I went to a grade school that was filled with girls who all had the same length blond hair, blue eyes and the longest legs you ever did see that paired so well with their equally long, naturally sculpted torsos. It was a bit of bizarre to enter the school, holding my little brother’s hand, with a completely different background and look. Though no where near what Cline explained in her novel, but the perspective of coming into a new school where the girls had the same intentions, interests, mannerisms was a bit bizarre to me as they were all triggered and prompted by usually the same thing.
Cue in the second chapter of Cline’s novel, a story about a cult of girls and a one man’s ability to control them. Set in the late 1960’s of a Californian commune, a group of girls are victim to a man who so conveniently reminds you of Charles Manson. His ability to dictate the mental and physical actions of the girls lead them to commit a murder.
Though the male characters play a major role in the development of the plot, it’s actually the psychological perspective of the girls’ interactions that make for the novel almost impossible to put down. Their shifting natures the dynamics of the Cult leader’s periphery challenges and thickens the plot. It’s scary to think that cults like this existed and actually exist today. We see charismatic sociopaths on the streets of any village, town or city-questioning their moral ambiguity. It makes you think that all people are complicated, but who is going to take it to a capacity that is deemed dangerous? It reminds me of what my mother has to say that in the time of difficulty, anyone can just tick the wrong way and go down a path without the proper guidance.
the want, the need
Desire is a drug that takes control of us without even noticing. We’re constantly seeking attention, wanting something new the replace the old, the need never ends. “So much of desire, at that age, was a willful act,” she writes. “Trying hard to slur the rough, disappointing edges of boys into the shape of someone we could love.” A family divorce left the main character lusting for attention, “I was so attuned to attention,” she remembers.
“I dressed to provoke love, tugging my neckline lower, settling a wistful stare on my face whenever I went out in public that implied many deep and promising thoughts, should anybody happen to glance over.” The static movement of time going from current day to the past of Evie, the main character, was an enticing glimpse of the development and the subsequent repercussions on human behavior. A very fascinating and suspenseful thriller that you will not be able to put down.