So, here's how I got a copy of The Girl on the Train: I was looking at a display of books at #ALAMW15, when somebody tapped me on the shoulder and hanSo, here's how I got a copy of The Girl on the Train: I was looking at a display of books at #ALAMW15, when somebody tapped me on the shoulder and handed me a copy of the book. I wasn't sure what was going on until I realized the line for the signing with Paula Hawkins had formed around me while I was looking at the display, and they thought I was in line for the book. Not knowing anything about The Girl on the Train, but figuring since I had the book in my hand and I was already (unintentionally) in line, I might was well get it signed, especially since everyone else in line seemed so excited about the book and getting to me Paula Hawkins. It was only when I got back to my hotel that night that I discovered what the big deal was over The Girl on the Train. So, really not having a frame of reference on what to expect with the book, I can say that I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it!
I'm not going to talk much about what goes on in the book, because, you know, spoilers, but it a nutshell: Rachel takes the same train at the same time everyday. She's very lonely since her divorce, and this train goes past her old home where her ex-husband now lives with his current wife, so this in itself is a little weird. The other weird thing about Rachel taking this particular train is that she has developed a "relationship" with a couple that lives a couple of houses down from her ex; she doesn't know them at all, but she's created this entire story about their lives in her head, a life to her that is perfect. So, every day Rachel gets on the same train, goes by her exes house and the house of these people that Rachel has never met, and she pines for the life she had as well as the life she imagines these perfect strangers to have. That is until one day, the woman goes missing, and Rachel is certain that she knows something about the disappearance, if only she could remember what had happened the night the woman disappeared while Rachel was blind drunk in the same neighborhood, stalking her husband.
See, this is where the book was most interesting for me. The mystery of the disappearance and possible murder of the woman that Rachel is obsessing over really fell to the side for me as her true problems came to light: Rachel is an alcoholic and has some increasingly disturbing mental problems that grow and become very prominent in the story, to the point that Rachel truly becomes an unreliable narrator of the entire story, and it is fascinating. This is what really made the book for me. Paula Hawkins is a decent enough writer, but the overall mystery really doesn't hold up so well on its own; it's Hawkins handling of Rachel and her neuroses that really hooked me into the story. A friend and I were talking and wondered if Hawkins doesn't suffer from some of these problems herself, as she writes them almost too well into the story.
Hawkins and her writing ability is also something of a mystery to me. There are some definitely clunky bits in the book, but I'm not sure if these are intentional or not; they could almost be seen as idiosyncrasies of Rachel's view on the world, or they could just be genuinely clunky writing patterns. If its the former, Hawkins is a genius writer; if its the latter, I just figure its because she's a debut author. Either way, I do know that I'm definitely a fan of Paula Hawkins and will be picking up her next novel.
And a side note on the cover: I love this cover, simply because of the typography. I love the way that they created the type to look as if it's sliding by your view while in motion on a train. Such a great design element for the book. ...more
I'm having a difficult time describing how much I enjoyed this book. When I'd read The Girl with All the Gifts, I didn't really think I was going toI'm having a difficult time describing how much I enjoyed this book. When I'd read The Girl with All the Gifts, I didn't really think I was going to be reading another book this year that I enjoyed as much. The Supernatural Enhancements has a little bit of everything I love in a great book: slightly paranormal/supernatural premise, a mystery, Gothic in feeling & tone, intriguing characters, perfect pacing, even an eccentric aunt!
I honestly can't go into detail in saying anything about the book without giving much away. The story follows A. (the only name he goes by), who has inherited an estate from an unknown, wealthy relative, he and his mute friend, Niamh, travel to the States to take up residence and try to figure out why he was bequeathed the estate. Told through a series of diary entries, letters, transcripts of video and audio footage, and various other sources (which put me in mind of Marisha Pessl's Night Film, we follow A. and Niamh as they discover more and more clues as to mysterious history of both his unknown relative, Ambrose Wells, and the estate of Axton House.
I absolutely can't recommend this book enough. This will be the perfect book to curl up on the couch with a hot cuppa and read during the windy, chilled months leading up to winter. Happy reading!...more