Helter Skelter aka The Family

I will say that I am an avid reader and I will read almost anything I can get my hands on. This week we read Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. What a freaky and trippy ride this book was. I don’t mean trippy in the sense of using narcotics. It is more of the mind-blowing aspect of how people who crave a sense of belonging can be persuaded to do such horrible things.
I have come across a few books that may send chills down my spine when reading what the characters have done but this sensation passes and rarely occurs again for me. With this book that was not the case. The fact that these are actual people who committed such horrible acts against another living human being blew my mind. I will note here that I listened to the audio version of this book and I still wonder how the narrator was able to sit and read this book aloud. Did he have to pause as many times as the people who sat on the grand jury when they heard the testimony of those involved?
As I sit here and write this blog piece, I am still in a sort of shock as to what happened and how the people involved acted and responded to everything they did. I had to take breaks because of some of the things they did hit too close to home for me. The biggest one was what they did to Sharon Tate and how the killers had wanted to cut out her baby. That one bit there appalled me the most. Now, most of the time horror is meant to scare us, thrill us, or force us to face our fears along with many other things. This book, however, did none of these things. It retold the facts of actual murders that happened to real people.
We are given an in-depth background on Charles Manson. His life was spent in and out of institutions. Yet he was able to learn how to manipulate people even the doctors who attended to him. Was this a natural ability or more of a learned one? Who knows but once Manson figured this out he started to gather followers. The way these girls and a few guys followed him blindly is scary. There are charismatic people in this world, but from the recounts of his followers, he was above all that. Their desire to belong made him more than what he was.
So, with all that being said the style of this book was interesting. It was a very factual base novel. There was no embellishment to the story it was a retelling of the facts. Even more interesting was the fact that the prosecuting attorney was our storyteller. There was a detachment to his words, but with this case and his line of work, it is to be expected. He had a distinct and concise way of telling how the investigations were conducted and what evidence was found. Even when he finally introduces himself, it is all facts. There was no emotion from him or even talk about how he loved or hated his career. Just what he discovered and the extra work he had put into the case. Usually, a book like this would be, but it wasn’t. I think the smooth tone of the author coupled with that of the narrator helped to ease a lot of the shock that people were going to receive whether they read the book or listened to the audio.
Overall, this book was chilling. I don’t think this will ever be a book I sit and read again. I am glad that I have it on audio and my kids don’t have access to a paper copy just yet. I still shudder thinking about everything that was revealed.

3 thoughts on “Helter Skelter aka The Family

  1. This was definitely a tough read. The fact that anyone could commit such horrible crimes is awful enough but knowing that more than one person was convinced to do these thing and that they even wanted to do more is just … beyond comprehension. I had moments where I needed to put the book down and remind myself that this wasn’t the default setting for life but a horrible and gristly exception to it.

    Like

  2. The crimes were shocking, gruesome, and pointless, and I think that’s what fascinates people about the case. The victims were chosen so randomly that anyone could have fallen victim to the Family and their insane and senseless crimes.

    Like

  3. The part about Sharon’s baby really got to me too. I’m not a mom but I have 12 nieces and nephews (two more being born this year) and I’ve been there for almost all of the births and a lot of other things. That detail made me put the book down for a while because I couldn’t imagine that happening to any of my siblings or their babies. It was the worst thing I got out of that book. Mason and his family were evil people.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s