Kathy's Reviews > The Murderer's Daughters

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
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's review
May 20, 2011

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bookshelves: family, fiction
Read from May 20 to 24, 2011

** spoiler alert ** 30 + years of life, as told through the thoughts and narrative of sisters Lulu and Merry... At age of 5 and 10 - dad was unpredictable, started drinking, kicked out by mom... mom is drinking, having different men over - and told the girls to never let dad into the apartment... but one day, drunk dad knocks at the door when sister & mom are napping, and Lulu lets him in (seduced by his nickname for her and gentle words)... he stabs and kills her mother, and stabs Merry, and slashes his own wrists... Lulu goes for help, but too late - Merry is hospitalized, dad arrested...

and hence starts their story, and how life goes on, and how such tragedy effects...

Mom's relatives won't take the girls in, dad's mom is of too poor health to take them in... though they visit grandma every weekend, and grandma takes Merry to the prison to see dad (Lulu refuses to go)...Merry is cute & Lulu is strong - and she manages to push things so that the retiring social worker takes them in as foster children... the next 6 years are a bit tenuous, as the foster father doesn't really want them, their grown children are unhappy with their presence, and Lulu sees that she is doing it more of duty & principal than of love... but foster mom dies, but foster dad pays for their ways through college - and there is no more contact...

in college, & a new life Lulu insists that Merry create the fiction that they were orphaned at a young age when their parents died in a car accident... a fib she holds onto, and tells everyone, including her own children

Lulu becomes a doctor - through sheer determination; and Merry manages to get a degree, and becomes a victim's advocate and then a probation officer... Lulu meets the most wonderful man, Drew - and he is the one and only she ever tells the truth to - on the first night they are together... he wants children, and though Lulu doesn't, she agrees - with him staying home to care for them, and she working... her internal thoughts about her girls are filled with worry for them, and feeling overwhelmed by their needs - but she courageously loves them and gives them the right words & hugs as needed - though often, she really doesn't want to be bothered.

Merry moves into the 2nd unit of Lulu & Drew's home - she works, and she looks for validation in a stream of short term men where sex and drinking is the focus... and she continues to see her father...

I wonder about the father... he writes letters, and when he sees Merry, he tries to be a good father - more ignoring the past than not... he drops in ' your mother would be so proud of you' as if... and when confronted a few times with his daughter's anger, he apologizes & minimizes - saying that he is being punished, and doing his best... he keeps everything Merry gives him - letters, pictures, etc. he is hungry to hear about Lulu & her life...

and he gets out of prison 8 years early... he respects Lulu's demand that he stay out of her town - and Merry, growing up, moves back to New York - to be independent, to be there for her dad, to go back to school j- and they build a reasonable relationship...

A touching story - how two girls react so differently to the same event (oh yeah - Merry did get stabbed by her father though)... how the tragedy directly and indirectly makes them who they are - both positive and negative... how sad that family could not be there for family...

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