Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins (not the review you are expecting)

Girl On The Train, Paula Hawkins, Sheila DeChantal, Book Journey

Rachel takes the same train every morning.  While on the train she spends the time watching out the windows; the places, the people, making up stories of their lives.  Often she sees a couple sitting on their deck having breakfast.  Their life together looks wonderful and Rachel imagines that they live this glorious existence, she even gives then names; Jess and Jason.

Then one morning on the train Rachel sees something shocking.  It is there for a moment and then the train moves on.  Suddenly everything is moving too fast.  Rachel feels The following days unravel into a mess as though Rachel’s life is a ball of yarn that someone threw on the floor.

Rachel has to say something.  But to who?  And with her reputation… who would listen?




I honestly read The Girl On The Train because I seen it EVERYWHERE.  When people are talking about the next great read, you certainly do not want to be the one who passed it up, so I listened to it on audio.

I found the book to take a while to get into.  Rachel is not what I would call a likable protagonist.  She is heavily flawed and her constant excuses for her behavior honestly weighed on me.  I know this is going to put me in the minority on this one, but I know I would have enjoyed this more if Rachel would have had it more together.  I did not want to spend my time slogging through her issues every step of the way.  I have heard this book compared to Gone Girl and I did not see it.  I am pretty sure I have a post coming up about why that is. 🙂

Overall, Rachel’s issues aside, the book takes off and keeps you guessing.  The narrators Clare Corbett (Narrator), Louise Brealey (Narrator), India Fisher (Narrator) were wonderful.  I do like twists and turns and the ending was not one I had seen coming.

I believe my issues with this book are because I like strong protagonists.  I do understand that some would argue that it is Rachel’s flaws that add to the book.  I do not agree. This opinion on this one is all me.  Do not let it discourage you from reading a book that I think will do well overall.



  • Audible Audio Edition
  • Listening Length: 10 hours and 59 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio
  • Release Date: January 13, 2015


73 thoughts on “Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins (not the review you are expecting)

      1. I would rather have an honest review, that way when you do say something very positive, I know that is a true thought.
        I did not think you were negative in your review.

  1. I thought it was a very fast read, and I liked it, BUT I can see what you mean. It was hard to like Rachel. Altho, I did at the end. I also kind of figured it out about 3/4 into the book. It didn’t really ‘twist’ for me at the end.

  2. I have the same problem with Gillian Flynn’s characters. I think she is a brilliant writer but she never gives me anyone to root for or even someone sympathetic enough to side with.

    1. The only one of Flynn’s books that I really enjoyed the protagonists was Gone Girl because it was an excellent surprise. The other two books I struggled with just like this one – too much baggage I think.

    1. The narration I think is supposed to surprise us with it being unreliable. We are supposed to trust what we are being told and then be shocked when it is not as we thought – Flynn did a better job of this.

  3. I’m in that minority with you. I read this as an ARC through

    Riverhead, the publisher, is doing a great marketing job, creating a lot of hype for this book, right down to its very clever cover. But after all this hype, THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN disappoints. While it did keep my attention, it wasn’t as unputdownable as claimed until the last couple of chapters. It wasn’t for me.

    Rachel is a raging alcoholic who has opinions about people that are often based on nothing and are always wrong. She’s delusional, and many reviewers on book blogs didn’t get that. They thought her delusions were real. The entire book is about her alcoholic blackouts and figuring out what really happened.

    Some things about this book are aggravating. For instance, during tense moments, characters, especially Rachel, bite their lips, often so hard they draw blood. I could just imagine all the people walking around with bloody mouths they had chewed.

    The biggest aggravation is difficult to describe without saying too much and spoiling the story. It has to do with how everything is explained in the end. Such an easy solution that I felt like the author gypped me.

    Again, though, the book did keep my attention more than many books.

  4. Please note, whenever a book reviewer wants to pump up a book these days, they compare it to GONE GIRL (which is another book that was overhyped considering on how it crapped out during the final part and at the end).

  5. I respect your review. I havent read this yet. I also heard it compared to Gone Girl and Before I go to sleep by SJ Watson. My opinion of both those books having read them before the films and the major hype was that they were both a load of rubbish and I couldnt wait for them to end. I will give this one a go in due course but have other books to read first.

  6. Interesting to actually read a negative review of this considering ALL the hype that’s been circulating about it over the past weeks! I’d still like to read it – I think it sounds quite intriguing but mostly because everyone keeps going on about it haha!

    1. I hope you do read it! I know myself enough to know that wimpy protagonists bug me even though I know that was a huge part of why this book should work. I even thought about another book I had read recently that had a weak protagonist and wondered if that influenced me too… too many in a row? 🙂

  7. I like hearing from someone who didn’t love it. It keeps my expectations more realistic. I was thinking of listening to the audio, but I’m not sure about three narrators. I tend to prefer one, even when they have to handle multiple characters.

    1. I am glad. I really wanted to like it but I know I need to keep my reviews honest to me. I dont know if I would go audio on this one… I wonder if it would have flowed better for me in book format. While the narration was very good, I think the voice of Rachel added to my dislike. It was probably spot on, but my own voice probably would have helped me 😉

  8. I have read Gone Girl and everyone is telling me I need to read this book but after a few reviews alot of them are saying that this isn’t a similar book. I think I will wait awhile to read this since Gone Girl is still pretty fresh for me.

    1. It took me a while to figure out why they compare this to Gone Girl. I believe they are referring to the fact that what you are reading is not necessarily true – an unreliable narrator creates an interesting plot, and for many – this worked.

  9. I’ve seen this one everywhere, too, and put it on hold at the library. I’m #568 on the list, so it will be a long while before I get to it lol. I’m interested to see where it goes – the premise is so intriguing!

  10. I just finished this on audio, too. I actually found myself liking Rachel (and Megan) way more than I probably should have. They’re both pretty messed up, but I kept feeling like they were so close to getting their acts together. And Anna, who is probably the most composed of the narrators, was pretty awful. I dunno, I kind of liked that I was rooting for the messy women and that the put together one was mean. Not my favorite thriller ever, but I enjoyed it.

  11. I thought your review was going to be really bad but I thought it was very fair and in a way made me look forward to reading the book more – when I see nothing but good reviews I am nearly always disappointed because I build it up too much in my head. Emma

    1. Thanks 🙂 I know myself enough to know that certain protagonists rub me the wrong way and that is where I struggled. I wanted to be sure people knew that about me. I am glad it did not turn you off from the book.

  12. Another polarizing book – just my opinion. I actually liked this one much better than GONE GIRL, but I almost didn’t finish it. Had a bit of a time writing my thoughts on it. It will make a good book club read because there can be such disparity of opinion. I will be interested to see what Paula Hawkins writes next.

  13. I listened to the audiobook, too, and found it took a while to get into. I liked the book overall because it was a mystery that truly kept me guessing. But even though the characters felt real and true, I hated all of them (can we say unreliable narrators?!). But the characters were so real, that I know I’ll see them on the streets for a long time. I agree, the performers who read it were great.

  14. I don’t know what to think…sometimes really hyped books fall flat for me…I hate when that happens…I think I might just sit on the fence for this one for a while…lol! Sigh!

  15. I am still planning to read this one, and see how it plays out. But I do hate when the publicists compare books, hoping to gain readers. I would rather go into a book not expecting things to turn out a certain way.

    As for “messed up” characters, sometimes I really enjoy them. After all, I spent more than thirty years in a career in which I specialized in trying to help flawed people…LOL.

    1. I would love to read your thoughts on this one Laurel. I know you loved messed up characters and I do too – I think it is the emphasis when there are few characters and too much is put on the protagonist who can not handle it. 😀

  16. Great HONEST review. And oh my god… I don’t think I could sit through 11 hours of audio no matter how much I enjoyed the story! (And I’m sure you didn’t listen to it in one sitting, but I’m just sayin,,,)

    1. LOL, I prefer my audio between 7 and 9 hours… that’s about all I really like unless it is something I really really want to listen to – I think I once listened to one over 30 hours…. Justin Cronin… sooo long 😀

  17. I am not sure if I would even want to read this if I wasn’t seeing it EVERYWHERE! It is like GONE GIRL, though… I will probably get a copy and it will sit on my TBR forever.

  18. Rachel was unlikeable yes, but I liked her more towards the end. I agree that it took a while to get going. Not perfect for me but still decent.

  19. Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be reading it, too. But I’m glad to have read some less that glowing reviews so I’m going in with more realistic expectations.

  20. You’re right, I am surprised, however I appreciate a difference of opinion. I, too, prefer a strong lead, and if she is too flawed I might get irked fast. I’m not into all that drama, ever.
    Great review though!

    1. I would have read this one without the comparison, I liked the sound of it. I will have to rad your post – I have a post set to go up on Friday where the two protagonists of the books go up against one another. 😀

  21. I’ve just started listening to the Girl on the Train yesterday with my husband. We’re only a few pages in but my husband finds Rachel annoying and full of self pity. I had to stop listening after a while cause he wouldn’t shut up about how depressing she was. Sigh.

  22. I wasn’t a fan. I hadn’t yet read Gone Girl, although I have now, and it doesn’t compare (incidentally I had honestly not even heard of Gone Girl until the movie came out, but then again I tend to read Lee Child novels).

    The short description you used at the beginning of the review is all anyone should read before they start the novel. I read the description on Amazon and it was a lot longer, and to be honest it ruined a number of plot points that I would have enjoyed if I had read them for the first time rather than knowing them in advance (I won’t go into them as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who hasn’t read it yet). So I would advise anyone just to jump in and not read anything about it first. Overall I was underwhelmed. I understood what it wanted to do, I wanted to finish it, and it was a quick and easy read, but it didn’t leave me feeling satisfied. I don’t think the hype is justified. I feel my opinion was relatively objective, as I had not yet read the book it was being compared to, so was coming to it “clean”.

    In comparison, I have just read Gone Girl and I understand the hype. Aside from the infuriating ending which I did not like at all, I really enjoyed it, and it gripped me a lot more than the Girl on the Train did.

    This may be unfair, as I have never written a book, but in comparison to Gone Girl this one just felt amateurish, as if the author read Gone Girl, thought that was a good style to use, and then had what is a good idea but lacked the skill to really execute it well. That is probably how I would sum up my thoughts – great premise, poor execution.

  23. I had a horrible time getting through this one – and didn’t care for it at all. My recommended alternative is The Good Girl by Mary Kubica – I really enjoyed that one.

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