Paula Hawkins’ 2015 thriller, “The Girl on The Train,” was an instant classic when it was released.
It quickly soared to the top of bestseller lists and was even adapted into an action-packed Hollywood movie in 2016. This tale of betrayal, murder, and mystery resonated with millions of readers around the world.
The novel follows the story of Rachel Watson, an alcoholic who takes the same train every day and fantasizes about a couple she sees from the window.
When the woman in the couple goes missing, Rachel finds herself embroiled in a mystery that could cost her life.
The novel was lauded for its suspenseful plot and complex characters and was an incredibly successful endeavor that made its way to the screens of Hollywood in a movie starring Emily Blunt.
If you’re a fan of “The Girl on The Train” and are looking for more books like it, there are plenty of options to choose from. Dive into the pages of Gone Girl, Big Little Lies, The Silent Patient, The Woman In The Window, Before I Go To Sleep, and The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo.
Themes In The Girl On The Train
The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller that explores themes of betrayal, obsession, and identity.
The action takes place through the eyes of alcoholic Rachel Watson, a woman who decides to handle her own rapidly deteriorating life by indulging in an elaborate fantasy about the couple she sees from the train window every single day – until something about the scenario changes, and she finds herself in a vulnerable position as she starts to question her sanity, her safety, and the inherently fractured nature of her delicate reality.
Another key theme explored by the narrative is the idea of identity and how it can be shaped by our experiences; the novel is a gripping exploration of the human psyche and its capacity for deception, the question of just what constitutes our unique identity, and takes a closer look at the power of secrets and lies through the eyes of its characters.
Each character in the novel serves as a representation of the different facets of human nature and explores the ways in which our seemingly small, insignificant decisions can have far-reaching consequences.
Readers meet Rachel, a woman who is struggling with her demons and trying to make sense of the world around her, and she is seemingly contrasted by the wonderful Megan, a woman who appears to be living the perfect life.
Perception And Bias
The novel also delves into themes of alcoholism, mental illness, and the power of perception, exploring the ways in which both of the former can impact and deceive the latter.
Rachel’s experience throughout the novel, and her perception of events and of Megan, are based on her own experiences, and she is unable to see past her own prejudices, which are, in turn, shaped by her experiences with both alcoholism and her mental state, which ultimately drive the narrative.
The novel ultimately serves as a cautionary tale about the power of perception, and how it can lead us astray if we are not careful, and forces us to seriously question the very nature and trustworthiness of reality itself.
Books Like The Girl On The Train
Gone Girl By Gillian Flynn (2012)
This intense psychological thriller follows the story of Nick Dunne, a man who is suspected of murdering his wife Amy after she mysteriously vanishes.
As the investigation progresses, life and reality start to unravel, and Nick must fight to prove his innocence as the evidence begins to mount up against him, culminating in an explosive finale that asks uncomfortable questions about relationships, marriage, and the darkness of human nature.
This is a novel that received critical acclaim for its exploration of the power of secrets and lies, in part escalated by the movie adaptation, and is a must-read for fans of The Girl on the Train.
- Powerful, engaging narrative
- Compelling, often unlikable characters
- Great twists in the plot
- Can be a little too intense
- The unlikability of the characters can make it hard to care at times
Themes: Parenting, relationships, dishonesty, morality, marriage, human nature, psychology
Big Little Lies By Liane Moriarty (2014)
This novel follows the lives of three women living in a seemingly perfect suburban town, each struggling with their own personal issues.
Readers first meet Jane, a struggling single mother who threatens to unbalance the idyllic equilibrium of the community, and as the story progresses, the audience learns that beneath the surface lies a web of secrets and lies, and the women must confront their own inner demons in order to find peace.
This is a novel that explores the power of secrets, lies, and their place in a seemingly peaceful community, as well as the idea of identity and how it can be shaped by our experiences.
It is a gripping exploration of the human psyche, and fans of The Girl on the Train will love this book.
- Engaging characters
- Compelling plot
- Explores themes of identity and secrets
- Can be a bit slow in parts
Themes: Identity, secrets, lies, relationships, parenting, human nature
The Silent Patient By Alex Michaelides (2019)
This psychological thriller follows the story of Alicia Berenson, who shot her husband in the face five years ago and has not spoken since.
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery and uncover the truth.
The novel follows the journey of Theo as he attempts to unravel the mystery of Alicia’s silence, and explores the concepts of perception and memory, and how both can be distorted by our own biases.
Overall, this is a gripping, fascinating read that really gets to the heart of human nature, and fans of The Girl on the Train will love it for the similar themes and equally engaging characters.
- Gripping plot with lots of twists and turns
- Explores themes of perception and secrets, and their relationship to human nature
- Some of the ideas can be a little challenging and triggering
Themes: Perception, secrets, lies, relationships, human nature, marriage
The Woman In The Window By A.J. Finn (2018)
This psychological thriller follows the story of Anna Fox, a former thriving successful child psychologist not transformed into an agoraphobic woman who spends her days watching her neighbors from her window.
When she witnesses a crime, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery that could cost her life.
One of the main appeals of this thriller is the obvious nods and tributes to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, which is a favorite movie of the protagonist, Anna.
The narrative explores themes of perception and identity and the place of secrets in a small community.
There are discussions of voyeurism and observation, as well as the idea of how our own biases can shape our perception of reality.
- Explores themes of voyeurism, perception, secrets, and identity
- Nods to Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” for a fascinating look at society and human curiosity
- Anna is a genuinely intriguing character
- Can be a little graphic, though much of this is inferred
Themes: Perception, secrets, lies, voyeurism, identity, relationships, psychological thriller
Before I Go To Sleep By S.J. Watson (2012)
This psychological thriller follows the story of Christine Lucas, who wakes up every morning with no memory of her past. As she starts to uncover secrets from her past, she finds herself in a dangerous situation that could cost her life.
This is a fascinating insight into the power of memory, the strength of secrets, and the way in which our own memories can have a profound impact on our lives, and our perceptions of reality itself.
Just who are we if we have no memory of our past? How can we form an identity when we can’t remember who we are?
These and other questions are all explored in a gripping, exciting narrative that will keep you turning the pages right until the end.
- Explores themes of memory, secrets, and identity
- An exciting, page-turning narrative
- Some readers found the ending a little predictable
Themes: Memory, secrets, lies, identity, relationships, psychological thriller
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo By Stieg Larsson (2011)
This crime thriller follows the story of Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist who is hired to investigate the disappearance of a wealthy man’s niece.
He teams up with the mysterious Lisbeth Salander to uncover the truth, and, in turn, uncovers a dark and twisted web of secrets.
This novel is a thrilling exploration of the power of secrets, and how they can shape our lives and our relationships.
It also explores themes of identity, justice, and revenge, as well as the idea that sometimes the truth can be more dangerous than lies – sometimes, we are better off not getting to the heart of every matter.
- Explores themes of secrets, identity, justice, and revenge in an interesting plot
- Thrilling page-turning narrative
- Can be quite long-winded
Themes: Secrets, lies, identity, justice, revenge, crime thriller
If you’re looking for a book like The Girl On The Train, these five titles should provide plenty of thrills and suspense.
Each one explores themes of perception, secrets, identity, and relationships in an exciting way, making them perfect for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers, and ensuring that you can enjoy a gripping read.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Themes Are Explored In The Girl On The Train?
The Girl On The Train explores themes of perception, secrets, lies, voyeurism, identity, relationships, and psychological thriller.
Are There Any Other Books Like The Girl On The Train?
Yes, there are several other books that explore similar themes to The Girl On The Train.
Some examples include Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.
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