Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Emma Cline's THE GIRLS: Teen Cultists Sex with Older Men

Here's part of Amazon's plot summary for Emma Cline's The Girls:

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, [14-year-old] Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing [19-year-old] older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and [Russel] the man who is its charismatic leader.

It you didn't already infer it, The Girls is inspired by Charles Manson, the Manson Family, and Sharon Tate's murder.

In the novel, Evie Boyd was living temporarily with a friend when she happened upon the homeowner's son Julian who: "[...] looked twenty or so, in cargo shorts." and his girlfriend who was: "[...] just a little thing. Fifteen, sixteen, her pale legs tinged with blue." Evie said, "He didn't remember me, and why should he? I was a woman outside his range of exotic measures." However, Julian did recall that Evie was a member of a cult, which caused her to reminiscence about her experience as a 14-year-old cultist. 

Here's the first scene that Evie recalls from that summer of 1969: "I'd been fourteen ["but looked much younger"] that summer. Suzanne had been nineteen [...] Suzanne reading aloud from a back issue of Playboy. The obscene and luminous Polaroids were secreted away and traded like baseball cards."

But before joining the cult, Evie shared that Connie, her best friend, advised her, "The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else." And that she and Connie "[...] licked batteries to feel a metallic jolt on the tongue, rumored to be one-eighteenth of an orgasm."

In addition, Evie shared that when she was young, she masturbated to images of women:

When I was young, I'd seen magazines in a drawer of the bathroom, my father's magazine [...] My favorite girl had a gingham ribbon around her throat in a bow [...] I visited the magazines with the regularity of a penitent [...] Locking the bathroom door with breathless, ill pleasure that quickly morphed into rubbing my crotch along the seams of carpets, the seam of my mattress. The back of the couch. [...] That by holding the hovering image of the girl in my mind, I could build the sensation, a sheet of pleasure that grew until it was compulsive, the desire to feel that way again and again.

In addition, Evie shared: "[...] Connie and I occupied ourselves with: What would you do if your father died? What would you do if you go pregnant? What would you do if a teacher wanted to fuck you, like Mr. Garrison and Patricia Bell?

Eventually, Connie and Evie's friendship would end, and Evie spent a lot of time alone. She made martinis the way her father taught her, she tried reading parts of books she liked when she was (even) younger, and she spent hours masturbating - her face pressed to her pillow until she got a headache, her muscles jumped, her legs became tender and quivered, as her underpants got wet. 

When asked, "You ever hear anything about Russell?" Evie shared that she heard rumors: "[...] about orgies, about frenzied acid trips and teen runaways forced to service older men."

Russel was described as being unlike any other human who could receive messages from animals, who could heal the ill, and who could: "[...] stitch the empty parts of your life together [...]" Russel looked the age of Evie's mother. His voice was "smooth" and "[...] full and slow, never hesitating." Evie felt as if Russel could read her "[...] thoughts as easily as taking a book from a shelf."

As her initiation into the cult, Russel stroked himself into he came into Evie's young mouth: "When he came, he gasped. The salt damp of semen in my mouth, the alarming swell [...] But maybe the strangest part - I liked it, too."

Per Amazon, unsurprisingly, The Girls was an instant bestseller, and the novel was named one of the best books of 2016 by:

The Washington Post • NPR • The Guardian • Entertainment Weekly • San Francisco ChronicleFinancial TimesEsquireNewsweekVogueGlamour People The Huffington PostElle Harper’s BazaarTime Out • BookPage • Publishers WeeklySlate

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