This book had a lots of potential, and to be honest, this was a cover buy. It was insightful and captivating, but at the same time there was an element to the story that left me bored, and I can’t pinpoint exactly what that was.
Girls—their vulnerability, strength, and passion to belong—are at the heart of this stunning first novel for readers of Jeffrey Eugenides’s 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.
I have mixed feeling about this book. While I thought the writing was good and I was sucked into the story, I was also bored throughout a good portion of the story. It felt like nothing was happening even when things were happening.
The Girls follows Evie Boyd (age 14) in the late 1960’s during the time of Charles Manson and his “family”. Knowing that it was vaguely inspired by the Manson family, I was expecting it to be a bit more of a thriller. Instead, we follow Evie around, seeing her growing into womanhood as she becomes captivated by Suzanne and drawn into the soon famous cult. She gets introduced to some of the harder drugs and sexual assault. During most of the times that Evie engages in some type of sex act at the ranch, it is not willingly done; most of the time she is being coaxed into it. The only time she is vaguely willing is when Suzanne is involved.
What I did like about the book was it’s raw quality. I could imagine myself back in the ’60s, having the freedom to go out whenever you wanted, leaving your doors unlocked. I also appreciated the fact that there wasn’t too much details when the murders in the book did eventually take place.
This book is conflicting for me, because while I found it hard to put down, I found 200+ pages in that I was bored, and pinpointing what exactly I was bored with is hard. There was some element that I wish had been in the story. Overall, I do recommend this story. What I found conflicting, you might not.