January Books: The Girls by Emma Cline, The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

I started off 2018 rather well on the book reading front! I managed to get through three in the first 3 weeks! Rather than do an individual review on each book like I did with Wilde Like Me by Louise Pentland, I thought I’d talk about them all in one post.

the girls emma cline the girlfriend michelle frances small great things jodi picoult review

The Girls by Emma Cline

This book centres around a 14 year old girl named Evie who in the summer of 1969 gets caught up in a cult that inhabits a run-down ranch and has a leader named Russell (who is creepy af). It’s a lot darker than I expected and was actually quite unsettling. Evie is vulnerable, insecure, lonely and craving attention – particularly male (and Suzanne’s) attention. Themes it made me consider were the dynamics between men and women, girls and boys, and how girls feel growing up. Also, women’s position in society and their desire for attention and validation from men. I found Evie to be very sexualised for a young teenager and that made me uneasy; she seemed to be much older than her years, but also so naive.

The ending is left quite ambiguous and I still had questions. It also left me feeling rather sad about the portrayal of women and girls. Sasha in the present day is used to show girls are still overlooked and willing to be treated poorly in return for attention and ‘love’. I like to think girls know they are worth more and don’t need no man! 😦

It wasn’t an action-packed page turner the whole way through but I did get into it. The narrative, which flips between younger Evie and older Evie, gives away the plot somewhat early on, as you are fed bits and pieces which means it loses shock value. The writing style was somewhat different due to the way the author used commas. I found this made it harder to read. Overall though I found it powerfully and cleverly written. I give 3/5.

The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances

This story is told from two different points of view: wealthy Laura, who is mother to 23 year old Daniel, and aspirational Cherry, who becomes Daniel’s new girlfriend. It’s described as a psychological thriller and examines the thoughts and actions of the two women as they compete for Daniel’s attention. It gets you constantly questioning who’s side you’re on, Laura or Cherry’s.

It explores wealth and the privileges that come with this and through Cherry, it considers how this can look to a young person not from a privileged background who really feels injustice because of this. I could relate to some of her thoughts and feelings of unfairness when she sees how Daniel’s family and friends live their life and are given opportunities just because.

I really enjoyed this and found it a real page turner so finished it quickly. It is shocking in places (one in particular incident where I was horrified) and I liked the writing style. 4/5

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Another book written from multiple viewpoints, Small Great Things is essentially an examination of racial discrimination and prejudice – conscious and subconscious. Set in America (I think Connecticut?), a black labour and delivery nurse, Ruth, finds herself going to trial over the death of a newborn baby. As well as Ruth, the novel also has chapters from the viewpoint of Kennedy, Ruth’s lawyer, and Turk, the white supremacist father of the baby who died. The opinions expressed by Turk and his acquaintances was utterly disgusting and horrifying, I can’t believe people can think like that.

I’d not read any Jodi Picoult books before and I loved this one. Overall, I found it well paced with only a few points where I found it slow and wished things would move along. I respect her attempting such an important topic and she talks a bit at the end about the research that went into this book. It made me think about my own behaviour and consider subconscious prejudices I may have. I highly recommend, 5/5.

Love Nicole xxxx

One Reply to “January Books: The Girls by Emma Cline, The Girlfriend by Michelle Frances and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s