On the surface, this is a novelization of the Manson murders, which is why I hesitated before reading it. I have enough murder and suffering in my Facebook feed. I don't need to be entertained by it. But this isn't really about that. It's really a story of a 14 year old girl lost in a disintegrating family and stormy adolescence who finds a connection with an older woman (and by older I mean, like 20) who is part of a free thinking, drug fueled group of young women led by a severely f'ed up male leader. Parts of this - the obligatory sex, the desperation for intimacy, the anger and shame- were so familiar to me as a teenager I was left wondering if I would have made some of the same decisions as the narrator. That's what works about this book (and any good book) - unfamiliar struggles of a character are drawn so that they are universal struggles recognizable to nearly every reader - in this case, every reader who grew up female. Excellent storytelling.-Jay's September Staff Pick, 2016— From Jay's Reading List
The Girls sweeps us into the Summer of Love and the life of Evie Boyd; we navigate through her recollections of her youth as a member of an infamous Manson-like cult in an around San Francisco.
Cline, a debut novelist, is already adept at designing her narrator’s interior world – the thoughts, observations, fears, hopes, the inconsistencies that define us all. You find the familiar looking at adolescence through Evie’s perceptive eyes; she yearns to belong, to be cared for, and have excitement enter her life. The Girls is made all the more interesting by being told from the perspective of Evie as an adult; we see the child, the woman she’s become, the similarities and the differences.
The author completely immerses us in 1960s culture but her novel is timeless. You’ll be left thinking about what The Girls has to say about women, their worth, their agency, in every era including our own.
Emma Cline’s novel had a lot of expectation surrounding it due, in no small part, to reports of a two million dollar advance being paid to the author. In my opinion, it’s worth every penny. The Girls is alluring, dark, and deep. The writing is raw and unfiltered and your reward for not flinching or looking away at the more depraved moments is an honest, lingering window into what it means to be vulnerable, unsure, infatuated, powerless. -Wintaye's July Staff Pick, 2016— From Wintaye's Reading List