“You wanted things and you couldn’t help it, because there was only your life, only yourself to wake up with, and how could you ever tell yourself what you wanted was wrong?”
It’s my first official book review of the year y’all! Oooooo exciting stuff, am I right? First and foremost, welcome to my Goodreads Reading Challenge. This year, I’ve decided to challenge myself to reading 50 books in a year, as opposed to the much smaller goal of 17 that I set myself last year. I’ve also decided to hold myself to reviewing all the books I read during the challenge on my blog so that you all can join me in the journey!
The first book I’ve read so far is The Girls by Emma Cline. It’s a super eerie story about a young girl named Evie who finds herself suddenly drawn in by a mysterious and alluring cult, with a Manson-type leader at the helm. Set in the 1960s, it’s an extremely familiar story if you know anything about Charles Manson and his girls.
For me, this was the sort of book that I enjoyed reading the first time around, but I wouldn’t really want to read again. When I picked it up, I’d read a few chapters and get hooked, but after a couple more, I was ready to put it down. It alternated between fast and slow paced writing, so I found that it couldn’t keep my attention for really long periods of time.
There were definitely parts I really enjoyed, where I thought Emma Cline did an incredible job creating a plot and characters. There was definitely vivid imagery throughout the entire novel. You couldn’t go through any scene feeling like you were only getting half the story, which was obviously hugely important to the story. The storyline itself was intriguing. You felt like at any moment, a pin could drop and the entire course of the novel could be altered. I’m always down for a good suspenseful novel, and this one fit the bill.
My major criticism of the novel as a whole was simply that I found it severely overwritten. I think Brad Pitt in Ocean’s Eleven puts it perfectly: “Don’t use seven words when four will do”. Yup, I just quoted Brad Pitt in a book review… Whatevs. The ending also felt like a bit of a cheat for me. I felt like that was the one part of the novel that made me feel like an outsider to the action, which was a bit of a frustrating way to end it off.
Overall, I thought that The Girls was a really interesting take on teenage rebellion and the inner-workings of a cult. The characters were well-developed and the plot was nicely executed. Would be a good read for anyone interested in the Manson story and/or historical fiction!
Have you read The Girls? What did you think?
Goodreads Challenge: 1 out of 50