13 November 2017

Helter Skelter Book Club: Week 7

Alright. This section of the book we learned a few new details while getting the run down from Linda regarding the nights of the Tate and Labianca murders. This girl is the only one who associated herself with the Manson Family and actually feels remorse and guilt for what has happened. So even though I think she is a bit crazy for being able to swallow all the things Manson said and did, I actually felt bad for her, that she was exposed to such violence that night and having to shack up with some of the most fucked up people on earth. Plus the constant worry of someone hurting her baby. Poor girl. I’d have a hard time sitting outside listening to people scream and beg for their lives too. I’m sure those sounds haunted her forever. Clearly, Linda has a conscience and a pretty good memory. Some of the details she could recall, like what lights were on outside the Tate residence and what direction the screen was sliced, I wouldn’t remember on a good day, let alone when you’d be about to attack and kill 4 people/while people are being slaughtered. One of the most disturbing details to me was when, back in the car, Katie complained that her hand hurt because she kept hitting bones as she was stabbing. She probably said it like she had heartburn or something. 

Linda also informs Bugliosi of the handful of other “almost-murder victims” Manson had thought to attack the night the Labiancas were killed. This detail in itself gave me straight chills. Death literally came to some of their doorsteps that night and by some small twist of fate, didn’t knock. Also, the fact that the Family members hitchhiked and went into a restaurant means a lot of people that night would have actually seen, spoken to and interacted with straight up fucking psycho killers after they’d done their evil deeds. Can you imagine seeing the news and being like, “HOLY FUCK, THOSE kids were in MY CAR the other night!” or the server who gave Charlie his milkshake. That would be quite a story, hey. “I served Charlie Manson A MILKSHAKE the night he had the Labiancas killed.” I can’t imagine forgetting that creep’s face even on a busy night. *shudder* 

There were a couple of quotes that stood out to me, but the one that really gave me the creeps was, (referring to the plot to kill everyone at 10050 Ceilo Dr.) “Just a little over 24 hours later, his prediction would be fulfilled, in all its gory detail, at 10050 Ceilo Drive. With a little help from his friends.” A simple quote from the Beatles but to twist it and think of the Family as the friends, tres creepy. Listening to the Beatles will never be the same!!!! (Side note, I wonder how the Beatles felt about all of this “Helter Skelter” business and sort of being “associated” with Manson.) 

Something else that I thought about was how Charlie was sickly smart in his attempts to pin everything on the blacks/Panthers. For example, something as simple as throwing that wallet out the window in hopes a black man would find it and be arrested for having stolen credit cards. That is probably exactly what would have happened back then, given how racism still is in the world. Back then, police were looking for any reason to lock up young black men. (watch 13th on Netflix. So good.) If Charlie had kept doing shit like this, trying to pin crimes on the blacks, who knows. Maybe Helter Skelter really would’ve happened. Honestly, I really only had this thought after watching that documentary. The racial divide in America is still a huge issue, clearly. 

At this point, I’m done reading about how fucking useless the detectives on the Tate case are and how Bugliosi must struggle to get them or police to help him with anything. 2 WEEKS pass without them searching for the evidence he requested!!!?! I’m glad he basically told them they look like idiots because a 10 year old and a tv news crew found what they should have. IDIOTS. UGH. Thank goodness the Labianca detectives actually TRIED and did what Bugliosi asked of them, so they were some help. They didn’t want to put undercovers in the Family (for bogus reasons) even though it likely would’ve prevented more murders and given them an advantage, knowing the Family’s next moves. Y’all look real dumb know that there’s a book written about this. BUT THEN THE LAST PAGE WHEN BUGLIOSI DISCOVERS THE DOOR. Pissed me off beyond words. WE THOUGHT THE POLICE WERE CLUELESS BEFORE. “It was considered so unimportant that to date no one had even bothered to book it into evidence.” Go figure. The link that connected the killers to the murders was sitting in the basement for 5 months while they all had their thumbs up their asses letting Bugliosi solve this case solo. Thanks guys!!!! Man, I can’t even begin to imagine his frustrations throughout this case and trial. 

There were a few more things that took place in this section but these were bits that got me thinking. At this point, I’m basically rooting for Linda. I guess I’m just happy there is someone with some real human emotion in this story now. Obviously Linda’s life (like everyones’) was forever changed by joining the Family. Interesting to see the effects on her. As we know, you won’t find an ounce of guilt or feelings of remorse or fear coming from the others. 

I’m enjoying the book, but now I want to find out the Family members’ fates. They all should’ve got the chair.


  1. I loved your review this week, Emily.

    Hearing the recollection of events from Linda's perspective was quite interesting, and like you said, it was nice that there was some empathy for the victims and remorse coming from one of the Family members. Even knowing that Linda asked "why would they do such a thing?" after watching the news following the murders, and learning that Sharon Tate was pregnant, shows that she was very much repulsed by these actions. And because she'd had a baby of her own, it's clear that she was able to exhibit empathy, particularly for Sharon. So YAY - we have ONE person involved who isn't a complete fucking dick.

    I can't imagine how terrified Linda must've been while/after testifying and being aware of the breadth of Manson's influence. Imagine the implications of such a testimonial and living in fear that someone might come after you for speaking out... Lord knows that they're more than capable of doing wretched things (see: the whole point of this book). I don't know how she was strong enough to sit on the witness stand and give a testimonial against Manson while he sat right across from her, staring her right in the eye. Like... look at the Life magazine cover we talked about a couple weeks ago and imagine that face looking back at you the entire time you're speaking about the shit he did. Chills. No thanks, fam.

    1. I almost need this LIFE magazine in my life though you know?

  2. lol this review is too good. I love you talking about serving Manson a milkshake because yes that would be probably the most interesting thing to ever happen to me if i was in that situation.

    I was also very very creeped out by the twist of that Beatles line. It does seem so creepy and that is what I find so unnerving about Charlie and his gang.. the whole pretending to be innocent "flower" children.

    And yes, the police are goddamn idiots and it is VERY difficult to even stomach their stupidity.

    1. I also love Manson thinking he was going to release the follow-up album to the Beatles and be better than them.... this is the definition of a true sociopath

  3. FIRSTLY just the title of this section scared the shit out of me... like the fact that this Family thinks they are above the entire legal system is downright frightening. I've said "do you know who you're crucifying" to my boyfriend at least 3 times a day this past week whenever he crosses me...

    There was SO much going on this section but firstly, I'm not sure how I feel about Linda. It's very clear these people are INSANE and if she had a tiny bit of sanity she'd be trying to be the one to get a plea deal too... does this make her remorseful or just smarter than the others.

    I also liked your milkshake point. I thought it was cool how in the Joan Didion doc she talks about having Linda in her house for dinner as though that was cool for her and Didion has dined with tons of celebs, so, truly it would have been exciting to interact with these people.

    The entire way they are behaving in court is downright disgusting. I love Manson asking for the prosecution to have to be incarcerated like he has been, like does he not get it??? He's being tried for fucking murder!!! Then when they one at a time turn their backs to the court... I'm not even sure I could bear to sit in the room with one of them I'd honestly believe they have magical powers.

    I also cannot believe the LAPD and I wish Bugliosi had more authority to punish them for being absolute idiots...