Metro Library ReadUp discussion

August's Book: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

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message 1: by Metropolitan (last edited Aug 08, 2015 07:53AM) (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
Discuss! This is one that has a lot of buzz.

Here are some discussion topics:

message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 39 comments I thought the book was pretty good, and it definitely had its moments, but that it did not live up to all the hype. Wished I had read it before it became so popular.

message 3: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
I finished it this weekend, and it was one of those suspenseful, can't put it down books. I think because of how you aren't sure which character is the reliable narrator, and you're not sure what's going to happen next.

It was pretty painful and depressing too. I had to read funny stuff after finishing this one!

message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 1 comments I cheated and listened on Audible on my drive to/from work. I found myself completely captivated by this story, though most of the ending was predictable.
I love the idea of how much we judge and assume things about other people, and how wrong we can be in the end. The people that we hold in high esteem, or those that we look down on and feel sorry for, we have so much more in common with them than we imagine.
Having been "the other woman" once when I was younger, having had a few experiences with blacking out after drinking, and having fertility issues, there was a little too much of this that hit close to home. There were so many times that I wanted to travel back in time and make myself read this book 10 years ago!

message 5: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
I think Rachel kind of appeals to our worst sides--like "there but for the grace of God..." I felt so bad for her! Addiction is terrible and misunderstood, and I think this character really shows a lot of that.

Also, this was one of the saddest most heartbreaking parts: "Women are still only really valued for two things--their looks and their role as mothers. I'm not beautiful and I can't have kids, so what does that make me? Worthless!" That's one of those shout at the imaginary person you're reading about moments right there.

message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kubica | 11 comments I have read several books that switch back and forth between characters. Usually I don't have any problem keeping up. However, the different timelines really threw me for a loop on this one. I had to go back and sort out what was going on when. But once I got that straightened out I couldn't put the book down. I read the first few chapters Saturday night, let the timeline digest, and finished it Sunday. I loved the twist. I thought it was well written. I will agree that it was pretty depressing in places. I have to admit that about a third to halfway thru, I no longer pitied Rachel. But having no personal experience with addiction.. I really don't have a lot of tolerance for it. :/

message 7: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
I got a little mixed up on the timeline too, and thought that things were happening in ways that didn't make sense, but I just had to take some extra time making sure I was reading the chapter headings correctly.

I think by the end Rachel is probably ok and will move on and cool it with the drinking. (I hope she would anyway.)

message 8: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kubica | 11 comments Found this question on a different book club about this book. It's one of several, but I just thought I'd go with this one.

1. 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?

I think in people dealing with depression the voyeuristic curiosity is increased some. I think people struggling with depression are often convinced in their heads that other people's lives are so much better.. or at least more interesting than their own. It's sad because it just pushes the cycle of depression along. The difference in Rachel is that she subconsciously uses her interest in this woman's disappearance to be closer to her ex and his wife. She actually ACTS on the things she has 'seen '. Whereas most of us probably would have left it alone...... because, after all, it's none of our business.



message 9: by MJ (new)

MJ | 7 comments Just finished this last night and loved it. I really felt the filth and misery of the female characters. Rachel and Megan were more relatable to me. Both were injured by things beyond their control. Anna was made to seem extremely selfish and only thought of Rachel's feelings under complete duress.
Rachel just broke my heart, but by the end, she gave me such a feeling of hope. Life for her will never be perfect, but it will be good. In my mind, she will find peace and contentment because she was able to face her fears and help her enemy while doing so.
Great read.

message 10: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
I agree with you, Jennifer--I think if you have nothing good happening with which to occupy yourself, like Rachel, you could easily get carried away and become over-involved in things that you shouldn't.

MJ, I felt horrible for Megan too, her life before she got married sounds harrowing. I don't want to give spoilers but the reason she left her previous relationship was pretty devastating. Given her bad experiences previously, you can kind of understand why she did some of the dumb things.

message 11: by Allison (new)

Allison (allisonb86) | 5 comments Just finished the book this morning. I had a hard time getting into the story. The time line threw me like it did a lot of people but also I found it hard to take anything about Rachel seriously. I know addiction and when people are actively using there is almost no clarity in their lives, the fact that she's trying to solve this mystery while still drinking was almost laughable to me. I want to think that in the end she's finally overcoming her addiction but she went through a truly traumatic experience so I'm not so sure she's done with her hard times... I gave this book 3 stars but it probably deserves no more than 2.5

message 12: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
Good point Allie, I wonder how familiar the author is with addiction? Not being an addict, but having known some, I'm not sure about how authentic the point of view was.

message 13: by Metropolitan (new)

Metropolitan Library System | 255 comments Mod
I thought it was really interesting how many things the 3 main female characters had in common: Rachel, Megan and Anna thought and did a lot of the same things. Some of it was through manipulation by Tom, but some of it seemed to just naturally occur.

After I finished, I was struck by what I saw as the author's gimmick: using pronouns with unspecific references--like when Megan keeps thinking about "him" and you think it's one person, but in the end it turns out to be another person. At the time it is confusing, then when you've read the whole book it seems like a trick!

message 14: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn I found I was pulled along by the story, but in the end was pretty dissatisfied with the whole experience. So I don't really understand that. I think I kept waiting for it to be good. Like watching True Detective 2. In a way this book reminds me that bestsellers are not always good books. Am I glad I read it? Probably, but barely.

message 15: by Alexis (new)

Alexis (alexisw) | 8 comments If the story was told in a more straightforward/linear fashion I don't think it would have been near as compelling. It was like trying to solve a puzzle rather than enjoying the author's artistry.

(True Detective 2 was a huge disappointment, wasn't it?)

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