Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls SummaryThe Girls by Emma Cline

It is not difficult to see why novelists are drawn to write about cults and communes: their demarcated worlds and lonely, illuminate the society around them.

Here is Emma Cline a writer of 27 years old who presents his first book: “The Girls,” its theme is inspired by one of the most notorious and disquieting criminals of the late 20th century.

Charles Manson, whose “Family” brutally murdered actress Sharon Tate, her unborn child, and her friends and her husband, Roman Polanski, in August 1969.

That night, Manson was concentrating on a group of young women to carry out the murder. He keeps the girls in a communal ranch.

The protagonist of the first novel by Emma Cline called Evie Boyd is fourteen years old and lives with his divorced mother in Southern California. Evie’s grandmother was a well-known actress television, which leaves a vast fortune.

Through the eyes of Evie, we will look like her mother, is decorated frantically, makeup and improves their appearance, to attract some men (including her ex-husband) all of which seek only their money.

Despite his undoubted contempt for the conduct of his mother, Evie falls into the same similar patterns.

At first, it was something more innocent, destroy the relationship he had with his friend of a lifetime for a child, but later became something sinister, Evie ends in a cult, and Russell, its charismatic leader sexually sell it, a version barely disguised Charles Manson.

And while manipulations Russell and general misery of life in “the ranch” provide more exciting passages of the book, “the girls” is less about the Manson family and more about when women (and girls) are conditioned to throughout their lives, citizens seconds to be subordinate to men.

An interesting development

The book compiles three segments, each showing an Evie 60, recalling that particular period of his life.

When the protagonist remembers what he was sexually serving a rock musician who wanted to impress Russell admits”.

“That had legislated a pattern had been defined, as a child, providing a known value. There was something almost comforting in this respect, clarity of objectives, even if I was ashamed. I did not understand you could want more.”

When she considers the judgment of the public about the other girls at the ranch, she describes her ego like a muscle unused, “… increasingly flabby and useless” and how he knew that “… only be a girl in the world, hinders your ability to believe in yourself.”

This brilliant novel with rich multi-dimensional characters, a plot of suspense and a powerful message. Even if the language became a little delicate, sometimes, I thought it worked well in the service of history, which is a kind of melancholy memory game.

The heart of the girls is how women present themselves to the world, the way we looked at each other and the way we understand ourselves through the eyes of others. As Cline writes, “We all want to be seen.”

A tremendous Debut

Every so often there is something that reminds us of the horrible murders perpetrated by Charles Manson and the followers of his sect in California in 1969.

It may be news from the jail where they still serve their sentence or a song (although it sounds implausible, it does not lack who has erected Manson as a cult character) or a series like Aquarius, which was created and directed by John McNamara for NBC, Netflix.

But in the novel, the theme of the Charles Manson sect is not the main thing.

But instead, an excuse to tell another story: the story of a fourteen-year-old teenager who feels alone and misunderstood (like many young people at that age), who enters a sect through boredom, rebellion, and loneliness.

Among several reasons, and that she falls by this kind of hippie community and, mainly, by one of the young women who lived there.

At times this book takes you back to adolescence, that period that at a distance does not look terrible, but that is by far the most challenging moment in life, with so many contradictions and uncertainties, with so many confusions.

In a chapter of The Girls, the protagonist takes a young university student to know the sect, and this is impressed with the filth and misery of the place. “It’s a dumpster,” he says, “Is it that you do not see it?”

«He pointed out the ruined house, the weed of weeds. All scrapped cars, gas barrels, and picnic blankets abandoned to mold and termites. And I saw everything, but did not assimilate anything: I had already shielded myself against him, and there was nothing more to say ».

And perhaps that youthful blindness is one of the most credible elements of this novel, a story of which Scott Rudin, the director of No Place for the Weak and The Truman Show, is already preparing his adaptation to the cinema.