What I Do When Life Gets Crazy and The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins

I’ve been away for a few weeks. I really don’t know why. Yes, life got a little crazy and overwhelming, but usually venting and sharing on this little spot helps. But this time I just couldn’t get here, couldn’t put my thoughts into coherent words, couldn’t get myself together enough to write.

Yes, I couldn’t write. But guess what I could do? READ.

I know you know that reading is great. It keeps me sane and able to deal with the imagesreal world. It’s really the reason I write this blog; I love books and want to share the ones I really love with you.

But why do we love books? Why do I love books? A good book and take me out of my world; the soul-sucking reality that is everyday life of work, running errands, worrying about money, running kids from swimming to dance to lacrosse to doctors and dentists and . . .

So, I read. I didn’t always have my handy laptop, so I didn’t write. I read.

Reading is magic that way. When your life gets to be too much, reading can take you away. More than movies or television, books let you lose yourself in the story. In reading, you get to create your own vision of the story in your head, to imagine it your way. A good book lets you sink in and really get lost in it, so much so that real life falls away and the book takes over.

When I’m running around like crazy, I can make sure I have my Kindle (or a real book) in my bag and read. At the doctor’s office, the dentist’s office, the dance studio, the pool, the field. I can forget where I am for a few minutes and retreat to somewhere scary, or romantic, or fantastic, or suspenseful. I forget for a few minutes that I’m a suburban mom making sure my family is a happy and healthy as possible.

So I can say thank you to authors and their wonderful stories and intriguing characters. You’ve saved my sanity on more than one occasion, including the last few weeks. And, thanks to the last few weeks, I have some fodder for reviews. So thanks again.

And now, onto The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

I just spent almost 400 words talking about how a book is my way of getting away from crazy. And this book was great for that: taking me out of my own crazy life and into the even crazier lives of Hawkin’s characters in The Girl on the Train.
This book is being touted as the next Gone Girl, making me expect a little different. But I guess it is because it is dark, and readable, and one of those mysteries where there’s a plethora of possible bad guys, keeping you guessing until the very end.

The main character, our very flawed protagonist, is Rachel. Rachel is divorced and depressed. She rides the train daily into London, although she has no reason because she lost her job in London. She does this to fool her landlady/old friend, because she doesn’t want her to know that she’s unemployed.

What does Rachel do all day? Pretty much drinks and rides the train, wondering where her life went wrong and about her ex-husband Tom and his new wife, Anna. And their baby. Living in the home she and Tom picked out and lived in before the divorce.

Oh, the train she rides? She can see the house from the train.

Because the train often stops at just the right point, Rachel is forced to stare down the street (she doesn’t sit on the other side of or further back on the train for a host of psychological reasons, I’m sure). Instead of really driving her self crazy by waiting for Anna and the baby to appear, Rachel focuses on the couple that lives right off the train and often sit on their balcony. She names them, creates a back story, and pretty much lives her life through the fiction she’s created for them.

And then the female lead (Megan) in her narrative goes missing, and Rachel becomes part of the story (a drunken night stalking her old neighborhood). If that’s not enough for her, she entwines herself further in the investigation.

The book is told mostly through Rachel, but parts are also told through Megan and Anna. It’s a story of depression and alcoholism, and what those things can make you believe about yourself.

(Very, very light spoiler):  The Girl on the Train is story of the worst things love can do to you, and about what a woman will believe when she’s in love. But it might not be just a woman thing. We’re taught to trust our mates, and that trust can be twisted until we don’t know ourselves.

I loved this one, so much so that I bought it in hardback so I could share it. Read it! I tore through it in about a day midweek–and I was working during that day! I give it 5 stars. And that says a lot.


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