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2.24.2017

Book Report - The Girls

For my first book read of 2017, I couldn't wait to finally dive into Emma Cline's debut novel, The Girls! It was on every "Best of 2016" list out there, so I was really looking forward to it.
It's Evie Boyd's last few weeks at home before being shipped off to boarding school. Lonely and seemingly an afterthought to her parents, she becomes drawn to a group of girls she sees in the park one day. They seem so wild and free to her, and she is taken by one in particular, the dark haired, Suzanne. After a chance meeting, Suzanne decides to take Evie under her wing. Soon she is spending all her time with Suzanne and the strange cast of characters living on an isolated Northern California ranch lead by an extremely charismatic man, Russell. The ranch is an exciting place for Evie, and she finally begins to feel accepted. As her attachment to Suzanne grows, Evie is unaware of the dangerous atmosphere brewing at the ranch when money and resources become scarce and is unprepared for the horrific actions about to unfurl.   

So, did it live up to the hype?

For me, definitely no. In fact, I really struggled to even finish it!

First, I thought The Girls was a historical fiction novel based on the 1969 Manson murders and was hoping for a cool True Crime feel to the book. Turns out, Cline took the idea of the Manson murders and then created her own story based on that concept. The novel is told through the eyes of 14 year old Evie, who falls in with this cult because she is sort of obsessed with an older girl in the cult, Suzanne.

Once I wrapped myself around that concept, I was hoping the book would really dig into the psyche of the girls and other followers and how Russell was able to exert control over them and convince them to well...murder. It slightly delves into that topic, but mostly centers on Evie and her obsession with Suzanne. An obsession I was never was able to truly understand as Suzanne seemed so obviously damaged to me. 

So, this wasn't the story I was hoping to read. Turns out, I actually wanted Suzanne's story. I was hoping through Evie that's the story that would be eventually told, but it stopped short of ever really going there.

In addition, I wasn't a big fan of Cline's writing style. I felt it was overly dramatic and wordy which gave the entire thing a very pretentious feel. 

Ultimately. the book is probably fine enough, but once I realized it wasn't the story I was looking for, it continually went, for me at least, downhill from there. The good thing is, it made me realize how much I've missed reading True Crime, and that the story I wanted to read is actually already out there. Helter Skelter, is officially on my To-Read List.

Were you ever disappointed by a book everyone kept telling you was so good? Did you read The Girls? What did you think? Let's talk books!

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