Thursday, January 6, 2011
Lulu had been warned to never to let her father in, but when he shows up drunk, he's impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past Lulu, who then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help, but discovers upon her return that he's murdered her mother, stabbed her five-year-old sister, and tried, unsuccessfully, to kill himself.
Lulu and Merry are effectively orphaned by their mother’s death and father’s imprisonment, but the girls’ relatives refuse to care for them and abandon them to a terrifying group home. Even as they plot to be taken in by a well-to-do family, they come to learn they’ll never really belong anywhere or to anyone—that all they have to hold onto is each other.
For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. One spends her life pretending he's dead, while the other feels compelled, by fear, by duty, to keep him close. Both dread the day his attempts to win parole may meet success.
A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer's Daughters is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart. -- St. Martin's Press
I have been wanting to read THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS by Randy Susan Meyers ever since it first caught my eye in a Twitter discussion. A few authors that I really adore were talking up this book in a major way so I put it down on my mental book wish-list. And then, it must have been fate because my friend brought a bag of books to our last book club meeting and it was the first one she pulled out. I grabbed it before anyone else even processed the cover or title. I'm greedy like that when it comes to books!
I really enjoyed THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS, though I hesitate to use the word enjoy because this book evoked some pretty strong feelings in me. Maybe a better word is appreciate. I really appreciated THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS. I found this book to have an engaging story and intriguing characters, and I thought the book was very well written. My only issue with the novel is that I sometimes had a difficult time reading it because the two main characters were so obviously affected by the murder of their mother by their father. And of course, that's not a knock on the book but rather a complement as to how well the author told this story.
I loved the writing in this book and thought the prose was beautiful, but the real strength of this book to me was in the character development. Both women lived through the same event yet coped in very different ways. The only thing they seemed to share was a dependency on each other. I was extremely impressed with how real these characters were to me, and I admit that I was fascinated by their behavior. I especially thought their relationships with each other (as well as other important people in their lives) were incredibly complex, yet I could understand their actions and feelings. It's apparent to me that the author understand human nature extremely well and especially the behaviors of victims.
Now before I lead you to think that this book was incredibly tragic, I want to say that it's not all about pain. There are many redeeming qualities to both of the characters as well as how they managed to find success in their lives. While I did find their desperation, unhappiness, and discontent to be incredibly painful, the book still left me with a feeling of hope. And I think that's one of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much -- I love books that show the resilience of people.
THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS would make an excellent book club discussion book -- namely because the two women in the story are fascinating. I think it would be interesting to talk about how each one was affected by their childhood as well as how each one handled their relationship (or lack thereof) with their father. There is a reading guide available which will help keep your conversation on track. Some of the themes you might want to explore include parent/child relationships, sisterly relationships, love, guilt, resentment, secrets, healing, and forgiveness.
I highly recommend THE MURDERER'S DAUGHTERS if you enjoy well-written stories with well developed (and complex) characters.