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Flowers in the attic by V C Andrews
#1
SPOILERS!
First book of late V C (Virginia) Andrews, hugely popular and ridiculously controversial Flowers in the attic (1979) is not worth of the controversy: Flowers is a Gothic melodrama, not sleazy, hardhitting every day realism (like Stephen King) or torture porn filth a´la Jack Ketchum. FITA tells about four blonde and "beautiful" children locked in the attic and terrorized by their Christian grandmother and, later, their own, weak mother. The old Gothic house, religious bigotry and voluntary incest featured in the story are all great Gothic themes, but unfortunately there is manure among roses. Instead of using her themes with full force Andrews let the story turn to the pamphlet for the - gulp - of horrific crime of being old - being over 25, and especially being old and "ugly" and lacking Arayan body standards made a person repulsive and evil, and sometimes it was difficult to tell which was worse - being old or being violent, religious bigot! Rolleyes Things are not helped by the fact that the narrator Cathy is obnoxious, shallow brat. Still, 7/10.
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#2
Cathy doesn't improve in the subsequent books, either, unfortunately.

No one can claim these are well-written, but they certainly are entertaining. Smile I doubt I'd have finished even one, if I'd first read FITA as an adult, but I discovered it at 15, and was captivated. The characters and house still live in my imagination.

I am irked by the notion pervading VCA's books (sadly, I can't blame that on the hated ghostwriter) that unattractive equals unlovable, cruel, etc. So much is made of the beauty of blue-eyed blondes, that upon rereading some time ago, I was shocked and pleased to see that, in the beginning of FITA at least, Corinne, without makeup, was said to be just a plain, pretty woman! I also felt immediately more sympathetic toward Olivia for being someone who did not represent this form of beauty. But it is just as annoying to read Cathy's tendency toward mirror-gazing, as it is to endure Olivia's self-pity as regards her own looks--It doesn't help that I don't believe she's as unappealing as she thinks (but that's in another book.)

IN FITA, I would have loved to see what was going on downstairs, too, if we could have gotten some of that from another character's point of view. I do think Corinne is best left a mystery, however.
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#3
(12-12-2009, 12:58 AM)Prism Wrote: Cathy doesn't improve in the subsequent books, either, unfortunately.

No one can claim these are well-written, but they certainly are entertaining. Smile I doubt I'd have finished even one, if I'd first read FITA as an adult, but I discovered it at 15, and was captivated. The characters and house still live in my imagination.

I am irked by the notion pervading VCA's books (sadly, I can't blame that on the hated ghostwriter) that unattractive equals unlovable, cruel, etc. So much is made of the beauty of blue-eyed blondes, that upon rereading some time ago, I was shocked and pleased to see that, in the beginning of FITA at least, Corinne, without makeup, was said to be just a plain, pretty woman! I also felt immediately more sympathetic toward Olivia for being someone who did not represent this form of beauty. But it is just as annoying to read Cathy's tendency toward mirror-gazing, as it is to endure Olivia's self-pity as regards her own looks--It doesn't help that I don't believe she's as unappealing as she thinks (but that's in another book.)

IN FITA, I would have loved to see what was going on downstairs, too, if we could have gotten some of that from another character's point of view. I do think Corinne is best left a mystery, however.

Excellent post, prism!
V C Andrews wasn´t that great as writer or creator of sympathetic characters, but she really had her moments as entertaining storyteller.
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#4
Oh, Flowers in the Attic, guilty pleasure of my youth. Kit Whitfield's got a great essay comparing Flowers in the Attic with Twilight and exploring the fascination they hold for adolescent girls over here.
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#5
(01-25-2010, 08:30 PM)elizabethcoleman Wrote: Oh, Flowers in the Attic, guilty pleasure of my youth. Kit Whitfield's got a great essay comparing Flowers in the Attic with Twilight and exploring the fascination they hold for adolescent girls over here.

Thank you from link, elizabethcoleman!Smile It was very interesting article.
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#6
I read Flowers in the attic and it´s sequels as a teenager. I enjoyed FITA and If there be thorns but I still couldn´t take the melodrama seriously. Only characters I sympathized with were the mother and grandmother! Rolleyes
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