The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (2015).

“Sometimes I catch myself trying to remember the last time I had meaningful physical contact with another person, just a hug or a heartfelt squeeze of my hand, and my heart twitches.” Rachel, The Girl on the Train.

psychoanalytic art
Art from Kazuya Akimoto Art Museum

I don’t usually jump on the bandwagon (or in this case train) when it comes to reading books that are currently popular through cinema. I usually wait, out of snobbish stubbornness so that I can enjoy the text at a later date, without the cool kids telling me it was a hit or  miss. But for some reason I couldn’t do that with this novel. I had gone to the cinema (on a delightful girls night out with my sisters) and we let ourselves be swallowed by the twists and turns of The Girl on the Train, a clever psychological thriller directed by Tate Taylor. I’m a big fan of Emily Blunt’s acting and I felt she portrayed the unstable, unraveling woman of society perfectly. Some of us, know what it’s like to have silent eyes judging you as you try to find your way in life. We know how it feels to have people look away or pity the shadowed versions of ourselves. The ones that crack easily. That had something. Then lost something. A part of themselves perhaps. Or maybe all of it.

So…intrigued by the movie, I decided to give this bestselling novel (by Paula Hawkins) a chance to thrill me. I was eager to see what the movie left out, how it interpreted and portrayed those interesting characters that flitted across the movie screen. I wanted my imagination to be seduced and exposed. As the novel began to set the scene and led us into the head of each character, I felt anxious. It wasn’t just the nervousness or despair of the characters, it was the slow build up…the details…that gnawing feeling you get when things are overwhelming in the face of normality.It was that feeling of how you can be drowning on dry air and no one has a clue.

Despite knowing the plot and the outcome I was sucked back into the story, and I wonder if I’m ever going to leave that place. Those of you who read Of Tales & Dreams know that I never indulge too much in plots. I despise spilling the contents of the books I review. I just give you my impressions and wait for you to share your own personal thoughts. I definitely recommend this intense piece of work. It may feel like the words are choking you, sometimes spreading you across dead leaves and sharp twigs…it may feel indulgent or lacking in reason and control. To some, it may even seem unbelievably melodramatic and unnecessary. Hell, there were points were I wanted to bring Wonder Woman running into the story to slap some sense and strength into each female character.  But that’s when you have to think. Strength is an evolutionary process. It is made from all the broken and failed bits of ourselves. The book makes you think. Not only of yourself, but of the people you see every day. The ones with stories carved by blades. People are books walking around. Some narratives get lost in queues as people make their way to work. Some get beaten out of you. Some find sunlight and the spiders scatter away from fear.

                       What

                                   is

                                          your

                                                          story?

If you were to open a journal right now and write, what moments from your life would surface? Which characters from your memory would suddenly be pumped with life and find themselves playing in your movie? Writing your story, whether your life has been tumultuous or relatively sane, is important. It can help you make peace with the holes in your past or it can give you tiny clues to alter your present and future. If reading the Girl on the Train teaches you anything, it will make you aware that change is waiting around every bend; in the morning when you’re taking that first sip of coffee, or at night when you turn to your lover, child or friend.

Pick up your pen. Open your laptop. Play with that change rushing through your body and let your words spill out.

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Published by

Kamalini Govender

I'm that girl that looks badass in her black boots reading Gothic Psychoanalytic Lit but really just wants to pew pew pew with someone.

9 thoughts on “The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins (2015).”

  1. Me too! Emily Blunt is one of my favorite actresses and I always make a point to see her films. I had started the Train book and gave up on it earlier this year but when I heard the movie was coming out I decided to put it on my to read list again. I do prefer to read the novel before seeing the film I can have the full story (as you can only get so much story into a 2 hour movie).

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    1. That’s true! Novels tend to have so much more detail and lets us go wild with our imaginations. But this movie was not a disappointment! It had all those eerie and anxious moments of the book. The book does start of quite slow but I love the way it focuses on character development in that way.

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  2. I haven’t watched the movie, but I read the book. And I must say that it was okay, just okay and I think this was because I had just finished reading these AMAZING stories and was on an excellent reading streak, so GIRL ON THE TRAIN had a lot of live up to.

    But since I am no longer ‘in that context’, I can see why it did well, and why it became a movie. I did love the idea of her watching this life as she sat on the train. Very moody and its something I could see myself doing. She was a hard character to like and even sympathize with, but I suppose that is what made it interesting (as a reader) to keep following along.

    I wanted to give up on it. I think when (Wonder Woman should have entered ;)) she was just being too pathetic for her own good. But I’m glad I stuck wit it as it’s a good example of a modern day tale of mystery and living too much in your past/head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a difficult book to read merely because of how pathetic the whole lot of them were. But I think it’s important to put ourselves in that type of mental environment sometimes just so we can see how hard it is at the very bottom, and how we don’t want to be there. It’s so easy to succumb to depressive elements in life…and sometimes we just need a slap in the face to remind us that hey it ain’t all that bad. We could do with more Wonder Woman though 😀 So darn excited for that movie this year 🙂 Thanks for taking time from your busy writing schedule to comment on my little blog. No one famous has ever been on it…woohoo! You’re the first 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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