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From the adolescent perspective, Emma Cline's narrative takes us into one of the most well-known and disturbing cases of the twentieth century: The Manson family
What's it about?
The Girls is a historical fiction novel based on the case of the Sharon Tate massacre in 1969, perpetuated by The Manson Family, a sect established in California and directed by Charles Manson. The protagonist is Evie a mature woman who is taking a vacation in a summer house and thanks to an unexpected encounter and a loose comment recalls her adolescence. Then the protagonist is also Evie, a teenager who coincidentally meets some very particular girls and is invited by Suzane, who seems to be the leader, to spend time with them in the ranch where they live together with a large number of people directed by a certain guy called Russell.
From that moment on, Evie's life changes, the girl who used to be is now on the past and enters a world of drugs, unbridled parties, and sex. She moves away from her family, from her friends and becomes part of that group of people who seem to live completely happy and free. The admiration she feels towards Suzane begins to turn into an obsession, anxiety to be with her all the time and do what she says. Next, to this, the manipulation exerted on her by Russell, a methodical man who preaches love, is woven very easily.
It seems that Evie has no limit in that new world and will have to realize in a horrifying way that limits are everywhere.
Although she was inspired by the facts of The Manson Family, Emma Cline changes the names of the members and the leader and adding and leaving out other aspects.
Who wrote it?
Emma Cline is a US author from California. Her first novel was The Girls, which was published in 2016 and was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award in the Best Fiction Category. Her writings have appeared in The New York Times, Tin House, Granta, and The Paris. She was also named the best fiction juvenile author in 2017 by Granta, United Kingdom's famous literary magazine.
Read or pass?
The novel is told in two times: first, we have Evie's adulthood, she is spending her summer alone at a friend's house and there she meets his son, who will make her evoke her adolescence, that is to say, the second time: the summer of 1969. Times are interspersed throughout the novel, which makes reading more dynamic and generates a great expectation from the reader, an expectation that is likely to be met.
This novel, beyond being a novel that focuses on the history of The Manson Family, makes use of it to delve into the adolescent mind, growth and all the consequences that come with it. It is also a supremely simple reading, entertaining and will catch you. It is a different way of approaching the juvenile because this novel could not be described as a youth novel, but definitely, that is its core.
I recommend reading this book if you are looking for a different way of approaching the juvenile narrative, if you want to get into the mind of what we all once were, of the dissatisfaction that we all felt at some point, of that vague idea we had of Be part of something bigger.
LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero
Translated from: 'Latam BookLook: "Las Chicas" de Emma Cline'