The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins has been on several bestsellers lists for quite a while. I’ve seen other avid readers raving about it and comparing it to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl. I finally decided that I needed to jump on the bandwagon and pick this book up.
I ordered this book from Amazon and I was so excited when it arrived at my front door. I dug into it pretty quickly and I have to say, it did not disappoint. This book was fast-paced and hooked me fast. The story starts by introducing Rachel, a young woman whose world has fallen apart. She is divorced and was recently let go from her job. She spends her days drinking and riding commuter trains into the city so her roommate won’t know she no longer has a job. She spends so much time on the train that she begins to make up lives for the people that she passes each day. And then one day she witnesses something that might help the police in a missing person case but with Rachel’s history concerning alcohol, the police aren’t sure they can trust her.
I can absolutely see how this book has been compared to Gone Girl. While I see the similarities, I don’t think the plot twists were quite as stunning to the reader as it was in Gone Girl. The Girl on the Train definitely has surprising twists and turns. I just think the reader can predict some of them. However, I don’t think that it took away from the book. I still enjoyed it and I didn’t figure everything out so there were still some surprises.
The writing was good but I didn’t find that anything special about it stuck out for me. Hawkins did a good job helping the reader jump to conclusions about different characters. She develops the characters well. Overall, it’s easy to read and Hawkins does a good job at keeping the reader engaged.
If you’re into murder, mystery, and crimes, or if you like books similar to Gone Girl, then pick up The Girl on the Train. It’s a great read. Overall, I rated it four out of five stars!
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel follows a group of actors and musicians in a post-apocalyptic world who are trying to preserve the arts. It all begins when a highly contagious, airborne virus sweeps across the world. In a matter of weeks the majority of the world’s population has been eradicated. The survivors are slowly making a new life for themselves but when the caravan of actors and musicians arrive in a town called St. Deborah by the Water, they meet a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who tries to leave the town.
I picked this book up for a few different reasons. The first being that it was a National Book Award finalist. The second being that it came highly recommended by several of my reader friends. Reading this book was definitely a good call. My favorite thing about this book is its unique take on a post apocalyptic world. It seems like most of the books in that genre that I have read in the past few years involve a strong, controlling government or authority or some kind of zombies or creatures to fear. Station Eleven didn’t have those elements. The characters live in a world that many of us can’t imagine but the most dangerous element of that world is the other people in it. To put it simply, the world in Station Eleven seems like a much more realistic and plausible take on how the world could end up if something catastrophic occurs.
Station Eleven alternates between the past and the present as well as between the different characters’ point of view. Mandel did a wonderful job at pulling this off. It allows her to tell the story of how the virus spread and impacted the world while also letting us see how the people who survived ended up where they are. It was easy to follow and the different takes on the story line complimented each other well. It was also a book that really pulled me in. It held my interest and I read it rather quickly.
I enjoyed this book and Mandel’s writing so much that I rated this book a solid five stars. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic stories but would like something a bit different from the typical book in this genre, check out Station Eleven.
Judd Foxman’s wife is sleeping with his boss and his dad just died. Judd, stressed and beaten down, returns to his childhood home to mourn his father with his two brothers, his sister, and mother. The siblings are shocked to find out that their non-religious father’s dying request was that they would sit shiva as a family. The Foxman siblings are less than thrilled to sit in mourning for seven days as a family but oblige for their mother’s sake. Jonathan Tropper brings to life the dysfunctional Foxman family as they navigate awkward family dynamics and rehash the past with each other.
I really just want to gush about this book. I absolutely loved it. I was able to relate to each character and I really appreciated each of the different, personal issues that the characters were dealing with. The book was well-written and I had a really hard time putting it down. Tropper did an amazing job of instilling humor into some really tough situations in the book. Even though the topics were not the most positive, Tropper kept me laughing throughout the book.
I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good laugh and a family to fall in love with. This book was also made into a movie this year. I have not seen it yet but, after finishing the book, I can’t wait for the movie to come out on DVD. I rated this book four stars. I gave it four stars instead of five because, quite frankly, I just wanted more of the Foxman family. Finishing this book made me a little bit sad.