Following is a REAL tombstone:
Following is a direct quote from The Girl on The Train:
“Life is not a paragraph and Death is not parenthesis.”
(Apparently, it is.)
Have you ever wanted to be murdered by a book? The thought of a book covered in your blood, the colour red all over your shiny black book, its pages dripping red and a dent in the middle of the cover which signifies that fatal blow that was given to you by an unknown person.
This is a chilling thought, and you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemies, but this thought you will at least consider by the time you are done with The Girl on The Train. And if you didn’t feel this after finishing the book, I envy you.
Ms. Hawkins wrote this book at a very depressing time in her life. She had been jobless for months, she was running short on money and to continue writing, she had to borrow some from her father, and because she had a journalist past, the final resort to her misfortunes was to write a book and hope it sells well (her previous attempts at writing a novel were disastrous). But what is the best way to do that? Use a best-selling and critically acclaimed (an average book, mind you) as her base and put a lot of booze in it. Maybe she was covering up her desire to drink by writing about it (she would have been unable to buy a drink for herself since she was nearly broke). Whatever the case was, it paid off well. She said in an interview that how writing ‘under a state of panic and dread did it(the book) no harm’ but isn’t that the central theme of this book? Rachel is always in a panic, and all three of the female characters are dreadful from the beginning until the end. She said in the same interview that her previous work didn’t felt like ‘her,’ maybe because she was not miserable and broke at those times and was living a happy life? The moment she went down the hill she started writing this novel which felt more like her which makes you question, why didn’t she wrote much thriller? It took her four books to realise that she should write a thriller while cramming the story with her real self. This is where the sole problem of the book comes in.
“I swear, if I don’t finish this book tonight, I am never reading it again.”
It is a book of un-aimed scope; Ms. Hawkins tries to diversify and constantly fails to justify the book’s sole existence. The so-called ‘psychological thriller’ is nothing more than a simple story convoluted into being a traumatising story (traumatising for you, not for the characters) which loses itself in a dirty bloodless sea of ‘psychological thrillers’ which are not nearly as thrilling as they may sound. The sole problem of the book is that it is so self-dissolved into its characters and their miserable past that it neglects what is happening in the present. It is rather a biography of herself than being a properly integrated story of three characters whose lives are intertwined because of an incident. A hangover is the only explanation that it gives to move the plot forward, everything comes from the hangover which Rachel experience. Before the hangover, there was no direction for the story to go, it was like a straight road in the Sahara desert, it is endless, and it goes on forever unless there is a sandstorm or a lost city under the sand, all of which sounds exciting but that sandstorm is a night of over-drinking and a hangover that follows afterwards. You can play with the plot in any way that you like after that, and it seems to have an interesting series of events which will follow after the incident but a lost city, and a drunk girl are two very different things, and it is unfair to compare even them but you must know how much difference between an interesting and an uninteresting thing is and that difference hinders with the plot of this book.
The story is of three very different women (they are woman Ms. Paula, not GIRLS) whose lives are connected by an incident which somehow involves them all. They are like water in three different containers, one in a bottle, one in a mug, and one in a jug. And what happens when you pour that water into a tub? Nothing, they are just mixed, and each of their identity is lost and confused with the other. This is basically the plot of The Girl on The Train.
“I want to drag knives over my skin, just to feel something other than shame, but I’m not even brave enough for that.”
The three protagonists are great examples of what you should not be. A sex addict drunkard psycho ex-girlfriend/boyfriend who tries to terrorize your current boyfriend/girlfriend’s boyfriend/girlfriend or fiance. The incredulous way in which all three of them are portrayed is absurd and is the opposite of a strong female protagonist. Even though there are three of them, all of them are much or less the same. All of them are unhappy with their relationships, and they are either cheating or being cheated. There isn’t much to any of those characters except the trauma that they always appear to be in. They are facing issues of domestic violence and loss of sensation of their own identities. Women in this novel are portrayed in such a negative way that it is unsettling to read even their diary entries (the format of narration in this book). There are so few moments where you will actually see them portrayed in a positive light, especially Rachel. It is almost like Hawkins wanted you to hate Rachel for what she was and what she couldn’t be. Her failure in changing her attitude even after facing an immense loss because of it is the very definition of infirm.
The possibility that this story actually has some sort of entertainment is the same as the possibility of being a four-eyed person (glasses doesn’t count).
Gone Girl on Morphine
Have you ever seen a colour which hurt your eyes? Congratulations, now you know what it feels like to read The Girl on The Train.
I was really hyped about this book when I bought it. It was literally the buzz of the book-world and the tagline ‘You don’t know her, but she knows you’ indicated a more unnatural plot. I thought that it was about a girl who gains some powers and can experience other people’s lives by looking through their eyes. At least, that’s what the cover and the synopsis indicated to me.
“If you think that when writing this review I didn’t know where I was going with the review and the writing and was maybe mindlessly putting some stuff into it, that’s exactly my point.”
I would say that this is the worst book that I have ever read with contrast to the other books that I have read, none of which put me off to the limit that I wanted to put them down. I read some mediocre books (Gone Girl itself was nothing special), but I haven’t read a book, and this is based on my perception, hated its characters itself. I don’t know if anyone could every sympathise with Rachel because of her callowness.
Assigning it as the ‘next Gone Girl’ is propagating it as it has almost nothing even remotely related/like to Gone Girl. Gone Girl had this great female character Amy, it was annoying at sometimes to read her journal but her character development is constant and its dynamic and because of that by the end, she becomes this psycho killer whom you would love to hate and hate yourself for loving her. Rachel’s character is much or less static for the plot; she does undergo some psychological changes, but they are not enough to keep her interesting. It almost seems like Rachel didn’t learn anything from her past experiences and her relationships; she continually commits the same mistakes over and over again which makes Rachel’s character feel like a robot. There can be two possible hypothesis for it from my perception.
- Hawkins didn’t care who Rachel was or what she wanted to do with her. She was maybe busy portraying herself in it, and she forgot who these characters were and what actually defined them.
- Hawkins wanted everyone to hate the character of Rachel for an unknown reason.
If it were the second case, then I would say a job well done. She successes in creating not one, but three homogenous characters.
Paula Hawkins is a good writer; I could see that from this book and she don’t have to depend on any working formula to craft a good story. She is better than this, she does a great job in trying to make you feel empathetic to the characters, she fails to create memorable characters, but her writing is admirable, and she can create great stories with that skill but this book just isn’t the one where I could say that she wrote a story which will grip you and thrill you, maybe it thrilled some people, but I don’t feel resonated by this story. It’s like that scar which you got when you were young, some scars are worth having, some scars are worth keeping, some scars can make you proud, this isn’t one of them, this is just a painful scar which you want to heal as quickly as possible without an after-spot.
“When did you become so weak?” I don’t know. I don’t know where that strength went; I don’t remember losing it. I think that over time it got chipped away, bit by bit, by life, by the living of it.”