Country music singer Moorer recounts a scarifying, life-defining event: the murder-suicide of her parents.
“Someone can take himself out, fine, but they leave behind those who love them with a never-ending list of questions and a shadow hanging over everything, like a dark triptych in the middle of the room.” So writes Moorer, who, like her sister, fellow country singer Shelby Lynne, has been living for more than 30 years with the memory of the gunshots by which her father killed her mother and then turned the gun on himself. Moorer is her own Rashomon, exploring that terrible event from every possible side, examining the living, recalling the words of the dead, concluding that, given the abuse and alcohol that flowed through the relationship, the end seemed inevitable. The dark triptych of which she writes represents a hazy unknowability, the list of questions keys that can never be recovered since the answers can never come. Affecting in its cleareyed depiction of the lives that are shattered all around the immediate victims, including her then-14-year-old self, Moorer’s account examines the lingering effects—e.g., mistrust and a habit of leaving relationships before they’re over. “Let me store resentments like I’m canning vegetables for the winter” she writes, “so I’ll slowly develop a deep, smoldering hatred in return for my deep disappointment.” Yet she tried to think of herself in terms other than the daughter of a murderer, the daughter of a murder victim. There is much wisdom in her experience as well as in her reflections on what she has read and heard, as with her note that one great step forward is to “give up hope for a better past.” That her past is worse than most has posed countless challenges, it’s evident in these pages, but Moorer confronts it with an unblinking honesty that is sometimes long on self-doubt and short on comfort.
Much different from most musicians’ memoirs and of much interest to all who wrestle to understand tragedies of their own.