Friday, January 17, 2014

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews (Review)

Mystery, Romance, Drama, Gothic Horror
Publication.Date  February 8th 2011
Published By:  Pocket Books
AuthorV.C. Andrews

Flowers in the Attic on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

Way upstairs there are four secrets hidden.

Blond, beautiful, innocent little secrets, struggling to stay alive. 

The four Dollanganger children had such perfect lives -- a beautiful mother, a doting father, a lovely home. Then Daddy was killed in a car accident, and Momma could no longer support the family. So she began writing letters to her parents, her millionaire parents, whom the children had never heard of before.

Momma tells the children all about their rich grandparents, and how Chris and Cathy and the twins will live like princes and princesses in their grandparents' fancy mansion. The children are only too delighted by the prospect. But there are a few things that Momma hasn't told them.

She hasn't told them that their grandmother considers them "devil's spawn" who should never have been born. She hasn't told them that she has to hide them from their grandfather if she wants to inherit his fortune. She hasn't told them that they are to be locked away in an abandoned wing of the house with only the dark, airless attic to play in. But, Momma promises, it's only for a few days....

Then the days stretch into months, and the months into years. Desperately isolated, terrified of their grandmother, and increasingly convinced that their mother no longer cares about them, Chris and Cathy become all things to the twins and to each other. They cling to their love as their only hope, their only strength -- a love that is almost stronger than death.


Love doesn't always come when you want it to. Sometimes it just happens despite your will.
At the end of the rainbow waited the pot of gold. But rainbows were made of faint and fragile gossamer-and gold weighed a ton-and since the world began, gold was the reason to do most anything.
People never really died. They only went on to a better place, to wait a while for their loved ones to join them. And then once more they went back to the world, in the same way they had arrived the first time around.
Love … I put so much faith in it. Truth … I kept believing it falls always from the lips of the one you love and trust the most. Faith … it’s all bound up to love and trust. Where does one end and the other start, and how do you tell when love is the blindest of all?
Love, when it came and knocked on my door, was going to be enough.

And that unknown author who'd written that if you had fame, it was not enough, and if you had wealth as well, it was still not enough, and if you had fame, wealth, and also love ... still it was not enough - boy, did I feel sorry for him.
It is so appropriate to color hope yellow, like the sun we seldom saw. And as I begin to copy from the old memorandum journals that I kept for so long, a title comes as if inspired. 'Open the Window and Stand in the Sunshine.' Yet, I hesitate to name our story that. For I think of us more as flowers in the attic.

     V.C. Andrews' shocking and highly controversial novel, Flowers in the Attic, tells a disturbing and twisted story of Dollanganger kids who, when one day their father dies unexpectedly, find themselves hidden and locked away in the attic of their rich grandparents' mansion. All that because of their mother who wants to win back her dying father's approval and love, and reclaim the family fortune. The kids are promised to only be locked away for a short period of time - a few days, maybe a week or two, a month at most! - but as months turn into years, they realize that their mother's promises are nothing but lies. Her visits become less and less frequent as she becomes involved in a new relationship and her glamorous new life takes up more and more of her time. Imprisoned in the cold, dusty, mice-ridden attic, Cathy, Christopher, Cory and Carrie are struggling to cope with their new reality. A reality so harsh and brutal, it not only ruins their childhood, but threatens to break them permanently. 

     This was definitely one of the most disquieting and shocking books that I have ever read. And I loved it! I loved every page of it. Everything from V.C. Andrews' incredibly compelling writing style, to the colorful cast and deliciously twisted plot line was fantastic and completely absorbing. I can honestly say that I have never read anything quite like it before. 

     The story centers around some pretty serious and difficult themes, such as misguided religiosity, incest and child abuse. There are scenes in this book that will make your heart pound and your hair rise! I was completely unprepared for some of the plot developements and often left with my jaw hanging down, bewildered and unable to believe what I just read. Andrews' prose is not only beautiful and evocative, it's also raw and unflinching. The way she weaves the story pulls you in and keeps you under, you find yourself completely submerged and unable to take a breath. Reading this book is an almost magical experience. Horrifying and often disgusting, yet oddly spellbinding and irresistible. 

     I loved the narration! Andrews did an amazing job depicting the nasty and gut-wrenching events as seen through Cathy's eyes. Her voice was real, convincing and incredibly mesmerizing. Was Cathy a likeable character? Yes, to me, she was. Maybe not from the very beginning, but I definitely grew to love her and care about her fate. Just as I grew to love and care about the rest of the kids locked away in the dark and long-forgotten attic. I really enjoyed reading about the strong bond between all the siblings, particularly about how Cathy and Christopher cared for the little ones (Cory and Carrie). Both Cathy and Christopher had to grow up quickly. They had to step in and act as parents to their much younger siblings. And it couldn't have been easy, as they were still kids themselves, kids who were just reaching both emotional and physical maturity, and were struggling to cope with all the changes in their bodies and in their minds. In that sense, Flowers in the Attic is just as moving and emotionally affecting, as it is scary and disturbing.

     I'm ashamed to admit that this was my first time reading Flowers in the Attic. Even worse, this was my first V.C. Andrews' novel ever. And I can't believe I waited so long to experience this awesomeness. I now have so much to catch up on! Because, yes, I am planning to read each and every single one of Andrews' books as soon as possible. I can't wait to find out what happens next to Cathy, Christopher and Carrie. I'm dying to see if they'll ever get their revenge, where they'll go and how they'll survive on their own. And then I'll definitely be buying her other series!

     If, for whatever reason, you haven't read this book yet, please know that you are missing out. Some call it an "incest-laden trashterpiece", others say it's a life-altering reading experience. But, while it might not belong among the great literature novels of the century, it is most certainly an engrossing, utterly unsettling and gorgeously written story that will keep you glued to its pages all the way through. 

About the movie:

Tune in to Lifetime on Saturday, January 18th to watch the World Premier of Flowers in the Attic!


Heather Graham as Corrine
Ellen Burstyn as Olivia
Kiernan Shipka as Young Cathy
Dylan Bruce as Bart
Mason Dye as Christopher
Chad Willett as Christopher Sr.
Ava Telek as Carrie
Maxwell Kovach as Cory

I'm extremely excited for this re-envisioned adaptation of Flowers in the Attic, particularly because the screenwriter, Kayla Alpert, said that the network was "very supportive of staying true to the material", which for obvious reasons was one of my main concerns, and one of the things I disliked about the previous adaptation! I'm excited to see just how far they will go with both the incest and the child abuse themes.

In other news, Lifetime already announced that they are working on the sequel! It will be taking place ten years after the events in the first film, and is promised to make for a "very compelling and juicy revenge drama". Can't wait!


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