Day 1094: The Girls

Cover for The GirlsBest Book of the Week!
Sometimes a novel is imaginative in its approach or subject matter, but The Girls is an imaginative act of empathy. For Emma Cline has drawn a convincing portrait, in her main character Evie Boyd, of the kind of girl who could be attracted to a cult, inspired by the Manson Family.

In the summer of 1969, 14-year-old Evie is insecure and dying to fit in somewhere. Her parents are newly divorced, and she blames her mother for failing to hold her philandering father’s attention. She has just been abandoned by her childhood friend, Connie, as teenage girls will do.

She spots Suzanne at the park. She and her friends are different, dirty and sort of feral, but free. When Evie gets picked up by Suzanne and her friends after her bike breaks down, she goes with them to the ranch.

The ranch is centered around Russell, an older man whom his followers consider a genius. He uses various techniques to manipulate the girls surrounding him, and he befriends famous people in hopes of using them to become famous himself. He organizes the activities at the ranch around some half-baked philosophy.

Evie can actually see through some of this, but she willfully blinds herself to what is wrong at the ranch through a love for Suzanne. When things at home get worse, she ends up with only one place to go.

The novel is brilliantly written, and I was completely enthralled by the description of Evie’s journey. I found the story believable and watched in dread as Evie got pulled ever deeper into the dangerous group.

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4 thoughts on “Day 1094: The Girls

  1. FictionFan June 15, 2017 / 5:04 pm

    So glad you enjoyed this one as much as I did! I thought she got the mentality of the kind of vulnerable person who might be attracted to a cult just about perfectly, and I enjoyed her writing style too, though it took me a few chapters to get used to it. Can’t wait to see what Cline does in her next book…

  2. whatmeread June 15, 2017 / 6:34 pm

    Yes, that was what I liked about it. It was totally plausible that a girl like that would get sucked into such a group.

  3. Naomi June 15, 2017 / 6:48 pm

    I’ve heard lots of good things about this book, and your review gives me chills just thinking about it. I think I’ll have to give in to this one some time.

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