As always I’ll start by saying this review contains no spoilers and is my opinion alone. The review is as a result of paying full price for the paperback – no review copy.
I don’t normally read this genre. If I am reading fantasy or fiction, I like it to be very fictional or very fantastic, not a story I can visualize appearing in the papers or one of the perpetually looped news channels.
At first glance of the glowing reviews in the first few pages therein lies words such as “Alfred Hitchcock” and “Agatha Christie” lending one to believe that this book is something very special. With that in mind I held it up to such works and found it lacking – badly.
As I said on my Twitter feed, this title is to those greats in the same way that Justin Beiber is to Beethoven. I think you get my point.
In my view the title is like an episode of Friends. Its something you can get into without investing much of your mind to. Its a title which rolls along in simple, clear English, not giving you need to stretch your mind, so when the promised “twists” in the story panned out exactly how I had predicted when I’d only read to page 80, it came as no surprise.
The book does for me indirectly touch upon an interesting topic – the world of social media and Facebook. Just like the story has one of the main characters looking in on lives of others and buying into appearances – even applying her own stories too, some people in real life do the same on Facebook – looking at others photo’s and their lives, buying into whatever image is presented to an audience who are hungry to see how other people live.
For those who look at those “happy” and “perfect” images and comments on social media, the book highlights that when you scratch the surface of what appears to be perfect, you find something altogether different and it was perhaps this facet of the novel I enjoyed the most.
Whether it was the authors intention or not, it deals subtly with the idea of snooping on other people, a guilty pleasure many people have.
The Girl On The Train is a book I’d highly recommend to people who, for whatever reason don’t normally read books. Its style and structure form an easy read which people will find accessible.
My mother who is an avid reader and educated to a high level in literature started reading this title, but as I said to her at the time, its lack of sophistication and surprise make it rather average for someone who has read the greats of this genre. I’ll let you know if she agreed with this assessment or not. This is not Agatha Christie or Alfred Hitchcock for the modern day in my view. Hold it up to these and you may, like me, be very disappointed.
Suburban thrillers are certainly not my first choice of genre, but perhaps it was its TV soap style accessibility kept me interested enough to finish the title, despite contrary to promises in the reviews, it was incredibly predictable to me very early on in the story.
I think I’ll now return to my genre of choice with science fiction and fantasy, where my next review is coming from and perhaps a title that will stretch my imagination a little more.
The word “bestseller” never fills me with confidence regarding the content and quality of a title. This book has done has done nothing to change that view.
6/10 – “An accessible story which does just enough to keep seasoned readers interested.”