California. The summer of 1969. In the dying days of a floundering counterculture, 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?
©2016 Emma Cline (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
"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)
"I don't know which is more amazing, Emma Cline's understanding of human beings or her mastery of language." (Mark Haddon)
"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)
"Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate. The Girls destroys our ability to consider violence a foreign territory, and reminds us that behind so many of our culture's fables exists a girl: unseen, unheard, angry. This book will break your heart and blow your mind." (Lena Dunham)
This was a push from when I started listening but I couldn't do it. It simply went from bad to worse. I wish I'd known.
This book was a struggle to finish. I kept hoping that something would eventually happen ....but nothing did. It was overwritten and overloaded with often bizarre metaphors and similes - probably trying for 'deeply profound' but for me it was just irritating. The author failed to develop the characters into anyone I could possibly care about. So relieved when it finished!
Found the book utterly tedious. The story is loosely based on the Manson Family with some sort of romantasism, and anyone old enough to remember that awful has to be appalled that it's horror can be thinky veilled and passed off as Fiction.
The content of the book is dull, and the narrator's monotone reading does nothing to make the content a more appealing listen.
Give this a miss....too tedious.
Though set in 1969, and based on the Manson gang, this is an incredible, visceral & current portrait of what it means to be a girl in this world. The powerlessness, and subsequent snatched pseudo-power conjured by sexual currency. The self destruction and sacrificing of themselves that young girls put themselves through in an effort to be relevant in any way. This book will stay with me for a long time.
"The human side..."
I thought this was a wonderful book. However, it is not a thriller, or a study of murder. If you want that get Helter-skelter, which is also wonderful.
This is a coming of age book, which just happens to use the (Fictionalised and renamed) Manson family murders as a narrative device to pull you through the book.
It is really about a mother-daughter relationship and then about female friendship, and then ultimately about first love. It handles all the characters believably and their interactions show genuine insight into the human condition.
There is excellent imagery in nearly every paragraph and the prose keeps the story moving at a nice pace.
I would recommend this to anyone who likes good writing as much as they like a good story.
"Uncomfortable and compelling"
This reworking of the Manson Family saga takes the concept from a different perspective. The focus is really more on the powerlessness of some of the female characters and their readiness to be manipulated. It captures characters with an often ugly realism. I found the story engaging though it is primarily focused on the mundane elements of the individuals lives, thankfully not focusing too heavily on the gruesome. In many ways it's the everyday material that creeps you out most!
"Dreamy with quiet, sad dread"
It ranks highly, it's a good book that is well suited to the audiobook format.
It feels quite unique but has a shadow of the growing dread and pervading sense of guilt found in We Need To Talk About Kevin.
The flashback scenes were fascinating but Evie's first encounter with the 'girls' stands out in particular.
Evie and her reflections on her father were particularly poignant.
A surprisingly subtle meditation on womanhood, the disappointment of youth and guilt, with an almost incidental but seductive cult story triggering it all.
A bit disappointed. This book has been raved about but I'm struggling to work out why. There is a constant jumping back and forth which makes it difficult to follow what timeline you are in and the story is really about not a lot.
"A gripping story, hiding contemporary themes"
I bought this book after reading the number of reviews that praised Cline's storytelling, and was certainly not disappointed. What I hadn't expected though where the thought-provoking insights into issues of contemporary feminism that felt as relevant to my own life as to this extreme story.
slow pace but good I enjoyed this book liked the way it flashed back and forth
"The fragility of youth under guise of a cult"
A very descriptive and interesting concept tackling the effects of being a vulnerable child being manipulated by a cult. While it describes how all young people are fragile and are desperate to find a place in the world, the author seems to lack somewhere, and the narrative seems slightly disjointed.
There isn't much of an explanation for the adult Evelyn and it leaves a massive hole between the young and older versions of the main character.
There is also a lack of character build up of the members of the cult, and it does not explain what happened tp the Manson-like cult leader in the end. Overall, a little long for a plot with too many questions but a great idea.
"okay but not great"
an easy listen and a good detail on that sort of twisted cult living. not glamorous with free love and drugs and yoga but dirty hungry criminal living and uncared for children. that aspect was interesting and well read throughout but no surprises. The whole book stayed pretty much at the level it started on.
"Dark and enticing"
Not what I was expecting but couldn't stop listening. I love the reader's voice and found the story believable and intriguing.
"Strange and Nothing-y"
This is a strange one to review. It is well written and evoked the feeling of summer, and the era really well. The narrator, I felt, was good. But the story seems to build up and build up, tension rises, and you're waiting ... and then it fizzles to nothing. No real climax as the story's narrator isn't actually present for it. I realise that that is done to keep her in our good books, but it makes for a poor ending.
Worth a read/listen, but don't expect too much.
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