Study Guide

The Girl on the Train Tough-o-Meter

By Paula Hawkins

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(4) Base Camp

Reading The Girl on the Train is easier than navigating the subway in NYC or figuring out the schedule of your average commuter rail system. It's a fairly short ride and is written in an accessible way. The book takes place in England, but there's nothing too British about the language, and although there are numerous descriptions of memory loss due to alcoholic blackouts, it describes alcoholism in an emotional way that is easy to understand without being too graphic.

In fact, all of the graphic scenes, whether it be sex, violence, or hangovers, occur off page, without our characters forced to dwell in the consequences. Rachel's blackouts cause memory gaps and Megan's deceitfulness can be confusing, but in a purposeful way—it takes a skilled author to confuse you without you even realizing you're confused until it's too late. All in all, this is a fast-paced page turner. Don't read it on an actual train, or you just may miss your stop.

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