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The Girls (2016)

by Emma Cline

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,3462114,537 (3.56)74
Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged -- a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.… (more)
Recently added bytokyoadam, kohrmanmj, MendoLibrary, TheScrappyCat, lillyshea, private library, idijot
  1. 10
    Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt (KatyBee)
  2. 00
    A Fatal Inversion by Barbara Vine (shaunie)
    shaunie: Similar doom-laden atmosphere with something horrible about to happen in the summer heat - but whilst Cline's book is this year's must-read Vine's book is far more tense and exciting.
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» See also 74 mentions

English (201)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (210)
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This is the story about an unhappy young woman who becomes an unhappy older woman. She does not seem to learn or grow from her experiences. ( )
  DrApple | Sep 18, 2020 |
I registered a book at BookCrossing.com!
http://www.BookCrossing.com/journal/14429510

I had reservations about this book because the theme has been done so often and I think it gives a distorted view of history. I realize it's fiction, as are all those television programs and other books that trade on that theme.

The theme is a charismatic leader who, during the 1960s, lures young people into his idea of a religion and then calls on some of his followers to kill people. The Manson Family story, in other words. In truth, how many such groups were there in the 1960s and 70s? There were a lot of communes and other groups but how many were out there killing people? I lived through that period and I am disturbed that so many remember it as a violent time. It wasn't, really.

There are differences in this fictional account, of course. The main character, the narrator, is Evie Boyd, a young teen (fourteen) who is a typical teen in her insecurities and longings. What is unexpected, to her and to us, is that she finds herself immediately attracted to a group of three older girls whom she sees stealing food from dumpsters. The three are dirty and careless in their dress, yet seem to be enjoying themselves. Evie senses the freedom they enjoy, on their own, scavenging.

She is drawn into their life, on a farm outside town. At first she just visits from time to time but later becomes part of the group. While the leader of the group holds his charges in thrall, Evie is more attracted to Suzanne, one of the three girls she first saw. In time Evie sees a darker side to the organization, yet still loves it, wants what it offers her.

After some of the girls commit the crime that leads to the group's split, Evie is left to consider what part she played in it all. What is she really capable of doing? The book gives us something to ponder about ourselves. ( )
  slojudy | Sep 8, 2020 |
At first I couldn't place my finger on why it took me forever to get through this one. The novel was well-written but the characters fell a bit flat for me, Cline utilizes a beautiful, descriptive writing style that while appealing to many readers is not my preference. Despite this, it was still a compelling story that explores cult pathology.

*I received a copy of The Red Notebook from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  baruthcook | Aug 26, 2020 |
I really couldn't put it down. The author was able to get into the head of the main character, as well as set a believable scenario for her obsession with the "family". The sense of time and place seemed realistic to me. It was sad and haunting. I could imagine Evie being a real person. This author can write! I look forward to reading more from her soon. ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
For some unknown reason I’ve always been fascinated by the Charles Manson story so picked this novel up in the hopes of some illumination about the motivations of a similar ‘Family’.

Amazed that this was Emma Cline’s first novel, & think she nailed what it’s like being a certain 14 year old girl, growing away from family & friends, and looking for a new tribe. What I thought was so clever about Cline’s story is that she showed the ‘Manson’ character as someone largely off-stage, & focused on an alienated girl following the ‘glamour’ of an older, cooler female member.

Emma showed the filth, feral offspring, squalid living conditions of the ‘farm’ which offered the young girl a possibility of acceptance, when she began to feel an unwilling cuckoo in her previous life.

Very readable and a fascinating focus on what it is to be a teenager, trying on new ways of being, pulling away from the known & hungering for something just out of reach. ( )
  LARA335 | Jul 4, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 201 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Emma Clineprimary authorall editionscalculated
McClain, CadyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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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Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged -- a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

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