i have always been broken. i could have. died. and maybe it would have been better if i had. It is a day like any other when seventeen-year-old Melinda Jensen hits the road for San Francisco, leaving behind her fractured home life and a constant assault on her self-esteem. Henry is the handsome, charismatic man who comes upon her, collapsed on a park bench, and offers love, a bright new consciousness, and—best of all—a family. One that will embrace her and give her love. Because family is what Mel has never really had. And this new family, Henry’s family, shares everything. They share the chores, their bodies, and their beliefs. And if Mel truly wants to belong, she will share in everything they do. No matter what the family does, or how far they go. Told in episodic verse, family is a fictionalized exploration of cult dynamics, loosely based on the Manson Family murders of 1969. It is an unflinching look at people who are born broken, and the lengths they’ll go to to make themselves “whole” again.
Family is a haunting portrait of what happens in a cult and the darkness that can be in other people's life. I felt sorry for the people that have been sucked into this type of environment and having to deal with that. I have already been interested in the Manson Family, so I was excited to read this and I could see a lot of it in the story. I felt sorry for Melinda and how she was stuck in such a harmful environment as she tried to find out who she really was. I really liked how Ostow only capitalized words, when referring to Henry, which made his power more frightening and understandable. The things that happened were scary and sickening. It really moved the plot along and kept me engrossed into every single detail. I found this story really original and engaging. Ostow's writing was wonderful and left me wanting more. Her verse writing was like poetry and made me treasure every moment. I adored this book and would recommend this to someone looking for an original and capturing book.