“Fans of Emma Cline’s novel ‘The Girls’ will enjoy this nonfiction account of a teenager living under Charles Manson’s cult leadership in the ’60s and her eventual aid in his arrest and imprisonment.” (amNewYork)
“If a taut psychological thriller is what you like, Member of the Family crushes it.” (Northwest Indiana Times)
“[A] disturbing, courageous memoir… Her testimony, at age 17, helped convict Manson. This is a moving, intense insider’s view of the cult of Manson.” (Publishers Weekly)
At age 14, I became one of Charles Manson’s Girls. At 17 I helped put him in prison. This is my story.
At 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. 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.”
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 took her into his home, 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.
I don’t want this book to end. Fascinating. I was a pseudo-hippie in the 70’s – I remember this all. The author has written an interesting birds eye view of what it was like living with Charles Manson. I often thought briefly of heading toward a racier life than I actually did – so glad I did not. I chose working for a living in corporate America; I could have landed in a similar situation with the wrong guidance. Thank God Dianne you made it out in one piece. Your book is the kind of book I save for vacations in the islands or a long plane trip! I’m getting toward the end of the book – too bad. Good books like this are hard to find.