Thursday, January 6, 2011

V.C. Andrews' "Flowers in the Attic"

Next to Judy Blume's "Forever," there is probably no "dirty" book more fondly remembered by 1980s teens than V.C. Andrews' "Flowers in the Attic" (and its many, many sequels, and sister series -- "My Sweet Audrina," anyone? "Heaven"?)

Most of us had never even HEARD the term "incest," let alone had it spelled out for us, before we picked up this lil paperback. And then, whoa. It was hard to resist Andrews' description of hunky Chris, who played faux-father to twins Cory and Carrie, and obviously beautiful blonde Cathy was the perfect Barbie babe, but then... Ho. Lee. Cow. Not exactly what we expected.

The tortures inflicted on the little family were almost as shocking as the sex. Hot tar poured in Cathy's hair? Starvation? Whippings? Eating mice? Arsenic-powdered donuts? These books were about as far removed from my safe suburban life as you could get, and still I couldn't resist.

Andrews died early on in her fame, and a ghostwriter took over. The resulting series did a pretty good job of imitating her work, but they just never hit the (creepy) heights of the Dollanganger series. Apparently the 1987 movie couldn't capture the same yucky charm either.

Oh, and get this. The Wikipedia entry claims the Dollanganger's attic torment was BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

Did you read these books? Any of the titles stand out amongst the rest, or couldn't you get past the first one?


cmcl said...

Oy, I read FitA several years ago. It was one of those "so bad I can't stop reading" books. Here is my favorite hilarious recap of the later movie.

I never got around to reading the followup books, but I did read The Devil's Advocate, which was written by her ghostwriter. One of the THE WORST books I've ever read, and not in the fun way like FitA. The movie, starring Keanu of all people, was WAY better than the book. The only reason I kept reading through the whole thing was that I kept telling myself, "It's GOT to get better, the movie was pretty good so the book HAS to be better." No such luck. But I guess if you're V.C. Andrews' ghostwriter, that's the sort of thing you're going to put out.

Sylko said...

Everyone read Vc Andrews! The entire Flowers Series, including the prequel about the grandmother! Also My Sweet Audrina (the clocks!) & heaven (which I read, but remember nothing). my sis chose to give all of her kids C names, too (only 2, & never locked them in an attic). Poor Carrie. Poor Cory

Laurie said...

My friends, family and I all passed around and read the Flowers In The Attic books too and loved them, especially the first two. Not at all crazy about the movie, but the books were great, even though we STILL think twice about powdered sugar donuts! ;)

Annie said...

We passed around those paperback in secret, because we knew our mothers would kill us if they had any idea of what we were reading. The movie was so bad. SO bad.

BTW...I stumbled upon your blog early this week. I had really enjoyed your column on MSN a while back, and I was so happy to find you again. I'm pretty sure I spent about eight hours reading old entries, and I want to thank you for allowing me to travel back in time. :)

Funnygirl2004 said...

Read the whole Flowers series. Definately the best of VC Andrews.

Anonymous said...

I read every one! I loved these books and totally swooned over the incest love story, lol. Amazingly I grew up not that warped and even have pretty good taste in literature now.