** Warning this post will contain potential spoilers to both Gone Girl and Girl On The Train
Recently I finished the book, Girl On The Train. If you have been on the blogesphere lately you may have noticed this book. It is… EVERYWHERE. An EVERYWHERE book does not necessarily constitute a need for me to read it – however, my interest was piqued. Having seen it was being compared to Gone Girl increased that interest.
Now, having read both books, I have thoughts on why Amy from Gone Girl makes for an excellent protagonist and why Rachel from Girl On The Train does not. (Yes I know I am poking the bear)
Amy Dunne is brilliant. Scary brilliant. She can be the “everything woman”. When she meets Nick she is exactly who he wants her to be. She is sweet, beautiful, vulnerable. She makes Nick feel like a man and he falls in love with her. BUT (and it is a big but.. we are talking baby got back but!) we all know that Amy is flawed… more dangerously than Rachel because Amy can cover her flaws well. It is not until later in the book that we discover how flawed Amy really is…. twisted and damaged to the core she still ends up on top even in the end. Those who know her true colors are few and too afraid of her to do anything about it.
Rachel comes with a lot of baggage. Most prominent is her trouble with alcohol. Her inability to stop drinking puts her immediately at a disadvantage. She is a burden on those around her. She can not hold down a job. As a witness, because of her drinking she is unreliable. Those who try to like her find her to be too much work and they quickly move on. Rachel has dug herself into a deep hole. In the end, she pulls herself together and is working towards being a person who will probably trump Amy in genuine niceness and togetherness.. but for me, it was too little too late.
Unreliable narration is the hook to both of these books. Can we trust what the narrator is telling us? Narration to narration I still give Gone Girl the win as when the book turned and twisted to what was really going on I was BLOWN AWAY. When Girl On The Train twisted I was surprised, but not over the top. I think by that time I had spent so much time struggling with Rachel that I was not engaged enough to appreciate what was indeed, an excellent twist of events.
Disclaimer: This post is all in fun. Based on my thoughts, solely my opinion, on both books and their protagonists. I actually enjoyed reading both books, just had a protagonist issue with Girl On The Train (my issue.). Let’s discuss! Did you like one protagonist over the other? Is it even about the protagonist or is more about the narration that makes the books? Do you agree or disagree with what I have said here? Is it even a fair fight?