Review: The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
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
I found this to be a very compelling story of the aftermath of domestic violence and the way it affects not just the two people involved but the children and surrounding family members. Lulu and Merry are quite small when their father kills their mother and yet it's an event that shapes their entire lives.
Lulu tries in vain to escape the label of 'Murder Girl' by reinventing her past and telling everyone that both of her parents had died in a car crash. She avoids visiting her father and even the mention of him at all costs and yet she is haunted by her guilt over that day. Merry clings to her father, claiming that he needs her, that she needs to be there for him. She visits him dutifully, clinging to the last scrap of family that they have.
I found it interesting the way the two girls handle this tragedy translates into how there lives develop as adults. Even their career choices and relationship issues can be traced back to that one moment in their lives. With the two girls you get to see reactions to tragedy and betrayal from both sides of the spectrum. One keeping him away at all costs and the other keeping him close despite the pain it causes her.
The Murderer's Daughters was a fascinating story of survival and healing, not from the physical pain but from the emotional scars which take much longer to heal and sometime never go fully away.