Rachel Watson, a 32-year-old divorcee and alcoholic, rides the same train everyday so she can get a glimpse of her old house. The house in which her ex-husband, Tom, lives in with his new wife, Anna. Rachel becomes intrigued by a couple that resides in a house down the road from her old house. The man and woman soon began to occupy Rachel’s thoughts as she watches them everyday.
She imagines and creates scenarios in her head of the couple living a perfect life. But, her perception of them shatteres when she witnessed the woman kissing another man. Not long after, the woman disappears, and Rachel makes it her mission to find out what happened to the woman who seemingly had the perfect life.
Rachel Watson is the main character, but “The Girl on the Train” switches between the perspectives of two other female characters. It is told from the point of view of Megan, the woman who goes missing, and Anna, the woman Rachel’s husband cheated on her with and then got married to. The timelines of the characters aren’t always the same, which makes it more intriguing to read.
The day after the woman, who’s name is revealed as Megan Hipwell, disappeared, Rachel awoke in a daze of confusion. She remembered being at the pub the night before, then going to Tom and Anna’s house.
Trying to piece together the night before, Rachel found a painful, tender lump on the side of her head and her hair matted with blood, along with bruises on her legs, dirt under her fingernails and a cut on her lip.
Rachel’s dependence on alcohol gets her into a lot of messy and dangerous situations throughout the course of the story. Her tendency to black out when she drinks makes it very clear to the reader that Rachel is an alcoholic.
An Insider article, “How to talk to someone about their alcohol use and what resources can help,” is beneficial for anyone who may know someone struggling with alcoholism. In the article, clinical psychologist Aimee Chiligiris said: “Try to look for an opportunity to express concern when both of you are open to communicating and not under the influence of substances. Let them know what you observe in a caring and nonjudgmental way.”
In a way, this is how Rachel’s roommate lets her know that her drinking is going too far.
Days later, Rachel was still trying to unravel Megan’s disappearance from what she read in the newspaper. The paper mentioned that Megan and her husband, Scott, got into an argument that day, but Rachel took notice that there was no mention of Megan cheating. This is when she realized what she had witnessed on the train could potentially help lead the police to where Megan might be.
Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train,” is a murder-mystery that will make the reader question who to trust, especially Rachel Watson. Every character in this book has something to hide, even if they don’t know it yet.
The narration in “The Girl on the Train,” uses undependable voices to push the story forward. This tactic will make any reader wary of each and every character in this story.
No one is who they seem to be.