* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *
"Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one."
We've all heard the rhyme about Lizzie Borden. In 1892 she was tried and acquitted in Massachusetts for murdering her father and stepmother with an axe.
See What I Have Done is the fictionalised tale of Lizzie Borden by Sarah Schmidt and is hitting the shelves in a very big way this month.
Emma and Lizzie are sisters with a smothering, symbiotic relationship that crowds every page. The family is somewhat dysfunctional and the claustrophobic relationship between the sisters compounds this.
Lizzie was frustrating but that's the point. Their relationship together is somewhere between sisterly love and outright obsession.
The book is brimming with envy and loathing between the sisters and even though this is what creates the toxic family environment, reading it left me feeling icky and unclean. With every page I touched I felt as though I was slowly acquiring a layer of grease that wouldn't wash off afterwards.
I commend Schmidt for making me experience such discomfort, but in the end the novel just didn't work for me.
My rating = **