The first half of the book is about Dianne’s childhood & growing up years before she met Manson & the gang. It starts out pretty normal. She had a younger brother & sister and parents who were at that time, pretty average. Her Dad painted houses for a living and her mom was a home-maker. She was evidently pretty close to her mom in her younger years, always cooking, cleaning & sewing like her mom.
Then her father got bitten by the “hippy bug” and wanted to move to California. Her mother was against it at first, but evidently relented. They traded their 2-story house for a trailer and took off. Didn’t get far though. The trailer broke down and they didn’t even make it out of Minnesota.
So, they tried to make a go of it where they were and the Dad finally took off for California and left them. After a couple of years, the Dad contacted them. He was living in CA and wanted them to join him. So they did.
The next few years is just talking about how they went from commune to commune and got more and more “hippy-ish” by the minute and Dianne was subjected to all kinds of pervs.
They ended up at the Hog Farm and the owners of that fine establishment finally told Dianne that she couldn’t stay there because she was underage and a liability, of all things. This was after she got caught doing the horizontal mamba.
Dianne suffered at the hands of multiple perverts, and at the end of her book, Dianne says that she doesn’t blame her parents for what happened to her, but I think it was totally irresponsible of them not to take care of her until she was an adult. They were acting like children instead of parents. Just my opinion.
She left the Hog Farm with a couple who took her to The Spiral Staircase and her eventual introduction to Manson. She says when she walked in a red-haired girl kept saying “Dianne is here”! It turned out to be Squeaky. Of course when she met Charlie, he did his little impy goon act plus he told her she was pretty, etc., etc. and she fell for him, just like all the other girls say when they first met him. He didn’t show his “crazy side” until later.
She also met Pat there. In the book, she speaks highly of Squeaky, Pat & Gypsy. She immediately disliked Mary, Sandy, Susan & Leslie. I found that interesting. In fact, she talks glowingly about Pat & Squeaky until the end of her time with them, when she found out Pat was involved in murder and when she showed up to testify for the trial and Squeaky made a sarcastic remark.
She mentions that often times, Charlie would start singing and draw a crowd, then he would start on his mumbo jumbo about life. He would pick out a certain target in the crowd, then nod to one of the girls or guys, who would then go sit by that person and start trying to recruit them with the rest of the mumbo jumbo.
She also mentions that Charlie is the one who came up with most of their fake ID names. I had always wondered if he did that. He named her Dianne Bluestein, a married lady of 20, to hide the fact that she was a minor so he wouldn't get in trouble. She says her fake husband was a guy named “Bruce”, and his fake name was John Bluestein. I don’t think it was Bruce Davis.
She says they went to Harold True’s house and Charlie told her to sleep with Harold and she didn’t want to because he was fat and he scared her. She started bawling and Charlie started to hit her, then softened and offered her candy when it was over.
She talks about their time with Dennis Wilson and how it started out so good but ended so badly when Charlie had the recording session at Brian Wilson’s house and he got mad at them because they were giving him advice, and supposedly pulled a knife on them. End of relationship with Dennis.
She talks about multiple beatings from Charlie & how he even raped her.
She mentions Tex briefly before the murders. In fact, she doesn’t really talk much about him at all in the book. She mentions Clem once, and says “what he lacked in brains he made up for in his endowment”.
She talks about going to Myers & Barker Ranches and also the need for the family to get money to make the permanent move.
She first mentions Gary Hinman when she said that on one of the many times Charlie tried to get rid of her, he took her to Gary’s house. I think this was a few months before Gary was killed. She talks lovingly about Gary, how nice he was, and how into Buddhism he was.
She also states her opinion on Gary’s murder. She thinks Bobby & the girls went there strictly to get money, not for reimbursement for bad drugs. I agree with her on that one.
She says that Tex told her about the murders when they were at Olancha.
She says that the morning after the LaBianca murders, she saw Leslie come into the room around 7am and she was trying to start a fire. She says that Leslie burned some clothing , some credit cards, a purse & a rope and when someone drove up, she took the rope out of the fire and tried to put it out. Not sure what the rope signified. She said she helped Leslie, not knowing where Leslie had been or what she had done. When Tex told her what happened, she figured out that Leslie was burning evidence of her crime, and that made her sick.
She says that at some point, Leslie, Pat & Susan started talking about the murders. She said that Leslie said “the woman” she stabbed was still warm and said stabbing was fun. Susan talked about “saving the baby” while she was stabbing Sharon Tate. Susan also talked about killing Hinman and sounded “put out” that Gary just wouldn’t die quick enough. She says Pat talked about tackling a woman then stabbing her to death.
She says she wasn’t that surprised that Susan & Leslie would do such a thing, but she was really surprised at Pat for doing that. From everything she says about Pat from the time she met her, it seems to go against the kind of person Pat was. That shows how strong Charlie’s control over her was.
She was finally spared from this life of misery when she, along with other family members, were arrested in October and she was put in a Hospital because she was underage, which got her completely away from the other girls and out of their control, and helped her heal up to think normally again.
She talks about testifying at the trial and how difficult it was because she was afraid of what Charlie might say or do, and admitting on the witness stand that she still loved Charlie, which pissed him off. She was relieved when they were all found guilty. She knew she could finally get on with her life.
There are a few things in her book that I disagree with or question, or at least I’ve read these in the past from various sources that are different:
She says that Nancy Pittman introduced Deidre Lansbury to the family. I thought it was the other way around. Also, she says that Deidre did not have a note from her mother saying she could hang out with the Family. I’ve read that she did have a note.
She says that Dennis Wilson picked Patty & Ella up hitchhiking, they told him about Charlie, and he drove them to Spahn’s Ranch to meet Charlie. I’ve always heard he took the girls to his house, left the house for a while and when he got home, Charlie & more girls were there. That’s when he first met Charlie. Then Charlie kissed his feet or something.
She says that when Charlie went to Lotspoppa’s he took TJ & Tex. I thought he just took TJ.