Bupper: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

We had another Bupper Club success this past Monday! It was my turn to host and this book did not disappoint. I chose The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins for two reasons. 1. I wanted to mix things up a little bit. We hadn’t read a thriller in several months so I thought this one might keep everyone on their toes. 2. To this day, Gone Girl has been one of our favorite Bupper reads and there was some serious hype about the comparisons between the two. I hope you read along with us because this one was GOOD.

The story follows Rachel who takes the same commuter train every single day. To say her life is a hot mess would be an understatement. Her husband left her, she’s an alcoholic, and things are only going downhill for her. Her commuter train stops every day at the same place where she is able to watch what she believes to be the perfect couple with the perfect life. Then one day, she witnesses something shocking while observing them. She takes this information to the police and let’s just say…things get interesting from there!

[ the MEAL ]

If you read along with us you know that there was absolutely ZERO food in the entire book. The most prominent thing consumed was alcohol. Rachel was basically a closet alcoholic and indulged in everything from gin and tonics to wine. My spin was to create all dishes that had been infused or cooked with alcohol. (I didn’t hear any complaints so I don’t think this was a problem!)

My main dish was Italian so I threw together an antipasto platter to snack on as everyone arrived. This was my first attempt at something like this and it might be my new favorite spread for hosting guests. It’s so easy! Throw together any combination of cheese, olives, fruit, nuts, bread, and olive oil for a no brainer crowd pleaser.

For the main course, I made penne alla vodka with sausage. I used an Ina Garten recipe as the base and put my own spin on it with a couple of extras. If you know anything about the famous Barefoot Contessa, you know everything was from scratch and there were no shortcuts. This was definitely a labor of love – but totally worth it!

I got the idea for dessert from my aunt who fixed these at Christmas this past year. It’s basically a mix of vanilla ice cream, brandy, triple sec, and chocolate liquor. Aka: The Velvet Hammer. SO GOOD. I garnished with a black and white cookie. I’ll be sharing recipes for all of the above in future foodie posts!

[ discussion QUESTIONS for The Girl on the Train ]

1. Were the characters relatable at all? Do you feel sorry for Rachel?

2. How did everyone feel about the male characters presented in the book?

3. Did you know who the killer was before it was revealed? Who did you suspect it was leading up to the end?

4. Were you satisfied with the ending?

5. What are the comparisons you found between this book and Gone Girl?

6. The pile of clothes described on page one, and reiterated again later—what was the significance of it? Was it just to highlight Rachel’s ability to tell a story, or did we miss a clue?

7. On the topic of motherhood – it defined the success or failure of the women in the book. What do you think the author was trying to say? How do you feel about the fact that the women were unemployed and relying on their husbands for income?

8. On the topic of lies, we all lie to ourselves a little bit. Do you think deep-down the women in the novel knew the lies they were telling themselves?

9. Between Rachel, Megan, and Anna, who are you the most sympathetic towards?

10. Who do you think should be cast as Rachel, Megan, Scott, Tom, and Anna in the upcoming film adaptation?

Happy Thursday and happy reading. Until next time…