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Forbidden Snowflake
09-04-2006, 11:02 AM
I accidentally stumbled over those books in my girlfriend's bedroom and started reading the first one, I was seriously disturbed by it but kept on reading and well now I am done. And I am still disturbed.

I don't get it, why would anyone write such a story? It is such a horrible story, so dark, so tense, so wrong. Everyting about it is wrong. It repulsed me. But still I kept reading.

I did not think it was written well, actually the writing bugged me but it was from the point of view of a 12 years old girl, so maybe the writing was supposed to show that.

To quickly tell you what it is about: A happy family, four kids, the father dies and the mother who got written out of her father's will tries to regain his affection by going back home, but he does not know of the children, she's afraid he wouldn't aprove and hides them away in the attic until she is back in the will. She promises them it'll only be for a few days, but time passes and passes.

I don't know why anyone would get the idea of writing such a story. I read a lot of Fantasy, with torture and rape and whatsoever that is horrible. And it doesn't bother me, it belongs with the books. But this here, where it's so real, the whole story described in such a real way, where you just imagine it happening in such an awful way, it just bugged me.

And yet, I don't know if I liked it, even loved it or completely hated it, I just don't know what to think of it.

Anyone read it? What are your thoughts on this bestseller?

nancy02664
09-04-2006, 11:48 AM
I read it when I was younger -- maybe 12 or so -- and I remember being fascinated by it (probably because it wasn't like anything I'd ever read before).

I followed it up with the next two books in the series (though I think there are actually more than this). I remember liking those as well.

If I read these books today, though, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like them as much: my tastes are far different today than they were in middle school. :)

AmyBA
09-05-2006, 06:50 AM
I was maybe 14 or 15 when I read it, too-- and I read it only because my mother had just finished it, was appalled by it, and forbid me to read it. She'd never forbid me to read anything in my life before this, so I figured this must be a good book.

I don't remember too many specifics (it's been a long time) but I do remember thinking the story was ridiculous.

I think the "appeal" of the book is just what you described-- realism. Here's a fictional family in which terrible things happen to these kids, but the writing style is realistic so it's easy to believe that it maybe it could really happen this way.

The mother's willingness to keep her kids locked up and feed them arsenic-laced donuts (if I remember correctly) is also so alien to what moms are "supposed" to be, that this probably sticks with readers, too.

Southern_girl29
09-05-2006, 08:07 AM
I read it in my early 20s, and while I can't say that I enjoyed it, because of the subject, I can say that it stuck with me, and I read the others in the series.

I think part of the appeal is that the premise is so unbelievable, but V.C. Andrews writes it in a way to make it believable. And, the child who tells the story just has a believable voice. I hope that makes sense.

Sonarbabe
09-05-2006, 08:53 AM
I'm a fan of V.C. Andrews and have been for quite some time. Though Flowers in the Attic is indeed a very disturbing book (the whole series involving those particular characters were disturbing actually), I thought it was good. Maybe it's just me. While V.C. Andrews, herself, died many years ago, her family members continue writing under her name. The later works--though not quite as dark--are very good. Sort of like fine wine. They get better with time.

Just my $.02

Celia Cyanide
09-05-2006, 06:30 PM
FS, I'm glad you brought this up. I hated this book. I never read it as a kid, and I read it recently and I thought it was ridiculous.


I think part of the appeal is that the premise is so unbelievable, but V.C. Andrews writes it in a way to make it believable. And, the child who tells the story just has a believable voice. I hope that makes sense.

I can't say I agree with this. Those children do not talk like any children I have ever heard in my life. Not in dialog, and not in narration. I couldn't stand the kids, because they were so annoying and fake.

I am a big fan of JT Leroy, who writes a lot about child abuse and rape, and I have no problem with reading about it in books. But just as FS said, I couldn't understand why anyone would want to write a book like this. And the way the incest was portrayed was sensationalistic and disgusting. The brother basically raped the sister, and afterward she just said, "Oh, it's okay. I could have stopped you if I wanted to." The whole thing just seemed silly and inauthentic. It took me forever to get through it, because I found the characters so uninteresting.

I read somewhere that VC Andrews had written a book called The Obsessed which got rejected a lot. Then, she added in all the rape and incest stuff, and called it Flowers In The Attic. If that's true, I think it's pretty sad.

There was a terrible film made based on this book, and I think it's hilarious that fans of the book were so upset that the movie "ruined" it. It's not like it's some great literary work! Come on!

All in all, I'm not sorry I read it, but I think it's a very poorly written and overrated book.

Forbidden Snowflake
09-07-2006, 11:35 AM
I'm trying to read the rest of ther series and I can't get passed the impression that it's poorly written and just plain repulsing.

aadams73
09-07-2006, 01:07 PM
What I don't get is her(and whoever continues to write the books)and her obsession with incest. I've read maybe four of VC Andrews books over the years and there was a hefty dose of incest in all of them. Yucko!

Pisarz
09-07-2006, 06:10 PM
I read these books (and other V.C. Andrews titles) when I was 12 and at the time, I was completely transfixed (mostly because they exposed me to shocking and taboo subjects in greater detail than I had ever encountered before). Now that I am an adult with much more sophisticated tastes, I wouldn't give these books the time of day: too much incest and too much regurgitation of the same themes. I'll bet no one expected the YA demographic to find these books more appealing than do adults.

Jamesaritchie
09-07-2006, 09:39 PM
Why would anyone want to write such a story? Because it's a story that worked, that an awful lot of readers found fascinating, and that made V. C. Andrews a world famous writer.

Too many writers shy away from taboo subjects, and allow all sorts of things to get in the way of telling a story that resonates with millions of readers. I never tough Andrews was a very good writer, but she was one heck of a storyteller, and she didn't let fear stop her from writing whatever she needed to write.

An awful lot of the writing out there is pure vanilla, but Andrews mixed in a big scoop of dark chocolate, and readers loved her for it. Isn't this what it's all about?

kazrahtenango
09-12-2006, 08:48 AM
An author at a Writers' Festival told me that VC Andrews isn't real. She's a construct of a group of literature students who started out writing FIA as an assignment. I don't know if that's true. There seemed to be many varied (sometimes fantastic and often conflicting) bios about her. I just google-imaged. It's amazing how few pictures of her there are, considering she is a such a multi-squillion selling author. In the one promo shot that is prolific, she looks a tiny bit like a man in drag.

P.H.Delarran
09-12-2006, 09:11 AM
I had a mix of fascination and revulsion when I read the first one(somewhere in my teens).
Because of that, once I saw that others in the series followed the same line of incest, I just couldn't bring myself to read them. Because honestly, the only thing that appealed to me about that book was the taboo.

gwendy85
09-12-2006, 10:32 AM
I was a fan of VC Andrews in my earlier years. The first I ever read was My Sweet Audrina. It was a truly haunting tale, though it can be dragging at some parts.

I continued reading the rest of her books (the not so dark ones) and was fascinated with the Casteel Series. VC Andrewsn was real and died of breast cancer before she could finish the Casteel Series. Her books (not by her ghostwriter) are all dark stories of families torn apart. The ghostwriter has since then followed in her formula of dark drama stories which has sprinkles of love, incest, and rags to riches story.

Personally, the incest part disturbs me, so I never really took a keen interest on the Dollanganger series. I've since gone from fan to simply casual reader of her books. I don't buy her anymore. I've since gone to look for content rather than author's names. Still, I have to thank her for introducing me to the world of full-length novels.

AmyBA
09-12-2006, 05:08 PM
An author at a Writers' Festival told me that VC Andrews isn't real.

To my knowledge, V.C. Andrews was a real person-- I think she died about 20 years ago.

Here are a couple of quick online references I found for her:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/writers/writerdetails.asp?z=y&cid=727446#bio
http://www.nndb.com/people/228/000044096/

Sonarbabe
09-12-2006, 06:23 PM
Yes, she was real. Her family continues to write on for her. I truly liked her Rain series. It was good and didn't have that taboo incest edge. It was dark, yes, but not disgusting. I ate that series up.

I'm now like gwendy85. I used to buy them all of the time, but now I only pick one up if the story sounds rather intriguing instead of, "Ooh! V.C. Andrews has another book out."

brainstorm77
09-13-2006, 02:28 AM
I could never get into the whole VC Andrews writings, my sister however loves the books.

Lyra Jean
09-13-2006, 07:20 AM
I saw the movie "Flowers in the Attic" but hadn't read the book. The movie was very disturbing but I think I was 9 when I saw it. I don't want to read the book.

Mod35tBabe
09-13-2006, 08:01 AM
I like V.C Andrews, Cathy in the Flowers in the Attic and the series following annoyed me something chronic. I'm not sure what it was, but she annoy me. There's incest in a lot of her books Ive read, but some have been either they didnt know they were related, or they werent actually related but brought up like they were and shouldve known better. Probably the fact that all the main girls in it are stunningly beautiful, so beautiful they cause theyre own relatives to want them, is sick. But for the most part, I can read them - I consider a crap book one that I can't finish.

Jamesaritchie
09-13-2006, 09:48 PM
An author at a Writers' Festival told me that VC Andrews isn't real. She's a construct of a group of literature students who started out writing FIA as an assignment. I don't know if that's true. There seemed to be many varied (sometimes fantastic and often conflicting) bios about her. I just google-imaged. It's amazing how few pictures of her there are, considering she is a such a multi-squillion selling author. In the one promo shot that is prolific, she looks a tiny bit like a man in drag.

No, it's not true. I don't know how stories like that get started. Too much imagination, I guess. I met V.C. Andrews briefly, and WD had a very good interview with her several years ago. And her mother certainly thought she was real.

Andrews died in 1986, and as far as I know, Andrew Neidermen is still writing the Andrew books published since then.

Ralyks
09-16-2006, 01:13 AM
I read her when I was about 13, I think. I read Flowers and the sequels. I do remember being fascinated by them, but, in retrospect, I don't know why. How sick--all the obssession with incest. How very sick. Why do these books appeal to young adult readers? How can publishers (morally) stand marketing them to young adult audiences? Why did young adults like me read them with appalled fascination? I certainly wonder about that now. I could definitely see forbiding my own daughter to read these books as a child...if I didn't think that would set her to reading them as it did a previous poster! But it was that age, too...fascination with the darkest aspects of human character. I was wolfing down Stephen King like mad in the 12-14 year range. I just don't "get" it anymore now that I'm an adult.

Elodie-Caroline
10-09-2006, 03:55 AM
I got given the set of the four Flowers in the attic series back in the 1980s; I was in my twenties then. I quite enjoyed them at the time; the only thing that annoyed me was that the girls in it were always perfect, and I've got to admit this ... I cried at the end of the last one where Chris got killed and Cathy sat in the attic being so sad over his death.
A while after I read the first four, the fifth one came out 'Garden of shadows' all about the wicked grandmother. I really loved this book, as it told why the grandmother was so bitter and twisted and I could understand why she was like she was, it was the best book out of the whole series for me.
BTW, the incest part never bothered me, as I'd already seen some really dark sides to life myself by then anyway.

Ellie

travelgal
10-21-2006, 07:58 AM
Read this in my twenties where there weren't any books to read. (I was in a small town in Japan). The premise and story-telling reamed me in, but Cathy annoyed me some. How could she think getting raped is OK? Ugh! She was too beautiful, too sugar-seductive. I started to read the second, but stopped when I realised how the story would turn out. I hate characters who seduce men to get what they want. It remindes me of that book 'White Olenander'.(sp?) Couldn't stand that protoginist, either.

Elodie-Caroline
10-21-2006, 12:49 PM
Besides that doctor bloke in the second book, the only man Cathy was with through the other books, was her own brother Chris.

Dollywagon
10-21-2006, 01:59 PM
Well, I finally got around to reading this, it's only taken me twenty years or so ...

I can't say I liked it, in fact I actually read the first 120 pages and then the last fifty. Not like me to skip stuff at all.

The subject matter didn't bother me in particular, in fact I find it amusing that people quite readily accept horror fests, but feel seriously uncomfortable with common, real-life situations, but I didn't like the voice of the book. Nothing really grabbed me, in fact I was bored.
I appreciate it was written some time ago and also that it suggests the book was based on a real life case, but even so it didn't feel realistic.

I couldn't get involved with the book at all, so I guess I'll be giving her other stuff a wide berth.

Elodie-Caroline
10-21-2006, 03:41 PM
DollyWagon;
The fifth and final book 'Garden of shadows' was by far the best book out of the series for me... it told the story of why the grandmother was as awful as she was.
I did also read 'My sweet Audrina' after the FITA series; I didn't like it and have never bought or read any more of her books since.

Ellie

AnneMarble
10-21-2006, 05:47 PM
Anyone read it? What are your thoughts on this bestseller?
I read it in high school, which is probably the best place to read her books. :D (Teen says, "Look, there are people in this book more miserable than me. Cool!") Also, when you're a teen, you're growing into your own sexuality, and your body and brain are warring with each other over sexual impulses. At that stage, sex is forbidden (unless you're in a verrrry lax household), but you want it. What better book to read than one about a brother and sister who are told they're evil because they are attracted to each other (and IIRC they aren't at first), are forced to live together in an attic, and eventually have sex?! It's like a metaphor for learning to live with conflicting sexual impulses. ;)

It seems all the other girls were reading it, even the girls who didn't read much. I remember the girls I saw with in art class asking their friends "Did you read Flowers in the Attic?!" These are the same girls who thought I was weird for reading Andre Norton's Quag Keep (well that version did have a remarkably ugly cover) and asked "Why do you always read that science fiction mystery stuff." I mean, they had no clue what it was, didn't even know what it was called, and couldn't even tell two different genres apart, and yet they had no problem with reading Flowers in the Attic.
:roll:

I read a number of the original V. C. Andrews books. I don't think I'd have the patience to read that many of them today -- especially as the originals were very long. Interestingly, I once read that V. C. Andrews turned in manuscripts that were about 1,000 pages long (maybe more) to her editor, and the editor would dutifully trim them. :eek: I think even the first manuscript was that long, but there must have been something there that kept the editor reading. Anyway, the fact that they were originally that long might account for the "jumpy" quality some critics have complained about in her books.

I wish I still had a copy of that article because it was really fascinating. (This might be the People magazine article that the bio (http://www.completevca.com/bio_bio.shtml) says she was disappointed with.) This might also be where I read that V. C. Andrews suffered from spinal cord problems for most her life, so she had to type standing up -- very difficult, as you can imagine! (I think Hemingway typed standing up because of back problems.)

By the way, I read most of the sequels to "Flowers in the Attic" but eventually gave up. I never managed to read any of her other series -- they just didn't draw me in. And eventually I just gave up on her. Reading My Sweet Audrina didn't help. ;)

AnneMarble
10-21-2006, 06:11 PM
I'm a fan of V.C. Andrews and have been for quite some time. Though Flowers in the Attic is indeed a very disturbing book (the whole series involving those particular characters were disturbing actually), I thought it was good. Maybe it's just me. While V.C. Andrews, herself, died many years ago, her family members continue writing under her name.
The writer himself is actually Andrew Neiderman (who also writes under his own name), but I guess he was hired through the family. I've heard conflicting reports about this. Originally they said he was simply hired to finish books V. C. Andrews had started. Later they said he was going to work from the many outlines she had left behind.


The later works--though not quite as dark--are very good. Sort of like fine wine. They get better with time.
I haven't read any of the Neiderman books -- I guess what I think of as the "V. C. Andrews (TM) books as they made her name into a trademark. (Even before Harlan Ellison thought of it. :D) I did, however, read one of his horror stories, from before he started ghostwriting for V. C. Andrews -- Brainchild (http://www.amazon.com/Brainchild-Andrew-neiderman/dp/0671428306). Creepy but over-the-top. Didja see that Simpsons episode where Lisa got so angry at Bart that she started experimenting on him for a school project? Imagine a serious, horrific version of that plot, only with less sympathetic characterizations than the cartoon. ;)

Since then, I haven't read any of Neiderman's books. I considered one recently when I was looking for thrillers, but then I read the excerpt (http://www.ereader.com/product/book/excerpt/11909?book=The_Baby_Squad). And I decided it wasn't my thing. Still, I have to admire him for imagination and prolific writing. (Prolific writers never get any respect.)

But what's weird about this thread is that I have a sudden urge reread Flowers in the Attic to see if I'd like it. Or even to try reading the Casteel series again. Help!
:scared:

Elodie-Caroline
10-21-2006, 06:47 PM
I have to admit... I read ALL of the Flowers in the attic books again in the late 90's. The only other books I've ever read twice are: Interview with the vampire by Anne Rice and 'The holy blood and the holy grail' by Michael Baigent & Henry Lincoln, so the FITA books must have been a little interesting to me lol. ;)



But what's weird about this thread is that I have a sudden urge reread Flowers in the Attic to see if I'd like it.
:scared:

scarletpeaches
10-21-2006, 06:51 PM
I can't understand why people complain about the dark subject matter.

Incest happens. In real life. Get over it. Not every family is happy.

I was more disturbed by the rank writing. I mean...*puke*.

Vincent
10-21-2006, 07:04 PM
I've only seen the movie. God, I hate that movie. Near about the silliest ending I've ever seen. It doesn't make any sense!

AnneMarble
10-21-2006, 07:20 PM
I've only seen the movie. God, I hate that movie. Near about the silliest ending I've ever seen. It doesn't make any sense!
I think I saw it, but I really can't remember. It was probably one of those cases where 1) they tried to create a 93-minute-long movie out of a long book and 2) they cut out the most controversial parts -- like the incest! I mean, what's a V. C. Andrews plot without the incest?! ;) Then they probably wondered why it flopped. Oh, and apparently they really screwed up the ending. Sometimes moviemakers think they know how to plot more than novelists. Sometimes they're right. (Pick most adaptations of The Scarlet Pimpernel as examples; I love the book, but the movies do a better job with the actual plot.) But often, they dead wrong. This was one of those "dead wrong" cases. :)

Edited to add:
Oh, I found that article I read all those years ago! It was right there on the V. C. Andrews website:
http://www.completevca.com/art_recluse.shtml

This was the People magazine article that upset her enough that she stopped giving interviews because she thought her words had been distorted. She did finally do one for the book Faces of Fear, and now I'm curious about how that interview compares. Oh, wait, they have that one, too (http://www.completevca.com/art_fear.shtml). Her comments about the People interview are interesting. :D

Dollywagon
10-21-2006, 09:03 PM
Well, if I ever fall over the fifth book, I may try it, Elodie Caroline. But if it turns out to be one of those: I had it beaten/burned/drilled into me, so had to play a macabre game of 'tag' by passing on the vile-bile, I'll be really cross!

I just hate people who never learn to empathise (or learn the difference between right and wrong!)

Oooh, hark at me.

Arisa81
10-21-2006, 09:20 PM
I love, love, love VC Andrews books. I own about 40 of them, but they've been in a box for a while now as many of my books have.
The only problem lately is they keep repeating the same kind of story lines, so I don't read the new ones. I read the old ones over and over again.
VC Andrews died after the first few books or so, and they've had different writers following her style/theme and keeping the books under her name.

cmckenziemitchinson
10-21-2006, 09:20 PM
I read all of the VC Andrews I could get a hold of in junior high and high school. I can't remember why I started, but I became obsessed when I found out our neighbor across the street had grown up with VC. I don't remember what the writing was like, but I was attracted to the dark stories (bad childhood myself, no incest though!) and since I hoped to be a writer someday I loved the 6 degrees of seperation (or maybe 2) between myself and VC. In fact, back then, I tended to (poorly) write over-the-top Jackie Collins-esqe family sagas. So glad I got out of that phase!!

Elodie-Caroline
10-21-2006, 10:14 PM
lol @ DollyWagon... yeah, hark at you! :D

With the 5th book, it tells how the grandmother was disappointed in her loveless and passionless marriage, a kind of Madame Bovary story. It also tells how she used to spy on her brother-in-law and his young wife; they were totally opposites to the grandmother and her husband, and you find out all about the swan-bed in that one too.

Like someone else said on here, they had an unhappy childhood (with no incest) same goes for me too... So I guess 'bad-people' stories don't bug our minds as much as with people who had fantastic childhoods; we sort of know where they're coming from. I must hasten to add though, whilst I'm hard-headed with a lot of things in this life, I didn't turn out a horrid person from it! :tongue


Well, if I ever fall over the fifth book, I may try it, Elodie Caroline. But if it turns out to be one of those: I had it beaten/burned/drilled into me, so had to play a macabre game of 'tag' by passing on the vile-bile, I'll be really cross!

I just hate people who never learn to empathise (or learn the difference between right and wrong!)

Oooh, hark at me.

P.S. The film of Flowers in the attic was total crap; you cannot fit 4 or 5 books in to an hour and a half film.

Ellie

Dollywagon
10-21-2006, 10:30 PM
Ooh, maybe we have found the common denominator, bad childhood = not bothered by the incest bit (or maybe not, for those of you who disagree!)

I've got to be honest here, I liked the mother a lot less than the grandmother, and basically from the start of the book. She came across as a shallow, gutless, self-serving mare. Nobody in their right mind would have taken their children to that place unless there was something in it for themselves.

Why she just couldn't have got a job in a shop I'll never know!

It would have made it a pretty short book though, I must admit.

Elodie-Caroline
10-21-2006, 11:54 PM
Well, to me, the first incest in the book was by two consenting adults, the second lot, Cathy and Chris, she could have told the Police if she was that bothered by it or could have walked out on him once they were free; it's not like it was grown-ups who were sexually abusing thier own children... So as far as the incest bits in these books are concenerd; there's a lot worse going on in this world, like the aforementioned... adults sexually abusing and abusing children full stop.

Yep, the mother only cared about inheriting the money; money meant more to her than her own children.

Ellie

AnneMarble
10-24-2006, 02:28 AM
You people are eeevil. Thanks to this thread, I ended up looking for V. C. Andrews in the bookstore, for the first time in 15 years or so. :cry: And I bought a couple of the books -- Flowers in the Attic for a reread and Garden of Shadows because I realized I'd never read the prequel, and a book starting another series. I was very annoyed to learn that the prequel and the other series book were written by Andrew Neiderman (although Garden maybe have been started by V. C. Andrews). I was going to return the ghostwritten books as I just want real V. C. Andrews. But then I started Garden and had to find out what happened. :rolleyes:

I have decided that some of the V. C. Andrews fans are a little nuts. I looked up recent reviews on Flowers in the Attic, curious what a new generation of readers had to say about it. The first review visible right now calls it "One of the greatest trashy novels ever written" and compares the book to "a big bag of potato chips." I think the review is spot-on about why so many people love V. C. Andrews books even as they feel guilty about them. And you'd think that would be OK. But nooo, there's a comment to this review calling the reviewer a wannabe intellectual snob, and even criticizing the potato chips metaphor. (Wha!?) And this is criticism of a person who admitted to liking the book despite its flaws. Sheesh. I guess this person has never read many reviews.

And some of the posts on the V. C. Andrews message board I visited briefly this weekend... OK, whatever floats your boat, but...
:crazy:

AnneMarble
10-24-2006, 04:28 AM
Hmmm. Well.


I read Flowers in the Attic when I was... I must have been nine years old, or a bit younger. My older sisters had read it, and my mother denounced it as trash. This was the first book I was forbidden to read, so I was fascinated, and snuck it away to read it on the sly.
For me, it was "Sybil." My mother had read the book, so I wasn't allowed to get near it until I was 14 or 15. I dutifully waited -- after all, I had probably read everything from William Goldman's Magic to Executioner novels to Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss, and Flowers in the Attic by then. (What my mother didn't know... ;))

I think more schools should use this technique to get kids to read. "Don't you dare read that Shakespeare!" :D


After reading that, I read Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, My Sweet Audrina, and Dawn, all within about a year (my sisters, who are all at least eight years older than I am, had bought them). I was fascinated at the time, but today the books are, well, trash. I'm not surprised they're so popular with the young adult set, because I don't know of any adults who actually like them. They seem to be some dark rite of passage for kids... we've all read them once, but meh.
Yup, it is a rite of passage. Before V. C. Andrews, kids had a harder time finding dark, creepy books that spoke to their inner turmoil.

I'm the kind of reader who likes to read weird trashy things once in a while. Like an old men's adventure novel or even Go Ask Alice. (I liked the men's adventure novels better than Go Ask Alice. At least they admitted to being made up. ;)) It can be fun ripping through, say, an angsty problem novel -- besides, you come across some really good ones.


Oddly enough, I was more disturbed by My Sweet Audrina.
I was too annoyed by the plot and characters to be disturbed by it. I don't want to reveal spoilers, but... Didn't the main character notice the difference in ages between herself and her sister?! If you've read it, you know what I mean. (Unless I'm remembering the plot wrong. But one problem with this novel is that because of my annoyance, I still remember that bloody twist!)

CBeasy
10-24-2006, 06:56 AM
I'm the kind of reader who likes to read weird trashy things once in a while. Like an old men's adventure novel or even Go Ask Alice. (I liked the men's adventure novels better than Go Ask Alice. At least they admitted to being made up. ) It can be fun ripping through, say, an angsty problem novel -- besides, you come across some really good ones.

Me too! Sometimes I love to read a good trashy book, it's one of my life's guilty pleasures. It's like watching a movie on the sci-fi channel, or eating a hot dog at a sporting event. You know it's terrible, but for some reason you can't get enough. That's probably why I'm an Anne Rice fan.

Arisa81
10-25-2006, 01:47 AM
The movie did really suck. It would be so cool if they did a good version of one of the series of books. They'd have to be done in more than one movie though, there is way too much story to cram it even into 1.5 hours.

NicoleJLeBoeuf
10-25-2006, 06:00 AM
See! See! This is exactly what I was talking about in the "Georgia Mom Wants Harry Potter banned" thread. You forbid a kid a thing, the kid goes and does it!

I was also expressly forbidden V. C. Andrews when I was in the pre-teen years. And Christopher Pike. Of the two, I only managed to sneak copies of Pike, and as I recall, those were vaguely good. Couldn't see why Mom had said no to them; maybe she was afraid I'd be scared? I really liked the one that had a ghost having to solve her own murder, and the one with the witch who had to prevent a friend's murder. They were all murder mysteries, right? What about the one with the real bullets in the stage gun--was that a Pike novel too?

I had friends who had the movie version of Flowers in the Attic and loved to watch it, so I watched it with them without telling Mom. Since in the movie the incest is all off-stage (the adults) and falsely accused (the kids), I didn't see what was up with forbidding V.C. Andrews either. And I remember noticing that the grandfather's will had the same date as my birthday, which made me connect with it.

Now I want to go back and read the actual books just to find out exactly how bad they are. Someone stop me!

Celia Cyanide
11-17-2006, 02:14 AM
Well, to me, the first incest in the book was by two consenting adults, the second lot, Cathy and Chris, she could have told the Police if she was that bothered by it or could have walked out on him once they were free

That's exactly why I thought it was silly. He raped her, and she didn't mind at all, and it seemed that it was done that way just to make it more dramatic. That scene came across as a rape fantasy and not a realistic situation. The incest itself didn't bother me. Just the way it was protrayed. I could see how a brother and sister who were going through puberty and trapped in an attic without any contact from kids their own age could become attracted to each other. But I have no tolerance for that I'm-so-repressed-that-I-say-no-but-mean-yes crap.


Besides that doctor bloke in the second book, the only man Cathy was with through the other books, was her own brother Chris.

Cathy also seduced her mother's husband to get revenge on her in the second book.

As for the rumor that VC Andrews never existed, I think that is partly due to the fact that most of "her" books are written by Andrew Neiderman, and partly due to her being a recluse. She probably did not meet many people, at least as not as many as most famous authors do. And very little is known about her life. Even in interviews, she did not talk much about her past. There are not many people left behind who knew her.

Like Anne, I have never heard a definitive explanation for where the books came from after her death. I believe Niederman will not say which books he wrote, and which she had completed before she died. I think the family wanted to keep it a bit mysterious. He will not say if he wrote Garden of Shadows, but I always believed he had, because quite frankly, the writing is much better than anything else in the Dollanganger series. He claims that there were no unfinished manuscripts, only outlines. I also heard that she had the outlines for more than 60 "stories" when she died. I would interpret a "story" to be an entire series, not a book. The Dollanganger saga would be one story, the Casteel saga another, etc. I've always believed this, since VC Andrews died of breast cancer, and knew she would not complete many more books.

What I wanna know is...why do people still think FITA is based on a true story????

Elodie-Caroline
11-17-2006, 03:35 AM
Ah, sorry; I forgot about that bit...


Cathy also seduced her mother's husband to get revenge on her in the second book.

WriterInChains
11-30-2006, 08:38 AM
Ooh, maybe we have found the common denominator, bad childhood = not bothered by the incest bit (or maybe not, for those of you who disagree!)

snip!

You may have something here. In my experience, the happier one's childhood is the more one expects the world to make sense and play nicely. I found out early that it doesn't, but who cares? Nobody can insult or scandalize me without my permission & I rarely give it.

I loved the VC Andrews books, they weren't like the sterilized crap that passed for YA back then. (Yes, I know they're not YA, but they may as well have been because every girl I knew in high school read all the FITA books.) I love fiction that pushes boundries and challenges my ideas of what's right and what's wrong. I still remember how cool it was to find John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire; that deals with incest & yet isn't bashed as trash (as far as I know). If a certain type of writing offends someone, they don't have to read it. Unfortunately, that may limit my potential audience, but who knows -- maybe teenagers will be forbidden to read my novels someday! That would be cool! :)

WriterInChains
11-30-2006, 08:40 AM
What I wanna know is...why do people still think FITA is based on a true story????

My guess, is because they want to. :Shrug:

Dollywagon
11-30-2006, 11:12 AM
I can't confirm this because I've just donated the book to my local fete, but doesn't it say in the intro that it is based on a true story?

Elodie-Caroline
11-30-2006, 02:06 PM
Lots of films are based on true stries too... but very loosely and nowhere near the truth most of the time ;)

Ellie

Celia Cyanide
11-30-2006, 07:34 PM
I can't confirm this because I've just donated the book to my local fete, but doesn't it say in the intro that it is based on a true story?

There is a prologue that implies that Cathy is writing this to tell their story. But unless you have read very few books, I don't understand why you would take such a prologue literally. :)

Dollywagon
11-30-2006, 10:35 PM
Oi, I've read quite a lot of books actually.

I couldn't remember whether it was a prologue or the writers intro, my point was that it may be the reason people think it is based on a true story?

Celia Cyanide
11-30-2006, 11:45 PM
I assumed you had read quite a lot of books, or you wouldn't be posting on the book club forum. I didn't mean you personally, sorry about that. :) I meant the ones who believe it. Either they haven't read many other books, or they just really want to believe it.

I agree with what Anne said about some VC Andrews fans being nuts. They cling to the belief that this is based on a true story and use that to defend it when someone says it's outlandish or silly or revolting, or that people don't talk like that. Even if it were based on a true story, that is no excuse. When you are writing about something that actually happened, you still have to make it convincing.

Dollywagon
12-01-2006, 12:00 AM
Ahh, I didn't take it personally, Celia. I should have put some smiley faces in or something (the "something" being that perhaps I should have expressed myself better in the written word?)

TwentyFour
12-01-2006, 05:33 AM
I'm guessing a lot here believed "Blue Lagoon" was bad? hehe...

Rhymer
12-01-2006, 10:05 PM
Flowers in the attic was my favorite book when I was eleven...it's like a twisted soap opera....I read the whole series....I had a rough childhood though.....I didn't realize how "dark" the books were until I got older. I wouldn't recommend them to my children now. I do think V.C. Andrews is a good writer though, a little twisted maybe, but good.

TwentyFour
12-03-2006, 01:47 AM
I like twisted.

Jamesaritchie
12-03-2006, 02:34 AM
I assumed you had read quite a lot of books, or you wouldn't be posting on the book club forum. I didn't mean you personally, sorry about that. :) I meant the ones who believe it. Either they haven't read many other books, or they just really want to believe it.

I agree with what Anne said about some VC Andrews fans being nuts. They cling to the belief that this is based on a true story and use that to defend it when someone says it's outlandish or silly or revolting, or that people don't talk like that. Even if it were based on a true story, that is no excuse. When you are writing about something that actually happened, you still have to make it convincing.

It may well be based on a true story. If I had a dollar for every novel out there that is based on a true story, I'd never have to work again. Only V. C. Andrews knew for sure, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me in the least to learn it was based on a true story. I've certainly read many nonfiction accounts that could have easily worked their way into this novel, and one very common way of coming up with novel plots and themes is by reading newspapers and watching the news.

And what is true is that some of those who knew Andrews well say it's not only based on a true story, but it's actually a very loose autobiography of Andrew's own life, which is why she was such a recluse, and why she never had a romance.

As the truth goes, there's nothing outlandish about the book. It pales in comparison to daily events out in the real world. Whether it's revolting is, in my opinion, a completely moot point. Good fiction often is revolting, and one person's revulsion is another person's great read.

The only real point, I think, is whether people really talk like that, which has nothing at all to do with whether it is or isn't based on a true story. This is simply a matter of the writer's ability to write good dialogue. Andrews really was a severe recluse, and many who knew her say she had never even had a romance. Tough to write realistic dialogue under such conditions.

AnneMarble
12-05-2006, 08:56 AM
Through a link on a fan site, I did find a supposed copy of V. C. Andrews' query letter, in which she claims that the novel was based on a true story. (Now I'll have to look for the link again. :D) But 1) I don't know if it's legitimate and 2) I don't know if she just threw that in there to make it more interesting. (She wrote a "true confessions" story after all... ;))

I wouldn't really be surprised. But at the same time, "based on a true story" doesn't mean what we think it does. "Fargo" is supposedly based on a true story, yah, but no one has been able to find a story it could be based on. Sometimes "based on a true story" means "I heard a few details about a real case and built a totally new plot around them."

Celia Cyanide
12-05-2006, 10:35 AM
And what is true is that some of those who knew Andrews well say it's not only based on a true story, but it's actually a very loose autobiography of Andrew's own life, which is why she was such a recluse, and why she never had a romance.

It would hardly explain why she was so close to her parents, however.

Anne, I saw that letter, too. I couldn't tell if it was real. If it was supposed to be the whole thing, it seemed rather short and unspecific for a query letter.

And yes, the only story she published prior to FITA was, "I Slept With My Uncle On My Wedding Night," in a true confessions type magazine.

TwentyFour
12-05-2006, 11:53 AM
http://www.completevca.com/bio_bio.shtml this gives you a pretty good idea of her life and works...please read it. I enjoyed her books so much as a teen, I still own dozens.

TwentyFour
12-05-2006, 12:02 PM
The Glass Ceiling
When Virginia was shown the galleys for Flowers in the Attic, her name appeared as "Virginia Andrews." Later, when she received a copy of the book's final cover, her name was changed to "V.C. Andrews." Her publisher said that the change was a mistake made by the printer, and that it was too late to stop the presses. Afterward, Virginia learned the truth: her publishers decided to use her initials in order to prevent discrimination in a male-dominated field. She agreed with their decision after-the-fact.

Art Imitates Life
It is suspected that Virginia used her own life experiences in her novels. Not entirely untrue, she admits. A few incidents are autobiographical, but she is not willing to disclose which pieces. She has also used experiences of friends, family, and her own dreams and memories. Popular and literary fiction has also influenced her writing.

The Night Shift
Virginia's writing habits are as extraordinary as her stories. She liked to write before going to sleep at night. Sometimes she produced thirty to forty pages in one sitting, sometimes keeping her up until the early hours of the morning. Her physical condition often required her to type while sitting up in bed or while standing encased in a body brace. She sometimes used a mirror behind her typewriter so she could watch and use her own reactions for inspiration.



http://www.completevca.com/art_anintervw.shtml for the interview with Andrew Neiderman


My Characters, My Self
Virginia identified with her characters to an amazing degree. While writing Flowers in the Attic, she lost weight right along with Chris, Cathy, Carrie and Cory. Her connection was so strong that when a character died, she went into mourning and grieved as if she lost a best friend herself.




Young Adult Literature
Why are V.C. Andrews book so popular among young adult women? E.D. Huntley says it best: Andrews's youthful protagonists have experiences that closely mirror the fears of young readers (identity, sexuality, peer acceptance, relationships with parents and other adults); thus, the novels provide readers with a kind of catharsis - a way to expend feelings of fear without actually being in danger. Readers are able to live vicariously through the plights of the identifiable main characters caught between adolescence and adulthood.

kwwriter
12-09-2006, 12:48 AM
I've only just joined this place, and am winding around the various threads but this movie was one of the most bizarre I'd ever seen so I read the thread.

Lots of interesting perspectives shared. Isn't in fascinating the various opinions on one subject??? I love reading everyone's takes on books. Thanks for sharing your insights everyone.

Celia Cyanide
12-09-2006, 02:32 AM
Thanks, kwwriter, and welcome to AW!

bl00dThurstee
01-08-2009, 08:40 PM
All everyone keeps saying is how disturbing the incest was just because they aren't used to seeing it flaunted. In this, V.C. Andrews stepped outside the box in my opinion. I'm not saying it isn't repulsive, I have many siblings, and ew. But, somewhere in their minds they weren't brother and sister, they were mother and father to their siblings. They fell in love because they needed eachother. What would one be without the other? In fact, I was hoping they would fall in love, and I knew they would from the beginning. Just being put in those circumstances with growing bodies and needing comfort, finding only eachother.

Satori1977
01-10-2009, 12:49 AM
I remember these books from Junior High. Flowers was probably my first "adult" book, I read it when I was around 10. I became fascinated by her books, especially the Casteel series. At the time I really enjoyed books about families with deep dark series. I found the books a little disturbing at the time, but now would probably see them as tame compared to what I read. Not sure if I would still like the books, haven't read them in over a decade, and haven't read any new books. The movie did suck though.

SaraL
07-10-2009, 07:11 PM
Quote:
I think I saw it, but I really can't remember. It was probably one of those cases where 1) they tried to create a 93-minute-long movie out of a long book and 2) they cut out the most controversial parts -- like the incest! I mean, what's a V. C. Andrews plot without the incest?! ;) Then they probably wondered why it flopped. Oh, and apparently they really screwed up the ending.


I read the book, and then saw the movie later. I really LOVED the book. The movie was horrible, though. They left almost everything important out!

SaraL
07-10-2009, 07:14 PM
All everyone keeps saying is how disturbing the incest was just because they aren't used to seeing it flaunted. In this, V.C. Andrews stepped outside the box in my opinion. I'm not saying it isn't repulsive, I have many siblings, and ew. But, somewhere in their minds they weren't brother and sister, they were mother and father to their siblings. They fell in love because they needed eachother. What would one be without the other? In fact, I was hoping they would fall in love, and I knew they would from the beginning. Just being put in those circumstances with growing bodies and needing comfort, finding only eachother.

I agree with that.

SaraL
07-10-2009, 07:15 PM
The only thing I don't agree with is that it's repulsive. I think that was a great book.

Naomipython
07-18-2009, 05:34 AM
I just joined this site and when I saw this thread I just had to join in as when I was in my early teens, I LOVED Flowers In The Attic.
But a contributing factor to my fascination with the books was probably the fact that the friend who gave me the books had a crazy family and actually had had incestuous experiences with her siblings.
But now when I read the books I can't see what I saw in them...

Celia Cyanide
07-18-2009, 07:37 AM
I remember these books from Junior High. Flowers was probably my first "adult" book, I read it when I was around 10.

That's what was always funny to me, though. They were supposed to be "adult" books, but I only ever saw kids my own age reading them! My mom was an avid reader, and she never touched them, and neither did any of her friends.

readitnweep
12-30-2012, 08:05 AM
Disturbing and taboo topics are more interesting when you're a kid or a teen, and I agree that these subjects shouldn't be avoided entirely because they are, well, disturbing. Writing fiction should be honest to the story, yeah.

The thing for me with VC Andrews - and I had the same problem with Diana Gabaldon - was that the disturbing issues (incest here, torture with DG) seemed to be for more shock factor than out of honesty to their story.

meowzbark
12-30-2012, 08:24 AM
I've read quite a few of VC Andrews books, but she wasn't my favorite author as a teenager. I actually preferred to read more adult fiction as a teenager, while as an adult I prefer to read YA fiction.

I was never bothered by the incest in her books. I had a very rough childhood and teenage years and one of the things that got me through was reading horror and dark fiction. I liked reading about people who had worse lives than me; it made me appreciate the little things I did have. And I had a much easier time connecting with characters that felt unloved and neglected because that's how I felt as a teenager.

No matter how dark a book is - there's been worse things to happen to people in real life. Writing about the dark part in my past has been a great release for me emotionally. I imagine that VC Andrews had a similar past. Most horror writers have true horror in their own past. Poe (wife sick and died early into the marriage) and King (saw his friend get hit by a train as a child) are the two I can think of off the top of my head.