoying the book so much that I'll definitely be going to watch it too - here's why (without any spoilers!) you should get yourself a copy:

1. It's fast paced

I'm now incredibly glad I chose this as my book of choice for our holiday last week. When I read by the pool I need something that really grabs me and peaks my interest so even though I may not have picked this up in a normal book haul a thriller was the perfect purchase.

Hawkins' writing is very much 'in the moment' and as such you're whisked straight into the story. Any flashbacks or anecdotes only serve to drive the plot forward so there's very little 'fluff'. From the very first page I found this a difficult book to put down.

2. The central character is unbelievably flawed

Aside from the obvious theme of crime/murder, Hawkins also handles through three central female characters some of the struggles of being a women in your late twenties/early thirties. Protagonist Rachel is a 32-year-old alcoholic divorcee who has a tendency towards obsessive behaviour since her husband's affair came to light.

Since she's the one trying to uncover what happened to the mysterious and now missing Megan, who she has only ever seen from her seat on the train, you also can't help but question her observations, and actions. And yet, she's written so sympathetically that you can't resist rooting for her, even when you're a bit suspicious.

3. It's pretty dark

This thriller is anything but woolly.Alcoholism aside, the novel handles some very dark subjects and does so without glamourising or scandalising them and presents characters in a very real, raw way. I won't spoil any of the books twists and turns but I did find some aspects of the plot pretty sad as well as shocking.

4. You won't be totally sure who 'did it' until you're shown

All of the central characters in The Girl on the Train have a strong motive for harming Megan. I tend not to read thrillers that often because it's too obvious who actually did it, but in this case I only got an inkling around 30-40 pages before the big reveal. 

At one point or another you'll suspect everyone, you'll go over theories and evidence in your head, you'll have weird dreams about solving the crime yourself. By the end of it I felt like I'd become just as obsessive as Rachel herself about finding the answers, and that's why this book as such a cracking read.

So what are you waiting for? If you want to read something that's exciting and just a little bit different then make sure you pick up this book instead of just going to see the film! I only wish all thrillers were this gripping!

Have you read The Girl on the Train already? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.


  1. I've had this book on my shelf for ages but I still haven't read it. Well I started it but never finished it, shame on me. Now that I've seen the trailer and read your post I think I'll read it ASAP!!!
    Anna x | dropsofanna.blogspot.com

  2. I finished this book a few weeks ago and absolutely adore it! Me and the girls have all read it and are going to watch in next week, can't wait. Danielle || missdanielle.com