If you have seen "Gone Girl" and are looking forward to "The Girl On The Train" because the trailer reminded you of "Gone Girl," I will say you are on the right track.
If you enjoyed the mind-twist of following Amy Dunn from sweet and innocent housewife to absolute sociopath, you will appreciate the ups and downs and growing questions that arise as you watch Rachel struggle to recall her memory of the night a local girl went missing.
But while both books are filled with intrigue, affairs and betrayal, the way each story unfolds are very different. From the characters, to the relationship dynamics between them, to where the stories take place, even to where the stories take place is vastly dissimilar. And that's not a bad thing. "Gone Girl" was great, but do you really want another movie that's just like it?
I have read both books, and I have to say, I don't think they are similar at all. Don't let the intense, slow version of Kanye West's “Heartless” in the trailer fool you. This isn't just another conniving female-led storyline of vengeance, sex and murder.
Here are seven reasons why these two stories are definitely their own thing.
1. The narration.
In "Gone Girl," we first hear the narration of a sweet, ordinary girl falling in love. Then we find out this ordinary girl is actually a psychopath trying to frame her husband for murder.
In "Girl On The Train," the narration comes from a sad, perpetually drunk women who loses her husband, her home and her job and can barely maintain her own memory day to day. And as you follow along with her struggle to recall memories it is both frustrating and fascinating, she is a character we both root for as well as think, just get it together already.
2. The plot.
In "Gone Girl," the theme throughout the whole book is revenge. Nick and Amy are each filled with a desire to have revenge on the other. Even when Nick wasn't sure whether or not Amy was alive, he was furious with the games she played.
"Girl On The Train" is all about a search for the truth. Where is Megan? What happened to her? And why can't Rachel remember anything from the night Megan disappeared?
Instead of following along with a husband whose spouse has disappeared, we are walking with Rachel as she tries to involve herself in the case of Megan's disappearance, though she has never met her, only seen her from a far.
3. The men.
In "Gone Girl," we get to know Nick quite well in the first half of the novel, and we start to feel confident about where he stands in the case.
In "Girl On The Train," we see there are a few main men that revolve around both Megan and Rachel, and we are constantly conflicted over which ones to trust. These men weave through the lives of the women and at times there are clear signs that they shouldn't be trusted, but we struggle to believe they could have done anything to hurt Megan.
4. The point of view.
In "Gone Girl," so much of how we are introduced to the characters is through Amy's diaries (which we later find out were mostly lies to frame Nick), but through the combination of Amy's diaries and Nick's narration, we see both characters quite clearly.
In "Girl On The Train," we see the characters in two primary ways: from the train, as Rachel sees them and imagines their lives to be, and through Rachel's skewed, drunken memory.
There are things Rachel thinks she saw, but she can't fully recall so there is the gnawing feeling that she thinks she can be helpful in the case, and yet we wonder how much confidence can she have in her remembrances?
5. The setting.
"Gone Girl" takes place primarily in small town Wisconsin, with some flashbacks to their life in New York City before the move. But in small town Wisconsin, everyone becomes involved in finding Amy.
"Girl On The Train" takes place just outside of London, England in the midst of busy commuters that don't take notice of detail and are not concerned with Megan going missing, it doesn't remain “front page news” for very long. Where as in "Gone Girl" the town, and the people living in it could not move on from wondering where Amy Dunn had gone.
6. The women.
In "Gone Girl," once we know the real Amy we see that, to her, everyone is nothing more but a pawn in her game. In "Girl On The Train," it is clear how much the women find value from the men in their lives, Rachel's world revolves around her ex-husband even years after their marriage ended.
7. The ending.
Without giving away any spoilers for "Girl On The Train," I will say that there is really no way a story ending could be more upsetting and disappointing than "Gone Girl," so at least you can have that sense of relief when you see "Girl On The Train" this fall.