Audio Book Review: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl On The Train CoverBook: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins, Narrated by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher

Published January 2015 by Penguin Audio|11 hours

Where I Got It: I borrowed the audio book from the library

Series: None

Genre: Adult Thriller

Blog Graphic-What It's About

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

Blog Graphic- What I Thought

I feel like I’ve been hearing a lot about The Girl On The Train, and I’m glad I got to read it!

So, it’s a really interesting mystery (although it’s one that I figured out maybe 2/3 of the way through?), and while it wasn’t surprising when it was revealed, it was still fun to get to that point. Mostly because Rachel is such an unreliable character, and you’re never sure if what she figures out is completely accurate.  So even though I was pretty convinced of what happened to Megan, I still had my doubts about whether I was right or not.

I thought the end was somewhat predictable- probably because I correctly figured out what happened, at least to some degree- but this was a case where it honestly didn’t matter.  Partly because of how unreliable Rachel is, with her alcoholism, and the fact that she drinks to the point of blacking out and not remembering a single thing later on. But there is something compelling about the book, and I just really wanted to see what would happen.

It was also pretty immersive, and I felt like I was really in the book, which I think has a lot to do with the fact that I listened to it.  It made me wish (for probably the first and only time) that I had a longer drive to work so I could keep listening.  If you haven’t read it yet, I would definitely recommend the audio, because for some reason, The Girl On The Train works really well as an audio book.

Speaking of audio books: the narrators!  The book is narrated by Rachel, the main narrator of the book (Clare Corbett), Megan, who narrates fairly frequently (Louise Brealey) and Anna, who narrates sporadically (India Fisher). I’m not the biggest fan of multiple narrators, but it worked so well for this book, particularly with how Hawkins did it.  Rachel does narrate most of the book, but you get random sections from Megan and Anna, and I have no idea why it worked, but it did.

I’m glad they went with 3 different narrators for the audio, because I can’t imagine one person narrating all three women.  And it really helped distinguish between the three.  I did have to figure out who was who (this post was really helpful, plus they have excerpts).  I really liked who they selected as narrators- Corbett, Brealey and Fisher really brought Rachel, Megan and Anna to life, and they totally sounded like how I would expect the characters to sound.  I think Corbett was my favorite (probably because we hear her the most), but I would also listen to anything Brealey narrated.  Fisher was definitely my least favorite, and Anna was the character who I hated the most.

I hated Anna so much that I was glad we didn’t see her narrate more.  Because the more we saw of her, the more I hated her.  She came across as a vindictive, whiny spoiled brat, and…as weird as this is…I found myself yelling at her whenever we saw her.  The other characters, particularly Megan and Rachel, have a bit more to them than Anna did, and overall, it’s a good look at characters and why they act the way they do.

I’ve seen the comparisons to Gone Girl, but I won’t, because I haven’t read it, and I’m not comfortably with saying anything either way.

Blog Graphic- My Rating

3 stars.  I liked it- it was really engrossing, and I wanted to keep listening, but I didn’t love it either.

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