It’s the summer of ’69 and 14 year-old Evie Boyd is trying to figure out where she fits in. Then she meets Suzanne. Suzanne is the otherworldly cool girl and Evie is drawn to her in ways she doesn’t fully understand. When Suzanne introduces Evie to Russell and everyone else who lives at “the farm” Evie’s life is changed forever.
The Girls is an exploration of longing, pleasure, love, obsession and the lengths people will go to satisfy others. It is about the relationships between teenage girls, the things they do for men and the roles they play for each other.
Emma Cline’s writing is lyrical and brilliantly captures the tone of a teenage girl who, above all else, wants to be noticed.
The not so good
The story is told retrospectively. We meet Evie in middle age; we know how her story ends almost before we fully understand what the story is. This removes some of the tension from the latter stages of ’69 section.
When in the company of present day Evie I wished I was back in 1969 with teenage Evie. Modern day Evie felt like an unnecessary distraction. The sense of place wasn’t as strong.
There has been a lot of hype surrounding The Girls, so by now you’re probably aware that Cline’s debut novel is inspired by the Manson Family and the murder of Sharon Tate, her unborn child and her friends.
It’s not hard to see why Cline was inspired by these horrific real life events. Trying to understand why people are drawn to figures like Manson is a breeding ground for exploring obsession and morality.