Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publishing Date: 2009
Their mother asked the impossible. Their father did the unthinkable.
Lulu and Merry's childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu's tenth birthday it became a nightmare. Mama warns Lulu not to let her father in, but he bullies his way past her. She runs for help, but discovers upon her return that he's murdered their mother, stabbed five-year-old Merry, and tries to kill himself.
Effectively orphaned by their mother's death and father's imprisonment, the girls' relatives 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 that all they have to hold on to is each other.
As the sisters spend thirty years trying to make sense of what happened, their jailed father shadows their every choice. One spends her life pretending he's dead, while the other feels compelled to keep him close. Both dread that someday he'll win parole.
A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer's Daughters is a testament to the power of family and the tics that bind us together and tear us apart.
This book has been sitting on my TBR pile for quite some time, and I'm happy I finally got around to reading it! I thought this book did a really great job of portraying how a family can be affected by such a tragic act of one person. Merry and Lulu's father killed their mother and attempted to kill Merry. He completely tore their family apart. Not only did the girls no longer have a mother, they didn't have a father, or much of any extended family that were willing to care for them.
I identified much more with Lulu than I did Merry, and it was simply because of how she handled her father killing her mother. If that had happened to me, I know I would have likely handled it the same way; I wouldn't want anything to do with my father. However, even though the girls handled this incident in completely different ways, their father still controlled so much of their lives. Merry felt she needed to be a support system for her father because he guilted her into it... it was always: "you're the only one I have... I don't have anyone else...I need you so much..." On the other hand, although Lulu pretended he was dead, he still affected her daily choices. It determined what she told her friends and classmates about her life, what she tells her future family, how she deals with the internal struggle of every day living, etc. Both of these girls were affected in such a terrible way by what their father did. Their mother wasn't the only victim; the children were as well. I think society often forgets about how family members are affected by heinous crimes such as this, and we often think so much about the victim that was physically harmed, whether killed or injured.
Now I know why my future mother-in-law read this in just a couple days when we were on a road trip to Florida! It was a very fast paced read and takes you through 30-odd years of Merry and Lulu's lives. I would definitely recommend this book to others (: