Saturday, January 24, 2015

Book Comparisons: Not Always Accurate

You know that book that suddenly pops up EVERYWHERE? Everywhere you turn, there it is; on TV, in magazines, on the Internet. Once I see a book everywhere, I always need to read it (good job, marketing people!) and lately, this book is The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. Sometimes these books are worth the hype, and sometimes they're not. The Girl on the Train fell into both categories for me.

Goodreads says this about the book, "Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

A compulsively readable, emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller that draws comparisons to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, or Before I Go to Sleep, this is an electrifying debut embraced by readers across markets and categories."

Clearly you can see the comparison to Gone Girl, The Silent Wife, and Before I Go to Sleep; all novels that I've read. Do I think that The Girl on the Train can be lumped with those other books? No. Book comparisons are tricky. I loved Gone Girl and Before I Go to Sleep. The Silent Wife was 'meh' for me, and I liked The Girl on the Train much more than that. I failed to see many (if any) comparisons to those books, which isn't a bad thing, but going into the book, I expected it to be like Gone Girl, and it wasn't.

I did really enjoy the book. It kept me reading past my bedtime, and I was suspicious of all three main characters, which is what a good thriller is supposed to do. I do think, however, that I would have enjoyed it more if it hadn't had all those comparisons to other books. Had I gone into this book by just reading the synopsis, I think it would have been a 5/5 rating for me. Since my expectations of it being the next Gone Girl were not met, I rated it 4/5. This is not a flaw on the book itself, but rather the marketing.

Sometimes comparisons are accurate, but sometimes they're not. I understand that they can be used to drum up interest for a book, but I think The Girl on the Train would have done great even without the comparison. If you're looking for a great thriller, read The Girl on the Train because it's a great book, not because it's been compared to other, different great books.

1 comment:

  1. GREAT post! So true. I've stopped relying on comparisons.