Honestly I chose this book because I loved the cover and I’ve always been a bit of a True Crime buff. It turns out to be a pretty amazing coming of age book and a fantastic debut novel by author Alison Umminger. It would be quite easy to dismiss it as a YA book but the complexity, and sometimes adult nature of the story, combined with the background references to the Manson family mean that it has enough to satisfy most adult readers as well.
Anna has had a pretty bad year. Her parents were divorced and her Mum had moved in with her girlfriend Lynette and had another baby. They couldn’t afford to keep her in private education so the next term she would be moving to the state run school. At this point Anna does come across as pretty brattish. She steals Lynette’s credit card and books a $500 flight to Los Angeles where her older sister Delia lives.
Pretty soon she discovers that Delia’s life as a bit part actress in Hollywood isn’t that glamorous and Anna is surrounded by people searching for their own piece of fame and a sense of belonging. When she is offered the chance to help research for a screenplay she finds herself reading all about Charles Manson and the killings that rocked Los Angeles. When she realises that most of them were pretty ordinary young girls caught up in situations and circumstances that they couldn’t control Anna starts to see parallels with her own disjointed life.
How do you describe a book that makes you laugh and cry, creeps you out completely with some fairly detailed descriptions of Manson’s crimes and then throws you a curveball right at the end? It is about discovering your place in the world, and realising that can and will change. It is about responsibility and becoming a better person for it. My Favourite Manson Girl is a book you won’t forget in a hurry.
Supplied by Net Galley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
UK Publication Date: 7 Jun 2016. 304 pages.