Family by Micol Ostow is a free verse fictionalization of the Charles Manson murders. The story is told from the point of view of Melinda Jensen, a troubled 17 year old who desperately seeks affection. As she is a runaway, she sleeps on park benches. And so while passed out on a park bench she meets Henry, aka Charles Manson.
Henry provides everything, including sex. Melinda finds herself deeper and deeper in his lurid world of sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Family is a quick reader, but I never connected with Melinda. It’s not because I’m anti-verse, but she didn’t seem to have a personality beyond her past rapes and then her fixation on Henry. It seemed to me that Melinda was defined by her victimization, and well, I’m pretty sure people are more than their victimizations.
While I am pro-sex, Family overdid it for me, it was just too much, and maybe I say that because it was gross sex, drug induced hippy sex. I am also pro-reading about cults, but I never got a sense of how Mel let herself get to that point. I never felt a sense a depth, and ya’ll I know depth can be achieved in verse novels, I read Crank, I know what’s up.
While I think Family was a great concept, this obviously was not the best execution of the story. I did however wind up researching The Manson Murders on wikipedia, so yay for curiosity?
Disclosure: Received for review