Member of the Family - Dianne Lake & Deborah Herman

Member of the Family

By Dianne Lake & Deborah Herman

  • Release Date: 2017-10-24
  • Genre: True Crime
Score: 4.5
From 144 Ratings


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.


  • Members of the family

    By colonouch
    Couldn’t wait to pick it up and read every day! Very informative but also very sad!!
  • A Momentous Journey

    By Longlegsgirl
    As a person whose read much regarding Charles Manson and his Family, this read was unlike all others, told from the perspective of one who lived it from the inside without an agenda. Dianne Lake is someone I’d jump at the chance to meet and be proud to know and call a friend. It’d be easy to assume each and every Manson Family member to be evil and wicked by nature, but the truth in all our lives is that there’s alway much more to the story. Dianne’s story is an important story. Told with honesty, great insight and hindsight that brings you there to that dark chapter in American history with unflinching detail. Dianne is more brave and strong than most of us will ever have to be and this is a must read for those who seek the truth, one persons truth of a world long past that left an indelible mark.
  • Member of the Family

    By Could have been me
    I found parts of this book very moving. I am only a couple of years younger than Dianne and the book made me think about how but for the grace of God this could have been a lot of teens back then. There are questions I have that I wish would have been addressed. One was why did Charles pick Sadie, Pat and Leslie rather than some of the other girls, especially Leslie since she was fairly new to the family? I am glad Dianne included pics at the end!