The Girl on the Train discussion questions

The Girl on the Train discussion questionsI’m so excited that we can finally dig into this book! I’ve gathered a list of questions to help us talk about it (and spark some of our memories since most of us finished it weeks ago), but discussion does not have to stick to these questions.

Feel free to discuss here in the comments or over in our Facebook group, where I’ll slowly dribble the questions over the course of the next couple of days. The ladies in our little posse have told me they prefer discussing it over there (we’re closing in on 50 members!), so most of the commenting will more than likely take place there. That said, if Facebook groups aren’t your thing and you’d rather talk about it here, comment away!

  1. What did you think about Paula Hawkins’ method of telling this story? Did you trust any of the narrators? Was there one that you liked more than the others? Did your feelings for them change at all throughout the course of the book?
  2. Are you a people watcher like Rachel? Have you ever found yourself feeling like you know people you see (and watch) over and over again? What do you think accounts for this nosey, all-too-human impulse? Is it more extreme in Rachel than in the average person? Is there something different about her?
  3. A huge part of this story is centered around lying. In what ways is Rachel lying to herself? Do all people tell themselves lies to some degree in order to move on with their lives? Is what Rachel (or any of the other characters) doing any different? How do her lies ultimately affect her and the people around her?
  4. A crucial question in The Girl on the Train is how much Rachel can trust her own memory. How reliable are her observations? Since the relationship between truth and memory is often a slippery one, how objective or “true” can a memory, by definition, really be? Can memory lie? If so, what factors might influence it?
  5. Other characters in the novel make different assumptions about Rachel depending on how or even where they see her. To a certain extent, she understands this and often tries to manipulate their assumptions—by appearing to be a commuter, for instance, going to work every day. Is she successful? To what degree did you make assumptions about Rachel early on based on the facts and appearances you were presented? How did those change over time and why? How did your assumptions about her affect your reading of the central mystery in the book? Did your assumptions about her change over its course? What other characters did you make assumptions about? How did your assumptions affect your interpretation of the plot? Having finished The Girl on the Train, what surprised you the most?
Written by Jennifer Garry
Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she's not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.