Set in 1969 and present day Northern California, The Girls is the coming of age story of privileged, aimless fourteen-year-old, Evie Boyd. When Evie becomes obsessed with Suzanne, a member of a Manson-family like cult, she is drawn both into the group and into the manipulative and exploitative relationships that drive it. Estranged from her emotionally unavailable parents, the group provides the sense of connection and belonging Evie yearns for.
Written in first person, Cline does a brilliant job of capturing adolescent angst, specifically female angst—that overarching fight to be noticed and to matter in a male centered universe. The contrast between young Evie’s desire to be of consequence, and middle-aged Evie’s quest for anonymity and distance from her past is especially poignant.
Cline’s writing is stellar and the words crackle with emotion and life. While the pacing is off (the middle bogs down, and the book seems not so much to end as to trail off), The Girls is still a fine novel.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the
opportunity to read and review this title.