Monday, June 27, 2011

The Murderer’s Daughters

A friend of mine recently made a blog post, Complete, Yet Incomplete, about a book having so many great things about it, yet parts of it failed. She asked her readers several questions, such as how we consider a story a success, or if we didn’t like a book by an author, would we attempt to read that author again?

In The Murderer’s Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers, I can honestly answer with a booming response that this book is a success and I’d definitely read another one of her books. It was the first since The Book Thief where I wanted the end to tie everything up in a little bow, yet even though that didn’t happen I was content (with a smile). The Murderer’s Daughters is beautifully written and executed with emotional depth and truth from two points of views (POV)—Merry and Lulu (the daughters).

This book spans about 30-years of Merry and Lulu’s lives. They struggle with who they are and how to get through life after family abandons them, spending years in an orphanage and then college to be free of other’s help. Each girl has her own demand of life, very different from the other, and each one remembers from the age of loss. “Trying to catch memories of mama felt like trying to hold rain.” (173)

The story begins with Merry (the youngest) and Lulu’s (the oldest) father killing their mother, stabbing Merry and trying to kill himself. From the first page, my throat constricted and I cried for these two girls.

Essentially, Mama regarded me as a miniature hand server:
Grab me a Pepsi, Lulu.
Get the milk for your sister’s cereal.
Go to the store and buy me a pack of Winstons.
Then one day she upped the stakes:
Don’t let Daddy in the apartment.

Each chapter is Merry and Lulu’s POV of how they see the world, their father, and how they cope with life. Lulu, the oldest and practical thinker, tries to bury the past and makes plans to better their lives—it’s her survival mechanism. Merry, the youngest and emotional child, tries to please her father by visiting and relies on her sister’s direction. Many times they are at odds for their feelings toward their daddy. Lulu wants nothing to do with him while Merry feels obligated because daddy has no one else. How they deal with their father is how they deal with life; one wants to be free of the past and the other can’t let go.

The Murderer’s Daughters reveals the struggles and sadness when horror strikes a home. It shows the after effects of how a family has to pick up the pieces and carry on; some unable to glue the pieces together; and some tossing them away. As Merry said, “Did he know that sometimes I hated people so much it burned?” (40)

I highly recommend The Murderer’s Daughters. You won’t be disappointed.


  1. Thank you so much for this review. You truly entered into the world I created and took Lulu and Merry into your heart.

  2. June, I hope you get a chance to read it some time soon.

    Randy, Thank you for your moving words and story.

  3. I'm always fascinated by family dynamics and the whole nature vs. nurture thing. In this case (from your summary), how one daughter is a survivor, and can separate herself from her dad's unhealthy behavior, yet the other one feels bad for him and wants to take care of him. So often we live our lives thinking: "Why can't he/she see it my way?" not stopping to consider most of us are born with certain tendencies. That's why I love books where we hear different sides of the story—not to mention books about siblings!

    Anyway... I know we see eye to eye when it comes to novels, so your recommendations carry a lot of weight. I'll be sure to add this to my list. Thanks for the great review. :)

  4. Yes, we both seem to sway toward the same types of novels. I'm glad you enjoyed my book review and that you're adding this book to your reading list. :D