THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN: Train of Thought

Self wants it to NOT be Rachel.

Because Rachel evokes so many feelz in self.

And Rachel’s point of view is the one we’re inside of, mostly.

Somewhere near the halfway point of Girl on the Train, self reads an Anna point of view. Self is usually impatient with multiple point of view narratives: she thinks the switching around is really just a lame excuse for the author not to come up with a tight plot. Like the switch is nothing more than an extended tease. But self really relishes the point-of-view switches in Girl on the Train. The novel presents us with a great puzzle and a great unreliable narrator and the only way the reader can figure out what’s really going down is to hear from all the characters.

Anna (Tom’s current wife) describes seeing Rachel. It’s a scene that we’ve seen earlier, narrated from Rachel’s point of view. All along, self has thought of Rachel as a well-meaning, deluded drunk. Just your typical messed-up anti-heroine. Self absolutely loathes Tom. His diatribes, his abandonment of Rachel. Of course, we aren’t that sympathetic with Anna, Tom’s current wife.

Then, suddenly, we’re inside Anna’s head, Anna watching Rachel. And it is a little un-nerving to read Rachel as giving a sort of sneer at Anna. The sneer of a woman who is absolutely in control of her actions, if not of her emotions. Could Rachel be pulling a fast one on the reader? (And how on earth is Emily Blunt going to play this character, Emily Blunt who is so immensely likeable even when bitchy, as she was in The Devil Wears Prada?)

What’s really interesting is that, despite the fact that Anna is the Other Woman, and of course we would not expect her to have a sympathetic view of Rachel, when she describes sneering Rachel, it makes the reader question her liking of Rachel, instead of making us dislike Anna more.

Why does this happen?

Each switch in point of view is a surprise. In other words, the patterns are unpredictable: we don’t have a uniform order for the switching. It’s not Anna, followed by Rachel, followed by Megan, then back to Anna, followed by Rachel, followed by Megan etc etc

But each switch does carry the story forward. And readers find themselves becoming detectives, constantly testing new theories of who did what.

And such is self’s curiosity that she sometimes cannot wait to resume reading, she grabs the book (which is always in her tote) even if it only means reading a few paragraphs more.

She thinks her seatmate on the plane who much preferred Daniel Silva to Paula Hawkins was so, so wrong.

The Girl on the Train resembles The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, another mystery that asks: Who did it?

The central character has some flaw that makes it difficult for her/him to be taken seriously. In TCIOTDITN, it’s the narrator’s Aspergers. Here, it’s the fact that Rachel is alcoholic and depressed and given to mood swings. Yet, they doggedly persist in their “investigations.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Current Fan Fiction Fave’s Everlark Ship Still Not Yet Ready to Sail, in the Meantime at the Cineplex . . .

Oh, fan fiction.  You have self on pins and needles all the time.  All the time.

The Fourth of July weekend is coming up. On the Monday following (July 7), self sails off to Squaw Valley for the Writers Conference.  She just arranged to share a ride with someone from Benicia.  Excited!

This afternoon, self casts a very cursory look over the summer movie offerings.  She still wants to see “22 Jump Street”, though The Man saw it while she was in Los Angeles and declared it not good at all.

She still wants to see “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” as she loved the first one.

She’s seen “Edge of Tomorrow.”  Oh, that was good!  Emily Blunt is packin’.  It is so great when an actress with proven dramatic chops switches gears.  Blunt’s Full Metal Bitch deserves a place on the pantheon of Female Action Stars — maybe not quite on the level of Femme Nikita or Ripley, but definitely equal to Scarjo’s Black Widow.

She still wants to see “The Fault in Our Stars.”  Son and Jennie saw it and liked it, though Jennie maintained that the book was better.

She saw “Maleficent” down in Pasadena, with Son and Jennie.  3 1/2 out of 4 stars.  Self found Jolie’s razor-sharp cheekbones a tad distracting.  So was her lightning-fast change into leather pants in the movie’s climactic confrontation.

“X-Men:  Days of Future Past” — four out of four stars!  Magnificent!  Love the Vietnamese-talking Mystique!  Love J-Law/Mystique in 70s bo-ho hippie attire!  Love unrequited angst between J-Law/Mystique and McAvoy/Xavier and also with Hoult/Beast, and the jealous macho-ness of Fassbender/Magneto!  Not to mention, Ellen Page is one darn cute actress!  She hasn’t been this cute since “Juno”!

Finally, self still wants to see “Godzilla.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

 

Several Things About “Looper”

Self doesn’t know why JGL had to wear prosthetics, because he didn’t look anything like the young Bruce Willis.  What was up with those heavy eyebrows!  Even when Bruce Willis was a young whippersnapper, in “Moonlighting,” with Cybill Shepherd, he never had those eyebrows!  They were so distracting!

Emily Blunt is great.  Whether she’s chopping up a tree trunk, gazing miserably at her blistered hands, wielding a rifle, mouthing cuss words, miming the smoking of an illusory cigarette, feeling wistful and hot for JGL, hiding in a safe, or protecting her weird kid from the entire world, she looks great doing it.  (Self also wishes she could say Ms. Blunt’s American accent seemed very authentic, but the memory of how convincing she found Tom Hardy’s supposedly backwoods accent in “Lawless” — an opinion apparently not shared by reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes — still reverberates)

The little kid was like something out of “The Omen.”  Seriously, he was like the Second Coming of Damien.

The whole time travel thing?  Self is so over it.  Having been present at the birth (with the first “Terminator”), she would like to preside over its demise.  The only time travel movie of relatively recent vintage that self enjoyed was the adaptation of Audrey Niffenegger’s “The Time-Traveler’s Wife.”  Self cried buckets after that one.  Well, technically “Midnight in Paris” is also a time travel movie.  But no, it wasn’t!  That was more like a Cinderella story!

Paul Dano, as a hapless looper, whose motorcycle is very integral to the plot (at least in the beginning) was also great.

Jeff Daniels, as an amiable Bad Guy, is wonderful.  Just flat-out wonderful.  His lines, even the silliest, were invested with so much droll wit.  Self remembers that he and JGL were in a movie together, some time back:  “The Lookout.”  Jeff Daniels played JGL’s blind mentor.  That was a really terrific movie.

Maybe it’s because self liked “Premium Rush” so much, she was disappointed by this one. JGL needs no special effects.  He is a good actor.  Please take the gun out of his hand.  Mebbe it’s time for him to do a comedy.

As for Emily Blunt, she and Jessica Chastain are now self’s favorite actresses, as of this moment.

Oh, before self forgets:  Piper Perabo is in this movie as well, and she is great!  Not only that, she must be one of the few dozen actresses in Hollywood today who do not feel it necessary to get a boob job.

(Thank God, today self did not have to sit through another preview of “Taken 2.”  How long can things keep going this way, with the family of Liam Neeson constantly being “taken” when they’re overseas?  In this one, the stakes are upped because it’s not just the daughter who’s taken, but apparently the entire family.  Well, at least in this one,  the daughter is apparently able to do some action scenes herself.  That is, the preview shows her driving a car during a high speed chase)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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