The Girl on The Train - Paula Hawkins



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     Our resident school librarian who always knows the trendy books to pick chose this selection.  I knew from the start that it had a surprise twist at the end so I was skeptical of every character and tried to outsmart the author.  I failed.  She surprised me.  The format was interesting - jumping back and forth between two voices, and then a third.  It was a nice change from the omniscient narrator or first person narrative of most books.  I id get to a point where I was too curious to put the book down.  Sadly though, in the last twenty or so pages it suddenly became a run-of-the-mill crime novel and the wrap-up seemed very common place.

On a scale of 1 - 5:

Sex:  2

Religion:  1

Gruesome:  3

Suspense:  4

Morality:  3

Sex - there are people who have affairs and one-night stands, casual sex and marital sex.  Very little details about the actual process and more matter-of-fact statements and implied happenings.  EXAMPLES:  Rachel imagines a couple in the shower in a suggestive position on page 5.  A reference to martial relations on a table on page 34.  Veiled references on pages 36 and 49.

Religion - there are no mentions of churches or church-related activities until the very end when a character goes to visit a grave at a church.  On her way out she sees the priest and gets startled and runs out - more because she is startled than because he is a priest.

Gruesome - it's a crime story that involves a few deaths so there has to be some aspect of gruesome but Hawkins keeps the gore to a minimum.

Suspense - it's been a long time since I felt compelled to keep turning pages.  I was motivated to find out who done it because of the suspense that had been building slowly and teasingly since the hype became aware to me before I even actually started reading the book.

Morality - manipulative psychopaths, lying alcoholics who have blackouts, extra-marital affairs and murderous cover-ups are counter-balanced by people who admit their faults and others who try and help them

Discussion Questions

What do you imagine about clothing and shoes on the side of the road?  Do you look at them different after reading this book?  What was the point of Rachel's pondering on the clothing?  How did it contribute to the story line?

Whose voice did you like reading most?  Least?

If you knew ahead of time that there was a twist, what were your suspicions?  How did you revise your theories as more details were revealed?

What do you mourn for that you never had?  (ref. p. 49)

When Anna realized Tom had lied to her she justified snooping on his computer (ref. p. 242).  Do you agree with her rationale?

The ending leaves a lot of people to go off and make a new life for themselves.  How do you imagine that the main characters proceed?

Theme Ideas

Serve Gin & Tonic with Schweppes from a glass bottle (p. 98).

Serve "grilled prawns with lots of chilli and coriander" and Chenin Blanc. (p. 229)

Listen to the Killers and Kings of Leon. (p. 229)
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