Randy Susan Meyers. The Murderer’s Daughters. St. Martin’s, 2010. ISBN 978-0312576981 320 pp. $
10-year-old Lulu’s self-centered and neglectful mother is obsessed with movie magazines, boys, and booze, and quick with a slap when her children disobey. This doesn’t stop Lulu from breaking the rules, allowing her (banned) alcoholic father entry into their apartment, where he kills their mother, and stabs her 5-year old cute as a button sister Merry in the melee.
The two sisters are passed off to several Jewish relatives before being dumped in an orphanage, where they experience cruelty at the hands of other wards of the state. The narrative shifts from one sister to another, and the voices aren’t distinguishable, making for some confusing reading as the author jumps ahead in time as well to a new point of view.
I read through page 60 or so before putting this down. The first chapter is pretty tight–sensational and gripping–but then the story gets bogged down with too many new characters, several deaths in quick succession, and bleakness marred with unmemorable writing. At the risk of sounding callous, I didn’t develop empathy for the plight of the characters, at least not enough to compel me to continue reading.