Thursday, January 30, 2014

review: flowers in the attic by v.c. andrews

Note: If somehow you don’t already know the plot of Flowers in the Attic, this review contains spoilers.

When Lifetime announced a new Flowers in the Attic movie, I knew I was going to have to read the book again. I first read the V.C. Andrews classic sometime around age 12, but never revisited the book as I read others she and the ghostwriter wrote. My recollection was that Flowers in the Attic and My Sweet Audrina were the best of the bunch. They’re also amongst the few that Andrews actually wrote. While the horribleness of the mother and grandmother was as I remembered it, I was quite surprised by the writing. It seems no one ever told Andrews “show, not tell.” Even the scene everyone talks about (Chris and Cathy have sex) doesn’t play out on the page; Cathy tells the reader about it later. And though Flowers in the Attic is supposed to be told from that of young Cathy’s sheltered perspective, it appears Andrews was a bit naïve to the ways of the world herself. At the beginning of the novel, it’s not beyond imagination that Cathy didn’t know her mother was pregnant, but according to Corrine her husband doesn’t know either despite her pregnancy being far enough along that Chris and Cathy can feel the twins kick. And golly-lolly (as Cathy so frequently exclaimed), the drama is over the top! The description of the elder Chris’s death by the police officer is so beyond ridiculous that I was actually laughing. Even with the somewhat ridiculous writing, the plot is compelling as evidenced by the novel’s popularity over the decades (it was first published in 1979). Just like people slow down at a car crash, you just have to read about the four children locked in small section of a mansion by their incredibly selfish mother.
3/5 (for the actual quality of the novel); 5/5 (because it’s fricking Flowers in the Attic!)
Review copy provided by the publisher, Gallery Books.

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