“That was part of being a girl — you were resigned to whatever feedback you’d get. If you got mad, you were crazy, and if you didn’t react, you were a bitch. The only thing you could do was smile from the corner they’d backed you into. Implicate yourself in the joke even if the joke was always on you.”
Number of Pages: 355.
The Girls follows Evie in 1969 as she becomes obsessed with learning more about a mysterious free spirit girl who she keeps seeing around town. Evie learns that this girl is a part of a rumored cult, and then begins to get caught up in a dangerous scheme. For a complete summary, you can go here.
First of all, I took way too long to write this review. I read this for my book club a few months ago and we had a really amazing discussion, but now it feels hazy. This book tends to be advertised as being about the Charles Manson cult. Now, there are many parallels, but don’t go into this book expecting an action-packed murder/cult thriller. This book follows a girl that sort of sticks her toes into the “cult” water, but she is never actually there for anything that suggests that this group is a cult.
The book is really a coming-of-age story that happens to be at the time and place of a famous cult. It is actually pretty slow moving and introspective. The author excels at giving a look into the mind of a teenage girl. In the last part of the book, we do get a little more of the action I was hoping for, but it takes a long time to get to that point. This book also alternates between present time and Evie’s childhood. I think the present day storyline could have been completely cut or reworked. It had the potential to be really important, but ended up not going in a good direction.
Overall, the story was actually pretty interesting and worth a read. It definitely made me more curious about the Manson murders, and I am going to watch some of the documentaries about it. This book does make readers think about conformity and peer pressure in teenage girls. Even though this book is about a fourteen-year-old, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone younger than sixteen due to some adult themes. If you are interested in buying the book, you can buy it here. After you have read it, leave a comment and let me know what you think!
“Other people’s admiration asked something of you. That you had to shape yourself around it.”