The Bibliophiliac’s Corner – “The Girls”
Article and photo by Amanda Merriman
The Connection writer Amanda Merriman admits she is hopelessly addicted to books. It has been this way nearly all her life. Every month she shares what she has been reading with the hope that others will share in her obsession.
What do you get when you combine the tumultuous, infamous summer of 1969 with a window to the inner workings of a teenage girl’s mind? You get the September selection for The Bibliophiliac’s Corner called “The Girls” by author Emma Cline. Cline has written short stories and has been featured in The Paris Review, a literary magazine that is known for introducing emerging talented writers to the world. The Girls is Cline’s debut novel (this bibliophiliac cannot seem to read anything other than debut novels lately) and has generated quite a lot of buzz. The Girls has reigned at the top of many summer reading lists this year and the film rights have already been sold to accomplished film producer Scott Rudin.
The story is set in the summer of 1969 and in the sultry world that is California. The story is told through the eyes of Evie Boyd. It begins with Boyd as an adult, though the bulk of the novel is spent remembering that summer when she, as a lonely 14-year-old girl, became lured into a cult of girls that unquestioningly followed their enigmatic leader Russell and ultimately committed heinous murders. Though the story is based off the infamous Manson family, it is more of an examination of our basic human need to connect with others and to feel noticed by them, especially as a young girl trying to figure out her place in life. Cline demonstrates an uncanny ability to put these insights into words and draws readers into her world. The psychological vulnerability of Boyd is written so well that as Boyd reflects on whether or not she could have committed the crimes herself had things happened differently, readers might ponder the same thing about themselves.
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