Without meaning to be dismissive of the authors life, l found this to be at the "shallow" end of the sex industry memoir pool. This is a very good thiWithout meaning to be dismissive of the authors life, l found this to be at the "shallow" end of the sex industry memoir pool. This is a very good thing for the author in terms of her own life experiences, just not perhaps in book sales or self knowledge. Nothing too terrible happens - this is every white middle class Mothers' nightmare - and the author, despite having worked in the sex industry (implied shame lights on full) for 2 decades, has come out of it ok: educated, articulate and with a book deal. Her insights are straightforward but not unusually prceptive or unique. lf anything, they seem startlingly passive on some levels. Many women in the sex industry are feminists - it's not a new story; it's not a new trope. HOWEVER, a book contract was offerred and she signed it. And she's making money from it and sharing her story, and lord knows there are WAY more boring books out there. It's not a bad book, it's not brilliant. Just read it knowing there's a lot more to the sex industry in NZ & Australia than this book suggests.
A white bread book for a white bread audience: you know you need more fibre but this is still yummy, when lightly toasted and dripping with butter.
(Read Kate Holden - In My Skin. THAT'S the one!)
* That cover is awful. Strippers are a lot different to the high end call girls of prime tv shows ;)...more
l liked the essence of the story, though l didn't feel the setting worked which makes sense when you realise it was originally written for a Dutch vill liked the essence of the story, though l didn't feel the setting worked which makes sense when you realise it was originally written for a Dutch village setting. That isolated pastoral setting just didn't translate well in a cultural sense to a US setting.
l think because of the setting l found the start quite hard to grasp and really had to make myself persevere on the strength of recommendations, but am really glad l did.
At times it reminded me of Stephen King (Pet Sematery, It ) as well as a few folk tales, but all in a good way.
Other than the setting issue, l enjoyed it, though the last quarter - (from the Tyler & Matt incident) - seemed a little rushed, hectic.
l'm also keen to know the original Dutch ending so if anyone can message me and let me know l'd be much obliged!...more
Picking up THE GIRLS it’s immediately obvious that Cline is writing a fictitious tale of a young girl’s encounter with Charles Manson and his ‘family’Picking up THE GIRLS it’s immediately obvious that Cline is writing a fictitious tale of a young girl’s encounter with Charles Manson and his ‘family’ during the summer of 1969, and how it shaped her life in the years since.
A single woman drifting from house sitting job to home care gig to the occasional live in lover; Evie is nothing like the 14 year old she remembers being when she met Suzanne, Helen and Donna that summer. Of course whenever anyone talks about that summer they talk about Russell, and Mitch’s house, and what happened that night; but really it all started with Suzanne and the girls. It was all about the Suzanne and the girls. Even now.
Perfectly capturing the twilight time in every girl’s life when she’s caught between little girl and woman: wanting to be more, given more responsibility, treated like an adult, viewed like a woman but still unsure of exactly what that means, what those consequences are let alone how to handle them. Emma Cline introduces us to Evie on the cusp of adulthood at a time when her whole world seemed confused about what it wanted and what it meant. The new generation was eclipsing the old and her family’s social standing and old money was suddenly an embarrassment not an asset. Hungry for something to happen, anything to happen; desperate for attention and longing for some sophistication, Evie unwittingly becomes the afternoon special all parent’s fear, while managing to embody the missive “But for the grace of God go I”. She’s also totally authentic as both a teenager and a grown woman something I don’t find all that common in novels – it’s usually one more so than the other.
THE GIRLS is one of those rare books that sweeps you up with a story that makes you cancel plans and ignore the phone, your family and the alarm clock (pretty good considering you have a fair idea what’s going to happen!) but it’s also exquisitely written! Cline’s grasp of language, her turn of phrase is stunning. The two together make this an unforgettable read with a protagonist you genuinely invest your heart and head with, one you miss when you close that cover for the last time. I can’t recommend this highly enough.
(In a weird twist of fate, I actually studied the Manson Murders when I was 15 and wrote to Charles Manson in prison. (No it was not school or parent approved and yes I got into trouble. More so when he replied.) So for those not so au fait with the Manson family, these are the character equivalents in THE GIRLS: Russell is Charles Manson, Suzanne is Susan ‘Sexy Sadie’ Atkins, Helen is Linda Kasabian, Patricia ‘Katie’ Krenwinkel is Donna, Guy is Tex Watson and Mitch is Terry Melcher. Terry’s ex-girlfriend Linda and her son Christopher are purely fiction – their characters and back story don’t match the people involved in the real life event, though are obviously inspired by it.)
It would be easy to look at the title of this book and put it down thinking it’s another academic waxing lyrical about the evils of alcohol, couchingIt would be easy to look at the title of this book and put it down thinking it’s another academic waxing lyrical about the evils of alcohol, couching it in self-help terms and a preachy tone. It’s not.
WASTED is a book that every New Zealander and Australian needs to read because realistically anyone of us could find ourselves in the same position as Elspeth Muir or the many people attending her brother’s funeral in the opening scene of the book.
What starts as a personal story turns into an examination of the current drinking culture in NZ and Australia. Muir’s youngest brother Alexander was 21. He’d finished his uni exams that day and gone out celebrating like he’d done a hundred times before. He got wasted like he usually did, except on this particular night he jumped off a bridge into a river and drowned.
What follows is one woman taking a long hard look at her brother’s life and how many warning signs of problems drinking are considered normal by everyday standards. Binge drinking, blackouts, belligerence when drunk, mood swings, unusual choices… You might not tick all but you’ve probably ticked some. WASTED is a sobering look at just how dependent we are as nations on alcohol. Economically, socially, and psychologically. It’s part of our nation’s identity woven through so many pivotal life events on both sides of the Tasman.
More impressive still, is that Muir never lets you forget that Alex was a real person. Her brother. He has parents, siblings, friends, lovers. People that still miss him every day, people that still wonder why that night was different. People that still hurt. It’s that bittersweet quality to Muir’s writing that makes WASTED something special, something more than a misery memoir or an academic text on how we should live.
If I had my way, I’d give this to everyone in their last year of high school, and their parents too.