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Friday, March 14, 2014

Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger #1) by V.C. Andrews

Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1)


A major Lifetime movie event--the novel that captured the world's imagination and earned V.C. Andrews a fiercely devoted fanbase. Book One of the Dollanganger Family series.
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."

Summary & Cover taken from
Length: 389 pages (Paperback)
Source: Toronto Public Library
Available Formats: Print/E-book/Audio
Publication Date: August 2nd 2005 by Pocket Books (First Published in 1979)

Some of you may be aware of the recent made for television remake of Flowers in the Attic that aired on Lifetime back on January 18th of this year which in fact prompted me to read the novel that inspired it.

I had my first experience reading V.C. Andrews about twelve years ago when I was eleven years old but I can't for the life of me remember which book it was so I look at Flowers in the Attic as being my one true exposure to the author because I'm of an age to actually comprehend what exactly I'm reading.

 Since I was curious about the upcoming remake I decided to give the novel that inspired it a try and had high hopes because I love weird and disturbing tales and the cult following that this author and this novel in particular has received made me confident that I would enjoy it.

I was dead wrong.

Now I understand that writing has evolved greatly since 1979 but honestly I can't understand the appeal of this authors work. To me the writing was atrocious. I know I may hurt some die hard fans out there but I'm sorry it's just how I feel. I felt as if the author over simplified EVERYTHING in the way she composed her sentences, I also found myself irrationally angry at the tone that she set. Yes it was disturbing I mean seriously the family is completely insane and believe me that comes across loud and clear, I just think that the writing was to simplistic to really capture the true awfulness of the situation that the characters were put in and to me the woman wrote like an old woman in her 80s trying to be current.

The characters were another issue Corrine the mother deserves to die horribly along with her mother Yes, I know I'm being really mean in this review but the book gave me some really angry book feels and I've been waiting to get out of my reviewing slump to let all this out. She treated her children that she clearly loved dearly for the first part of the book so horribly that a tragedy occurs because of her inaction as a mother. She willingly gave up her babies for wealth, and a man leaving them to suffer at the hand of her religiously oppressive mother who loved neither her nor her children because she hated the fact that Corinne married, and birthed her half-uncle 4 children.

Cathy and Christopher- where to begin. How about with: IT'S NEVER OKAY TO DIDDLE YOUR SIBLINGS. Yes, they were trapped in an attic for years going through puberty but still, that's not cool. Plus, the way that the author wrote about it was so awkward (not that it could be anything but disturbing or awkward) but it could have been handled more delicately. The word use just didn't make the scene any more bearable. I really felt for Cathy and Chris though because they had to be come the parents to their younger twin siblings when they themselves were starving for love and attention after the death of their father, absence of their mother and cruelty their grandmother subjected them too. Unfortunately my pity for them didn't make the novel easier to like.

Overall, I didn't care for this read much. The writing was poor, the pacing sucked, the plot about 4 children living in an attic to the complete obliviousness of the staff of the household made everything all the more outrageous and therefore unlikable to me. I wanted to stop reading the book many times during the couple days that I read it but I just couldn't stop myself from reading on. I would liken the experience of reading Flowers in the Attic to that of seeing a train wreck. I just couldn't look away.

However, despite all of those issues I will be reading the next novel in the Dollanganger series because of the way this first book left off. It has me curious as to see where the author is willing to go in the next installment but I am not going into it expecting it to be better than this one was. I'm just doing it because something is telling me to continue on reading this just to see where it all ends up. Not sure what prompted the author to write this one but I guess in her mind incest was best kept relative (see what I did there?). It wasn't as shocking as I thought but I can see why, for the time that it was published that it was such a cult like hit.

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone except people who are already fans of this author but haven't read this one yet. Also, if you're a fan tell me what you did like about this book. I know I was mean in my review but I was saying what I felt and while I detested this novel, I'm not going to criticize the people that do enjoy it. Different strokes for different folks. I'm just happy to see people reading no matter what my feelings for the book are.
Not For Me!
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  1. I'm trying really hard to give out NO spoilers... but having read, at least most of this series... the trainwreck becomes a nuclear meltdown of epic proportions. I loved the original movie as a kid, and read most of the series in my mid-teens... and I think this series is ALL I've read of this author... she's a sick puppy. Seriously, to come up with this family... It gets bad, and ugly... and *shudder*.

    1. LOL now I really want to read the rest of the series Alana. Thanks for stopping by :)

  2. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. You may have been a little harsh at times though. Thing about being more disciplined in how you write your negative reviews. That's just my opinion after all, so take it or not.

  3. Its was a great review. Brutally honest. Too bad it wasnt your cup of tea. Maybe books in the future will look more promising in the series

    1. It's not looking promising Babe, I'm going to plough on just to see how badly things fall apart.

  4. Great review Kimberly, I read this back in 79 and I was 13 and it scared the bee-jesus out of me. LOL

    1. I can see why. Not sure why they were marketed towards teens with this kind of content lol. Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. I got my hands on one of the later books (I can't remember which one), and the whole thing was utterly shocking. At the same time, it was fun in a rubbernecking sort of way.

    1. Yeah I agree. As much as I didn't like it it was fun to read because it was out there.

  6. I've been itching to get around to commenting on your review. I totally get where you're coming from. While i certainly found it to be a harrowing and emotionally intense read, I recognise that it was written in too simplistic of a matter. I've yet to read the other books, but not sure if I have that emotional fortitude for it. Also, that mother was SERIOUSLY awful.

    1. I agree 100& Tammy, it was emotionally intense but too simplistic. I just picked up the second book in the series because I have to see where she goes with it, I hope that the mother get's what she deserves.


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