Title : The Girl on the Train
Author : Paula Hawkins
Narrators : Clara Corbett, India Fisher, Louise Brealey
Genre : Mystery
Publisher : Penguin Audio
Listening Length : 10 hours 59 minutes
Rating : 4.5/5
Narrator Rating : 5/5
This book is based on an intriguing premise – woman on passing train sees something shocking in a split-second! That is why I picked this up, and have to say that it does live up to all the hype.
Rachel is a recently divorced alcoholic. Her ex-husband Tom has married again and now has a child, something he couldn’t do with Rachel. The three, Tom, wife and child, now live in the home that used to once be Rachel and Tom’s. Rachel’s train to work skirts through her old neighborhood every day, where she is able to look into the backyard of another home, seeing a handsome couple breakfast together everyday. Rachel fantasizes about this couple as a perfect pair, both so much in love, and even concocts up a name for them – “Jess and Jason”.
One day though, eagerly looking for her “Jess and Jason”, Rachel instead sees something unexpected and shocking. Subsequently when she sees a missing woman’s face on the news, and realizes it is “Jess”, she goes to the police and tells them what she has seen. Rachel is, from then on, embroiled in a mystery that will change her reality as she knows it.
The book is told from three viewpoints – Rachel’s, Anna’s (Tom’s current wife), and Megan’s (the missing woman). Rachel is quite the unreliable narrator – she is an alcoholic with very little will-power, forgets stuff in her post-alcohol episodes, omits the truth when convenient, and generally doesn’t walk the morally upright path. Even when she pours out her story to the police they are loath to take her seriously. Anna, the “other woman” turned wife, considers Rachel to be an anti-social psychopath who wants to poison her happy life with Tom. And Megan or “Jess” has her own little convoluted story to tell. All three women have reason to hide their action and the motives for those actions. So you have a nice little set-up. Who do you believe?
Rachel’s isn’t a pleasant person but you do feel sorry for her, and she, with all her flaws and her unhappy circumstances, seems real. It is Rachel’s narrative that draws me in, and keeps me there. Hawkins paces her novel well, so there is a fresh new twist at every turn. And the end is quite unpredictable. “The Girl on the Train” is a very well-done mystery, and is made even better by the 3 narrators.