Girls - their vulnerability, strength, and passion to belong - are at the heart of this stunning first novel for audiences of Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad.
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie it is exotic, thrilling, charged - a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence - and to that moment in a girl's life when everything can go horribly wrong.
Emma Cline's remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction - and an indelible portrait of girls and of the women they become.
©2016 Emma Cline (P)2016 Random House Audio
"The Girls is a brilliant and intensely consuming novel - imposing not just for a writer so young, but for any writer, any time." (Richard Ford)
"Emma Cline's first novel positively hums with fresh, startling, luminous prose. The Girls announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in American fiction." (Jennifer Egan)
"I don't know which is more amazing, Emma Cline's understanding of human beings or her mastery of language." (Mark Haddon, New York Times best-selling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
This is a peculiar novel, not unlikable, but I'm not sure what the author was going for. Obviously, the story is inspired by the horrific 1969 Manson murders: time, place, cult, drugs, and the manipulative male figure that saw himself as a prophet of sorts. The characters Cline has created to carry her echo of Helter Skelter aren't merely *similar,* they are the Manson family diluted. You know the author is talking about Susan Atkins with her All-American teen good looks, the pig-tailed, crazy-eyed Linda Kasabian, the big meat Tex Watson, and the infamous architect of the murders Charles Manson -- but the author gives you watered down, teenaged angst-filled imitations. Evie, the teen trying to find herself in a life that has just turned upside down; a beautiful bohemian (bi-sexual) Suzanne, a similarly pig-tailed girl, the family's muscle man, even the connection between the cult leader and a famous musician [*Dennis Wilson of The Beach Boys and Terry Melcher (music producer and son of Doris Day] are non-dimensional, pastel versions of the real monsters. It is oddly like watching a bad modern-day troupe re-enact the 1969 murders without any knowledge of the actual event or emotional connect, a cast disconnected from a crime so brutal and shocking that it still has its ripples in our culture almost 50 yrs. later.
The result is a story that doesn't emotionally take you from a beginning to the conclusion. There needs to be some heft to the characters to define how they became the pawns of a mad man. I was interested in this book thinking that Cline would lay out the factors that made these followers vulnerable to the manipulations of a predator the level of Manson; what drew young people into this cult. Not every kid that smokes a joint and goes through family and friend problems winds up living in a cult and committing a mass slaughter. Evie would have been a great vehicle to take readers into such a descent, but Cline focuses primarily on what ends up sounding like a privileged teen-aged girl's growing pains. Does the murder weigh on her emotionally as she makes the transitions into adulthood; does she ever tell her parents about her involvement; how does the event shape her life...? I'd love to have had Evie reflect on the events with the hindsight of adulthood...or any kind of wrap up to this My Pretty Pony version of Helter Skelter. (The mention of spaghetti noodles still in the stomach of a young little victim, likely the mimicry of the stabbing of a pregnant Sharon Tate...not so MPP).
There are some wacky inconsistencies that having lived through the 60's myself, I can validate the errors. But Cline writes well at times; she also has some prose that jump in a little heavy and out of place that were confusing.
[Note: If you are interested in the actual events I suggest reading Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry (Bugliosi had served as the prosecutor in the 1970 trial of Charles Manson.)
Say something about yourself!
But I have to point out that this is suppose to take place during the 1960's , yet some how the have somehow exchanged numbers on their CELLPHONES. Since I have only heard the first chapter I'm in no way attempting to review this book yet, I will say though , the authors writing style is a bit odd. For example " sweet drone of honey suckle, the glass of water quivering, the swallow of morning orange juice, the unlocking behind the eyes, the stranger at the door, a deer thrashing in the brush, I hear voices , a middle aged woman, " that's how she describes everything. "The green on the lawn, the dead bird in the lawn, the whisper in the breeze". Not going to make it through this I'll be honest.
In this story Emma Cline has just taken the story of the Manson family, changed it around a bit, and made a new story. The similarities to actual events of the Manson family are too numerous to cite. The protagonist could have been any one of the girls who didn't know about the murders that were to take place that night. I think it's a very lame way to write a book. I also found the narrators inflection annoying. I would not recommend this book to a friend.
I would not recommend this book in a million years. It's completely unoriginal, clearly written to make a quick buck.
Lack of anything resembling creativity.
No way. She's TERRIBLE. She inserts weird pauses like William Shatner, and does not appear to really understand how to read a sentence.
Yes. It inspired me to stop listening to it.
Canadian girl in Kansas, love audible, books on kindle or kindle fire, and old fashioned books! I enjoy fiction most, mostly books with strong female leads. Favourite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Wally Lamb, Pat Conroy, Andre Dubus III, Lisa Genova, many more!
I was very excited about the hype with 'The Girls' by Emma Cline. After all, the book was plastered all over the internet and was advertised in my Facebook feed every fourth post. I find stories about people who join cults absolutely fascinating. The 'why' they do it and the psychology behind the leadership of the cult have always been interesting in my opinion. When I found out the Cline's book was about a woman who lived with a cult leader in the seventies, my curiousity was piqued.
Evie is a young impressionable girl who's mother chooses men over her teenage daughter. She is a the prime candidate to get involved with a group of people who pretend to accept her, care for her, and love her- all with ulterior motives. The book starts out fairly well- and I was hooked on Evie's teenage character because I wanted to see what would happen to her once she joined the cult and became lost in the craziness (for lack of a better word).
The problem is two fold. The book tells the story of Evie two ways- before the induction into the cult and far after- so a childhood perspective and then an adult perspective. This in itself is not a problem but it does lead up to something that is very wrong with this novel- which is that while Evie's teenage perspective is somewhat interesting, the adult perspective is not. To be blunt- it's probably one of the most boring stories I've ever heard. I couldn't have cared less about any of the characters, what they did, or what happened to them.
This book is a perfect example of when critics go crazy for verbose writing and hype up a book that is so boring it's almost unreadable. Spare yourself some time and dig into the thousands of pages of 'War and Peace' instead- you might find it a little more interesting. Better yet- skip the book altogether and watch some paint dry...
I really wanted to like this book. The premise seemed interesting, but it started off boring in that annoying way authors like to assure you something scary will turn out ok. Then it never seemed to get going anywhere. Also, it was hard to root for the protagonist. She seemed so empty and done with life. Even being absent in the big event of her life. Meh...not the worst thing I've ever read, but found myself antsy the whole time I listened to move along to something else.
The story of young Evie is both an intriguing narrative and statement on adolescence as a woman. There were times I found myself cringing at the young character's lack of conviction but found the story all the more relatable because of her short comings. The author is a gifted writer with a beautiful way of describing a scene. I definitely recommend this audio book.
Something about the tone of the narrator's voice was off putting to me and when other voice was combined with the subject matter of the book I just couldn't deal with the book. Had to stop listening. Plus, I feel like we already knew what had happened, who had died, who was in jail, etc so there was no point to continue reading when it had all basically been revealed already.
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