Girl Fight! Why Amy (Gone Girl), Kick A** over Rachel (Girl On The Train)


**  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?

33 thoughts on “Girl Fight! Why Amy (Gone Girl), Kick A** over Rachel (Girl On The Train)

  1. Only a third of the way through The Girl on the Train, so probably a little early to pass judgment. Neither Amy nor Rachel are particularly likeable. But both books are intriguing and hard to put down. Maybe not great literature, but good stories.

  2. I have read both books — and I agree with you. While I really liked “Girl/Train” I kinda figured out “who did it” towards the end, and I never saw what was coming with Gone Girl.

  3. What an excellent debate. I’ve only read GONE GIRL, so my interest is piqued.
    I loved the unreliable narrator aspect.
    Not everyone I know liked GONE GIRL. In fact, some hated it.
    But I enjoyed every naughty minute of it.

  4. ********SPOILERS DELUXE**********

    Well, I read GONE GIRL and spent most of my time trying to puzzle out what was happening. And in fact, though I didn’t get the whole twist, I guessed a lot of it. (I read a lot of crime fiction.) And I despised Amy. Didn’t like Nick either, but Amy was scary, despicable, nasty – a true sociopath.

    I read THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, while rolling my eyes at the whole “the next GONE GIRL” hoopla. I was rather ‘meh’ about it at first and then was so sad and then annoyed with Rachel and how she was so self-destructive. I guess I should have felt sorry for her, but truly, I just wanted her to get some pride and walk away from that loser husband for good. Quit stalking a man who left you for another woman. And then when she inserted herself into the Jess/Megan investigation, I was afraid that she had been involved somehow.

    Yes, I think that Amy could take Rachel because Amy is a highly intelligent sadist. Rachel is just a sad woman who can’t get over a failed relationship with a nutcase. I had hopes for Rachel in the end. Amy is not fixable. She’s evil. And don’t even get me started about the ending. Hated it. Hated it. Hated it.

  5. Good points! I read them both and while I liked Girl on the Train, it is not the next Gone Girl. In my mind they are quite different. Gone Girl was a twisted thriller – Amy was, well, crazy. Crazy like a fox. Rachel was a self-destructive mess. And I wasn’t surprised by Girl on a Train’s ending the way I was shocked by Gone Girl. But, publishers want to sell books and so the hype and comparisons.

  6. Fun post!! 🙂 I loved both books, mostly due to the unreliable narration, as well as the constantly-building suspense. However, I did like Gone Girl better for two reasons: one, way less predictable ending. And two, as you’ve said, Amy is just brilliant. Completely psychopathic, but brilliant nonetheless! This makes her narration much more fun to read, I’d say.

  7. I haven’t read The Girl in the Train yet but it seems from some of the reviews I’ve read, the protagonist isn’t very likeable. I think when an author decides to go with an unlikable protagonist, it’s much harder work writing-wise.

    1. That is an excellent point. I know I could not write with an unreliable protagonist because I would have to live with her or him n my head for probably forever. But maybe since it is harder to write – it is also more brilliant. 😀

  8. Great post idea! And – 100% agree with you. Amy could wipe the floor with Rachel blindfolded and drugged! Amy is brilliant, evil, manipulative, a master of disguise…and terrifying. Oh, and a winner. Rachel is pathetic, hapless, the manipulatee (I’m pretty sure that’s not a word, but oh well!)..and definitely not a winner. I was so enthralled with Amy because I was bowled over repeatedly by her chess like moves. I was just shaking my head at Rachel, thinking “pull yourself together”. But, it’s hard to even compare these two girls because the author’s intentions were so different with each one. It’s not like Rachel was ever supposed to be a brilliant, evil dominator of everything and everyone around her.

    And – I was not surprised at all by the ending of The Girl on the Train either 🙂 I was absolutely shocked by Gone Girl.

    I wrote a spoiler post for this book as well – no other way to talk coherently about it!

  9. Totally agree with you on this post!
    I think Amy and Rachel are two different women; one really twisted and the other… hmm, fixable. I don’t see any comparison between these two books, but I felt Gone Girl is done much better than Girl on the Train. Just my two cents. 😉

  10. *****SPOILER ALERT*****why didnt scott tell the police he knew Megan was cheating? And how did the police find out about Megans first baby? Are we supposed to believe Kamal did it? Or that she told Tom about it? I loved the book but these 2 questions are driving me crazy!

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