In “Girl on the Train,” the author tells the story through the words of three narrators, Rachel, Megan, and Anna. Rachel is a scorned, hard-drinking, unemployed woman who displaces her pain over the loss of her husband (Tom) to another woman (Anna), by regularly riding a train to and from her rented suburban apartment to London; she gives anyone who knows her the impression that she is going to work each day even though she was fired because of her excessive drinking.
Rachel fantasizes over a particular house on the route and makes up names for the occupants she perceives to be leading the ideal life as husband and wife- an experience she used to have. One day, she sees a man at this house, embracing a woman, but he isn’t her husband. Later, Rachel finds out the woman (her real name is Megan) turns up missing, and her real husband (Scott) becomes a suspect. Her ex-husband lives next door (not a fantasy) with Anna.
The crux of the mystery turns on Rachel’s ability to recall details in spite of her alcohol-induced stupors, her lack of credibility, and about four suspects- all who had the motive and opportunity to kill Megan. There are ample trysts, sexual scenes, and twists in the book making it exciting.
The actress Emily Blunt is portraying Rachel Watson in the movie, “The Girl on the Train,” due out on October 7th. Blunt told the New York Times that she didn’t have an addictive personality, “so it was like wearing somebody else’s skin.” She added, “As alien as this person is to who I truly am, I had to understand her and empathize and get into that mindset.” Ms. Blunt added. “The thing I found most helpful was watching ‘Intervention’ on a loop until I had seen every type of addiction in action.”
We look forward to the movie but wonder whether Blunt will capture the essence of Watson’s troubled alcohol-induced madness: Addictive behavior, like the blues, cannot commonly be emulated– you have to have lived it. B.B. King talks about this when he says
I’ve laid in a ghetto flat
Cold and numb
I heard the rats tell the bedbugs
To give the roaches some
Everybody wanna know
Why I’m singing the blues
Yes, I’ve been around a long time
People, I’ve paid my dues
B.B. King, “Why I Sing the Blues.”
Maybe Blunt can rise to the occasion– we’ll see in October.
One reviewer of the movie said, “Blunt can’t quite pull off the famously difficult task of believably playing drunk; her slurred words and blotchy face are overdone.”
Say it ain’t so Joe. We expressed some concern over whether she could pull it off given her seemingly puritan lifestyle. Maybe, our work with junkies, addicts, and alcoholics has skewed our ability to judge. But of one thing we are sure—you can’t put a shine on a sneaker.