Friday, May 18, 2012

Alice's Review: The Murderer's Daughters

Summary:  Lulu and Merry's childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu's tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He's always hungered for the love of the girls’ self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.  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.

Review:  I could probably sum up this review in five words or less:

Go buy it and read it immediately.  Seriously.  I remember when Julie told me about this novel (Julie's review), the plot intrigued me because it was about sisters and a subject matter I couldn’t fathom.  When she included it in our challenge, I looked forward to reading it.   

There are many great things in this novel.  Ms. Meyers gave us two strong female characters.  I liked each sister equally, appreciated what they went through and how they developed into the woman they become.  I loved how Ms. Meyers took us through their lives, from the traumatic incident through adulthood.  I was enthralled by the great detail she employed in describing the emotional journey the sisters took. 

I loved that The Murderer’s Daughters is written through both Lulu and Merry’s points of view.  It was fascinating hearing in their own words how their mother’s death affected them.  I especially enjoyed when they spoke to each other, knowing they were at times holding something back.  I loved that Ms. Meyers held true to the characters throughout the novel.  She didn’t alter their core to fit the story. They moved through the novel as we do through life, taking what is handed to us and making something of it.

One of the greatest surprises for me was how I felt about their father.  I flat out hated him in the beginning and I was surprised by how my view of him changed throughout the novel.  I’m far from cheering for him, but I did gain a reverence for him with the actions he took in his rehabilitation.

I will leave you with this.  This isn’t a brand new saying, I’m sure we have all heard it before in many different way.  However, this resonated deeply with me this time around and like The Murderer’s Daughters, it will stay with me for seasons to come. 

“Then I’d calm down and remind myself for everything there is a season.  This was my healing season.  Eventually the leaves would all fall and new leaves would grow back.”  ~Merry

Final Take: 5/5



stacybuckeye June 2, 2012 at 10:29 PM  

This one's been on my wish list for awhile. Thanks for reminding me why.

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