“The Manson Women and Me” Book Review

It would be impossible to write a book about the women in the Manson family and have it not be interesting. Even all these decades later, the story of this cult is still shocking and mystifying to many people. How did a group of seemingly ‘normal’ girls turn into murderers? Were they completely coerced into committing the crimes? Should they continue to be held responsible for what happened while they were under the influence of mind control? Their story continues in the present, as they’re continually up for (and denied) parole, leaving many of these questions still largely unanswered.

Meredith became friends with several of the women during their time behind bars while interviewing them for this book. It was interesting to see her take their actual character after spending time with them (since most who condemn them haven’t actually interacted with them in person). However, this book spends far too much time with Meredith trying to insert herself into the narrative (I was confused between her parallel of the women being disenfranchised with society and the author’s quarter-Jewish background.) I would definitely define this book as more of a memoir from Meredith rather than a non-fiction account of the Manson followers. Although I enjoyed much of the facts of this bizarre tale, I feel like the story would have been better served in with more linear storytelling. The chapters jumped around way too much, so I often felt disconnected from the women’s stories. I’m interested in reading more about the Manson family after this, but probably won’t be recommending this to others because of the disjointedness of the writing.

3 stars

*Free ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

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