Thursday, January 12, 2017

This Was A Bestseller How? Why?

"The Girl On The Train" by Paula Hawkins   Riverhead Books   323 pages   $26.95

My sister recommended it and I dutifully started looking for it at the library, but apparently  no one ever returned it.  Last week, Richie found it at the library book  store where he paid $1.50 for it.  Having finished it, am very glad he didn't pay list.  The price - rounded off to $27 - would have bought two dirty gin martinis and tip.  Guess which I'd rather have?

Very well, why didn't I like this book.  For starters, the heroine is an alcoholic brought on by desertion by her husband and a divorce.  I am well aware that alcoholism is considered a disease and my sincere sympathies to anyone who might have it.

That said, almost every time she was given a choice, she reached for the bottle, knowing full well that whatever ensued would be unpleasant.  Worse still was her enabling flat mate (it was her house) let her keep staying on even after multiple non-payments of rent.  She did, however, make the heroine clean up her own vomit (middle of the staircase) and never hid the booze, knowing full well what a temptation it was. 

She got fired for being drunk out of her mind at an office function, but rather than fess up to anyone, she pretends she is still going to work, taking the same train to and fro at the times she would have if still employed.

How this ever got to be a best-seller, I will never know.  The prose was unexceptional, the motivations repeated over and over again; the wallowing in bathos never ended.  The characters were two-dimensional at best.

Many women's book clubs espoused it, I am told, but I think the ladies might have been motivated to read it so that they could all slouch on sofas in the hostess' living room, swill down wine and discuss it.  It would have been more productive for them to stay home and drink their own booze.    And stay off of commuter trains.

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