The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

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Our narrator wakes to find herself locked in a cell with no autobiographical memory. A woman named Molly Southbourne then enters the cell and tells her story. Any time Molly bleeds, a doppelganger appears. Sometimes the doppelganger is nice at first, but they always turn homicidal after a while, so she’s had to kill a lot of clones of herself throughout her life.

Molly grew up on a farm and was home-schooled by her parents to keep the rest of society safe from her evil clones. Despite teaching Molly how to deal with her evil doppelgangers, her parents don’t bother to explain menstruation to her, so she’s freaked out the first time it happens. You’d think her parents would recommend she use a form of birth control that prevents menstruation, but they don’t. Also, her parents train her to fight and shoot, even though her clones know what she knows, so her training makes them more formidable, which seems like a bad idea.

Her earliest memory of an evil doppelganger is when she first loses a tooth. Kind of amazing she didn’t get any kind of cut or scrape earlier in her life. Also, it’s hard to imagine a toddler being homicidal. There’s no indication her parents ever tried locking up one of the evil toddler clones and trying to reform it or reason with it. No, their first reaction to seeing a little girl who looked like their daughter but acted more aggressively was to kill it.

As a teen, Molly creates copies of herself on purpose because she enjoys murdering them, which makes her a serial killer. Despite being home-schooled by survivalists, she scores high enough on a test to get into the best universities around the country.

Far too late into the book, we’re told things that we should have known about earlier, like a secret society that helps cover up the murders and the fact that fertility rates are falling around the globe. Also, instead of, you know, actually talking to her daughter, Molly’s mother prefers to give her valuable information by writing it in a letter that Molly will hopefully discover one day.

Although the concept is kind of silly, there are a few chilling moments that make it worth reading.

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