Friday, June 10, 2016

The Girls

14 year old Evie Boyd is bored. It is 1969, summertime, in small town California. Her only friend Connie does not appreciate Evie’s attention towards her brother Peter, and has abandoned her. What author Emma Cline perfectly describes as Evie’s typical summer; parents divorced, lonely girl, searching for love, attention, drinking, smoking, basically anything to stimulate her newfound sexuality - turns ugly fast. Being the late 1960’s, people are angry, their brothers and boyfriends are dying and they could be called up next. Drugs, sex and freedom are the ultimate escape. Girls with long hair and ratty dresses dumpster dive for food and live in ramshackle houses on the outskirts of town. Evie eyes them from her bike. One day she meets Suzanne. She is mesmerized by Suzanne’s force of nature and finds out that she is one of these girls. Evie follows these girls to the ranch where Russell leads the pack and this small group live with abandon. As Evie steps closer into the fringe she finds all this “freedom” is really Russell controlling them but she is too young to understand the difference. Evie is quickly addicted to the scraps of attention handed out and she has finally found a way to escape her mother’s neediness and father’s ambivalence. When Russell’s girls are sent out to do the unthinkable Evie’s awakening forces her eyes to finally open. I started this book with my own ambivalence and little knowledge of the book or the time. I didn’t google like crazy but kept a completely open mind about this new, highly publicized and criticized novel. The writing and visuality are incredible. I loved it. Great summer read.

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