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Thursday, June 1, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins @PHawkinsAuthor @PRHAudio

TITLE: The Girl on the Train
PUBLISHER: Penguin Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: January 13, 2015
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 10 hrs and 59 mins
GENRE: Mystery, Thriller
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.


I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration.

It’s hard to believe that this is Hawkins’ debut! She pulled me into the storyline like a pro, and she managed to keep me guessing right until the end!

The story is told from three points of view. By telling the story from multiple viewpoints, I feel that it adds to the dimension of the characters. First, we meet Rachel Watson. She rides the train from Ashbury to London and back each day so that her roommate won’t find out that she actually lost her job. She’s an alcoholic, and she frequently imbibes on the return trip home. She is a people watcher and very observant. The train usually stops at the same place every day, and she is able to get a good view of a particular home and its inhabitants. She sees who she thinks is the perfect couple: Jason and Jess, which aren’t their real names of course. She fantasizes about their perfect life in their perfect home, and she is taken aback when she sees Jess one day in a romantic clinch with another man! She becomes very incensed, and part of the reason for that is because Rachel’s ex-husband cheated on her. Rachel thought her marriage, like Jason’s and Jess’ marriage, was perfect and was oblivious to the fact that her husband was cheating on her with another woman. The story then jumps to Megan Hipwell’s point of view, who is Jess, and goes back in time to a year earlier so we get to see what transpired in the past leading up to what Rachel witnesses. Later in the book, a third point of view from Anna Watson is added, who is Rachel’s ex-husband’s new wife. Interestingly, Megan lives on the same street where Rachel lived with her ex-husband and where he now lives with Anna. When Megan goes missing, Rachel is driven to find out what happened to her and if this strange man that she spotted Megan with factors into the picture. Not only that, but Rachel went to her ex-husband's house that night to confront him, so she was in the area on the night that Megan disappeared but she was so drunk that she has gaps in her memory. 

I like flawed and complex characters, and Hawkins treats us to a cast of them! Rachel as an alcoholic is completely unreliable, so I spent a good deal pondering whether things actually occurred the way that she thinks they did! Also, she is an outside observer and her impressions might be wrong or skewed by what her ex-husband did to her. Secrets, secrets, everyone has a secret! I have to admit that I didn’t particularly care for any of the characters, but that is okay! I found them all abhorrent in their own way, but I don’t have to like the characters to enjoy the story. Sometimes, it’s interesting to see how far down someone can fall or how messed up they become! Hawkins kept the tension in the story high, and I loved how she unraveled this mystery bit by bit. There was a red herring that threw me off, and I was completely blindsided by the ending. I love it when an author can do that! I really enjoyed this debut, and I am really looking forward to reading Hawkins' sophomore novel, Into the Water, which was released in May 2017.

There were three different narrators for the story’s multiple points of view: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher. All of them were wonderful, so it doesn’t surprise me that this audiobook was the Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award and 2016 Audie Award Winner for Best Audiobook of the Year. Each narrator brought the personality of her character to life, and I think the audiobook was enhanced by using different narrators for each viewpoint. In particular, the narrator for Anna was so convincing that she really made me hate her! I assume it was India Fisher, since she was the third narrator listed and Anna’s perspective was the third one introduced. Here is a sample of the narration:

I have avoided watching any movie trailers or reading book reviews so as to not spoil the story for myself. It’s best to go into this one blind. I am planning to watch the 2016 film adaptation, but I have heard from others that it is incredibly boring! There is a lot of internal dialog, so perhaps that doesn't adapt well to the big screen. I suspect that the movie won’t hold a candle to the book, but I will come back to add my thoughts after seeing it.

4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR if you enjoy psychological thrillers! Thanks again to Penguin Random House Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

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  1. Darlene, I hope the movie's not as boring as you've heard. I was looking forward to seeing it, myself! I guess I'll have to move this book up on my TBR.

    1. I'll let you know, Juli. Definitely read the book before seeing the movie!


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