A sad tale with a bit of redemption in the end
I read this book because it was a novel written in first person. The story is narrated by three women, each with a past and something to hide. The main narrator is Rachel, an alcoholic who is barren, fat, and feels very insecure and worthless. Her husband divorces her and she loses her job, but keeps this job loss a secret for half of the novel. She’s too ashamed to admit that she was fired for consistently being drunk on the job, so she takes the train to work everyday as she lives in her dream world.
A lot of “in your head” talking goes on in this story and especially on the train. Rachel can view her old house and neighborhood from the window and watch her husband and his new wife and child on the balcony. She’s upset that they live in her house and have the family she always wanted. She also watches another house a few doors away and imagines the happy life that couple have.
Rachel becomes obsessed with a pile of discarded clothes next to the railroad tracks and then reads in the paper about a girl who goes missing off the street of her old neighborhood. She’s lonely and has no life of her own. She drowns all her pain through various alcoholic beverages daily. But Rachel’s interest is perked when she reads about the disappearance. She emerges herself in this unfolding story as the police investigate the vanishing of the girl from the happy couple who live a few doors from her old house.
Rachel so desperately wants to fit in and feel needed that she lies to get close to the husband of the missing girl. As we all know lies eventually catch up with us. But Rachel isn’t the only one lying throughout this book.
There are lots of underlying factors in this story of love, lies, divorce, jealousy, lust, betrayal and fear. At first I found it a bit hard to get into this book because of all the internal narration going on in the heads of Rachel, Anna and Megan. There’s very little dialogue.
Rachel finds herself in many wrong places at the wrong time. The fact she doesn’t remember a lot of things because she was drunk eats away at her as she tries to figure out what really happened.
In the last seventy five pages, the story really starts coming together with a lot of the blanks filled in. I enjoyed this part the best. I know this book was made into a movie. Perhaps the movie will be better than the book this time. Usually books are always better, but I guess I got the message that Rachel was a lonely drunk trying to find a way to fit in and be happy early on in the story.