Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Well, these flowers certainly wilted pretty quickly for me.

About Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews: At the top of the stairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent, and struggling to stay alive…

They were a perfect family, golden and carefree—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed. Kept on the top floor of their grandmother’s vast mansion, their loving mother assures them it will be just for a little while. But as brutal days swell into agonizing months and years, Cathy, Chris, and twins Cory and Carrie realize their survival is at the mercy of their cruel and superstitious grandmother…and this cramped and helpless world may be the only one they ever know.

Book One of the Dollanganger series, followed by Petals in the Wind, If There be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows.

My two cents

Good gawd. What the hell did I just read?

I know that this book has a cult following when it first came out in the 1970s. But fans, I apologize for not really liking this. Sorry.

This reminds me slightly of the feeling I got reading Twilight. What a sucker I am! This isn't bad per se ... I characterize it as popcorn reading: you read but don't really digest. I feel sort of dirty reading this for some reason, I can't quite put my finger on it.

What I liked

I admit it, I was totally sucked into the book in the beginning. The disturbing premise of locking children in an attic for years to get an an inheritance is the stuff of nightmares. I had high expectations because of this premise. It delivered into maybe half of the book for me.

This also tackles some rather controversial ground if you consider this as reading for young adults. It tackles incest, there's porn and sexual awakening, and lastly it is a story of coming-of-age.

What I didn't like

One, I was expecting to be totally creeped out by this one but was sadly disappointed. Maybe it's all my years of reading Agatha Christie that has dulled it for me? But disturbing as the premise of locking children away for years in the attic, or the abuse they had to endure, I found that didn't quite buy into any of it. Probably because ..

Two, I felt there were caricatures of characters rather than actual characters. There's the evil grandmother whose religious beliefs and conservatism creeped me out in the beginning, but she eventually lost steam for me. Then the perfect, Stepford Wife-y mother whose motherly instincts went straight out the door at the mere suggestion of an inheritance (was she pretending for over a decade when she was married to her love of her life?) - not quite believable. While the children were much more believable characters, I felt that the two larger-than-life characters spoiled them for me.

Three, with its horrendously strange dialogues - which I will give a pass because this is set in the 1950s - I cringed through quite a lot of conversations. Golly.

Four, ugh, the pacing. At around 240ish pages, I was getting bored. So, they're locked in the attic. So, they're suffering. So ... damn it, do something. No, just more dithering, dithering, dithering. The imprisonment and the dithering was so drawn out!

Verdict: A cult favourite in the 1970-80s, this is one of those "forbidden" books that tackles incest, sexual awakening all wrapped in a creepy Gothic feel. However, I found it quickly lost its appeal about halfway through because of the slow pacing and caricatures of characters. Gosh golly, I don't think I can read anything else in this series. Sorry fans, this just isn't for me.

Thanks to Freda for the giveaway copy! Too bad this book wasn't for me.

1 comment

  1. I read this when I was a teen and the appeal was the "forbidden" reading not the writing which I agree is uneven as far as pacing and character development


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