I love taking the train. I used to take three trains when I worked in Downtown Los Angeles. Now, I walk. Literally. It’s good that I get exercise but it definitely cut down my reading time. If you’ve been around here long enough, you would know that my favorite time to read is on a commute. On a train. I was a girl on the train. After a week or so, people’s faces start to look familiar; you notice their habits, note their choice of reading material. Even the activities outside the window become to seem routine. I couldn’t help but wonder about their stories. How would their day turn out? Will I see them again tomorrow?
Like a lot of people, Rachel takes the same commuter train every day to go to and from work. She follows the same schedule and sees the same people. She makes up stories starring these people she sees outside the train window, giving them names and crafting their day-to-day lives. She makes them familiar to her and adding to their tale becomes part of Rachel’s routine. “Jess” and “Jason” becomes that story. Rachel sees them living the life she wanted for herself. Until one day, no longer saw Jess having breakfast with Jason. She had gotten so attached to these characters – people – that this disturbance in the pattern prompts her to go as far as calling the police. Something was wrong… she just has to successfully explain what that is and why she came to that conclusion.
Rachel is an unreliable narrator. Half the time, I wanted to strangle her because she was so self-destructive. And she never learns. She had so many slip ups. One time, she’s doing well. Then the next page, she’s back to her old ways. And then she feels so sorry about it and wants to change only to go through the same cycle all over again. Most of the time, she wasn’t sure of what’s going on, of what she remembers. But she goes to tell people and the police about it anyway. They don’t really take her seriously and the one time that someone did, she fucks it all up again. I admit, I put down this book many times because Rachel was so frustrating. But no matter how questionable her behavior is, I couldn’t help but feel so sorry for her. She’s had a sad life and what’s sadder is that she’s not doing anything to help herself.
The book jumps timelines between Rachel’s version of the events and that of what happened to the victim. It also has different POVs, from narrators more reliable yet similarly annoying than Rachel. The reader is left to piece together these events to create a bigger picture. An avid mystery reader might predict the ending. However, the author left a nice twist at the very end that I personally didn’t expect.
Rating: 4/5. Don’t expect Gone Girl. This is not as intricate or confusing as that. But it is a quality read. I can’t wait for the movie even though they changed huge things about it. But… LUKE EVANS!