The Girl On The Train Book Review (2024)

Table of Contents

Bringing you yet another bestseller which has succeeded in winning the hearts of readers globally. Here’s The Girl On The Train book review:

The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins, a British author, struck the market by storm in 2015. It instantly became successful and was titled The New York Times fiction bestseller of 2015. It again became The #1 best seller for two weeks in 2016.

It sold over 23 million copies by 2021. It has managed to secure the #1 spot of the UK hardback books chart for 20 weeks. The girl on the train was adapted as a successful film in 2016.

The Girl On The Train book, has been released as an audiobook by Books On Tape. Not only was it successful but it also won The 2016 audio books award.

About The Author

Born on August 26, 1972 in Zimbabwe, Paula Hawkins, a #1 international bestselling author, now divides her time between London and Edinburgh.

Beginning her career as a journalist, she later transitioned to become a successful full-time fiction writer.

She has been awarded:

  • The Glamour Award for Writer 2015
  • Audie Audiobook of the Year 2016
  • Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller 2017, 2015.

You can connect with her on her socials:

Book Ratings

Book Theme

The Girl On The Train is a psychological thriller that crevices around drug abuse, alcohol addiction, domestic violence, trauma, deception, societal expectations, relationship complexities, guilt and redemption, power dynamics and fantasy based escape Psychology.

The book is not only a thrilling narrative but a captivating exploration of psychological chaos permeating society, intricately weaves thought narratives of those grappling with alcoholism. Within its pages, it masterfully portrays society’s demeaning attitudes towards these individuals, offering a poignant reflection on the human condition.

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The girl on the train book review

Book Characters

  • Rachel Watson: The protagonist
  • Megan Hipwell: (also called JESS) a woman rachel observes from her train journeys.
  • Anna Watson: Rachel’s ex-husband Tom’s new wife
  • Tom Watson: Rachel’s ex-husband
  • Scott Hipwell: Megan’s husband
  • Dr. Kamal Abdic: Megan’s therapist
  • Cathy: Rachel’s roommate and friend
  • Detective Riley: investigation detective
  • Detective Gaskill: investigation detective



The Girl on the Train starts with Rachel Watson, a 33-year-old woman who shares a house with her friend and landlord, Cathy. There was a time when Rachel was the epitome of happiness – a woman with a fulfilling job, a loving husband named Tom, and a dream house nestled beside the calming hum of railway tracks.

However, life had other plans for her. Her content life was rustled when Tom chose a different path, divorcing Rachel and walking into marriage with another woman, Anna Boyd. The divorce became the catalyst for a downward spiral. What was once a joyful existence became a tale of struggle, despair and addiction.

Now, Rachel fights with the eerie shadows of her past, living a life fogged by alcoholism, devoid of any career, and without a place to call home.

The home she and Tom bought together, fueled by their money and her love for trains, shattered after their divorce. Tom insisted Rachel, the half owner, to move out and accommodate his new wife, Anna.

“I don’t have words to describe what I felt that day, but now, sitting on the train, I am furious, nails digging into my palms, tears stinging my eyes. I feel a flash of intense anger. I feel as though something has been taken away from me. How could she?”

According to Tom, Rachel’s alleged alcoholism and erratic behavior led to their divorce, with claims of harassment on his side. But Rachel believed deep down in her soul that Tom wanted to start a family and her inability to conceive even after a round of IVF, was one among many reasons for their marriage to breakdown.

Rachel lost her job, but she doesn’t want Cathy, her landlord and the only person who shows some care, to know about it. To keep this secret, she takes a morning train, spends time in a park or cafe, and returns without arousing Cathy’s suspicion. These train rides involve drinking alcohol and observing the neighborhoods the train passes through. Rachel has chosen a house where a loving couple, named Jason and Jess, reside. Their life feels like an ideal dream to Rachel where Jason loves Jess unconditionally.

They often drink their evening tea together on the balcony and Rachel loves to observe the sweetness of love between them.

One day, as Rachel was on her evening train journey, coming back to her apartment, intoxicated from morning drinks, she gazed out of the train to catch a glimpse of Jason and Jess. To her horror, she observed a man beside Jess who wasn’t Jason, witnessing them sharing a kiss. In astonishment, Rachel realized her euphoric fantasy couple had someone else intruding into their relationship just like her own.

When she gets home, she turns on the TV and is surprised to find Jess in the news. The report states that Meghan (Jess’s actual name) is missing, and her husband Scott (Jason) is searching for her. The investigation begins, and days later, Meghan’s body is discovered in the woods.

In the meantime, Rachel is in turmoil. She repeatedly calls Tom, even in the middle of the night, bombarding him with messages. Anna becomes irritated and urges Tom to help Rachel gain some sense. Despite Tom’s clear warning, Rachel persists. One day, she shows up at his home in the middle of the day, intoxicated, causing scenes of distress forcing Anna to report her to the police. Another time she sees Tom on her way back and screams out to him and blacks out. Later finding herself, in the station bleeding from her head and all bruised over thinking she must have tripped.

After coming to her senses, seeing Meghan continuously on the news, Rachel wants to find out the truth. She decides to confess to Scott that she has seen Jess cheating on him, understanding the pain Scott will go through from her personal experience.

She goes to the police, reporting what she witnessed from the train. However, they dismiss her account, labeling her as an unreliable source due to past incidents involving being drunk and intruding into Anna’s house.

After receiving a denial from the police, Rachel decides to take matters into her own hands. She approaches Scott, convincing him that she knows Rachel from her job and is a friend of hers. She proceeds to share her account of witnessing Meghan kissing someone on the balcony. Following a back-and-forth conversation, they come to the realization that the man is, in fact, Meghan’s therapist Dr. Kamal.

Now, the police have two suspects: Scott and Dr. Kamal. The investigation progresses, revealing that Meghan was pregnant at the time of the murder, and the child is not related to either Scott or Dr. Kamal. Everyone is uncertain about the situation, except for Rachel. She was present there when Meghan was kidnapped, but due to being drunken and blacked out, she cannot recall the exact events. However, she has a lingering feeling that, on a subconscious level, she might know or have seen something during that time. So, she decides to go to Dr. Kamal as his patient and tries to dig for more clues because Meghan definitely was close to him.

“Everything about him was warm: his hand, when I shook it; his eyes; the tone of his voice. I searched his face for clues, for the signs of the vicious brute who smashed mMeghans head open, for a glimpse of the traumatized refugee who had lost his family. I couldn’t see any. And for a while I forgot myself. I forgot to be afraid of him.”

In a sequence of events, Rachel begins to recollect. She remembers seeing a woman, initially thinking it was Anna. However, her confusion arises because Tom insisted Anna was at home during that time. As the fog in her mind clears gradually, Rachel realizes she knows the details of Meghan’s death and the person responsible for her disappearance.

Determined to unravel the mystery, Rachel takes matters into her own hands when the police dismiss her claims. Without a concrete plan, she sets out to apprehend the murderer but is astonished at the unexpected turn of events. Upon reaching her destination, the killer forces her into a house arrest.

In a dramatic twist, her assailant approaches her and lands some severe kicks and punches from which Rachel gets severely injured. With the intent to kill, he approaches her but suddenly collapses to the ground, blood gushing from his neck.

The police arrive to a gruesome scene, discovering a deceased man on the ground. Beside him is Rachel, bearing numerous injuries. Astonished, Rachel can’t believe she received help from someone who otherwise would not blink an eye on seeing her drop dead.

The investigation comes to a close with her providing a witness statement but she has to live with those gruesome sights engraved in her mind for the rest of her life because till now, her life was a lie.

The books ends with:

I get into bed and turn the lights out. I won’t be able to sleep, but I have to try. Eventually, I suppose, the nightmares will stop, and I will stop replaying it over and over and over in my head, but right now I know that there is a long night ahead and I have to get up early tomorrow morning, to catch the train.


The Girl On The Train is a global bestseller, a testament to its compelling narrative. It intricately explores how individuals interpret the same situations differently, delving into their thoughts. Beyond that, it skillfully draws a distinction in societal behavior towards ordinary individuals versus those grappling with mental health challenges. The narrative sheds light on the overlooked mental health struggles of alcoholics, portraying their insights as valid even when society tends to dismiss them.

More Books by Paula Hawkins

  • Into The Water (2017)
  • A Slow Fire Burning (2021)
  • Blind Spot (2022)

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