Evie Boyd is an insecure teen, desperate for attention and battling the usual teen girl troubles; boys she wants but can’t have, confusing sexual thoughts and feelings, a waning friendship, her parents divorce. She is whisked off to a ranch, occupied by a 40 something large family of runaways and freedom-seekers. Lead by Russel, the group lives by a hippie-like code of free love and rejection of material and social influence from the outside world. Of course all good things must come to an end and Evie finds herself thrust into the abyss of loneliness once more, forever to live with the desire to return to that which rejected her.
What I liked:
1. Brilliant introduction of topics which would be perfect for the right conversationalists to delve into. Sexism, peer pressure, cults, materialism, relationships. It’s got it all. 2. A different perspective when compared to similar books – from the eyes and mind of the lesser known/forgotten person. 3. I did enjoy the different sides to Evie as she retells the tale, her former teen self vs the now reminiscent adult, though in the beginning I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with the manner in which we were introduced to her
What I didn’t like:
1. It’s just too similar to other books about Charles Manson. If you’ve never heard of Manson and his family’s crimes, this is a definite must read. Otherwise, you’ll find it predictable. 2. The writing was at times almost too abrupt, sentences didn’t always feel like they were sitting right in the greater context of the story. 3. The character development, for me, wasn’t satisfactory in the rest of the characters. I understand the focus being placed as it was, but still felt there was something missing in the rest of the girls inclusion. 4. The conclusion of the book was a tad disappointing, I don’t feel there was any finality to it.
All in all, it’s not a bad book, especially considering this is Cline’s first. She has managed to write in such a way that anyone from any demographic can read it and find something in it that they’ll enjoy. She has left a sliver of thought in my mind about the role we play in the lives of others, and how we are often blinded by our own inner turmoils to the bigger picture around us.
I’m not saying I’m going to forego all worldly possessions and start practicing free love, but there’s a ring of truth about the fact that too many of us are caught up in the rat race, in the me, me, me, with little regard for the distance it places between us and our loved ones.