The Girls; Emma Cline
Random House Audio - 2016
Cady McClain - Narrator
The Girls is a well written work of fiction that is loosely based on the Charles Manson cult of the late 1960s.
The protagonist, Evie Boyd looks back on the summer of 1969 when she fourteen years old and lived in California with her newly divorced mother. Although the family was relatively well off, her grandmother was a famous actress, Evie's mother was busy finding herself and in search of a new man in her life to feel complete. Evie was bored and restless riding bikes with her friend Connie and not looking forward to going away to boarding school in the fall. Evie was looking for more excitement to the boredom she was experiencing.
One day sees a group of footloose and fancy free young girls with long flowing hair and oversized dresses in the park. She later sees a couple of the girls, including the sexy and alluring Suzanne, dumpster diving for dinner. She finds herself enthralled and attracted to Suzanne and after pretending to shoplift for them, she begins hanging out with them. She is introduced to Russell, who the girls worship. A wanna be rock star who lives on a run down ranch along with the girls and some of their sickly children. Russell is a powerful force over the girls and he uses and abuses the women.
The Girls was and eye opening look at how at how easy it sometimes is to lure young, impressionable youth who are looking for excitement and acceptance. The way Evie describes the way she found herself part of a cult that eventually committed murder was chilling. The story begins in the present with Evie looking back decades to the horrific murders Russell and his followers committed. I thought the writing was very good and in no way did this seem like a debut novel. Cline captures the restlessness, raging hormones and longing for acceptance of these young women perfectly, making this a deeply affecting coming of age story. The audio version was very well done. Highly recommended.
(audio file sent by publisher for review)