DARK & UNFATHOMABLE Member of the family review

TITLE: Member of the Family

AUTHOR: Dianne Lake

RATING: ★★★★

TRIGGER WARNING: rape, murder, frequent drug use, underage sex, child pornography, pedophillia and possibly more that I have missed

WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: HarperCollinsNZ sent this to me in exchange for an honest review!

PAGES: 384

GENRE: Non Fiction


In this poignant and disturbing memoir of lost innocence, coercion, survival, and healing, Dianne Lake chronicles her years with Charles Manson, revealing for the first time how she became the youngest member of his Family and offering new insights into one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminals and life as one of his “girls”

At age fourteen Dianne Lake—with little more than a note in her pocket from her hippie parents granting her permission to leave them—became one of “Charlie’s girls,” a devoted acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson. Over the course of two years, the impressionable teenager endured manipulation, psychological control, and physical abuse as the harsh realities and looming darkness of Charles Manson’s true nature revealed itself. From Spahn ranch and the group acid trips, to the Beatles’ White Album and Manson’s dangerous messiah-complex, Dianne tells the riveting story of the group’s descent into madness as she lived it.

Though she never participated in any of the group’s gruesome crimes and was purposely insulated from them, Dianne was arrested with the rest of the Manson Family, and eventually learned enough to join the prosecution’s case against them. With the help of good Samaritans, including the cop who first arrested her and later adopted her, the courageous young woman eventually found redemption and grew up to lead an ordinary life.
While much has been written about Charles Manson, this riveting account from an actual Family member is a chilling portrait that recreates in vivid detail one of the most horrifying and fascinating chapters in modern American history.

Member of the Family includes 16 pages of photographs. 


This was the firstautobiographical book I’ve read; and so perhaps my review would be different had I read more before this, but I really enjoyed my time reading this.
This is the autobiography of Dianne Lake; a member of ‘Charles Manson’s family’ and it is not for the faint hearted. This story follows her being introduced to LSD by her parents, to being physically abused by Charles Manson: to cleaning dishes while she listened to girls recount how they murdered people for Charlie.
I think the most important thing to say about this book; is it’s not all focused on the murders. To me, when I said yes to reviewing this book, I expected it to be all about the murders. But instead this book followed Dianne’s life from her birth to the trial. The first 100 or so pages explain her life growing up; a thing I knew nothing about, but allowed me to understand how and why Charles was able to manipulate her. After this, we see Dianne first meeting Charles and falling in love; meeting a man who was all about drugs and sharing love was what she needed at the time; so it’s what he showed.
I think if you’re interested in psychology or serial killers in general; this is super interesting because it shows that he devolved into a man of rage and anger as he was no longer able to hide who he really was underneath.
The pacing of this book was really good, I never became too bored nor did I feel like it was moving too fast. While it should be mentioned that this was written with a ‘ghost writer’ of sorts, they are fully credited for all their work and effort which I really appreciate.
Overall I found this a really intriguing read and while I wouldn’t say I enjoyed learning about some of the things Charles did, it definetly enlightened me.
Until next time,

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