Audiobook Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

TheGirlonthe TrainSource: Borrowed from Library
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Narrators: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, & India Fisher
Series: –
Edition: Audiobook, 10 Hours
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Purchase:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble /Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Rating: 4/5

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.

The Girl on the Train is not my normal kind of read. I tend to avoid thrillers because of how utterly frustrated they make me. I either guess who the bad guy is way before I’m supposed to or the characters do stupid things and I’m left screaming in my head. Well…The Girl on the Train definitely did the latter, but I found myself desperate to hear every single word of this one.

The Girl on the Train takes unreliable narration seriously, giving us one point of view that leaves us constantly guessing while the other two play second fiddle and color our image with bias and extra information. I’m not sure if I was meant to like any of the characters because I hated them all, but I was invested in their stories and the only time I took a break was to sleep or if a customer came in. Rachel is a desperate alcoholic who wants to move on from her ex-husband but keeps spinning her wheels, Anna her ex-husband’s new wife, and Megan the woman who was murdered. All three of these points of  view had me in turmoil.  I’m pretty sure I was growling at parts of it because they are three of the most frustrating individuals ever, but it’s because of those strong feelings that I enjoyed it so much. This is a ‘whodunnit’ with the emotions amped way up, and I felt just desperate as Rachel at times for the answers to who was responsible for the woman’s death. The entire story takes a lot of time to piece together, and I warred with wanting Rachel to stay out it and wanting her to get involved more.

Any time a mystery book manages to keep my highly analytical brain churning and unable to decide just who it was that did the deed for at least the first 60% of the book I consider it a success (though it’s rare)…so for this book to completely through me for a loop until about 75-80% is just amazing. Kudos to you Ms. Hawkins. It might have been I was preoccupied with wanting to punch people for their lack of clear judgment (but who could really blame them), but I appreciate when a mystery actually remains a mystery.

The narrators were excellent and I quite liked their ability to put on new personas and give clear voice to other characters. Megan’s voice, Louise Brealey, is my favorite personally because she sounds like Billie Piper and I could honest listen to that woman talk all day. If Louise Brealey may sound familiar and that’s because she’s Molly Hooper on BBC’s Sherlock! The only narrator I had a problem with was Anna, and that’s because she had a flat sort of voice…but honestly it worked well with the type of personality Anna has.

I quite like the style of this book and I can’t wait until I get a chance to read more like it, namely Gone Girl. I’ve heard it is an excellent read for those who are aching for a book with a slow forming plot and lots of emotional twisting.

4 stars

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13 Responses to Audiobook Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. Kimberly says:

    This is perfect. It’s basically exactly how I felt about the book and the characters!

  2. Wow. I love a good mystery/thriller novel, but I’m not sure I’m ready to dive into this book because of what you said abut the characters. I’m not really a fan of frustrating characters. Nice review, Michelle. 🙂

  3. I’ve been wanting to read this book. Glad to hear it was good. 🙂

  4. Christy says:

    “Any time a mystery book manages to keep my highly analytical brain churning and unable to decide just who it was that did the deed for at least the first 60% of the book I consider it a success (though it’s rare)”

    Yes! Same with me. I soooo need to read this.

  5. The unreliable narrator always makes for an interesting read

  6. Oh my heck you describe thrillers perfectly! IT’s hard to find a well written mystery. How cool that Molly Hooper helped narrate it!!

  7. Cynthia says:

    Great review! I really need to read this one.

  8. So glad you liked this one. And yes I wanted to punch the characters too. It’s funny how you can be so annoyed by them all and still love the book!

  9. Bound to Be Me says:

    Thanks for the great review! This book is on my to read list. Can’t wait to read it 🙂

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