Book Review: The Girl on the Train

girl-on-trainRachel is a hot mess. She drank herself out of her marriage, out of her job, and out of her friendships. In order to maintain the illusion of normalcy, she continues to take the train to “work” every single day. She uses this opportunity to stare out the window, pound gin and tonics, and fantasize about the life she had, the life she wanted, and the life that was stolen from her. Every day, she witnesses the “perfect couple.”  In the mornings, their smiling faces enjoy breakfast and coffee. In the evenings, they relax with their dinner and their wine. Rachel lusts after this life. This was her life, but her current life is little more than a boozy fog, so she takes comfort in the warm fantasies of the people she watches from the train. This fantasy too is steamrolled.

One morning, the perfect man isn’t there, and the perfect woman is kissing another man. That same day, the perfect woman goes missing. Rachel would be a key witness, except that she can’t be trusted. She stalks her ex-husband, harasses his new wife, and spends most of her life on the verge of being blackout drunk. Neither her memories nor her motives are trusted by the police. The dark cloud of an alcohol induced blackout hangs over that day, obscuring her recollection of the events. All she knows is that she woke up with bumps and bruises, along with the desperate feeling that key elements of the story have been buried deep within her psyche. Can she stay sober long enough to unearth the facts, and maybe even grasp the root of her addiction?

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