The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Review

The Girl on the Train | Available for Purchase: Amazon.com « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Pages: 325 hardcover
Received Copy: Hardcover, signed copy

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

Right before I went to Chicago for ALA Midwinter in 2015, I had seen some buzz about The Girl on the Train, even word that Stephen King had given some praise and as someone who has written some amazing thrillers and horror stories I definitely made sure I wanted to keep my eye out for it. Turns out, Paula Hawkins was signing at ALAMW and I stood in-line for a meet-and-greet and grabbed my signed copy. It then sat on my shelf forever because I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to good buzzed books. I usually know I’ll read it fast so I keep the anticipation higher by setting it aside.

A few weeks ago The Girl on the Train had released a teaser trailer and I thought oh boy, time to read it to avoid spoilers! [currently trying that for Me Before You as well as failing horribly with The Martian aka I saw the film before I even got a quarter through the book] I finally grabbed the book off the shelf and dove straight in. OVERALL, I did enjoy the book–I usually tend to do this thing where I’m fresh-faced after finishing the book and think, that felt like a bit of a masterpiece (this wasn’t but this situation has happened before) and then I start reading comments/reviews on Goodreads after I’ve marked it Read and I start realizing all the plot holes I blew by just to finish it. Whoops. The story was definitely appealing, I can always find a way to sink into a well-written mystery for sure and reading about a murder and having a who-dun-it scenario always keeps me on my toes like the detectives or the accused.

For this story there are so many annoying characters and there are so many suspects that I couldn’t keep track. I think with 100 pages left to the story, there was this one bit of description and dialogue that put things into place and I ended up figuring out a good majority of the reveal. That’s not to say that this book didn’t hold my interest because it did.

The novel has multiple points of view switching every now and again, usually I despise this in a book but it also switched time periods–going a few months and years back, so it wasn’t too bad. The points of view switch end up setting up all of the scenes from different angles–I felt like I could see the picture Paula was trying to paint, so to speak. Also funnily enough this novel is based on irritating main characters so you really never get too attached to any individual. There were some relatable characteristics but in general I was swept away by trying to figure out the mystery and help piece together what main character Rachel was trying to figure out as well.

If you’re looking for a good beach read or just in the mood for a page turner I would definitely recommend it. I think I read somewhere the book is very Gone Girl meets Read Window so I would check it out if that’s your thing👍

Trailer Review:

I wanted to give you a little trailer review as well because that was the whole reason why I finally picked the book off my shelf to read 🙂

  • Really disappointed this story isn’t set in the London suburbs like the plot originally is. We didn’t need an American adaptation. This also, aesthetically doesn’t look right because the houses are close together in a neighborhood close to the train, aiding Rachel to witness Megan and Scott’s lives
  • Emily Blunt also looks nothing like what Rachel is described as: a bit overweight from her binge-drinking and lack of regard for healthy living and the deterioration of her marriage, meanwhile this is not even remotely what Emily looks like
  • This teaser gives A LOT away if you’ve read the story so…spoilers
  • This music also misconstrues what the audience is seeing–but again, if you’ve read it, you can pick up on that

Book vs. Film – Oh the Horror, edition


Yes, it’s almost Halloween and I decided, what better than read a story that’s supposed to chill you to the bone? Yes. this a post you’ll want to read.

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So I have a habit of just flying through a book and then pick up another, and then another, then I take a break and go back for more. A few weeks ago I was in the midst of this cycle and glanced at my calendar: October 14th. According to my simple and sophisticated math skills, it means there’s 17 more days until Halloween and this book, which I had bought the previous year (wanting to read for Halloween but chickened out), was just waiting to be read on my Kindle and was plenty of time. But really, was there? In fact there was…it took me a week but I powered thru this baby.

I have dipped myself in various genres while taking on my love of reading and have only truly stuck with Young Adult as my go-to. While I do experiment other sub-genres within Young Adult, besides my favorite which is contemporary, I step outside of these boxes and explore. My most recent exploration has been The Shining by Stephen King. I’ve never read Stephen King and as big of a film connoisseur that I am, I also have not seen the film. So already I’ve got my work cut out for me.

i went spooky with my filters

 

I’m thinking back and don’t think I’ve done a book vs. film post, I did on another blog I started for eight seconds but not on Sinister Kid’s blog. I attempted to put it on my TBR list earlier this year during Oscar season, but totally failed; and now having read the book and how long it took me I wouldn’t have made it anyway.

So going into this I had never read a lick of passages from the book and of the film I only knew bits and pieces.

There’s a kid who rides a tricycle down a hallway and sees a set of twins—this is courtesy of just moments before the fourth tornado hits a drive-in movie in the movie Twister.

Then I know a pretty famous line delivered by Jack Nicholson where he has an axe (I think) and says “Heeeeere’s Johnny!” and then smashes it into a door and the woman behind the door screams hysterical.

I know one last other snippet that I think I saw flipping channels one rainy weekend but I won’t give that away because it’s semi-vital.

So again I went into this pretty unknown of what the movie plot was, the book, and any artistic differences that had happened while it all came together.
And now, for your enjoyment, my thoughts on book to film adaptation for Stephen King’s The Shining:

DO NOT READ BEYOND THIS POINT IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED! I MEAN IT! I’LL SIC CRAZY JACK TORRANCE ON YOU!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s discuss . . . . . . . . and dear God I really hope you didn’t love the movie…so here goes

This film blew. Like big chunks of “ego-I’m-going-to-do-it-my-way” kind of chunks. Stanley Kubrick, just what were you thinking?

The premise of Stephen King’s novel is that a recovering alcoholic, Jack Torrance, writer and former teacher needs a new position because he’s just been fired from his old one in New Hampshire, moves to Colorado with his wife, Wendy, and five year old son, Danny. Danny is smart, bright, and pretty friendly. Wendy is super timid, very loving, but can be very strong when it comes to her boy. The family moves to Colorado and Jack is given the position of caretaker for the Winter/Off-Season months to keep it going until doors open up in May. Just before they move in Danny’s imaginary friend, Tony, starts to let Danny see things dealing with the hotel and Jack learns stories from an employee, Watson, on the Overlook Hotel’s somewhat-shady past. After a month or so after moving in things are better with the Torrance’s but just when things go well, the hotel starts revealing it’s true self, plays tricks, and shows what an ugly thing it really is to the point of the destruction of certain characters.

Book vs. Film…why do I feel so strongly?

Because you’ve been given a piece of art that’s not really supposed to be interpreted as YOUR own but the AUTHOR’S own. You’ve read their vision, their story, now it’s time to do readers justice and record it live for all to watch. Make the words dance and come alive on the big screen.

So why does Jack in the movie mention Wendy loves horror movies? She doesn’t.

Why is Stuart Ullman, proud runner of the Overlook Hotel in it’s busy season, all peppy and thinking Jack is great for the job? He doesn’t. In fact, book version Ullman pretty much despises Jack and aires out poor Jack’s dirty laundry in the interview before Jack and his family move in.

Why is Wendy checking the boiler room when it’s Jack’s responsibility at the hotel? JACK IS CARETAKER BUT IN THE FILM JACK ACTUALLY DOES NOTHING BUT SLEEP, HALLUCINATE, YELL AT WENDY, AND PRETENDS TO WRITE A PLAY…WHICH HE ACTUALLY STARTS TO DO IN THE BOOK!

Why does Danny say Tony lives in his mouth? Ummmm idk, and Danny moving his finger up and down, impersonating E.T. is the weirdest thing ever. Tony is just this figment of Danny’s imagination, but Kubrick was apparently on crack and instead of hiring a stand in person for Tony that only Danny can see was clearly just TOO MUCH for them to do.

How does Dick know how to go and search for Danny? Oh because he just randomly has this feeling after watching a weather report IN FLORIDA while naked women’s posters are all over his room….which totally has zero purpose

I can keep this list going but some pretty obvious characteristics of Jack/Danny/Wendy are completely missing in the film:

– Jack doesn’t act like he’s staying sober. He doesn’t wipe his mouth constantly, something he did habitually while drinking, and he also doesn’t chew on his Excedrin like they’re candy three at a time

– They refer to Danny by ‘doc’. Danny’s already had decent screen time and probably 30 mins into the movie when you meet Dick Hallorann do you ever hear Danny called ‘doc’. Never once does Wendy or Jack call him ‘doc’ but it’s like every other line in the novel.

-You don’t even know that Wendy and Jack are married. There’s no real love besides one peck on the cheek and that Jack refers to Wendy as ‘Babe’ right in the beginning. I felt zero chemistry and interest in these two.

….now i’m just going to randomly list things that are completely off from film to book:

– No mentioning of ANY Native American burial grounds
– No wasps….Jack doesn’t do any real maintanence
– No hedge animals
– No roque mentioned…no roque mallets
– Grady’s name is changed to be two different people….he’s definitely sporting the same name throughout the novel
– Jack never discovers the scrapbook and the Overlook’s history
– Dick never discusses Shining in-depth with Danny…Danny like hardly says ANYTHING in the film and he’s so talkative and cheery in the book. He eventually talks about his shine to Dick/Jack/Wendy….but Dick never tells Danny that he wants him to get in contact in case something goes wrong. CB radio doesn’t work.
– Jack never feels like he ever had any contact with the hotel in a previous life
– There’s no hedge maze
– Grady had two girls that weren’t twins (i’m like 99% positive but too lazy to look back in my book)….soooo WHO ARE THESE TWIN GIRLS POPPING UP?
– WHAT THE EFF IS ALL THIS RANDOM RED BLOOD GUSHING EVERYWHERE???
– Wendy doesn’t even fight, she’s constantly running away and book Wendy was a fighter at the end
– Jack doesn’t even get to talk with Danny before everything goes down…Jack just changes and he’s gone
– JACK NEVER MAKES OUT WITH THE WOMAN IN 217 I MEAN WTF!
– Jack actually was writing a novel…he wrote more than “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” …this is true.
– The room is number 217…not 237, which irks me.

OKAYYYYYY that’s all the spoilers I’ll give you…my list is ridiculously epic butttt I’ve shared my piece. Poor Stephen King, you deserved better. Not because I didn’t fall in love with the book, it was creepy and an enjoyable read, but Kubrick’s “masterpiece” is pretty much utter shit. I don’t get the hype. And I’m a movie girl…like for reals.

The only benefit of me reading this and watching is….holy crap, I can’t believe Jack Nicholson ACTUALLY turns me on….

No I mean like what is wrong with me? He’s a dirty old man now. I don’t know why I’m thinking I need to stalk his IMDb and now watch everything he’s ever been in. It’s weird. I’m not okay with this last part. I think it’s actually SK’s fault because Wendy and Jack do it a few times in the book and this one scene…well I mean, it could’ve gone to a better place if Wendy didn’t say something that Jack ultimately hated and cockblocked the whole thing. It’s somewhere around the 57% area in Kindle/e-book versions hahhahahahahahah!

 

ANDDDDDD that’s my review…long. Probably not many will read but it needed to be posted. I put in the time to read and watch so my thoughts had to be jotted down. ** Also, all of the GIFs used within this post can be found here ….they were most helpful and none of these images are my own **

Until next time… Linz aka The Kid xx