Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Review: "The Girl on the Train" by Paula Hawkins + a mixtape

Today's review is brought to you purely because of peer pressure. 

This book has been talked about and talked about lately. It's actually a #1 New York Times best seller and getting rave reviews. I chose to read (well, listen in my car. Books on CD are now my new jam.) this because everyone and their mother told me how awesome it was.

From the author's WEBSITE: "Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?"

It's gripping, it's thrilling - I sat in my car long after I reached my destination sometimes purely because I wanted to know what was happening - but it's also crazy, dark and tough to read/hear. I can understand why folks have been talking about it so much, but would I read it again? No. I wouldn't. 

I will give it to Hawkins though. She can sure write a crazy person. A crazy person that you almost want to cheer for, but you're very aware of that in one second they could come completely unhinged. It's very rare (and sort of personally disturbing), but you become enthralled in their ridiculousness that you can't stop. It's like a train crash (pun intended..) - a slow one, with bumps and passengers exiting and entering like nothing will go wrong..but you're just waiting for the conductor to see the man standing on the tracks.

In fact, Hawkins is able to write multiple crazies and keep their stories full and gasping for breath. Each more bananas than the rest - but it's a tad too dark for me.

I actually didn't find many worth mentioning, since the story is less about giving you life advice and way more about trying to figure out who-dun-it. One that did stand out to me was: "Life is not a paragraph, and death is no parenthesis." And sitting here, I realize that I have hardly an idea what the author meant by that - but I'll try.

I see it being that we're all given a certain amount of days. We're given different lives, situations, promises - not everyone's is the same, and we're not just one situation, life or promise. We're a book full - and our death is not final. Sometimes people's lives ripple out from their deaths. They become putty for the cracks, stories for bedtimes, and legacies to life up to. They're not forgotten..they're just no longer physically next to you.

And sometimes, someone's death/destruction/downfall shows light. It gives another a chance for a fresh start or power that they never thought they had. Death is just a beginning sometimes. After all, without it - there would be no life.

I don't think there's a "should" read it anywhere..except if you're a fan of this kind of writing/style/darkness. If you're a fan of "Gone Girl", I'd give it a go though. It's in the same playing field, I'd say.

AND - since it's MONDAY and everything, I thought I'd do a little mixtape as well. And since we're talking thrilling, dark, and creepy - here's a few that I'd say were inspired by "The Girl on the Train".

1// Oats in the Water by Ben Howard

I'm sure I've used this song on the blog before, but it fits this so well.

2// I See A Darkness by Johnny Cash

My love for J Cash doesn't waiver..if you're wondering. 

3// Sinking Man by Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men's style is so odd to me, but fits this so well. I'm a fan though, definitely don't get me wrong - I just think it's so different sometimes. 

4// Arsonist's Lullaby by Hozier

This man's voice is ridiculous. Ridiculously good.

5// Be Not So Fearful by A.C. Newman

You might be thinking "what?" - this one is reserved for the ending. And no, that's not a spoiler - when you read, you'll see what I mean.


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