Sunday, 18 June 2017

I Was So Prime Cult Material At 14 - "The Girls" by Emma Cline | Book Review

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This book was the subject of so much hype when it came out. I think I'd been part of the online book community for less than two months at that point and it was all everybody raved about for ages. Well, I'm only getting around to reading it now, and I've gotta say that it didn't totally reach my expectations. I think the downfall of the book was that I had expectations in the first place, and I would've enjoyed it much more if in the back of my head I didn't think of everyone else's rave reviews and didn't feel like I'd missed out on part of the experience.

Still, I have some pretty positive thoughts about this book. I don't think I have anything bad to say about it apart from not reaching the hype-ceiling.

The characters were superb, although I feel like there was room for more exploration of the Girls themselves. But I understand that within the story, fourteen year old Evie wasn't looking as hard as I might have wanted her to, so it's not a fault of the story or the author but more on me for feeling unfulfilled. The plot itself is pretty basic and predictable, but I don't think the point was really to be anything otherwise.

Easily the element that kept my attention on the pages was how much I identified with Evie. As you can tell by the title, I was definitely prime cult material at fourteen, if Evie is anything to go by. It scared me a little while I was reading to see the similarities between myself when I was younger and her character. The all consuming need to be interesting, or attractive, or just noticeable, that filled every day of Evie's life was so familiar to me I got the chills. Having small rituals and telling little lies because you think it'll make you interesting to other people was exactly the kind of thing I did as a kid.

Hell, even now I can't shake the thirst I feel to be interesting, but it's less about fudging facts and how I wear my hair to make other people like me - I just have a fear of being boring.

The characters in the novel are so real, and raw, and human, and the way these human insecurities are used and twisted to make them malleable and manipulate them might be terrifying when you identify with some of the thoughts and behaviours, but it sure does make for interesting storytelling. 

Things to look out for:

  • Realistic and human characters that drive the story
  • Cult stuff. I will read any book that has cult stuff in it.
  • Nice writing that flows well and doesn't take a lot of effort to feel the effects.
  • Possibly not worth all the hype.
  • Basic plot

Anyone else not feel the hype? Let me know what you thought!

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