“Lizzie Borden” Took An Ax…


th“Lizzie Borden took an ax, and gave her mother 40 whacks…” Everyone knows the song, but not everyone knows Lizzie. Here, Brandy Purdy imagined Lizzie’s life and recreated the events that drove her to hack her parents. The result was horrifying and totally weird. 

Lizzie was described to be a total weirdo. She didn’t have any friends, which was not surprised given that she lacked normal social skills. Her family life was stifling and oppressive. Her father was a cheap man who abused her verbally and emotionally by telling her she was unlovable and useless. Unfortunately, the era prevented Lizzie from being able to leave her father’s home without being married. That was a challenging requirement since she her limited social interactions with men were odd.

I was dying to understand the spinster who grabbed an ax, but found the story somewhat superficial even though Lizzie was the narrator and spoke directly to the reader. It was hard to get to know her, and I was also slightly repulsed by the constant descriptions of Lizzie’s menstrual cycle. She led a very boring life, and was constantly rebuffed by friends and would be lovers. She had several lesbian encounters and then sex with an abusive neighbor who then tried to blackmail her family into forcing her to marry him

The actual murder was described very well and captured the mania that Lizzie might have been caught up in. I believed in the motivation for the killings, just not quite at the moment that they occurred. I was eager to see how the trial and investigation would be, but that was skimmed over rather quickly. Then it was back to how weird Lizzie was and more lesbian love. Ugh, this was a weird one.

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