The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins ~ Audiobook Review

Cover of The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Published by: Riverhead

Published on: January 13, 2015

Page Count: 336

Genre: Fiction

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?

My Review

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.


  • At 2015.02.04 07:10, Kay said:

    I recently read this book and was kind of on the fence about my experience. I did finish it, but I stopped and started more than once. Rachel was tough to read about. I’m thinking now that I might have had a different experience if I had listened to it. I’m finding that I can often listen to books that I seem to have difficulty reading. Not sure exactly why that is, but it there it is. Thanks for your detailed review of the audio portion.

    • At 2015.02.04 09:05, BermudaOnion(Kathy) said:

      I loved this book so I’m very glad to see the audio was done so well.

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      • At 2015.02.04 10:18, Michelle said:

        I enjoyed it via print, but I wasn’t amazed by it. I also really struggled with all of the characters being fairly unlikable and poor examples for women. You are making me think I might have liked this more had I listened to it.

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        • At 2015.02.04 12:40, Ti said:

          I have the print version but everyone seems to love the audio book.

          I am not sure when I will read it though. I am trying to get some ARCs read. You know how that goes but I do want to read it when the discussions are fairly recent. I hate when I read something a year later and there is no one left to talk to about it.

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          • At 2015.02.04 15:15, Bookfool, aka Nancy said:

            I bought a hardback copy because The Girl on the Train seemed to fit my mood and I’m glad I did. I knew the characters were unlikable, going in (having read a few reviews) and yep, they certainly were. But, I didn’t mind that, for some reason. I guess I felt like Rachel, in particular, was believable because she portrayed the push-pull of an alcoholic who knows she needs to stop and tries but just can’t do it on her own. I was rooting for her, all the way through the book. And, I did find it fast-paced, so the book fulfilled my craving for a page-turner. Great review!

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              • At 2015.02.04 23:44, Mystica said:

                This is all over the blogs! interesting reviews as well.

                • At 2015.02.07 09:38, Heather @ Book Addiction said:

                  Everyone is raving about this one! Not sure I would have gotten to it because SO MANY BOOKS but my book club is reading it next month so now I have a good excuse. 🙂

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                  • At 2015.02.12 22:32, Allison said:

                    Thanks for such a great review! I really enjoyed this one as well, particularly the narration. I know a lot of people have complained that Rachel is unrelatable, but I found her to be the opposite – she’s frustrating, but I think a lot of us have been in situations like hers, and I liked how human and flawed she was. Following her point of view was incredibly rich.

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                      • At 2015.08.14 10:01, Joy Weese Moll (@joyweesemoll) said:

                        Thanks for the review! I just read it in print, but linked to your review of the audiobook because it sounds fascinating.

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                        • At 2016.11.14 09:08, Julie said:

                          I totally agree with Jennifer’s review of the audio. I definitely feel listening to the audio version would bring more to the enjoyment of the book than reading it. The skillful narration of the three women brings a depth to the material that I don’t think would have been as strong in the print book.

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