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."
Published : January 19th, 2010
Format : Paperback
Source : Purchased
Author : http://www.randysusanmeyers.com/
I saw this book FOREVER ago on Goodreads, and filed it away as a book that I desperately wanted to read, but lacked the money to purchase. A year later, I finally bought it. A year after that (oops!) I finally read it.
The Murderer's Daughters is about Lulu and Merry, two sisters who are in their late 30s. The day before Lulu's tenth birthday, her mother goes to take a nap, and tells Lulu not to let Daddy inside if he comes to the door. When he shows up, he talks Lulu into unlocking the front door of the apartment, and goes to "give Mama something." When Lulu hears Mama scream that he has a knife and to get help, she leaves her mother and five-year-old Merry behind, runs downstairs to her mother's best friend, and tells her what's happening. By the time they get back to the upstairs, Mama is dead, Merry has been stabbed, and Daddy has tried to kill himself.
The girls go to live with their grandmother, but after she passes away, the rest of the family doesn't want them. They shuffle them off to an awful group home, where the other girls are mean, steal, and fight. Luckily, after a few years of this, Merry and Lulu are taken in by a woman who worked at the home.
As the girls become women, Lulu tells everyone her father is dead, that both of her parents died in a car crash when she was little. The only person who knows her secret aside from Merry is her husband. She even goes so far as to hide it from her two daughters.
Merry deals differently, however, and goes to the prison to see her father every weekend. No matter how hard she tries, she can't stop wanting to please him and living her life according to him. But she, too, tells everyone her parents died in a car crash.
The sisters deal with guilt, confusion, and a whole range of other emotions, until Merry gets a letter from her father. His parole is approved and he's going to come live with Merry in the house she shares with Lulu and her family. The sisters quickly have to figure out how to handle all these things at once, and not lose their relationship in the process.
I gave this one four stars at first, but after thinking some more about it, I went back and gave it five stars. I think what really made me love this book is the relationship between Merry and Lulu. Being an older sister myself, I identified with almost everything Lulu said about Merry - the frustration when Merry was doing nothing with her life, the overprotective part, the love, the anger, all of it.
I absolutely abhorred Aunt Cilla. I have very rarely disliked a fictional character this much, but dang. For some reason, she just rubbed me the wrong way. How could you cast out family, especially two young children, like that? And then to take all of Mama's belongings and keep them for yourself, despite the fact that Lulu and Merry clearly wanted them. Needless to say, I was furious whenever Aunt Cilla appeared.
Randy Susan Meyers did a great job writing this. This was her debut novel, and wow, it was impressive. I look forward to reading everything else she writes, because she's just THAT good.
5 shelves. Go buy it. Seriously.