Review of The Girls by Emma Cline

I was so excited to read this book, yet I wondered about all the hype. Would I be fooled again? I waited for it to become available at my local library, but was too anxious to wait any longer and ended up buying it locally. Did I waste my money? Hmmm…let’s decide.

eBook Review Gal Book Review of The Girls by Emma Cline (462x640)

Evie Boyd is the fourteen year old only child of divorced parents. Evie is basically a loner – aside from her one friend, overweight and annoying Connie. Evie spends her days drinking, smoking weed and masturbating. Evie also spends a great deal of time obsessing over her mother’s pathetic life. So what does a misunderstood, loner fourteen year old do in California in the summer of ’69? Why, she joins a cult of course. But not just any cult – THE CULT of all cults. Although Charles Manson and his Family are never specifically mentioned, readers can safely assume that’s exactly who takes in this little lost, pathetic and misunderstood rich girl.

The book starts off with Evie as a “middle-aged woman with varicose veins” (because all middle-aged women have them, right?) cowering in her rental when she hears a noise. Turns out it’s just the owner’s son coming to party with his girlfriend. The kid recognizes Evie as “that girl from the cult” (how, we have no idea) and is instantly in awe of Evie. Thus prompts the trip down memory lane and hence the story of Evie and The Cult. Unfortunately, everything from there goes rapidly downhill.

This book is so incredibly BORING it was literally painful to slog through it. The author is the queen of long-winded prose and similes. Similes are great…if they’re done well and done sparingly. However, the writing here is so overloaded with them that it completely mangles the story. I got a real sense that the author was trying darn hard to sound deeply profound, but she only succeeded in creating a rambling bowl of superfluous simile soup. It’s only 355 pages, but is so heavily padded with randomness that it seems MUCH longer. Ugh. I’m of the belief that simple writing is best. Why use ridiculous and wordy verbiage to describe even the most straightforward passages when simple words and phrases will suffice? This only results in slamming on the book brakes and disrupting the flow of the book. Let’s save the flowery writing for poetry, please. And not only was the bulk of the book ramblingly tedious – it was downright WEIRD. Talking about smelling her mother’s period in the bathroom? Seriously?

A lot of the book didn’t even ring true to the time period. Did this mysterious debut author and her team of Random House editors even research 1969? As an example, Suzanne and poor little rich girl Evie are on the road and need gas so they stop at a gas station to pump their own gas with a stolen credit card from someone’s mother. One, there were precious few self-service gas stations in 1969 and two, credit cards were rarely used back then…AND women couldn’t even get them. It’s true…look it up. There were no pump card swipers back then, so wouldn’t the attendant have noticed any of this? Apparently not, since “the family” was supposedly living off credit cards.

I don’t normally blast a book like this, but I’m tired of all the book hype publishers push on unsuspecting readers. The premise of this book was great – the execution was GOD AWFUL. I get it, perfectly good girls being lured into a subservient lifestyle by a masterfully manipulative murderer. Starved for the attention they didn’t get at home only to find themselves in a worse environment than before. There is literally NOT ONE likable or even relatable character in this whole mess. All hype and absolutely no substance.

 

One of Five Stars, Review by Susan Barton

Disclaimer: eBook Review Gal was fooled by all the hype and actually wasted good money for this book.