The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins — narrated by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher — is a mystery in which a woman with low self-esteem, who is an alcoholic, continues to stalk her ex-husband, mostly at a distance. Rachel Watson’s divorce and drinking caused her to lose her job, but she still wakes up like clockwork to take the train into London so her roommate is unaware that she’s lost her job. She has some money saved, and even though she could be moving on with her life and getting a new job, she wallows in her sorrow at the bottom of a bottle, creating perfect, imaginary lives for the people she sees out the train windows.
Jason and Jess become a couple that she can imagine lives in marital bliss, but in reality, Megan and Scott Hipwell have a marriage that has lost its appeal, at least for Megan. She desires something more than what she has with Scott, who she fails to see as controlling even as he goes through her emails on a regular basis. She wants her life to be more than just sitting at home waiting for her husband to come home. Like Rachel, she is dissatisfied with what her life has become.
Rachel, meanwhile, is on the outside of her ex-husband’s life with his new wife and daughter, who continue to live in the house she and he used to live in, and she’s on the outside of the world looking in, much like she’s staring out the train windows. She’s searching for something, she needs to belong to something, but what she ends up entangling herself in is something that could lead to her own death. Meanwhile, her ex-husband’s new wife Anna is terrified of Rachel, worried that her stalking will turn to something more.
Listening to the audio was never boring and the different narrators helped when Hawkin’s story changed points of view. Moreover, the narrator for Rachel really put you in the mindset of a broken woman who was down on herself, blamed herself, and was unable to break out of her self-destructive cycle of drinking and blacking out. Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train is a twisted tale of the suburban lives we often perceive as idyllic, and the lives we believe we have but actually do not. How well do we know our spouses, their experiences, their families, and how well do they know us? Many of us have inner demons or secrets we would rather not face, so we lie about them to ourselves and those we love.
About the Author:
Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction. Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. The Girl on the Train is her first thriller.