The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Published by: Riverhead
Published on: January 13, 2015
Page Count: 336
My Reading Format: Audiobook review copy provided to me for consideration.
Audiobook Published by: Penguin Audio
Narrators: Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 59 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook
Summary from the Publisher:
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?
The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins’ debut novel, begins with a drunken, obsessive divorcee who rides the train to London every morning in order to keep secret from her roommate that she’s lost her job as well. Rachel can see the home she made with her ex-husband along her route as well as the home of what she considers a perfect couple. Not that she is in a strong position to judge another human being, Rachel one day notices something that she feels is immoral and irresponsible. Getting to the bottom of what has happened gives her life more purpose than she’s had since before her divorce.
I’d rather not say anything else about the book itself. This is a book I enjoyed coming to with no more information than what I’ve written above. I can say that I very much enjoyed Hawkins’ writing. The inner dialog going through the three main female characters was excellent. I may not be an alcoholic, but I’ve had very similar discussions with myself about overeating. In that way I connected with Rachel. Isn’t it always easier to focus on the faults of others when your own are so heavy and smothering? There was plenty of plot to move the story, but I found myself enjoying what was happening inside the characters more than anything else.
The Girl on the Train by its structure and design lent itself well to the audiobook medium. Each main character was narrated by a different narrator and I found them all to be cast impeccably. Clare Corbett was Rachel. While I as the reader may have called called it like I saw it in Rachel’s life, Corbett was always and in every way true to her character. There was no judgment, just being. Corbett brought humanity to the mess that was Rachel and I enjoyed each moment I spent in her company.
The voice of the woman narrating Megan immediately sounded familiar. When I researched Louise Brealey I discovered that she is the actress who portrays Molly on Sherlock. While I could have spent my time listening to her thinking “She kissed Benedict Cumberbatch!” it never crossed my mind while I was listening. Megan is such an interesting character and Brealey blended into her so well that my inner geek only bubbled up when I was outside of the experience. Brealey’s performance was delightful and made me wish that Molly was an even more prominent character on that show. What higher compliment is there for an audiobook narrator than to say as a listener that you want more of their work?
India Fisher was the last narrator to show up in The Girl on the Train and, just as with the character she portrayed, I was uncertain how I felt about her. This is not to say that she isn’t a good narrator. She is. Her approach to her character was different and her voice and tone were brusque, almost impatient, in comparison to her co-narrators. As the novel progressed and all of the pieces began to knit themselves together, I saw just how genius Fisher’s casting was. I learned never to doubt a director who has thus far delivered perfection.
It was as if Paula Hawkins wrote The Girl on the Train with audiobook listeners like me in mind. It is an amazing, satisfying experience from beginning to end. I look forward to whatever comes next from Hawkins as well as the talented women who helped bring this story to life through their narration. Audiobooks don’t get much better than this.