Flowers in the Attic - V.C. Andrews

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Forbidden Snowflake

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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?
 
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nancy02664

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Southern_girl29 said:
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

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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

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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!
 

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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

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Flowers

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

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Was she even a real person?

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.
 

A. Hamilton

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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

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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.
 

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Sonarbabe

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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

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I could never get into the whole VC Andrews writings, my sister however loves the books.
 

Mod35tBabe

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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

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Andrews

kazrahtenango said:
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

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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.
 

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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
 

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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.
 

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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

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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