The Girl on The Train By Paula Hawkins

Discussion
Jan 8, 2016
by: Katie J.
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The Girl on the Train is a rollercoaster of events and switches narratives from different characters throughout the book. The books starts in July of 2013, a woman named Rachel Watson is “a girl on a train” as she calls herself. She rides the commuter rail to and from London every day for work, which is a white lie she tells to her landlord, or friend, Cathy so she isn’t worried. While on the train, each day Rachel engages in people-watching and materializes a perfect fantasy life for one couple she is in an extreme obsession with. Since Rachel does not know the name of the couple, she named them herself. She calls them Jason and Jess, and the train stops outside their house every morning. Jason and Jess live on the same street Rachel used to, so Rachel has to pry her eyes away from her old house each time. She does not live there anymore because her relationship with her husband slowly got worse and they divorced. Rachel and her husband, Tom, were trying for a baby but failed to do so (Rachel is simply unable to get pregnant). This caused Rachel to fall into a pit of depression and start drinking, which put a strain on her bond with Tom. Her and Tom would always fight and with the addition of her getting drunk, she would shower him in insults. Tom then had an affair with a girl named Anna. Rachel then ultimately found out about that while going through his emails. Tom then divorced Rachel to be with his new beloved and had a baby named Evie. This is why Rachel loves to picture perfect lives and relationships since hers is far from it. Countless amounts of times she gets drunk and does things she does not mean, so she is constantly in deep regret. However, one day from the train she notices something wrong at the couple’s house and that sighting would change her immensely for the better.

Now, you may think that Rachel is quite an odd personality for her people-watching hobby. However, we all do it, actively watching the 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?

As for Rachel being an alcoholic, do you think she had a valid reason? She greatly wanted to be a mother and thought that was one of the most important times in your life. How would you react to not being able to have a baby of your own?

Rachel also has a drinking problem in which her husband left her because of that. Do you think it was right of him to do so, or was it inevitable?

Comments

I think it was inevitable

Submitted by meme2019 on Fri, 2016-01-08 11:43.

I think it was inevitable that her husband left her because he probably didn't want to deal with the baggage of having an alcoholic partner. Good summary,I think you explained things well!

Book talk comment

Submitted by tina188 on Fri, 2016-01-08 11:57.

This book sounds really interesting! I guess she watches people and observes them because people are just like that, they are nosey. I think it also has to do with the fact that her life didn't really work out and she is comparing herself and her life to others' lives.

I've already read this book,

Submitted by Roan522 on Fri, 2016-01-08 11:59.

I've already read this book, but it is fascinating and you bring up interesting points on the nature of humanity, life, and depression.

Sounds like a good book!

Submitted by Kelsey on Fri, 2016-01-08 14:39.

This sounds like an interesting book and your summary was very informative. I don't think Rachel had a necessarily "valid" reason for becoming an alcoholic. I think she had many issues in her life that pushed her to do so, but no matter how hard our lives get, becoming alcoholics or acting out or turning to some form of destructive coping is never the answer. I would probably feel a sense of loss to know that I could not have a child. If I was in Rachel's position, I too, would struggle with dealing with this information.
I can see why she would turn to watching others' lives and envisioning perfect fantasies for them to escape while her own life collapses down around her. I think for this reason, she possibly watches people in a more extreme way than others because she NEEDS to in order to cope.

Sounds like a good book!

Submitted by Kelsey on Fri, 2016-01-08 14:39.

This sounds like an interesting book and your summary was very informative. I don't think Rachel had a necessarily "valid" reason for becoming an alcoholic. I think she had many issues in her life that pushed her to do so, but no matter how hard our lives get, becoming alcoholics or acting out or turning to some form of destructive coping is never the answer. I would probably feel a sense of loss to know that I could not have a child. If I was in Rachel's position, I too, would struggle with dealing with this information.
I can see why she would turn to watching others' lives and envisioning perfect fantasies for them to escape while her own life collapses down around her. I think for this reason, she possibly watches people in a more extreme way than others because she NEEDS to in order to cope.

Interesante

Submitted by aneliesebaker on Sun, 2016-01-10 23:32.

This book sounds very intriguing, and it's depth of topic would provide an interesting outlook on life. I think that Rachel had every right to be an alcoholici if that's how she felt the need to cope, and her case is sad and yet understanable. It must be very regrettable that her vice lead to affects beyond the bottle. As for people-watching, I believe that this spawns from natural human instinct. It is normal for humans to wonder at another human, at would they could have been, at what would have happened if they had gone right instead of left.