I learned about The Girls through an email from Indigo and I was intrigued by it. The day before I headed north to my cottage for a week, I wandered through Indigo and there it was a “staff pick of the month.” I bought it (along with five other books) and couldn’t wait to read it. The story looked good and it’s a heralded debut novel by Cline. I love first time authors as I’ve mentioned before.
Evie is a 14 year old girl when we first meet her, her parents having just separated and finds herself enamored with a group of older girls she sees in the park. They are unlike anyone she’s seen before and her connection with them draws her into the world of what seems to be a cult. The book at times moves to Evie as an adult so before you know exactly what she experienced as a 14 year old, you get a sense of the impact that experience has had on her entire life.
To be quite frank, the book creeped me out in a big way. I recognized that this is not necessarily because it’s a creepy book with some creepy characters (and there are quite a few of those) but because I’m not a huge fan of cults in general. The book, taking place in the late sixties in California reminded me of the Manson murders which also gave me the chills. I read The Girls one night before going to sleep and I had creepy dreams – perhaps the ultimate sign of a good book. I’d stopped on a page that read “1969” and I knew that Evie was about to experience more of the cult so I debated picking something lighter up. A quote on the back of the book convinced me to continue:
“Emma Cline has an unparalled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate. She reminds us that behind so many of our culture’s fables exists a girl: unseen, unheard, angry. This book will break your heart and blow your mind.” – Lena Dunham
I know there was more to it than just the cult and that more was Evie’s story and her experiences, what she sees the other girls go through. It’s a particular view of how girls can be treated and it was heartbreaking. Definitely worth the read.
Small aside, before I started reading it, we had a legit conversation on the dock about one of the Manson killers coming up for parole. My next read will be something a little lighter I think!