The psychological thriller, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, won the best mystery and thriller novel in the 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards, and rightfully so. This novel will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives and teach you the hard way to never judge a person from what meets the eye.
The story follows Rachel Watson, who every morning takes the same communicator train to London and watches as she flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes. When the train stops daily at the signal, Rachel watches the same couple breakfasting on their deck and begins to feel like she knows them, calling them “Jess and Jason” in her head. Their life – as she sees it from the train – is perfect. Just like the life she recently lost.
But then one morning, Rachel sees something shocking that changes everything. In the short minute that the train stops, Rachel’s world is turned upside down. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel tells the police what she saw and inevitably becomes entwined in what comes next, as well as the lives of everyone involved. But has she done more harm than good?
Now, it has been announced that the bestselling novel is due to be released as a film later this year, aiming to come to cinemas on October 7th in both the UK and US.
The film, directed by Tate Taylor and written by Erin Cressida Wilson, is currently being filmed in the US and stars many famous actors and actresses. Rachel Watson is to be played by Edge of Tomorrow‘s Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux as ex-husband Tom, Haley Bennett and Luke Evens as “Jess and Jason” (who’s real names are Megan and Scott Hipwell) and Tom’s new wife Anna is to be played by Rebecca Ferguson.
The Girl on the Train features a lot of themes and messages that makes the story more complex than the average thriller. It contains themes of domestic violence, memory loss, and alcohol and drug abuse. When asked about this, Hawkins said that these are the kind of horrors that are more real in our world. She says:
“I know people like to read about serial killers and spies, but most of us will never encounter these things. Sadly, most of the threats we encounter are at home.” – Paula Hawkins on The Girl on the Train.
Although it’s easy to point out some of the major themes in this novel, I think that the main deeper message to this story is the idea that people can never really know anyone, including themselves. What people choose to show you is rarely who they really are. What meets the eye hardly ever shows what a person is truly like underneath.
It’s a universal truth that everyone has skeletons in their closet; everyone has things they don’t want to share or don’t want people to know about. That’s normal. But sometimes those things that we choose to hide can make up a large part of who we are, and when we choose to hide them, we’re stopping anyone from really knowing us.
You can fool yourself, you know. You’d think it was impossible, but it turns out it’s the easiest thing of all. So when we push a secret about ourselves so far to the back of our minds that we pretend it doesn’t exist, we can easily fool ourselves into believing it doesn’t.
More than that, if we tell ourselves something over and over, justify our actions with ridiculous reasons, after a while we’ll actually begin to believe them. Our minds are funny that way: they contain the power of enabling us to find reasons for continuing to believe whatever is it that we want to believe; see whatever it wants to see.