Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Club: Girl on the Train


I don't even know where to start with Girl on the Train. I'm really torn. I've often heard it compared to Gillian Flynn's books, and I can definitely see some similarities in tone and topic. I love books written from multiple perspectives, so I loved the structure, and it definitely gave Girl on the Train an edge. (And lord knows I love books set in England.) I thought it was well-written, if a little slow at times,  and I got really engrossed in the plot itself. The end was so satisfying. But.


All of the female characters (and really, all but one male character) are so dysfunctional. Even the roommate, who is supposed to be the one with a handle on life, has a weirdly dependent relationship with her boyfriend. While the ending helps you understand and sympathize with the dysfunction of the protagonist eventually, I felt like I was grasping at straws trying to root for her through much of the book because of the constant drunken mishaps. We get it; you're an alcoholic. I was suffering so much secondhand embarrassment that I found myself wishing the plot forward.  On the one hand, I love a protagonist that is a screw-up, I love rooting for an underdog, and I love that nuance and realism that comes with a protagonist with real problems. I think it's incredible when we have complex, realistic people in the spotlight, who have both good and bad within them, instead of simplistic moral pillars. On the other hand, too much focus on those problems feels repetitive, and results in a character that isn't sustainably likeable--and to be honest, none of the characters in Girl on the Train were sustainably likeable.

So I'm torn. I devoured the book in a matter of days, and for the most part, really enjoyed it. At the same time, I don't see it being a re-read for me, and I'm glad I bought it on Kindle rather than shelling out $20 for it in hardback. And as a final note, if Paula Hawkins writes another book in the same genre, I'll probably pick it up.

Agree? Disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts on Girl on the Train!

1 comment :

  1. I didnt like this book very much. It was a quick read, yes, but I couldnt emphatize with any of the characters, and the ending felt kind of ridiculous. I don't know, hope the movie is good. I prefer Gillian Flynn books.


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