The Girls. Emma Cline’s debut novel that has drawn a lot of attention since it was first published back in June of this year. The cover had caught my eye, a photograph I immediately associated with Lana Del Rey and soon found out that the photograph was indeed taken by Neil Krug, who often photographs her.
And that Lana Del Rey esque feeling continues inside the book as well. Hypnotic and dreamy with a sour tinge. A hauntingly accurate portrayal of how it feels to be a girl growing up and the intense power of female friendships.
The Girls is set in the late 1960’s when the narrator Evie is fourteen years old, and flicks forward to her as an adult. Set in Northern California, we follow the normal-enough teenage Evie, her less than perfect home life, her crush on her friends older brother, going to school. Her internal narrative is realistic and mature while reading I related to some of the thoughts and feelings that Evie described, thinking back to myself as a fourteen year old girl.
Of course, the book is not just about Evie and her everyday life. She eventually meets ‘The Girls’, after seeing them dumpster diving for food one afternoon and is captivated by them, especially one with long black hair. Soon Evie gets involved with these girls and the cult-like life they are living with the ‘leader’ Russel, who they all admire like a dog to it’s owner.
Based loosely around the cult and murders of The Manson Family, this book is not your typical thriller or crime novel. It’s much more than that. The cult like status of the group and subsequently, the murders, are not the focus of the story but much more the background noise. Instead, the focus is on Evie and her relationship with Suzanne, the black haired beauty she was captivated with from the start.
Cline’s prose is beautifully descriptive, bordering on perhaps overly so, but I eased into her writing nicely. Her unusual ways of describing things struck a cord with me, the description of Evie and her desire to be looked at, to be noticed, and the intense need Evie feels to be wanted by Suzanne was all things I could deeply relate to. Her depiction of female friendships and how intense they can be during your teenage years, how almost pathological and violent they can be was one of the most accurate portrayals I’ve ever read or even seen in a film or a book.
The Girls was not only a great summer read but a great book in general. It’s focus on ‘the girls’ and their lives, their inner thoughts, how they acted with each other, what they all really wanted was what really made the story; the action was just an added extra. If you remember what it was like to be a teenage girl with strong and electrifying female friendships, this book will be a hit of nostalgia, describing things you never thought could be described, showing how easy it could be to get involved in something darkly dangerous.
PsychoCinderella’s Rating – 4/5 ❤
Have you read The Girls? What did you think? Tell me in the comments below!