Books We Read: December


You've probably heard of The Girls by Emma Cline because it reached cult-status this summer (haha cult). (Sorry, its just there's a cult in the book and it's almost Christmas and our brains are soft and fuzzy). Cline evokes a beautiful 1960s North Cali sun-bleached landscape where the characters dissolve into their skewed fantasies. The main character of this novel is beautifully rendered: she is flawed, disheveled, confused about the present and the future - you will think of yourself or a mess of a friend from high school as soon as you start. The story is based on the Mason Family and the murder of Sharon Tate. The Girls is deliciously grimy, honest, and ultimately, beautiful. A must-read. 


A stunning, hilarious, and beautifully written memoir about a woman's unique and heartbreaking childhood with a fabulous and narcissistic alcoholic mother (à la Holly Golightly turned Mommie Dearest) and all the highs and lows of growing up in...unique way. This book is a gorgeous dip into the world of careless indulgence of the rich and the destruction it leaves behind. Wendy Lawless's memoir is so clear-eyed, brilliant, and beautifully rendered, you'll have to remind yourself that this is not a work of fiction. 


We watched Gone Girl at the TOC  HQ in the beginning of the month and then, were in the mood for some badass women in bad situations. Which explains why we chose Lola and The Roanoke Girls (below) which were depressing AF one after another. Lola is a raw, gritty crime novel about one woman's journey to escape the heavy shadows of men and find her power in order to survive through the violent and unforgiving world men built. There are horrible men (how completely perfect for 2017), gangs, assault, drugs. We don't want to give too much away, but we will say this - it's basically if the writers of Breaking Bad and Sons of Anarchy decided that they would write a messed-up story with a woman at its center. So if you're a fan of depressing crime novels, we're pretty sure this will be a great read. Be warned - it is difficult at times (content-wise) so if you're sensitive, maybe don't. 

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The Roanoke Girls is an eerie, depressing, dark novel you can read in one sitting. After the suicide of her mother, fifteen-year-old Lane Roanoke comes to live with her grandparents at the Roanoke family's rural estate. That summer, Lane understands the benefits and the horrors of being one of the wealthy and beautiful Roanoke girls. Amy Engel manages to write about disturbing and upsetting issues such as suicide, assault, depression, etc. It's hard to write about it without giving a lot away, but if you like dysfunctional family stories and love to read about horrible things that happen to people - mainly women - then you should definitely start this as soon as you can. Bonus: well thought out, broken, realistic female characters. As you can tell, December was mostly depressing reads. We need to nap and watch a Pixar movie.