Season 1, Episode 47: The Silent Sisters
Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel Anna Karenina opens with this sentence: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” The family from this week’s book, Silent Sisters by Joanne Lee, has to be one of the unhappiest I’ve ever encountered. Bernadette Quirk didn’t seem to enjoy being a mother at all. It seemed as though she would rather drink and read true crime magazines than provide even basic care or affection for Joanne. Bernadette had another child, Cath, when Joanne was 10, and she left nearly all of Cath’s care to Joanne, and again later when she had her son Chris. When Joanne was in her twenties and her siblings in their teens, they all felt sure that their mother was pregnant again. But time passed, and Bernadette didn’t give birth - that anyone knew of. Years later, when Joanne and Cath were helping their mother move, Cath found the corpse of a baby in a closet. Bernadette had suddenly gone from reading true crime stories to potentially starring in one.