The Murderer's Daughters: Book summary and reviews of The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

The Murderer's Daughters

By Randy Susan Meyers

The Murderer's Daughters
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  • Published in USA  Feb 2011,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

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 girls' self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.

Lulu had been warned to never to let her father in, but when he shows up drunk, he's impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past Lulu, who then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help, but discovers upon her return that he's murdered her mother, stabbed her five-year-old sister, and tried, unsuccessfully, to kill himself.

Lulu and Merry are effectively orphaned by their mother's death and father's imprisonment, but the girls' relatives refuse to care for them and 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 they’ll never really belong anywhere or to anyone—that all they have to hold onto is each other.

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. One spends her life pretending he's dead, while the other feels compelled, by fear, by duty, to keep him close. Both dread the day his attempts to win parole may meet success.

A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer's Daughters is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"How both sisters live, from the squalor of an orphanage to the empty silences of suburban living, is all too believable and heartbreaking because there is no acceptable answer for how to deal with one's part, as living victim, of a horrible crime." - Sarah Weinman, LA Times 'Knock-Out Debuts'

"The author delivers unshakable truths at every turn...Meyers, in a remarkably assured debut, details how the sisters process their grief in separate but similarly punishing ways." - The Denver Post

"I would recommend this book as a great read for book clubs. The reason: there are several great jumping off points for a good discussion that in no way ruin the book’s ending...Violence, pathos, sorrow, empathy, love: these elements pack The Murderer’s Daughters' pages with hope." - BlogCritics.org

"A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut, The Murderer's Daughter is a testament to the power of family and the ties that bind us together and tear us apart." - The Murderer's Daughter

"Meyers delivers a clear-eyed, insightful story about domestic violence and survivor's guilt in The Murderer's Daughters. It's an impressively executed novel, disturbing and convincing." - The Boston Globe

"Much like Janet Fitch's White Oleander or Jacqueline Mitchard's The Deep End of the Ocean, The Murderer's Daughter takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride....get out your handkerchief and prepare to care." - Library Journal

"Though the novel's sprawling time line and undifferentiated narrative voices...hinder the potential for readers to fall completely into the story, the psychologically complex characters make Meyers's debut a satisfying read." - Publishers Weekly

"Meyers's strength is in her descriptions of the heartbreak of the sisters' situation as children and their continued struggles as adults, as well as the clarity and individuality of their voices." - School Library Journal (reviewed for their high school/adult section)

"Eminently readable, despite some clunky phrasing and an excess of psychology, with affecting moments and insights." - Kirkus

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Author Information

Randy Susan Meyers Author Biography

Randy Susan Meyers spent eight years as assistant director of Common Purpose, a batterer intervention program where she worked with both batterers and domestic violence victims. Previously, she was director for the Mission Hill Community Centers where she worked with at-risk youth. She is the co-author of the nonfiction book Couples with Children. Her short fiction has been published in Perigee, Fog City Review, and Grub Street Free Press. She currently teaches fiction-writing seminars at the Grub Street Writers' Center in Boston, Massachusetts.

Link to Randy Susan Meyers's Website

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