Disclaimer: I would not recommend this book for those under the age of 16 due to the sensitive and mature content it contains.
Where to begin with this book. Well, I started it in November and it was my goal book of the month. I love to read and immerse myself in stories, and this was definitely an interesting story that left me hanging at the end of each chapter. It didn’t take me long to get through this book because I was always wondering “what’s next?” and I wanted to share my thoughts with you on the blog.
First thing’s first. It is intense. Here’s the description from online:
“The book is set during two different time periods and follows Evie during the present day and in the 1960s in Northern California. In the present day Evie is housesitting and runs into a young man and woman that reminds her of her past, when she was drawn to a charismatic cult leader. In her past recollections Evie remembers the events – and people – that brought her to join the cult and its inevitable and bloody conclusion.”
Yes, you read that correctly. A cult. When I first read the inside cover before picking up this book, I felt a little hesitant because a) I do not know what a cult is like and b) it is so different than my every day life that it intrigued me.
So, how did it begin? Without giving too much away, young Evie was sitting in a park and watched some of the girls walk by. However, it was Suzanne that Evie eventually became infatuated with. Suzanne was always the one Evie wanted to impress, and once she got to the ranch (where the cult members live – a somewhat off the grid type of place) she meets Russell, the ultimate leader. Soon enough, Evie is lead by Russell and Suzanne and joins them for all of their antics – up until their last endeavour ends up with them plotting a murder.
It is interesting to see how present day Evie’s situation relates to the past-time Evie’s story, which we learn about quickly. The majority of the book focuses on her past as she recalls the moments and people that lead up to her deciding whether she would stay in the cult or go her own path. On another note, I thought it was super interesting how a person can become so infatuated with another person that they disregard signs of danger and warnings that one should normally take note of right away. I mean, I know that Evie is young and impressionable, but it kind of blew my mind how she followed this group like a sheep and wanted to be part of their pack so badly that she completely ignored her family and friends just for the sake of “proving herself” to the group. I suppose it is easy for me to think like that because I am confident in saying no to people or situations that do not serve me, and life was much different back in the late 60’s than it is now. Perhaps she felt like saying yes was her only choice to escape her so-called “mundane” every day life.
The Girls by Emma Cline is definitely an eye-opener into an era that I never paid much attention to before. As open minded as I am, it was a little bit unsettling to read about the crimes they committed – especially in such detail. Although it’s non-fiction, I couldn’t help but wonder who else had a story like this and what choice they may have picked when faced with a fork in the road.
If you are looking for a book with troubled characters and a story that will keep you wondering “what’s next?” I recommend this one for sure. I do warn you though, there are some cringe-worthy details but it all comes full circle in the end.
Have you read The Girls by Emma Cline? What were your thoughts?