The Girls

The Girls

A Novel

eBook - 2016
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An indelible portrait of girls, the women they become, and that moment in life when everything can go horribly wrong--this stunning first novel is perfect for readers of Jeffrey Eugenides's  The Virgin Suicides and Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad .

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged--a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence.

Emma Cline's remarkable debut novel is gorgeously written and spellbinding, with razor-sharp precision and startling psychological insight. The Girls is a brilliant work of fiction.

Praise for The Girls

"Spellbinding . . . A seductive and arresting coming-of-age story hinged on Charles Manson, told in sentences at times so finely wrought they could almost be worn as jewelry . . . [Emma] Cline gorgeously maps the topography of one loneliness-ravaged adolescent heart. She gives us the fictional truth of a girl chasing danger beyond her comprehension, in a Summer of Longing and Loss." -- The New York Times Book Review

"[ The Girls  reimagines] the American novel . . . Like Mary Gaitskill's  Veronica  or Lorrie Moore's  Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?,   The Girls  captures a defining friendship in its full humanity with a touch of rock-memoir, tell-it-like-it-really-was attitude." -- Vogue

"Debut novels like this are rare, indeed. . . . The most remarkable quality of this novel is Cline's ability to articulate the anxieties of adolescence in language that's gorgeously poetic without mangling the authenticity of a teenager's consciousness. The adult's melancholy reflection and the girl's swelling impetuousness are flawlessly braided together. . . . For a story that traffics in the lurid notoriety of the Manson murders,  The Girls  is an extraordinary act of restraint. With the maturity of a writer twice her age, Cline has written a wise novel that's never showy: a quiet, seething confession of yearning and terror." -- The Washington Post

" The Girls is a brilliant and intensely consuming novel--imposing not just for a writer so young, but for any writer, any time." --Richard Ford

"Emma Cline has an unparalleled eye for the intricacies of girlhood, turning the stuff of myth into something altogether more intimate. She reminds us that behind so many of our culture's fables exists a girl: unseen, unheard, angry. This book will break your heart and blow your mind." --Lena Dunham

"Emma Cline's first novel positively hums with fresh, startling, luminous prose. The Girls announces the arrival of a thrilling new voice in American fiction." --Jennifer Egan

"I don't know which is more amazing, Emma Cline's understanding of human beings or her mastery of language." --Mark Haddon, New York Times bestselling author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, 2016.
ISBN: 9780812998610
Characteristics: 1 online resource
text file,rda
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc. - Distributor

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Jul 14, 2019

What a headache. The first several pages showed promise, but a few paragraphs doth not make a book. This was the publishing phenom of 2016: a 20-something unknown received a multi-million dollar advance/deal for this first novel. So, a young literary lion brandishing a shiny new MFA and in love with words that she doesn't string together with much talent, gives us this fictionalized account of the Manson Family and their infamous murders. Why Cline chose to tell us this story from the POV of the criminally boring Evie is beyond me. Evie - pretty, privileged, whiny (But my parents are DIVORCED!), without an interesting pore on her body. And she's only very briefly involved with the Family and not part of the awful events. Also, told in flashback by an adult Evie who somehow manages to be even more tiresome than teenage Evie. I was neither expecting nor wanting some true crime type of story, but if you're going to take on this iconic tragic and vicious event in recent American history, then DO something with it. Instead, this is a ponderous, awfully, and laughably overwritten story of a few weeks in the life of a typical angsty adolescent. The hippie followers of the Charles Manson character are cardboard cutouts with no believable character development.

Two in a row - this and Sweetbitter - where I fall for hype and read highly lauded entries by young writers who are for sure going to be the "next big thing" in the literary world. And both were huge duds for me. Damn.

May 17, 2019

I was completely engrossed by this book. Cline did a masterful job of capturing the desperate, frantic experience of girlhood. It is incredible the way she was able to humanize the mythic "Manson Girls" without forgiving them.

Dec 02, 2017

Some parts of the story shocked me. Of course, I didn't grow up during this time, so I could just be a bit ignorant, seeing as this era was considered "the Sexual Revolution."

I get that Cline was intending for this to be more of a character study, having done research on other cults, and letting the readers get an understanding as to why Evie joined the group; and I think that's exactly why this book has been so popular. The Manson Family has been such an intriguing subject over the years, and this novel provides a new, albiet fictitious, take on it.

But what about the other girls? Do we get a good understanding as to why Suzanne, Donna, Helen and Roo are there...? Not really, no. I wonder how this would have turned out if it was from the perspective of Suzanne instead? Evie can come and go to the ranch whenever she pleases, while everyone else practically lives there. Evie isn't enamored with the leader, Russell, but with Suzanne (an interesting twist, might I add). There's also the fact that Evie isn't present when the murders eventually happen, which is also a tad disappointing, since I was expecting her to be the one who simply stood outside the house and listened to the horrifying screams from within, like what happened with Linda Kasabian in real-life. But, again, I knew that that aspect was meant to be kept more in the background.

Overall, I liked it, but wouldn't consider it as amazing as it's been made out to be. I would also warn that it's definitely not an all-round pleasant read.

stewaroby Jun 02, 2017

This had good reviews but I so would not have finished it if I hadn't been trapped on a long-haul flight with a terrible selection of movies. Really two stars is praising it.

RPinnix May 22, 2017

y e sbook

May 15, 2017

I'd heard good things regarding this book, but honestly, I couldn't really find anything that interesting or unique about it. A girl who is feeling ugly and confused, spends a lot of time and thought trying to figure out how to not feel ugly or confused. Meh. Anyways, she ends up hanging with 'the girls' of some sort of Manson clan group, and I just didn't care enough about her or her insights or her lack of insights to finish the thing.

May 13, 2017

Evie Boyd was a young teenager, feeling uncool and unpopular. She happened to see a group of desperately cool girls in the park one day and sort of fell in love with the ringleader. They were unkempt but confident and free, everything she wasn't and wanted to be. She began violating her sense of right and wrong -- by stealing money from her mother and giving it to them -- in an attempt to belong with them. They were fine with that, and even honored her by making a gift of her to the man who headed their little traveling commune. She eventually moved in with them and adopted their lifestyle.

The story is ripped from the headlines of the Manson murder story. When the group killed a family Evie didn't happen to be there; her absence during the murders wasn't planned, it was mere chance. Now, as a middle aged woman, she wonders what she would have done if the circumstances had been different. In a chance encounter with an equally uncool teenage girl, she sees in her the desperate drive to belong; the willingness of the girl to violate her sense of right and wrong -- in this case to offer herself sexually to her boyfriend's friend -- in order to be accepted.

May 02, 2017

Cline may have talent, but I do not understand the point of this lightly fictionalized account of the Manson family, taken from second and third hand sources. There is no insight into why these girls, especially at this point in time, became enthralled by the cult leader. For a much more interesting and authentic account, read Claire Vaye Watkins' "Battleborn".

ArapahoeKati May 01, 2017

I'm a little late to the bandwagon on this book but I'm so glad I picked it up. I was sucked in pretty much right away (especially because ABC had just aired a new special about the Mansons). Some people have griped about her writing style, like she was trying too hard, but I thought it was pretty much spot on. I wish I had picked this up sooner.

CarleeMcDot Mar 29, 2017

It started off slow (when I was 75 pages in I actually thought I might give up on it because I was a bit bored), but it definitely draws you in. The story features a Manson-ish cult and is told from the perspective of a somewhat outsider. It actually had me thinking about how 'easy' it could be to fall into the "wrong" crowd and end up so far down a road you weren't expecting, while never really knowing how you got there in the first place.

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ArapahoeSusanW Oct 10, 2016

Fictional Manson family styled cult in the late 60's. Enthralling and fast paced, I read it in under a week. Once you pick this one up, it's difficult to tear yourself away!

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