Why I Should Have Just Watched the Movie Version of Girl On The Train

So first off- I’m sorry for being unintentionally absent! A summer cold and a busy schedule have massively interrupted my blogging activities! Je suis désolé! (apologies sound much better in French) Anyhoo- on with the review…

*Don’t worry- no spoilers!*

girl on the trainNow for some reason, this book was marketed pretty much everywhere as “THE NEXT GONE GIRL”. As someone that *loved* Gone Girl I figured I had to give this one a shot. And the fact that it was going to be a movie jolted me into action, because as you may know from my review, I made the mistake of the Gone Girl movie before I read the book.

However, I was sorely disappointed to realise that other than being a thriller and having “girl” in the title- these two books actually have very little in common. Unlike Gone Girl, the writing is not splendid or showy or remarkable in anyway. I will allow that it is adequate in a very utilitarian fashion- but certainly nothing to rave about. More than anything, I felt like the writing in this book was just missing a soul. Where Gillian Flynn created striking and powerful voices for Nick and Amy, here the writing was hollow and void of any emotion.

Here too, this book fell down. Because, I just did not feel as fraught or connected to the drama or stressed out as I had when I read Gone Girl. Yes, I said earlier that this was technically a thriller, but I would not say it was even half as dramatic as others I have read in the genre. Frankly, plot-wise, this was predictable and the twist is easily guessed. What made it worse was that the author seemed to think the mystery was far cleverer than it actually was and needed a thorough explanation- which she provided in a sit-down moment where the villain explained every minute detail of their actions and motivations (yeah- because this was sooo believable *heavy sarcasm*). Not only did this drag down the drama of the climax, but it also made me want to scream, because and BAD GUY EXPOSITION IS NEVER A GOOD THING. It didn’t even make sense in context!

And speaking of other things that made no sense- I honestly didn’t buy some of the characters in this book. Too many of them had personalities that just didn’t add up or thought things that I were nigh on impossible to relate to. There were points when I just thought “would anyone actually do that?” or “do people really think that way?!” I might have understood it better if they’d all turned out to be psychos- but I think the author was going for “edgy and flawed” rather than aliens-with-stunted-emotions (which is mostly what I thought of Anna- the the protagonist’s ex-husband’s new wife). Comparing this to Gone Girl is yet again a disservice- as no one in this book was as vivid as Nick and Amy.

Now I know that this review has been pretty ranty- so I would like to clarify that it’s by no means an awful book. It was fun one-day read and great if you just want to switch off. I honestly feel like a lot of this will be much improved in the film version. Visually, I think the climax scene could work very well and there were parts when I definitely thought “damn this will look good on the big screen”. All the flaws I have mentioned could be fixed with a bit of editing. I reckon Hollywood can definitely inject some life into this rather bare-bones story. But given that this had none of the things that make me really excited about a book- believable characters, standout writing and a killer plot- I reckon I would have been better off just watching the movie.

Rating: 3½ banana

 half bananahalf bananahalf banana  half banana

Have you read this? What did you think of it? And what book would you have preferred to just watch the film version?

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40 thoughts on “Why I Should Have Just Watched the Movie Version of Girl On The Train

  1. Donna says:

    Tu es pardonnée 😀
    You gave my brain a big freeze by throwing French out there without warning, haha. Are you feeling better??
    Loved your review! I can’t explain why but that story doesn’t appeal to me, I’d decided to watch the movie, but I will pass on the book. And I am so tired of those “girl” titles and the references to Gone Girl.

    Liked by 4 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      hahaha next time I’ll put in a massive *en français* warning 😉 (not that there’s likely to be a next time-
      mon français est tres mauvais!) yes, much, thank you!!
      Thanks so much!! Yeah I kind of found it appealing just cos of the trailer for the movie, but before I saw that I wasn’t interested for the same reasons as you. I also should’ve just watched the movie

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Read Diverse Books says:

    I’m flabbergasted and amused at how quickly and widely this book spread. Despite all the middling reviews, people still kept talking about it and reading it and reviewing it. It just snowballed until it became a huge hit! All that for a rather average book. I guess it doesn’t sound too bad, but it’s definitely not worth all they hype, it seems.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Kourtni @ Kourtni Reads says:

    I’ve heard a lot of people say similar things that you’ve mentioned here and although I haven’t read it yet (I’m not sure if I’m going to), it feels like a lot of the disappointments people are bringing up wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t hyped up as the “next Gone Girl.” I don’t know why people feel the need to compare every new book to whatever the most recent hit in that genre was. They did the same thing with dystopians – after The Hunger Games, every dystopian was “the next Hunger Games!” I feel like that just makes everyone’s expectations so high and makes them go in expecting a certain thing and when that book inevitably fails to deliver, they’re left disappointed. Can you tell that’s a huge pet peeve of mine? haha

    Liked by 3 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      yeah it was overhyped and pretty disappointing considering that. Yeah I don’t get why they do that- it’s usually just a letdown when they do that. Plus all books are different and valuable in their own way- I don’t see why they can’t have credit in their own right. It’s also annoying when books are better than the books they’re compared to, cos it feels like the book’s not getting the credit it deserves. haha definitely- but it’s clearly one of mine too 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Lauren Busser says:

    I feel the same way. I really didn’t like the first half of the book and I saw the end coming. I would have loved seeing how a screenwriter and director would put this together because getting the pieces from all the different sides seemed long and tedious.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. rantandraveaboutbooks says:

    I was afraid this one wouldn’t compare to Gone Girl. I loved that book. Flynn’s prose and their voices were what really set that novel apart from others. I was thinking about reading this soon. I’m thinking maybe I’ll hold off after reading your review. I read a sample chapter on Amazon months ago and wasn’t all that impressed.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. daleydowning says:

    After reading a blurb that stated “Girl on the Train” was “the next Gone Girl,” I immediately decided to skip it, because of the fact that I hate people always comparing something new to something already established – it gives the impression that a new work can’t be judged on its own merits.

    I really wish I’d just watched the movie version of “The Fault in Our Stars” and not tried to read the book. The movie was an enjoyable 2 hours of entertainment with some good acting and pretty settings. Worth my time and library card rental. The book just made me really mad.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. luvtoread says:

    I totally agree with your review. It was entertaining enough, but I didn’t really connect with the characters, and none of the women’s voices were all that different, so I had trouble telling who was who. They just sounded the same, except for the main gal. I think this will be one of those rare occurences where the movie is better than the book. But they will have to be careful how they film certain scenes. Some of the reveals that happen in the book will be a lot harder to adapt to the screen.

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      yeah- exactly!! It was really hard to connect with the characters- partly cos they didn’t feel real. Like you said, they didn’t seem very distinctive. I agree the main character had more of a personality. Yeah definitely. I’m curious to see how they do the reveals without giving anything away.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. alilovesbooks says:

    I listened to this on audio on holiday last year and found the whole thing a struggle. I didn’t like any of the characters and couldn’t really care less about what happened. At points I was just kind of hoping someone would bump them all off so it would be over. The narration wasn’t that great either and I found myself laughing at bits that really weren’t supposed to be funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ljtreads says:

    Strangely I hadn’t even heard of this one; apparently I’m not as in the loop as I thought.

    I think some of the things you’re talking about above could work in the right book, but I also think it would have to be something that’s either willing to play with genre or willing to be a little campy. Modern day thriller seems like a bad place for both of those.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. kimmiegg says:

    I’ve been wanting to read the book, and watch the movie in the near future. Although I’ve found that if I don’t like the book, I’ll tend to skip the movie and vice versa. According to this review, I should watch the movie first, in hopes of then reading the book. It’s so much better to read a book when the characters are relatable, but I can’t wait to read and see what I think 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • theorangutanlibrarian says:

      Well I feel like as a general rule I like to read the book first- but in this case since I wasn’t so enamoured with the blurb and liked the movie trailer, I should have just watched the movie and been done with it. I’m looking forward to seeing what you think when you read it 🙂

      Like

  11. Nicola Alter says:

    I guess I’ll just be watching the film version then! 🙂 To be honest, that was what I was probably going to do anyway (because it’s not fantasy, YA or science fiction, and I rarely get around to reading the books of adaptations in any other genres).

    Liked by 1 person

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