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The Girl on the Train > Question #2: Your reactions to Rachel Watson?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

There's a great discussion ongoing in the first question thread. This leads us to our second question about your perceptions and feelings about our protagonist, Rachel Watson.

Due to her alcoholism and somewhat complicated relationship with reality, Rachel Watson can be seen as an unreliable character/narrator. Her manipulative behaviour with other characters can also be seen as a strike against her as a likeable protagonist. And yet, some people find they identify with the character, or are at least sympathetic to her situation. What was your reaction to Rachel Watson? Did your perception of her change as you read the book? How and why?


message 2: by Darrell (new)

Darrell | 55 comments I was rather surprised at my reaction to Rachel. At first, I didn't think I would like her due to her manipulations and strange behavior, particularly the self-destructive behavior. However, as I read more and more I really became attached to her. Rachel's flaws made her more human and I'm still not sure if I just pitied her or if I really identified with her, but I know I really cared what happened to her and I felt for her throughout her ordeals.


message 3: by Charity (new)

Charity (calgovin) | 8 comments I did not like her at the beginning of the book. I felt it was intentional. I felt bad for her but also could understand why people kept giving up on her. By the end I kind of felt as manipulated by the "bad guy" as she must have.

The plot twits were great and worked well.


message 4: by Emily (new)

Emily Stillwell | 10 comments I feel her flaws make her more human as well, as Darrell suggested. You feel pity, sometimes you feel frustrated, but you do care for her, and what happens to her. Sometimes a deeply flawed, or troubled character is a treasure. There is so much more complexity, and depth. It is easy to cheer on a protagonist that is painted as a hero, or a champion. Rachel gets under your skin, and draws out a reaction.


message 5: by Darrell (new)

Darrell | 55 comments Charity wrote: "I did not like her at the beginning of the book. I felt it was intentional. I felt bad for her but also could understand why people kept giving up on her. By the end I kind of felt as manipulate..."

This is exactly how I felt. And once we realize what she's been through and how she was sort of pushed towards failure made me much more sympathetic. Though a lot of her interactions with others (like at the police station or with Scott) were very cringe-worthy.


message 6: by Lindy (new)

Lindy McAllister | 20 comments Happy Monday! Just a little tidbit of information that I read over the weekend. They are making this book into a movie and Emily Blunt is being courted to play Rachel Watson.


message 7: by Lindy (new)

Lindy McAllister | 20 comments I loved that the author made the character of Rachel a bit unlikeable at first and then the more we got to know her and understand what she had been through the more likeable and real she became. I find this is very realistic because in real life people often make snap judgments about others before taking the time to get to know them.


message 8: by Darrell (last edited Aug 10, 2015 06:56AM) (new)

Darrell | 55 comments Lindy wrote: "Happy Monday! Just a little tidbit of information that I read over the weekend. They are making this book into a movie and Emily Blunt is being courted to play Rachel Watson."

Wow, thanks for sharing, Lindy! I could kind of picture Emily Blunt in the role as long as they un-glammed her and made her more like Rachel. Interesting!


message 9: by Emily (new)

Emily Stillwell | 10 comments Emily Blunt is a great actress, and definitely an interesting choice! I hope it doesn't take away from the movie. You know when all they focus on is how the actress, as Darrell said, "unglammed" herself for the role. I would hate for anything to detract from the story.


message 10: by Laurie (new)

Laurie Dominato | 21 comments I guess I always like a book where the woman is determined, a fighter but this does not describe Rachel. That being said I found myself wishing I could reach into the story, grab her by the shoulders and yell at her to get her act together and stop hanging onto that loser of an ex-husband. I wanted her to let go and move on. Although I can't say I liked her at the beginning of the book I felt drawn to her, sympathizing with her and wanting her to become that fighter.


message 11: by Emily (new)

Emily Stillwell | 10 comments Yes! Definitely Laurie! You want to see that spark ignite in her, to compose herself, to stand up, and become a fighter. I agree.


message 12: by Darrell (new)

Darrell | 55 comments I completely agree with Laurie as well. I kept thinking, Get it together, Rachel! She seemed like such a weak person and yet surprisingly I wasn't bored by her or turned off by her weakness. It's very hard to make such a character interesting and likeable but I think the author did a great job toeing the line here.


message 13: by Lindy (new)

Lindy McAllister | 20 comments I agree with everyone - at first I thought to myself - This person is so frustrating and would drive me crazy because I would want to smack her upside the head as well. Then after reading everything she had suffered I started to try and be a bit more sympathetic. Keep reading people...the spark ignites and she gets her fight on eventually!


message 14: by Darrell (new)

Darrell | 55 comments Lindy wrote: "I agree with everyone - at first I thought to myself - This person is so frustrating and would drive me crazy because I would want to smack her upside the head as well. Then after reading everythi..."
This is true. Maybe that's what I liked, watching the character evolve and find her inner strength so she can get her stuff together and overcome her circumstances.


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