Family by Micol Ostow Book Review

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.

Book Cover of Family by Micol Ostow


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

Other Reviews:

Frenetic Reader
Forever Young Adult
Chick Loves Lit

Purchase Family by Micol Ostow here. *FYI I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you buy things from Amazon after clicking link.

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I’m not often completely creeped out by a cover, but I am here. It stinks to have back to back books that you don’t really like…here’s to hoping you have something for tomorrow that gives you some happytimes…

  2. Awww bummer, I have this one on my tbr pile. I don’t think I would like it either, I’m ok with sex but not gross sex. Eww! It does sound like an interesting concept though, I’m curious but probably not enough. =/ Thanks for the honest review! =)

  3. I am pretty much obsessed with reading all I can about the Manson family BUT I am afraid the style of the book won’t be for me. I will give it a chance though!
    Stephanie recently posted..Book Review: FlowMy Profile

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