The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, 2015
My favorite quote: “I have never understood how people can blithely disregard the damage they do by following their hearts.”
Notable characters: Rachel Watson, the alcoholic; Anna Boyd, the young, beautiful, stay-at-home mom; Tom, Rachel’s husband; “Jess and Jason,” the couple Rachel envies
Most memorable scene: When Megan’s body is found …
Greatest strengths: Excels at the whole unreliable narrator thing
Standout achievements: This book is written in first person, present-tense – a style I can rarely tolerate … but in this case, I hardly noticed.
Fun Facts: Many comparisons have been made between The Girl on the Train and Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. In an article in The Hollywood Reporter, Paula Hawkins clarified the matter by stating: “Amy Dunne (Gone Girl) is a psychopath, an incredibly controlling and manipulative, smart, cunning woman. [Rachel is] just a mess who can’t do anything right.”
Other media: 2016 film of the same name starring Emily Blunt
What it taught me about writing: That even a reader’s least-preferred writing style can be overlooked if the plot and characters are compelling enough
How it inspired my own work: The night I finished this book, I said to myself, “Self (that’s what I call myself) We need to write a book with an ending as shocking and unexpected as that one. The next day I began my murder mystery Sleep Savannah Sleep, which went on to become an Amazon bestseller in multiple categories.
My rating: 4.5 of 5
Haunt me: alistaircross.com