Book review: “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins is a hot mess


Kendall Garcia

This suspenseful thriller may have the most unreliable narrator of all time

“The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins was published in 2015 as a psychological thriller. The book revolves around Rachel Watson, a recently divorced alcoholic, Rachel’s ex-husband Tom Watson, his new wife Anna Watson and Megan Hipwell, a neighbor of the Watsons. The book is narrated from the perspectives of Rachel Watson, Anna Watson and Megan Hipwell.

English teacher Greg Raney said, “I thought it was interesting the way the author intertwined three different perspectives and three different plot lines. I wasn’t used to reading books that jumped perspectives like that and this was one of the first ones I did. I thought it was a fun and interesting read because of how it was organized and structured.”

The book begins with Rachel taking her daily trip to London on the train for “work.” The only problem with this is that she quit her job months prior and only goes so her roommate Cathy doesn’t worry about her. Cathy disapproves of Rachel Watson’s alcoholic lifestyle and would be stunned to find out drinking is really all Rachel Watson does. During Rachel Watson’s trip on the train, she always stares out the window as the train passes the house that was once her and her husband’s. Now the house is Tom Waston and Anna Watson’s and they have new neighbors, the Hipwells. Rachel Watson becomes obsessed with the Hipwells’ lifestyle after seeing them every day from the window on the train. The Hipwells seem like the perfect couple until suddenly Megan Hipwell goes missing and Rachel Watson makes it her top priority to find Megan.

Rachel Watson is the most unreliable narrator I’ve ever read. She’s always drunk and forgetting things. Rachel Watson brings up things from the past at random times throughout the book. Her narration is so pathetic that readers start to feel bad for her. When the readers’ guilt overtakes them,  Rachel Watson doesn’t seem like that bad of a person at all. Readers begin to feel sorry for Rachel Watson and wonder why people don’t believe her.

Raney said, “The lack of a reliable narrator was fun because it kept you guessing.”

When Hipwellis missing we learn all too much about her past. Readers are let in on a secret that Hipwell wished to take to the grave. Spoiler alert: she did. Hipwell’s part in the book, although seemingly small, was written in a timeline before the rest of the characters, making readers engaged in her role in the book and how she could tie into the story.

Towards the end of the book you learn exactly why Hawkins chose Rachel and Anna Watson and Hipwell as her main characters. These three have a lot more in common than anyone could have ever expected them to.

Jillian Zollar ‘23 said, “I really liked ‘The Girl On the Train’ and how it had a good balance between the dark and twisted story and the character development. It also has a huge plot twist at the end which is always good.”

This book is psychologically twisting. Once you start reading this book you’ll need to get to the end to figure out who is lying, what’s the crime and who the true villain is. This book, even in all of its hysteria, is definitely worth the read.