The Girls | Emma Cline (Book Review)

The Girls | Emma Cline (Book Review)

Paperback, 357 pages
Published June 16th 2016 by Chatto Windus (first published June 14th 2016)
ISBN 1784740454 (ISBN13: 9781784740450)

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California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counter-culture a young girl is unwittingly caught up in unthinkable violence, and a decision made at this moment, on the cusp of adulthood, will shape her life….

Evie Boyd is desperate to be noticed. In the summer of 1969, empty days stretch out under the California sun. The smell of honeysuckle thickens the air and the sidewalks radiate heat.

Until she sees them. The snatch of cold laughter. Hair, long and uncombed. Dirty dresses skimming the tops of thighs. Cheap rings like a second set of knuckles. The girls.

And at the centre, Russell. Russell and the ranch, down a long dirt track and deep in the hills. Incense and clumsily strummed chords. Rumours of sex, frenzied gatherings, teen runaways.

Was there a warning, a sign of things to come? Or is Evie already too enthralled by the girls to see that her life is about to be changed forever?

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It’s been a little while since I read this book and if I’m honest I kind of already forgot about it. That’s to say this definitely wasn’t a book that stuck with me in any meaningful way bad or good. I didn’t hate it but it wasn’t one I really enjoyed all that much.

Considering Emma Cline’s The Girls is told from the point of view of  14-year old Evie who finds herself in a cult it was just kind of forgettable. I think one of the best parts of reading is connecting with characters and I didn’t find I was able to do that with this one.

I honestly don’t know why my interest was piqued as this book becauseI thought it was going to be way more of a thriller/mystery than it turned out to be. The Manson murders aren’t something I ever actively want to read about or am interested in obviously. Watching Helter Skelter in high school was enough for me but I was curious about this book. I guess I just wanted to see how a fictionalized version of a real story was told. That and it seemed to have pretty good reviews.

Other than taking real people and a real horrifying situation and changing the names that was kind of it. That’s the part I remember most but it’s the part we all already knew. It was more focused on the mind of Evie and what she goes through as she finds herself involved with people like Russell and Suzanne. I did appreciate that aspect of this book. It wasn’t what I was thinking i would be like at all and if I’m honest I kept thinking the book was going to be more graphic than it was and I’m thankful it ended up not being that type of book.

I like the idea of a coming-of-age novel set in such a world as this one because it’s not something we would ever experience obviously but it still just felt like it fell flat. It seemed like nothing really happened throughout the book until you get to the end and even then it’s washed over a bit.

This book is pretty highly-rated and it seems as if most people enjoyed it quite a bit so I wouldn’t say it’s definitely one to skip. It has it’s moments and like I said the premise of the book is quite interesting but I was definitely a bit let down by this one.

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