Read Remark Book Review - The Girls by Emma Cline

Book Review: The Girls by Emma Cline

One-sentence summary:

A feckless, bored woman thinks back to that one time that she, as a feckless, bored teen, was drawn in by a Charles Manson-esque commune in this book by Emma Cline.


I almost DNFed The Girls and I’m glad I didn’t.

I’m struggling with whether to give this one 3 or 4 stars. It is interesting to delve into what can make a girl like Evie fall for a group like that.

Just as our main character in The Girls falls victim to the group-think of envisioning their leader as mysterious and worldly, I too keep wondering if I’m missing something with this book.

People seem to love Emma Cline’s The Girls. In fact, it came to my attention after seeing it on several “best of 2015” book lists.

Though I like it, why am I not as in love with this book as everyone else seems to be?

It feels like there should have been…more. More substance, more sex, more emotions, more aftermath, more fallout, more plot, more interactions with Russell…so much more.

This story is so dreamy that I feel I floated on top of it, barely delving into the depths.

It reminds me of that Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quote:

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”

SPOILERS AHEAD
Click the down arrow to keep reading.

Nothing real happens in this girl’s life. She has a strange diversion, and then…nothing. 

She isn’t part of the action, and she isn’t redeemed by having been spared from the action. She continues a shiftless life where she’s waiting for someone else to effect big change for her.

Or maybe she’s not even expecting something big and meaningful any more. She’s just drifting from one scene to the next.

OK, more parallels:

This also brings Chekhov’s gun to mind: if you introduce a gun into a scene, you’d better make damn sure it fires. Quote:

“One must never place a loaded rifle on the stage if it isn’t going to go off. It’s wrong to make promises you don’t mean to keep.”

The Girls‘ rifle never fires; literally nor figuratively. While this book is good, it seems to me a promise that isn’t kept.