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The Girls by Emma Cline
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The Girls (2016)

by Emma Cline

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9981088,575 (3.63)36
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English (100)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (3)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  All (108)
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Although loosely based on the Manson cult, this story mainly focuses on a young, disenchanted and very naive young girl, Evie, who is in and out of the cult as the mood suits her. As such, I found it more interesting than if it had been a complete rendering of the whole sordid Manson tale. It's an OK book. ( )
  flourgirl49 | Mar 23, 2017 |
Initially, Cline's writing mesmerized me. Her word choices felt exceptional, inspired, fresh. But about a third of the way in, the writing got in the way of the story. You've probably heard the saying—if it sounds like writing, rewrite it. This book is an example of too much writing and not enough story. About half way in, I was completely exhausted from wading through the fluff of adjectives and similes. The Manson story has been told and retold and while it continues to fascinate, this one offers nothing new other than a bunch of words. Cline has undeniable talent but this book doesn't fit the hype. ( )
  TBoerner | Mar 22, 2017 |
I did not care for this book. It had a lot of hype, but when you read the reviews a lot of people have the same complaints; too over created and just a copy cat of the manson story. I did not like any of the characters, sort of was disgusted by Evie. She was just a worm of a person. I felt that Cline was trying to hard to create this world, this story, and it completely overshadowed anything good in the story. Very disappointed in this book. ( )
  MinDea | Mar 12, 2017 |
This book reads as if it was written by someone from the Manson Family. The stories are eerily similar. A good read, but if you know anything about the Family, you pretty much know this story. ( )
  angela.k.winters | Mar 6, 2017 |
"I'd enacted some pattern, been defined, neatly, as a girl, providing a known value. There was something almost comforting about it, the clarity of purpose, even as it shamed me. I didn't understand that you could hope for more."

The Girls has been on my to-read list for awhile, but I've been avoiding it due to the equally fascinating and disquieting nature of the content. While it's fiction, much of the plot parallels the summer and series of events leading up to the disturbing murders performed by Manson's cult in 1969. Cline's debut features 14-year old Evie, a girl adrift, easily romanced by the slick charm of Russell and his grotesquely seductive lifestyle. Spanning only a few brief months, The Girls deftly imagines the spiral of a fictional Manson girl into a place of sick love and dangerous fixation.

As the story alternates between Evie's youth and adulthood, I found the brief snippets of her "present" to be overwhelmingly depressing and generally unnecessary. She's analyzing the traumas of her youth and how her particular vulnerabilities permitted her to become so involved with a violent cult, and yet, nothing has changed. As an adult it's just a sad and mildly repulsive spectacle; Evie is borderline sentimental for an alarming and obscene coming-of-age, obsessed by her own neediness and desperation for approval, even as a middle-aged woman.

Cline's writing style was bombastic, often to the point of distraction. While it lends itself to the sleepy, limping-towards-ruin mood of the novel and became less bothersome once I'd settled into the story, I found myself periodically skimming passages that just felt gratuitous and overwritten. Yet while aspects of Cline's writing were flawed, her narrative was immensely effective. ( )
  GennaC | Mar 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 100 (next | show all)
The Girls works a well-tapped vein in literary fiction: the queasy exploration of how young women with crippled egos can become accessories to their own degradation. Joyce Carol Oates and Mary Gaitskill are masters of this theme. Cline’s contribution is a heady evocation of the boredom and isolation of adolescence in pre-internet suburbia, in houses deserted by their restless, doubt-stricken adult proprietors where “the air was candied with silence.” The novel is heavy with figurative language; Cline has a telling fondness for the word “humid.” Not all of this comes off effectively (Evie’s mom makes Chinese ribs that “had a glandular sheen, like a lacquer”), but most of it does (Evie, dazzled by her father’s girlfriend, thinks she has a life “like a TV show about summer.”)
added by Nickelini | editSlate, Laura Miller (Jun 7, 2016)
 
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I looked up because of the laughter, and kept looking because of the girls.
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The sun spiked through the trees, like always--the drowsy willows, the hot wind gusting over the picnic blankets--but the familiarity of the day was disturbed by the path the girls cut across the regular world. Sleek and thoughtless as sharks breaching the water,
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