The Girls by Emma Cline
Rating: 2 stars | Spoiler Alert (kind of? it’s a small one)
Ok, I’ve got some issues here. I’m giving The Girls two stars because it wasn’t totally awful, but I didn’t really like this book. This may be due in major part to the fact that I’m a freak that’s obsessed with Charles Manson. Ok, maybe obsessed is too strong a word, especially since being obsessed with Charles Manson is decidedly NOT good. I just really like reading about serial killers. They’re incredibly interesting. I was a sociology major so this is a normal interest, right? Well according to all my friends, it is not a normal interest, and I think they’re all slightly afraid I will kill them one day. I promise I will not.
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This book was really popular when it came out last summer, which happened to coincide with the time I was deeply engrossed in Helter Skelter. I was super stoked to read it, but Overdrive didn’t have any available copies. So I put myself on an Overdrive waitlist and forgot about it. A couple of weeks ago, I realized it had auto-downloaded from a waitlist I was on and I was excited to dive in!
It’s an interesting concept, for those who don’t know. Basically, it’s a retelling of Charles Manson & family’s escapades from the perspective of a fourteen-year-old girl who happened to find herself living with the cult. They’ve changed the names of everyone involved (but it’s very obviously about the Manson family), which I kind of thought would annoy me at first, but it didn’t really. I get it, we don’t want people to think Emma Cline was a Manson family member, so I’m ok with changing that fact.
What I did have a problem with was the fact that some of the facts were blatantly changed. Almost everything in the book is pretty accurate, so why go to the trouble of changing a few minor facts? For instance, in this book, when they kill the Sharon Tate character, she isn’t pregnant, but instead, has a little boy. Why? What’s the point of this change? I don’t get it. There are several small changes like this, but this was the most annoying for me.
Other than the detail changes (which may be minor and don’t really affect the storyline), this book turned something that is SO INTERESTING and made it really fucking boring. I think the author kind of tries to make up for the fact that it’s uninteresting by overwriting the shit out of it. Does that make sense? A bunch of flowery wording that doesn’t say anything at all. I almost stopped reading several times. In fact, I was so annoyed with it, it made me want to start writing book reviews! So, maybe not a total loss. 🙂
I think that this book is WAY overhyped And I probably over-hyped it in my mind too. Maybe it’s better if you’re not a Manson…enthusiast? No. Expert? That’s too far. I’m trying to think of a good way to say this, but they all make me sound like I’m sitting in a dark basement under a bare lightbulb composing hand-written letters to Charlie himself. WHICH I’M NOT DOING.
What I’m trying to say is: maybe if I didn’t know so much about the actual Manson story, this book would suck less. Want a good Manson book? Read Helter Skelter.