Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for Girls and Their Monsters:
They got four kids when they deserved none.
The story of the Genain quadruplets and their horrible lives growing up.
Fact for Non-History People:
Numbers are fuzzy, but the Genain quadruplets birth (and survival) is about a one in 20 million chance.
Fact for History Nerds:
The chance they all had schizophrenia (they did) is about one in 1.5 billion.
My Take on Girls and Their Monsters:
Four kids simultaneously is a lot of kids. It would be very difficult to weather the storm of four kids showing up one day and having to figure it all out especially if you didn’t know until the day they were born. Unfortunately for the Morlok quadruplets, their parents didn’t have the skills to raise a bird let alone children.
Girls and Their Monsters by Audrey Clare Farley follows the lives of the Morlok quadruplets and the hell they grew up in. Their father was abusive in nearly every way and their mother was either abusive herself or at the very least complicit in the father’s misdeeds. It is a tough read because you truly wish you could go back in time and somehow get the sisters to somewhere safe where they can be truly cared for. Farley does a great job laying out the timeline and developmental aspects of the sisters. The book is truly at its best when it focuses on them and how their upbringing, and possibly their genetics, affect them. There is science involved in the story, although this wasn’t nearly as engaging as the sisters’ home lives.
The reason this book doesn’t get a full five stars is because of the other parts of the narrative. Farley will occasionally dive into societal factors on mental health and child rearing. There are repeated references to racism which I found to be badly placed in the story. I understand Farley was trying to explain the time period but there is no real connection made between the sisters and racism. Other references to religious movements could have been more appropriate, but the direct effects on the sisters are never convincingly made. These passages in the book feel distracting and more like social points Farley wanted to make. Regardless, the book is still very good and worth a read.
(This book was provided as an advance copy by Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing.)
An interesting book about a forgotten story. Buy it here!