Audiobook Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

91luebr2g1lHello, everyone! A new review for your guys this week, this time, the audiobook of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.

This is another book  I was super excited to read,  but I never did get around to buying the book. Fortunately, I joined Audible and I heard that the audio version was fantastic.

On the 8:04 train to London ever morning, Rachel Watson relishes in the few minutes she gets to glimpse into the lives of one particular couple as they breakfast on their terrace.

She’s nicknamed them Jess and Jason and Rachel has started to feel like she  knows them.

Until she sees something in the briefest of moments that changes everything.

Suddenly, Rachel is wrapped up in the investigation of a missing woman and her old neighborhood.

The premise sounds thrilling and I was really excited to listen to this book. I had been hearing about for almost two years and I really thought it would be enthralling.

Sadly, as the story continued I started to wish that I had missed the train. While I originally liked Rachel’s sarcastic, very blasé attitude towards life, and her fascination with the house by the train tracks, I started to feel like the story was predictable.

Then again, this comes from a person who regularly knows who the criminal is in The Blacklist or Blindspot well before the last act, and in some cases the last episode.  (Maybe I missed my real calling.)

Rachel is by far the most interesting character, if not the one most in need of help throughout the whole book and her chapters are the ones that kept me interested. Consider she is “The Girl on the Train” in a book titled The Girl on the Train, that’s probably a good thing.

Rachel’s chapters kept me interested,  in part because I love a good memory loss story. I recently read With Malice by Eileen Cook, a young adult novel that has a similar take on a missing block of time.

The difference with The Girl on the Train is that there are three points of view that fill in the space in the main character’s memory gap. The two characters that support Rachel’s story are a little less interesting for most of the book and when most of the book is posturing and thinking up hypothetical scenarios, my mind starts to wander.

In the end, I am not sure how successful it is with fleshing out the lives of the characters. The characters are messed up, but I could see the answer to the mystery about halfway through the book.

The last hour or so of this audiobook was what I really enjoyed. I liked the way the mystery comes to fruition and the way that that everything ends. I am not sure this is an audiobook I will return to again but the end may be worth the eleven hours it takes to listen.

It might be a good thing I listened to this book instead of reading it. If I had been reading it, I probably would have bailed.

Most of the story consists of going over the events. There is very little movement in the book at all with the train serving as the only method of transport and then a lot of talking and rehashing the events.

The three narrators are what saved the story and kept me engaged.  Without the performances of Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher I would have put the book down.

The audiobook version consists of three voices and each performance is great. I loved the sarcastic notes in Rachel’s voice, the whimsical sorrow of Megan’s chapters, and Anna’s perfunctory and matter-of-fact narration.

My biggest pet peeve was how some of the chapters were broken up. While I liked that each bit was broken up into a bite-sized chunk, no section being longer than ten minutes, I think that it was difficult to follow who was speaking if you happened to shut the book off in the middle of a narration.

I wish that in cases like this the chapters were labeled with character names instead of chapter numbers. Something more to identify where they story was taking place. So that I could easily go back if I feel like I missed something without having to dip around and listen to the first sentence of several chapters.

Overall, an interesting take on the way people interact and watch those around him. I could definitely see parts of this book like a movie.

There is movie due out later this year starring Emily Blunt. I think this may be a medium that might translate a little better into film.

I will say this, I love the song they chose for the trainer; a cover of the Kanye West song, “Heartless.”

For those of you who have read the book, who do you think that’s describing? Let me know in the comments below.

FINAL RATING: 3.5 Stars.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is available as an audiobook for purchase through Audible and iTunes. You can purchase a physical copy through your local independent bookseller, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon

Published by Lauren Busser

Lauren Busser is a fiction writer and essayist. She is an associate editor at Tell-Tale TV, where she writes about all things tv. She has had fiction appear in five : 2 : one magazine’s #thesideshow and her nonfiction has appeared in Bitch Media and The Hartford Courant. You can find her talking about tv, film, and knitting on Twitter @LaurenBusser.

14 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

  1. Hi Lauren! Just connect with this review from Backlist Book Challenge! I thought the book was pretty over-hyped, and I think I was uncomfortable with all 3 women because they weren’t very likeable… However, the trailer looks AWESOME and I think Emily Blunt will kill it. [The song could arguably be about all 3 women at some point in the story or another!]


    1. Hi Jen! I could definitely see your points. I didn’t think any of the characters was really likable. I am finding that if the story is good it doesn’t matter to me if I like the main character as much as I used to think. I actually wish that I could forget the plot of this book for a while so that I could see the movie and then judge them separately. Emily Blunt is amazingly talented and I look forward to seeing her as Rachel!


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