Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Girls

Hey, I'm only 8 books behind on my Goodreads challenge...again!  LOL I had a productive weekend though and managed to finish up The Girls by Emma Cline, which I'd checked out from my library after seeing it on quite a few "must read" books lists floating around online.
As I've mentioned previously on the blog, growing up in Southern Oregon, Charles Manson and his followers were "The Boogie Man". Theirs was the story you heard talked about in hushed tones...the story to scare little kids. I devoured Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi as soon as I could get my hands on it. I have since watched documentaries and read stories about this cult and their victims. The Girls is loosely based on their story.

It's not cookie cutter, and there were a few changes made. Roman Polanski traded in for Mitch the famous musician...instead of a pregnant girlfriend we get a girlfriend and her young son. But this is the story of Evie, a 14 year old girl who gets sucked into a cult led by the enigmatic Russell because of The Girls.

Evie is insecure and struggling to figure out how to be a woman. How to deal with friends, handle her relationship with her parents, figure out her newfound interest in sex, etc. She has a fight with her friend Connie...and around then notices The Girls rummaging for food and walking through the park with so much confidence and mystique. She is instantly smitten with Suzanne...who could be called the head girl of the group...and manages to be brought into the fold.

We all know where the story is going. Plenty of drugs, sex and shenanigans. The sex is very blatant, raw and it should be in this type of story. As a mother in 2016 it's hard to imagine a time when a mom wouldn't really care or worry when her 14 year old daughter doesn't come home for days at a time. I think the vibe is very true to it's 1960's setting though.

I found the present day Evie story, which is only told most is her remembering her experiences with the Cult as a mature be a little boring. The ending leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion. But overall, I really enjoyed this. I devoured it in two sittings, which says something. I could relate to 14 year old Evie, all full of insecurity and worry. Wondering if you're saying the right thing, doing the right thing, etc. You can clearly see how cults can woo young girls who are looking for someplace where they can belong.

So, if you're looking for something a little darker to read this summer, give this one a shot. I think it is a solid 4 stars...highlighting some of what was seriously wrong about 1960's Southern California. I think it would appeal most to fans of true crime books.

Have you read Helter Skelter? The Girls? Have a fascination with cult literature? True Crime? Let me know what you think in the comments below, or over on my Facebook page.

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