Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lizzie Borden by Elizabeth Engstrom


Lizzie borden.jpgFor those who may not know, Lizzie Borden was accused and acquitted of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in 1892. What happened that day in the Borden household to this day remains shrouded in mystery. Nursery rhymes have penned about it.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
gave her mother 40 whacks
When she saw what she had done
she gave her father 41...

In actuality, her father was struck 10 or 11 times and her stepmum 19. They were killed with a hatchet.

Was it Lizzie in some odd fugue-like state? Was it the maid? Was it...well, we'll never know. But we can sure have fun speculating...

Lizzie BordenThis novel portrays Lizzie as mentally unstable, a lesbian, a woman imprisoned by her family and her own weaknesses. Her sister Emma calls the shots and controls everything, mentally puts Lizzie down every chance she gets. The stepmother is insecure. There are binge-eating disorders, alcoholism. Lizzie seems to be having blackouts. The book chronicles the time period about a year? before the murders and ends with the deaths.

I found parts of it really boring. It tends to repeat and pontificate. I also would have appreciated more explanation about what was wrong with Lizzie and Emma. They are both crazy. I'm sure there's a medical term/reason/explanation, but the book didn't find a way to tell us. Emma seems to have a few screws loose. She leaves in fits of rage, goes and gets drunk and beaten up every few weeks...there's something really wrong with her. Rage, however, seems to run in the family.

There's a somewhat disgusting love triangle and except for possibly contributing to Lizzie's finally cracking, I fail to see why this story twist existed.

Why the  headaches? What did they have? Was it hereditary? I feel the book gave us just only so much idea and didn't explain itself well enough. It was interesting, but fell short. I was left asking more questions than when I first picked it up.

But those of you who have read or heard of her, what do you think?

I got this book on Paperback Swap.





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