Sep 16

The Girl on The Train (Book Review) – Movie Releases on October 7

the-girl-on-the-trainI have read very few reviews, or even mentions of this book, which do not include a comparison with Gone Girl. So let me address this elephant in the room first. I haven’t read Gone Girl, though I have seen the movie (I know that is not the same thing at all), and I did not like it very much. Well, to be precise, I mostly did not like the way it ended, and how a story wraps up, is very important to me, so there!

This book (The Girl on The Train) I picked up for two reasons – I was wanting to try out the genre of psychological thrillers, and this book was the most popular one around. Not that being popular says anything about the quality of the book, or even my enjoyment of it (case in point – The Fault in Our Stars), but in a genre that is relatively new to me, I go with the masses.

And secondly, as you know from the title of this post, the movie is releasing in October, and I am a sucker for Book To Movie Adaptations. I just enjoy the whole experience – of reading the book first, and then watching it come live on the big screen.

The Girl on The Train – My Review

I am not going to highlight the plot details, as with mystery/thrillers, the spoiler zone is tricky, so I would recommend you read the blurb here, and just go for it; let the tale unravel as you read it.

However, I am going to highlight some of my non-spoilery thoughts about the book, which will hopefully help you decide whether or not this is something you would like to check out.

This story is mostly told from Rachel’s POV. Though, technically there are two, nope three, narrators. Not that it helped. All of them were mostly unreliable. Which in itself was interesting. As a reader, I generally form a deep connection with the narrator’s POV, and in this case, no one could be trusted. Not the protagonists, not the antagonists (assuming it’s even clear who they are), and most definitely not the narrators.

Having said that, I must also say that though these women (the narrators) were unreliable, imperfect creatures, with serious flaws, the author made it possible, and even easy, to empathize with them. And considering how flawed these characters were, this was no mean feat.

It was also quite impressively baffling that the plot seemed both linear and rounded at the same time. At times it felt like nothing much was happening (and some of it was just rinse and repeat), but in hindsight there was so much happening, and so many clues strewn around, but I just could not identify them at the time I was initially reading the story.

And while we are speaking of the rounded and linear plot – I must admit that keeping a track of all the narrators and the timeline of the whole thing, was driving my slightly-OCD-self nuts, but it was an intriguing page-turner all the same.

All in All

It’s a gripping mystery – it keeps you in the dark long enough to speculate and come up with your own theories, while the actual reveal is not very predictable at all.

I am typically good at the guessing game when it comes to mystery-thrillers, but with this one, my theories kept changing every few chapters, and all of them were incorrect anyway.

I only got it right, very close to the actual reveal, basically when the author was dropping big mountain rock sized hints. And the reason I believe is because the mystery was not about the who, but the why.


Go for it. You will not regret it. And if (like me) you enjoy watching Book to Movie Adaptations, pick this one as your next read, as the movie releases on Oct 7 (my movie review).

Rating: 4.5 stars

The Girl on The Train (Amazon) | The Girl on The Train (Flipkart)

Have you guys read this book? Are you looking forward to seeing the movie? I have seen the trailer, and have mixed feelings about the cast of characters, but I am going to reserve judgement until I actually see the movie.

Do you guys know of any upcoming book to movie adaptations that you would recommend? Do share!


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  1. I’ve read the book and I loved your review. The book kept me hooked to the very end – very smartly written. I did get a little tired of her train journeys but it was well worth it. Looking forward to the film now.
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  2. I liked this book good enough, though I’d still recommend that you read Gone Girl. You’ll love GG more than this book.

    As for the predictability, I felt that the story was very clear once Dr. Kamal was cleared (sorry for spoilers, peeps). I kept reading till the end, only to know what would happen to Rachel and Anna!

    The characters were brilliantly designed. I thought of the dialogue in Shrek: people are like onions, full of layers. And each layer was revealed at the perfect time, and it made for a mindblowing experience!

  3. I loved the book – my first psychological thriller (now it’s a favourite genre)! Loved your review.

    I generally don’t like Book Adaptations. It always disturbs my own visuals/imagination. For suspense thrillers it’s strictly no as I already know everything. I have seen Gone Girl, so I don’t want to read the book.
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  4. Sounds intriguing. Will consider reading. Good review.
    Suzy recently posted…Il Mondo #FridayReflectionsMy Profile

  5. That’s a super review, Shantala!
    You’ve put into words all that was going through my mind as I read the book.

  6. Okay! Big confession time – I’ve not read this nor Gone Girl. Both have been on my list for ages, but this current stupid reading slump that I’m in, I haven’t managed to.
    I guess it’s high time I catch up.
    Smart review by the way – esp without the spoilers. You are a great reviewer, Shan.
    Sid recently posted…A Mug of …..My Profile

    • Sid – thank you so much. Means a lot coming from you. 🙂

      As far as the spoilers are concerned – I am overly careful about those. If there are spoilers – I mention it in the title of the post -(according to me) the first line or the first para is too late to announce it. Because I personally hate getting spoiled. I then ‘have to’ skip the book, until I ‘forget’ the spoiler. So you see, it complicates my life. 😛
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…The Girl on The Train (Book Review) – Movie Releases on October 7My Profile

  7. Good review as always. No, l haven’t read this review but will read it now after your review. Besides l love psych thrillers.

  8. I’ve heard super mixed things about this book, so I’m probably going to give the book a miss, but I absolutely want to see the movie. I love Emily Blunt! I want her to be in everything!
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  9. I don’t identify with books review posts but yours is the only one I can dive straight into whenever I get a chance 🙂 The book appears interesting to me and I might pick it up. I am generally awry of movie adaptations of books because I feel most of the times the storyline gets tormented in the name of creative liberties.
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  10. Thank you for not giving our any spoilers.. You wrote a brilliant review, describing in depth the writing and how it made you feel. I got so many books in my list that I wonder if I will be able to pick this one before the movie is released

  11. Gone girl is lying on my shelf, still unread. I refuse to watch the movie. And this one is on my TBR. But I will buy it after I read Gone Girl. I have seen mixed reviews on this one. But I want to read it even more after reading your review and Tulika’s comments here.

  12. The first half of the book tested my patience like no other. But when it picks up, it does pick up!

    I loved the book and I cannot wait for the movie to release in India. The trailer looks superb!
    Soumya recently posted…Escape RouteMy Profile

  13. I must applaud you to being one of the rare ppl who says they like the book adaptations; many readers (like me) feel books should be left alone by movie makers as justice is never done – too may creative liberties taken. But thats me

    I loved your review – it really explained the book well – also explained some of the brouha around the movie adaptation too.

    Not sure whether I will pick it to read yet…

  14. I didn’t like the Gone Girl movie either. I have trouble reading books where all the characters are unlikable. I might try this one on your recommendation.

  15. Hi Shanaya, I read this book last year and was riveted throughout. It was a quick read because of the mysterious element. I liked it WAY better than Gone Girl. That book just pissed me off. This one, however, is worth the read. I like how you’ve explained how the plot works. I found the transition between narrators a little distracting but I guess it’s the contemporary way of story telling. I will look forward to the movie but may wait for reviews. I don’t want to be disappointed.

  16. I didn’t like Gone Girl ALL. I’ve got this one waiting to be read. From your review, it does seem like I’ll enjoy it more.
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  17. Oh boy.. I have bought this book months ago and have yet to start. And yes, i do want to finish it before the movie releases.
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  18. I loved this book. I actually finished reading it at one go on New Years eve last year ? I will watch the movie too because I like Emily Blunt a lot …And You have to read Gone Girl, the movie didn’t do justice to the writing. Try it :).

  19. I recently read this book and loved it. Your review is in line with what I think. A good book and yes, not easy to put down. I loved the angle the book brought forward. How what we imagine to see, becomes real for us. Maybe far from true.
    Parul Thakur recently posted…A matter of perspectiveMy Profile

    • Yeah, that is exactly what I thought. I feel like we all do this – form opinions and judgements, quite unconsciously, possibly not to the extent Rachel did, but we all do it. It was interesting to watch how her perceptions mingled with the truth. And the author told the tale very well – the readers made those assumptions right along with her, felt the idyllic world, saw the perceptions shatter, and experienced the rude shock of the truth.
      Shanaya Tales recently posted…The Girl on The Train (Book Review) – Movie Releases on October 7My Profile

  20. These days unreliable narrators and murder mysteries are everywhere, this one is a bit like Gone Girl, as all the reviews so far suggest.. waiting to read it.. Nice review..

  21. Oh havent read a good thriller in a while now. Shall lay my hands on this before the movie comes out. I havent read gone girl.. but did like the movie. It kept me intrigued and guessing.
    Ramya Abhinand recently posted…Book Review: It’s All in The Planets- Preeti ShenoyMy Profile

  22. Shantala, I found a Guru for my book-reviewing in you, you know that, don’t you? 🙂
    No, I haven’t read this book, but now that I have read all about it, I will surely pick it up on my next trip to the bookshop!

  23. Very balanced review, as usual.
    Maybe I should finally read this book now.

  24. I love somethings you said… reading a book is not a same thing as watching film… and just because a book is popular it need not mean its good… this too are proof enough you really read books and know its worth, only a intelligent book reader can have such view points, I am very choosy on the books I pick to read, they really need to be good for me to sit down and read it. The story is very interesting(: … all three narrators can’t be trusted but empathised with, so beautiful.
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  25. Loved your review – i was looking for a new book will go for this one. Haven’t tried this genre

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