Friday, July 29, 2016

Girl on the train #bookClub

The last novel we read for my book club was „Girl on the train“ by Paula Hawkins. I would describe it as a thriller. The story centres around Rachel who takes the train every day to work in London and while doing so looks at one suburban house in particular and imagines stories about the couple who live there and their “perfect lives”. She then witnesses something strange one day. Shortly after she finds out that the women, Meghan, has gone missing. She soon finds herself getting more and more involved in the case as she tries to help solve it.

The main character, Rachel, is an unreliable narrator. We find out she is an alcoholic and dealing with the breakdown of her marriage. She experiences blackouts caused by her drinking. The book also has sections written from Meghan’s point of view in the time leading up to when she goes missing. Another woman’s point of view in some chapters is that of Anna, the new partner of Rachel’s ex Tom. The book deals with some upsetting themes such as violence and abuse. It certainly doesn’t show alcoholism in a rose tinted light but rather the harsh reality. So I could well imagine that some people might find it difficult to read.

One of the criticisms in my book club was that none of the female characters were likable and that they were also very weak. Take Rachel for instance whose life revolved around her husband and falls apart after their marriage ends. She treats some people badly and generally her life is mess. Anna, her ex’s new wife, had no problem breaking up a marriage. Personally I still felt sympathetic towards Rachel and was rooting for her. The reason given for her turning to alcohol was that she and her ex husband had dealt with infertility issues and had an unsuccessful round of IVF which I know is very difficult for anyone to go through.

The book gets compared to “Gone girl” a fair bit and there are certainly many similarities. Both are action-thrillers, involve a mystery around a woman going missing and have twists and turns. So if you liked Gone Girl you probably would also enjoy the Girl on the Train, although overall I would say I didn't find it quite as good as the former. One of the things I enjoyed about the book was the fact that I suspected every single character at some point of being involved and there were also some clever twists. Once I got further into the story I found I was really eager to find out what going to happen next and I devoured it quickly.

Overall I liked the book, though as I mentioned it might not be to everyone’s taste. I’m looking forward to watching the film which stars Emily Blunt who I've always found to be a really good actress. The trailer is out already. I do think it’s a shame that the location has been moved to New York instead of London though.

Have you read Girl on the Train? Will you go to the film?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Stronger together - grateful for the online community

Recently a few people both in real life and online have commented that I'm brave to write so openly about our struggles with infertility. It wasn't something I always felt comfortable sharing. In the beginning when I just started going through it I felt a lot of shame. Over time after coming across a whole world of others online opening up about their stories, I started to change my attitude about it all. We shouldn't feel ashamed or embarrassed that we are struggling to have children, and if someone else is judgemental towards us then that is their issue, not ours. So many people (1 in 8 couples) are dealing with infertility these days and it helps when people can be open about it so that we all don't feel so alone.
One of the main things that has helped me to cope has been the amazing resource of blogs written by others going through it. The whole community is so supportive of each other which is really great. I also get very involved with everyone's lives and feel upset when they are struggling but am delighted for them when things are going well. I admire their strength and honesty. It's such a personal topic and I do feel quite vulnerable at times sharing some of our fertility struggles online but hopefully it might help other people and reduce the silence around the subject.

Anyway what I'm trying to say is thank you to everyone who has read my blog, whether you have commented or not but just sent some virtual support. You all rock!