It feels pretty weird to write a post like this for two reasons:
1. We can’t access the account any longer on the computer as the mail address used is now defunct. It’s also hard to log in without a password. The password can only be sent to the defunct mail and not the one we’re trying to use. WordPress doesn’t seem eager to help, so for now it’s writing on an iPad and not being able to use any pictures (unless it’s a picture we’ve already used). So yeah, just text and no pics… This blog seems to go retro. Happy 1995 everyone!
2. Yes, we’re fully aware that 2017 is almost over and it feels rather out of place to announce last year’s book of the year now, but hey, let’s just say 2017 was an abysmal year and we didn’t get round to writing reviews. Or almost anything else.
So yes, the best book of 2016? Emma Cline‘s The Girls. Bearing in mind it’s Cline’s debut (at the age of 25), the book was a phenomenal release. The book is about a young girl, aged 14, who wants to escape home and ends up being lured into a cult. Russell, the cult leader, is based on Charles Manson and this allows The Girls to analyse what it was like to be around such a cult while at the same time being kept at a distance when hell breaks loose. Evie, the book’s protagonist, notices how the cult starts decaying.
At the same time, it’s also a portrait of a girl who doesn’t belong anywhere – or that’s how she feels. It doesn’t help much that because of her vague link to the cult, she’s nowadays looked at as a fairground attraction. Present-day Evie is visited by a couple and their visit makes her feel ill at ease.
Better still, we’ve tested The Girls out on two people who don’t like reading and didn’t really look forward to reading a book of more than 300 pages. Both found it a great experience. So even if you’re not the most avid reader in town, have a look at this novel. As the Manson cult gets more in the news again (Manson himself died this year and pretty soon they will be some documentaries and films marking the 50th anniversary of the Tate murders), it’s nice to read something that in a way is topical, good and not sensationalist.
Even though this review could’ve been posted 12 months ago, we still felt the need to publish it before moving on. That in itself tells you something about the quality of the book, no?