Boris and the girl on the train

My lovely sister Krystine says she doesn’t like it when I’m reviewing books. She says those posts are usually boring and they come off as if I’m bragging over how much I read.

“Your posts have become a snooze fest,” she said.

Now, you’d expect that a painful ball would jump to my throat when she said that. You’d expect that I’d stand atop the dining table and raise my fist in protest and say she was being mighty unfair.

But I didn’t. Instead I gave her a blank stare as I quickly figured the girl is young and hasn’t yet grasped the trenches concept. Even more, I figured I needed a category set aside for the reviews. And who better to break it in for us than our boy Boris?

[Enter Boris]

This is sad to say, but the most intriguing conversations I have are with myself. I just love how I think, and I always come up with such witty replies, that I leave myself in awe. I suppose it’s a result of being introverted and with a staggering amount of social awkwardness.

I always create little stories for random people who I see on the street and in traffic. It’s wicked fun. The beauty of it is that I am my only audience and therefore I have a very short list of people to impress. The stories don’t have to make sense. They don’t need to be based on factual things. They don’t have to tackle current societal norms and constructs.

They don’t need to campaign for a Jubilee presidential aspirant or advertise Jumia.

Their only purpose in life is to entertain me. I like to think that they’re my little stories that make everyone in the big bad world relatable.  It could be stories about their childhood, “He looks like he was one of those guys who’d snitch if he found you cheating off his homework.” About their spouses, “He must have a woman who loves him at home. Look at how he stands there, looking self assured in his immaculate suit. Why does he look like he is having so much fun? We’re in a cashier’s line in a bank and he has this smile on his face like he’s vacationing in Tahiti. He must be hiding something.”

They don’t have to follow a specific line of thought you see. I let the stories go where they want to. I suppose this is why I have the urge to write. It is just pinning the madness going on in my mind on paper.

In this way, I am very much like Rachel Watson, a character in Paula Hawkins’ novel ‘The Girl on The Train.’

Rachel is an alcoholic in her thirties recovering from a divorce that was caused by her husband cheating and consequently leaving her for the mistress. She rides the train everyday to and from London and she always tries to sit in a particular carriage in a particular seat. It is here in her seat that we are introduced to Rachel and her wandering imagination.

Our similarity is that we both create stories about people. But while I aim my stories at the world at random, Rachel fixates on a particular couple. Jason and Jess, she calls them. She has passed by their house everyday for a few months. She feels like a part of them, and naturally the story has grown. To her they are the perfect couple, something to aspire to.

One day while innocently riding on the train, she sees something she wasn’t meant to. It sends her into a spin that is only worsened by the fact that a few days later she gets news that Jess has disappeared. What will she do? Will she remember the events of the fateful night?

The author manages to uncover the story in a steady way and exposes the facts methodically, leaving the reader constantly guessing and mistrusting everyone. She exposes the harsh realities of love, alcoholism and their links to violence. I like how the alcoholism was handled like a real thing and she didn’t magically heal one morning. That’s something you get in fiction sometimes, the protagonist magically overcoming challenges. Rachel stumbled multiple times and that was realistic. The plot was captivating and the characters were relatable in moments and completely bewildering the next. I like that in a book. Humans are flawed.

I liked the first person narration from the three women. The reader becomes invested in the narrative in a way. In this and a few other ways the book reminded me of Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn.

Something I have to commend is how the author managed to link the lives of the three women so intricately and yet always keep them at odds. It was what drove the plot and it was really well done.

Sadly I have to take away points from Paula. Solely on the basis that I was able to guess the ending about halfway into the book and you don’t expect that from such a highly rated thriller. I hoped I was wrong and there were indeed times that I turned my eyes to other people but in the end I was a tad disappointed.

Apart from that it was well written and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good psychological thriller.

**

For those of you who are just joining us I have just done my first ever book review. Well, not first ever but definitely the first that matters. I had my reservations at first but Michael convinced me that it wouldn’t be weird. After all who am I to sit in judgment of tried and tested authors? People with their names on best seller novels? People who speak of pea-bodies and Good Reads awards in the same tone they speak of fetching the morning paper.

But once I got on my high horse it was actually quite nice. More importantly however, it feels really nice to dish out judgment. I guess I have the blood of aristocrats. Next I’ll be stealing people’s land and renting it out to their children. Provided they work on my land and provide marijuana for my horse.

I’m obviously getting carried away now, loosing track of what brought me here. Well, it’s been fun having someone to listen to my opinion. Till next time, friends.

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