You guys, I am FULLY aware that it is basically the end of July and I’m just now getting my sh*t together for our virtual book club. I am ALSO aware that I chose the most talked about book of the summer, The Girls by Emma Cline. I’ve been dying to pick it up since I read that it was written by a 27-year-old who was paid a (reported) $2 million dollar advance to write it, her debut novel. WHAT. I’m a jealous and competitive person by nature (hello, I picked a career in Hollywood, arguably the nastiest industry on the planet!), so I had to read it to see what was up. I’m so glad I did, because it is beautifully written and impossible to put down.
The inspiration behind it (it’s a fictional take on the Manson cult and murders) could easily be written off as headline-grabbing, capitalizing on a horrifying piece of history that the world seems endlessly fascinated by (myself included. And Tony, who is obsessed with this summer’s version of Serial, the You Must Remember This podcast’s series Charles Manson’s Hollywood.) But the writing elevates it; she is one eloquent and brilliant 27-year-old, weaving words like a fancy piece of art/dreamcatcher. It’s not a cheap, gory thriller about Charles Manson. The character based on him – Russell – is almost a minor player in this story. The book is really about the girls who worshipped him, and one girl in particular, who was more interested in fitting in with the rest of the girls, searching for her place in the world and a community to belong to and be loved by. If you are a woman, you know the intricate workings, manipulation (and psychological warfare) in female relationships. This is more a study in the way women bond, in this case to disastrous and gruesome effect. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
Side note: Just realized it is TOTALLY apropos that I intro’d this book club book by talking about being jealous of someone three years younger than me achieving my own dreams with this book, which is about the weird intensity between girls. So, Emma Cline, I am genuinely happy for you. And your incredible book. And the fact that Scott Rudin is making a movie version of it. And your $2 million dollars. And your $2 million dollars. And your $2 million dollars.