The Girls by Emma Cline became a popular book last year as the ultimate summer read. I first found out about it from seeing it multiple times on my Instagram feed, so I thought I should check it out.
The first thing that got me hooked on this book was the fact that it’s about a cult loosely based on Manson Murders. I don’t know why, but I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of a cult. Why do people join? How does someone come into power? Why do things always end in violence? It’s intriguing.
The story begins with Evie as an adult, giving us an early look at what her short summer on the farm turned her into. Evie drives the story as a bored suburban 14-year-old. She even starts out the story by licking batteries with her friend because she heard it would give you the same feeling as an orgasm. That’s very boring. However, she sets her sights on Suzanne, even though she knows the reputation of her and her group, and knew hanging out with them would ultimately ostracize her from her current friends. She followed in Suzanne’s footsteps anyway. This leads her to the farm and Russel, who I picture to look like a country version of Russel Brand.
Evie does partake in relations with Russel, just like Suzanne, which creates friction in their relationship. Evie seems to think that creating a relationship and getting approval from Russel would mean she would bring her closer to Suzanne, but it doesn’t for a time. Suzanne has a streak of jealousy when it comes to Russel.
The novel is far more involved in the female relationships than each relationship with Russel. The women on the farm are basically sister-wives to him even though there are other men around, who seem to play a farmhand role. But Russel is moreso involved in everyone playing into his fame and his goals. It’s basically a group of people held blindly to worship him. He wants money and fame and everything that comes with it. And by keeping these people on the farm, only leaving to steal a few goods or money from town, they don’t know that Russel hasn’t reached the amount of fame that he claims. So they give him all the praise as if he did not knowing any better, essentially brainwashed.
The women follow Suzanne’s lead, who follows Russel’s lead, which brings Evie into a night that most 14 year olds wouldn’t believe. Walking onto a farm where Russel declares the owner has wronged him, they end up murdering a small family and their help. They even murder a child. While Evie doesn’t actually murder anyone, she does go on to get national acclaim as an accessory to the cult and the crime.
When thinking of cults, my mind always goes to the phrase “drink the kool-aid.” So I decided to pair this book with an adult kool-aid cocktail. But because the thought of some of the flavors makes my mouth pucker, I decided to copy the Tropical Punch + Rum recipe from the post by Home Wet Bar.
Make the tropical punch as directed by Kool-Aid and cool for a bit in the fridge. Grab a glass of your choice, but I would recommend a mason jar as I assume they had many on the farm. Fill with ice, add a shot of white rum, then fill up with the tropical punch. Add more or less based on your taste buds and enjoy!