Friday, April 6, 2012

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyer

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 girl’s self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.

Lulu’s mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he’s impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father’s instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself.

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. Though one spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father’s attempts to win parole may meet success. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

My thoughts on The Murderer's Daughters ~~

I first read this book back in July 2010. I originally read about this book on some book site newsletter, I don't even remember where. The concept for the book immediately intrigued me. I just read it again for my book group. I was happy to read it again. 

The story follows two sisters who have witnessed the murder of their mother, by their father. The two girls have totally different reactions and acceptance of their father after what he did. T
he author writes a very interesting story about how their entire lives, these two girls are influenced by what they remember and how they have resolved, or are trying to resolve, the issue of having a murdering father and no mother, as they are growing up. 

I had such strong feelings, both positive and negative, for the characters of this story. Some of then I just loved to hate! How could these people do what they did? And the two daughters handled the situation and their lives so differently, and seriously, I could understand both points of view - one is not right while the other one is wrong. It's just the way they had to deal with it.

This is such a good book for a book group to read because there is so much to talk about, empathize with, and be furious about.

And I just saw on the author's website that she is working on another book. Paper Baby, about three women brought together over one child, is set for a January 2013 publication. I will be watching for this one!

About the author 

The dark drama of Randy Susan Meyer’s debut novel, The Murderer's Daughters, is informed by her years of work with batterers, domestic violence victims, and at-risk youth impacted by family violence.

Randy Susan Meyers’ short stories have been published in the Fog City Review, Perigee: Publication for the Arts, and the Grub Street Free Press.

In Brooklyn, where Randy was born and raised, her local library was close enough to visit daily and she walked there from the time she figured out the route. In many ways, she was raised by books, each adding to her sense of who she could be in this world. Some marked her for horror. Reading In Cold Blood at too tender an age assured that she’d never stay alone in a country house. Others, like Heidi by Johanna Spyri made her worship her grandfather even more.

Some taught her faith in the future.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith was the only bible Randy ever owned, her personal talisman of hopefulness. Each time she read it, she was struck anew by how this author knew so much and dared to write it.

Randy now lives in Boston with her husband and is the mother of two grown daughters. She teaches writing seminars at the Grub Street Writers’ Center in Boston.


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