Instaread Summary of The Girls A Novel by Emma Cline
Four out of five stars
At first glance, a novel based in any way on the dynamics of the “family” of charismatic killer Charles Manson would appear to be problematic. The story of the Manson family is one of power and control over females in difficult circumstances, the control was so strong that the women were willing to commit murder for him.
After reading this summary, the novel does not survive a second glance. The main character is Evie, a woman that was associated with a Manson-like group when she was fourteen and is now in her fifties. Evie encounters teenagers Julian and Sasha that are passing through and looking to buy drugs. This triggers Evie to flash back to her teen years and experiences.
With two tracks and a great deal of complex plot to summarize, the summary moves at an extremely rapid pace. One paragraph describes one aspect and then the following often shifts to a different context or topic.
From the summary, it is clear that the main theme of the book is the feelings of isolation and strong uncertainty that exists in the fourteen-year-old Evie. She considers her life so miserable that she willingly moves down a self-destructive path where she joins a group that lives in an isolated filthy house where nearly all of the people beg, borrow and steal to survive. That part has promise, but the extension of this to the point where the girls are convinced to commit murder comes across as a bit creepy and exploitative.
The opening line of the summary is, “’The Girls’ by Emma Cline is a novel loosely based on the events leading up to the Manson Family murders in the summer of 1969.” Having read books about the Manson “family,” to me it is clear that the association is more than loose.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.