Mystery/Thriller Reading Friends discussion

280 views
Group Read Books - archive > The Girl on the Train - Chapter segment #1 The first 9 chapters up to the first Anna chapter Spoilers welcome

Comments Showing 1-37 of 37 (37 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments This topic will be for the first nine chapters of the book, up to, but not including the first Anna chapter.
If the first poster(s) could make a few general comments to guide the discussion that would be great.


message 2: by Ann (last edited Jan 28, 2015 01:08AM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments OK, the chapters are all named Rachel or Megan in this segment of the first nine chapters.
I am going to start summarizing the first few chapters:
Chapter One Rachel
We are riding a commuter train with Rachel describing the scenery. Something is not quite right with this woman who drinks and comes across as downtrodden. She seems very angry at the world. Rachel was once married to Tom, but no more. She is fixated on a happy couple she sees from the train most days; she calls them Jess and Jason.

Chapter two Megan
Megan is outwardly happy with her husband Scott, but unemployed and drifting. Rachel sees Megan and Scott as "Jess and Jason" and has adopted their lives as her own obsession. Megan is frustrated to no end with her boring married life. We meet Anna, Tom's wife now and their baby. Anna seems troubled too. None of these women are happy.

Chapter three Rachel
Rachel is drinking so much she is blacking out and can't remember what happens when she is unaware. She is generally thought of as a pariah in her circle of former friends. What is it that she can't remember? Why does she obsess so over Tom and Anna? It seems more than a divorced wife's jealousy, is it?

Chapter four Megan (page 44)
Megan is obsessed with her therapist, DR. Kamal Abdic. She is calling him and meeting him and comes across as unstable and manipulative, all along with the train clattering in the background of her backyard. Scott also comes across as potentially suspicious of Megan, checking up on her laptop browsing; why is he checking up on her?

Chapter five Rachel (page 50)
Rachel in despair over being asked to leave Cathy's house where she is a lodger opens up and starts to reveal why she and Tom broke up, at least partially taking ownership of it; she was falling apart after being unable to get pregnant. She realizes that Megan is missing from seeing news stories.

Chapter six Megan (page 53)
Megan in therapy reveals some of her background, her brother being killed, an early relationship at fifteen, her wavering between wanting Scott and wanting Kamal, (not proper therapy at all) needing both of them to want her and to be there for her. Was she uneasy for another reason, had someone been in their house?

Chapter seven Rachel (page 61)
Rachel reveals she had a blackout and completely blocked what happened on Saturday. Later she was hit by a taxi when running into the street, but those injuries were on top of other damage, blood, a blow on the head and something that she just can't remember about the train overpass area around her old house, (and Megan and Scott's house).
The police interview her and it is clear something is not right, but unclear what it is. How is Rachel connected to Megan's disappearance? She is obsessing over the case.

Chapter eight Megan (page 93)
snippets of Megan's dual life with Scott and another man. (*In March 2013) The timeline is very hard to keep track of but we seem to be going back to a different time.

Chapter nine Rachel (page 96)
July 2013 Rachel is meeting with the police, sending her ex husband drunken rants via email and contacting Scott with an email pretending to be Megan's friend and to have info on her disappearance.


message 3: by LizH (new)

LizH (liz_h) | 955 comments At this point of the book I found it hard to like anyone, yet was very compelled to keep reading.


message 4: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Agreed, Liz. Each woman comes across as not quite right. I was just coming off reading a book with an unreliable narrator and here we have two more of them. I was disappointed at first thinking I should have selected a different book and then becoming almost morbidly fascinated.
The mystery alternately unraveling of what Rachel and Megan are thinking, what they may have done and how they are connected is very well done. The sense of time passing, partly with the rhythm of the train, morning, evening, is such that I hear the clack of the train tracks as I am reading (in my head)


message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments These first nine chapters are quite revealing and almost totally mysterious at the same time. It is almost like we are witnessing snippets of the two women's lives and thoughts in an odd sort of dance or a fencing movement - parry, thrust, retreat.
The similarities, to each other are either telling or coincidental: both unemployed, both with unhappiness, though different, in their marriages. The Victorian houses at number 15 and number 23 where Rachel and Tom lived (now Anna and Tom) and where Megan and Scott live are almost like looking into a doll's house as glimpsed from the train.


message 6: by LizH (new)

LizH (liz_h) | 955 comments Excellent points Ann! Morbidly curious definitely! And yes, very much like turning the tables so we are catching glimpses of the m/c's like watching from the train. I am not sure I have read anything like this!


message 7: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 1299 comments I agree, I don't remember reading anything like this. And yes, None of the characters are likable yet, except Cathy, but I have been definitely pulled in. Very intriguing!


message 8: by Sherry (new)

Sherry  | 3693 comments Ann wrote: "These first nine chapters are quite revealing and almost totally mysterious at the same time. It is almost like we are witnessing snippets of the two women's lives and thoughts in an odd sort of da..."

agreed- it's hard to know what's what with all of them but i definitely was wondering what was going on with rachel at this point.


message 9: by ♣Tessa♣ (new)

♣Tessa♣ | 16 comments I don't know what chapter I'm on (the audio book doesn't announce chapter, but I'm guessing 3 (so I only skimmed comments bc I don't want to ruin anything for myself! LOL)).

I actually like the two characters so far. Yes, they are both a little broken and messed up but I think that's what I enjoy so far. I find things in each of them I can identify with and the fact that this early in the book they make you a little bummed out (for me anyway) makes them feel real. More so then characters that are almost perfect with one little flaw. I mean Rachael is really messed up! I think that's what makes me like her as a character.


message 10: by Ann (last edited Feb 04, 2015 12:25AM) (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Stephanie: Interesting that Rachel's flaws made you like her as a character. I think at this point it was the same for me, you feel for her pain. The chapter identifications on audio were difficult, with only the change in point of view to a new character and quick references to dates. This first segment stopped just as the first Anna chapter began. (which didn't help much until I sprang for the Kindle copy)


message 11: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 1299 comments I thought the author did a great job of portraying Rachel and her alcoholism. Since it wasn't the whole point of the story, we saw enough to see how devastating it was to Rachel's life without overwhelming the story. I think what was endearing to Rachel was how optimistic she always was that tomorrow she was going to stop.


message 12: by ♣Tessa♣ (new)

♣Tessa♣ | 16 comments Ann: Yeah I think it's b/c I've been there - not an alcoholic, but I had a cheating husband, and I know how it messes with you. So I can understand how she was pushed to that point. I can understand her inferiority complex and the denial.
I mean, you get over it - and it seems like she isn't trying as hard as she could but I think that's what makes he feel real to me compared to other characters I've read. She went through something bad and is a hot mess -- where some characters go through worse and are like 'I'm fine' so quickly. Not everyone rebounds from trauma fast. And I like that she's a mess.
I guess maybe I feel like it's something different at this point then characters that are so strong willed. I'm not sure.
Could also very well be the audio. LOL. I mean the voice actresses are great so it brings these women to life.


message 13: by ♣Tessa♣ (new)

♣Tessa♣ | 16 comments And I agree Dawn. I like the fact that she knows what she's doing is wrong, that she wants to stop, but this vice is so strong that she keeps going.


message 14: by Dawn (new)

Dawn | 1299 comments Stephanie...I'm going to comment on something you said here, but put it in the next section because I'm not sure if its as prominent in this part of the book


message 15: by ♣Tessa♣ (new)

♣Tessa♣ | 16 comments Ok!

I have to wonder, why doesn't Rachel delete Tom's number and email address? LOL - would save her so much embarrassment. Anyone else think she's being crazy not doing that??


message 16: by Cecelia/Ceil (new)

Cecelia/Ceil (ceil0614) | 42 comments I am enjoying this book so much. It's one of the books I love because I can't wait to get back to it. Not so much to try to understand the characters, or to "fix" them, as to keep learning what has/is/and will happen. The jumble of time and characters and the great descriptions of everything makes me feel I am sitting in the middle of it all as it is happening. Kind of like riding backward on the train looking out the window watching everthing go by. The writer keeps it going in all directions without being confusing. On to Anna now!


message 17: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Stephanie: Good point! I didn't think of it while reading, but if Rachel didn't have an easy route to "drunk dial" or email Tom while she was "not herself", she might be less likely to wake up and realize she sent him another message.
She does come across as very real, doesn't she. Her struggles are a hot mess, but one you can almost understand.
Stephanie wrote: "I have to wonder, why doesn't Rachel delete Tom's number and email address? LOL - would save her so much embarrassment. Anyone else think she's being crazy not doing that??"


message 18: by ♣Tessa♣ (new)

♣Tessa♣ | 16 comments Cecelia: I love your description - "like riding backwards on the train" - LOL!

Ann: Right? I get that the author has her keeping this info b/c she is still very needy and still can not let him go - which I think makes her more real, b/c you want to feel bad for her for being so stuck, yet you also want to smack her for not deleting his info. LOL


message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 16, 2015 07:47AM) (new)

Oh my goodness this book is addictive. What a mess!

Unreliable narrarators are so great in mysteries cuz you don't know what's real. So your mind is trying to figure it all out but it can't trust the facts. I don't identify with Rachel, I can't. stand. her. I was hopeful when she pulled it together for three days and then groaned out loud when she fell off the wagon. When she took the baby all sympathy went out of the window and I kinda just want her locked up at this point. I sympathized with her plight but when you become self destructive to the harm of others, I'm done.

I don't trust anyone else either. Her ex- something wrong with him, don't like him at all. Meagan's shady. Scott's possessive and Anna's gotta a screw loose if she lets her husband talk her out of calling the police when his ex runs off with her baby.

I can't stop reading this book.


message 20: by Melodie (last edited Feb 16, 2015 09:00AM) (new)

Melodie (melodieco) | 3626 comments ALL of the people in this book were totally screwed up in one way or another! Just goes to show that this author is good, because I can't stand any of them, yet I wanted to keep reading!


message 21: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Laughing and understanding how hard it was to stop reading this book once you pick it up, Christina and Melodie!


message 22: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Oh boy, so many good points, I'll post this first and then go back and respond where I can.

I am finding it very hard to match the audio (I'm listening to discs) with the chapters, and so I think after posting in this thread I'll probably wait until I finish as you all know how paranoid I am about spoilers. But it won't take me long, this is quite the page turner (or whatever the audio version of that phrase is, LOL). I've abandoned all other listening in the radio, podcasts, etc., because I so want to see how this ends.

I *will* say that I am very frustrated with both Rachel and Meghan. Very unsympathetic characters.


message 23: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Yes, Liz, and I'm coming off reading The Kind Worth Killing, which also forces us to live life through the eyes of one (or more) unsympathetic characters. But I don't even want to stop listening, have to find out what's next. I do sometimes find that I wait a little to pick it back up, though, as it is just too frustrating. ("a little" meaning an hour or so, LOL)

LizH wrote: "At this point of the book I found it hard to like anyone, yet was very compelled to keep reading."


message 24: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Mar 18, 2015 05:20AM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments An interesting phrase, "unreliable narrator." I had already heard that term mentioned with respect to the book, and I always find it a bit of a spoiler. When I read I assume the main character is telling the truth, even if they are exhibiting behavior that might in real life lead me to be suspicious of them. So when I hear someone characterize a book character as an unreliable narrator, I'm reading the book questioning whether what they are saying is actually true or not. That's a bit of a giveaway that I need to look elsewhere to figure out what is really going on.

Ann wrote: "Agreed, Liz. Each woman comes across as not quite right. I was just coming off reading a book with an unreliable narrator and here we have two more of them. I was disappointed at first thinking I s..."


message 25: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Yes! Living in and having lived in cities where overhead and aboveground trains were prominent, I can absolutely reproduce that sound in my head, and do. I often have wondered whether I would reject an apartment because of the sound of trains passing.

I don't know if anyone here saw the wonderful French animated film The Triplets of Belleville, but I can still see the images of apartment dwellers being physically impacted (as only animation can depict) when the train passes by.

A powerful image.

Ann wrote: "The sense of time passing, partly with the rhythm of the train, morning, evening, is such that I hear the clack of the train tracks as I am reading (in my head) ..."


message 26: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Mar 19, 2015 04:57AM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Yes, I agree, Dawn. At one point I felt like I was reading a novel about the trajectory of alcoholism rather than a mystery novel, which was both powerful and devastating. Alcohol isn't my issue, but at the risk of oversharing, my relationship with food can sometimes be like Rachel's relationship with alcohol, and I recognized myself in her.

Dawn wrote: "I thought the author did a great job of portraying Rachel and her alcoholism. Since it wasn't the whole point of the story, we saw enough to see how devastating it was to Rachel's life without over..."


message 27: by Carol/Bonadie (last edited Mar 18, 2015 05:22AM) (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Stephanie, I found myself reacting with frustration to Rachel's inability to let her failed marriage go. And as we get further into the novel we see a number of other things that she is not able to let go. Which I suppose is why we have a novel, LOL, where would the story be if she wasn't relentlessly pursuing this thread and that thread? But at the same time, at one point as she's reaching for the phone I actually said out loud "No, no, don't do it!"

♣Stephanie♣ wrote: "I mean, you get over it - and it seems like she isn't trying as hard as she could but I think that's what makes he feel real to me compared to other characters I've read. She went through something bad and is a hot mess -- where some characters go through worse and are like 'I'm fine' so quickly. Not everyone rebounds from trauma fast. And I like that she's a mess. ..."


message 28: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments YES!!!!!!!

♣Stephanie♣ wrote: "Ok!

I have to wonder, why doesn't Rachel delete Tom's number and email address? LOL - would save her so much embarrassment. Anyone else think she's being crazy not doing that??"



message 29: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Stephanie, my fingers are itching throughout this reading experience with the desire to slap some sense into Rachel, LOL

♣Stephanie♣ wrote: "which I think makes her more real, b/c you want to feel bad for her for being so stuck, yet you also want to smack her for not deleting his info. LOL
..."



message 30: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Christina, I agree with almost all of this entire post. And I laughed out loud when I read "I don't identify with Rachel, I can't. stand. her. ". Exactly!

I do feel sorry for Tom, at least so far. My symapthy fades when I do remember that he was having an affair with Anna while married to Rachel but overall I think "that poor sod."

Although.... does anyone else find most of the characters a little too "nice"? There are times with the roommate, with Tom, with Scott, I read something and think "Really? You're that quick to forgive/apologize/accommodate/whatever?" Not in my world!

"Christina wrote: "Oh my goodness this book is addictive. What a mess!

Unreliable narrarators are so great in mysteries cuz you don't know what's real. So your mind is trying to figure it all out but it can't trust ..."



message 31: by Amy (new)

Amy | 1342 comments Carol, keep reading. LOL


message 32: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments Carol: I am glad you are commenting on your experiences reading The Girl on the Train! It was very difficult to match the chapters to a point in time with the book as I listened to the audio and wanted to be able to post in these segments, it was difficult to even come up with the break points by chapter for the segments at all! And I think I accidentally jumped the gun in one segment into the next with a tiny chapter... waiting until you finish the book to read the rest might be good.
I am reading a group-read book on another GR group and someone spoiled the rest of the book with a cryptic but thinly veiled comment in the first comment segment that made me doubt one of the characters. I was so disappointed. I agree that even knowing a book has an unreliable narrator is in a fairly significant way a spoiler. Since that cat is out of the bag for The Girl on the Train, I will say that Rachel in this book is unreliable in a myriad of ways. (or as Stephanie so succinctly puts it, she is quite a hot mess!) It is a very compelling book to read.


message 33: by Donnajo (new)

Donnajo | 3593 comments I finally got up to Anna that I can comment here. I might have said I had to watch a few spoil free videos along the way but it did help me to move on with the book.
It might be awhile since everyone here read it but I still wanted to see what everyone thought.
First I have to say I hate not having better. Chapter titles or numbers. That always drives me crazy.
Second a agree a real hot mess of a book.
At this point not finding any likable characters.
I don't usually like when books are done in the first person style.
I haven't been on trains many times an really I'm not in a area that you have a lot a train going though. But I can understand being on a train and wondering about the houses you pass or where are the people you see going on and off going.
I have to say I feel better. Than I did when I was reading earlier in the day. At that point I was thinking why was I reading the book and maybe I needed to give in and pick something else on the person's that I have to pick a book from reads help. This one was on my nook the other two I owned print copies of and so wan't in mood to search for them. I have until June to finish the book I hope I finish it way before that.


message 34: by Donnajo (new)

Donnajo | 3593 comments The stupid iPad mini would not post my comment above then it posted it 9 times so now I had to get on the laptop and delete all the posts except one. I hate when the iPad gives me problems.


message 35: by Carol/Bonadie (new)

Carol/Bonadie (bonadie) | 8060 comments Donnajo wrote: "I have to say I feel better. Than I did when I was reading earlier in the day. .."

Oh good, I'm glad. Just don't expect to like any of the characters any better, LOL. Or maybe you will... ;-)


message 36: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments DonnaJo: not liking any characters wasn't really a barrier to the book being compulsive reading for me; I was hooked in at this point. :) good to see you are reading it!.
Carol/Bonadie wrote: ""Oh good, I'm glad. Just don't expect to like any of the characters any better, LOL. Or maybe you ..."
Donnajo wrote: "I have to say I feel better. Than I did when I was reading earlier in the day. .."


message 37: by Donnajo (new)

Donnajo | 3593 comments I read a little more on the nook real early when I couldn't sleep. I had one of those restless nights.
I have gone though and put a postcard and then a sticky note on the large print library book where the group read segments for each thread are. I would like to try and get though each segment in a day not sure if this book and other books will let me.

I like thinking this book as a "mess" it seems to be all over the place when I think I'm just getting into a section it switches to a different part of the day or a different person. That is one of the things I don't like about the book. After having just finished the nightingale a few days ago it's hard to read any type of book that doesn't add up to that one.


back to top