“You wanted things and you couldn’t help it, because there was only your life, only yourself to wake up with, and how could you ever tell yourself what you wanted was wrong?”
―Emma Cline, The Girls
As soon as I got word that this book was going to be published in June, I added it to the top of my TBR list. I have been impatiently waiting until my library received a copy. As soon as it came in I bothered my friend Sharon, who was processing materials, to hold it for me so that I could read it first. I was not disappointed; It was well worth the wait. If you are familiar with (or have done hours of research on) the Tate/ LaBianca murders, you will automatically be able to point out the moments in the story that were inspired by the horrible acts of the Manson Family in 1969. I am the type of person who is fascinated by cults. The Family, The People’s Temple, Davidians…you name it and I’ve probably done research on it! So you can imagine my excitement when this book was released!
“’There it was again, their wonder at Russell, their certainty. I was jealous of that trust, that someone else could stitch the empty parts of your life together so you felt there was a net under you, linking each day to the next.”
-Emma Cline, The Girls
Evie Boyd is a young girl struggling with her budding sexuality, her parents’ divorce, and loneliness after a falling out with her best friend. One day she sees a group of girls in the park and her whole world changes forever. Evie becomes enthralled with Suzanne, an older girl who takes her under her wing. Through Suzanne, Evie is introduced to the captivating leader of a soon-to-be infamous cult and is immediately lured in by their careless freedom and love for one another. As her obsession with Suzanne deepens, Evie may just miss the warning signs that are bringing her closer and closer to unthinkable violence.
Besides the captivating content, The Girls is a beautifully written novel. The only way I can describe it is: raw and real. The way Cline writes about young female insecurity and how she identifies the instances in a child’s life in which destructive behavior takes root is phenomenal.
Cline also paints a wonderful portrait of life during the violent end of the 1960’s. I enjoy novels with characters that have some flaw, I feel that they are more realistic that way. All of the characters, even Suzanne, who is described as pale with a patch of pimples on her chin. This makes you want to relate to them because they have more in common with you! The characters truly came to life for me. This book is going to stay with me for a very long time. I highly recommend it to anyone who would enjoy a bit of a disturbing read.