Today we are going to talk about October’s book of the month, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. But first, let’s check out this book and see what it is all about.
The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.
EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. 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 goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Questions to think about and/or answer:
- We all do it—actively watch life around us. In this way, with her own voyeuristic curiosity, Rachel Watson is not so unusual. What do you think accounts for this nosey, all-too-human impulse? Is it more extreme in Rachel than in the average person? What is so different about her?
In both Rachel Watson’s and Megan Hipwell’s marriages, deep secrets are kept from the husbands. Are these marriages unusual or even extreme in this way? Consider how many relationships rely on half-truths? Is it ever necessary or justifiable to lie to someone you love? How much is too much to hide from a partner?
A crucial question in The Girl on the Train is how much Rachel Watson can trust her own memory. How reliable are her observations? Yet since the relationship between truth and memory is often a slippery one, how objective or “true” can a memory, by definition, really be? Can memory lie? If so, what factors might influence it? Consider examples from the book.
Think about trust in The Girl on the Train. Who trusts whom? Who is deserving of trust? Is Rachel Watson a very trustworthy person? Why or why not? Who appears trustworthy and is actually not? What are the skills we use to make the decision about whether to trust someone we don’t know well?
(Questions from Litlovers.com)
“Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train.”—Vanity Fair
“The Girl on the Train has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since Gone Girl. . . . [It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership.”—The New York Times
“Marries movie noir with novelistic trickery. . . hang on tight. You’ll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend.”—USA Today
“Like its train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages.”—The Boston Globe
“Gone Girl fans will devour this psychological thriller.”—People
Mocha Girls Speak
Mocha Girl Davina
Great effort for a first novel for Ms. Hawkins!!! However, this was definitely not a “page-turner” for me. I had to force myself to finish it. Do you know that moment when you are reading a thriller or a mystery, when you find out the truth, and you as the reader go, “Ah Ha!”? For me, this was not that novel.
It was too long, I felt that it could have been cut by maybe 100 -150 pages. I truly disliked how the other characters continuously belittle Rachel. ALL of the characters had ugly traits, even Cathy. No one loved Rachel. Everyone was selfish, down to the very end. I had no empathy for the crime victim. I felt all the characters were so ruthless and heartless. I actually guessed the culprit about 150 pages from the ending. The only person I felt any empathy for was little Evie.
Mocha Girl Syd
Enjoyable read, especially after getting past the beginning, which got off to a slow start.
I didn’t find the twist to be AS predictable as some other readers did. But also, when I figured it out, it didn’t ruin the experience of reading the story for me. There was still a lot to learn about the characters after and during the reveal, which I found engaging. I also found the use of more than one narrator pretty easy to navigate and an interesting look into the human mind.
And while some of the characters are rotten to the very core, the lead character is a fascinating mess — too bad she still kinda felt like the most mysterious out of all the other narrators though, her addiction likely the blame for that.
Mocha Girl Didi
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