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The Girl on the Train    by Paula Hawkins Amazon.com order for
Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins
Order:  USA  Can
Riverhead, 2016 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Life for Rachel has not been kind recently. But while riding the train every morning to London, she is able to vicariously live her old life by spying on a couple who reside near the tracks. They are young and very much in love, as is shown by the loving way the man treats the woman in his life.

One day, however, they are no longer to be seen and Rachel learns that the woman has disappeared. The first person to be accused of masterminding her disappearance, according to police procedure, is her husband. Rachel is sure she has clues that the police should know, but they discount her offer of help when they realize that she is an alcoholic. She not only gets drunk, but blacks out at times. Her statement of what she is sure she knows is discounted.

She becomes completely entangled not only in the investigation but also in the lives of anyone who knew the woman and her bereft husband.

Rachel is a figure to be pitied. She turned to alcohol when plans to become pregnant did not reach fruition. The pain of empty arms drove her deeper and deeper into a life she never envisioned for herself or her then husband. Her husband's affair did nothing to help her. He and his girl friend moved into what had been her house and had a baby. Too much to bear. Her constant phoning to her ex caused more and more problems.

The Girl on the Train is a tough book to read. It is beautifully written with characters who behave as you or I might react. Even though Rachel has brought her problems onto herself, you will probably want to give her a helping hand or at least have kind words for her. This is a compelling read hard to put down. It also makes readers wonder how we might handle her life.

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