February 25, 2015

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

Wow, this is one that really sticks with you.  I just found it on my bookshelf one day (I'm really not sure where it came from) and finally picked it up and read through it.  And kept reading almost straight through because I was that entranced by it.  It's not that it's a pleasant story; far from it in fact.  But it is an important story, and based on glimpses of real life.

Lulu and Merry don't have the most conventional childhood, but they have parents.  That is until their father in a drunken rage kills their mother and severely injures Merry in the process.  Now parentless, they are sent to an orphanage where survival is a daily thing with the other girls.  They have family, but none that can actually take care of them want them and so until they are fostered by a well to do family, the orphanage is their existence.  Merry still visits her father and has become his link to the world and it weighs heavy on her shoulders.  Lulu prefers to think that he doesn't exist and throws herself into her studies.  As the years go by the events haunt them deeply and have an impact on every decision they make.

Lulu and Merry are both terrific characters.  Although I preferred Lulu and her storyline, both were well developed and you could feel empathy towards them.  And they were very realistic in what domestic violence does to families and how it impacts the children.  The rest of the characters were pretty much side characters.  I can't say they were as fully developed.  But they were all important and as much as you didn't like the father, he was still an integral piece of the story.  And I could feel myself growing angry at the orphanage and the people in it, which means you know the characterization was done well if you feel actual emotion.

It's a sad novel.  Very sad because it is a completely plausible situation to happen in real life.  And things like this happen all the time.  There is violence done everywhere.  But reading how these girls coped (or didn't cope) was somewhat inspiring as they were still trying to make their life and go on.  Meyers has a way for really evoking emotion from the reader and the level of detail was just right (although perhaps not quite palatable for those who can't handle violence and descriptions of violence).  I think the social message is important too.  Domestic violence can be unexpected sometimes and support for the victims is not always there.  So anything that increases awareness helps.

A very thought provoking book and one I would highly recommend.  Lulu and Merry's stories will make you want to cry and change the world.

The Murderer's Daughters
Copyright 2009
310 pages

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