This was the first adult book I ever read. I read it for the first time all the way back in the 5th grade. I think about it now and it rather shocks me that I read it then. A warning this review may contain spoilers. This is the real V.C. Andrews not that horrible hack ghostwriter who has been making money off of her name for the past 20 years. Virginia died back in the 1980s. Don't even get me started on the recent books he put out in her name (she would never have written a vampire book). Virginia was the queen of delving into dark and twisted families.
Flowers in the Attic is the story of a widow and her 4 children-Cathy, Christopher, Carrie and Cory. The widow was a typical housewife of the 50's and had no real skills as she was raised in a world where you found a husband and did what you could around the house to please said husband. She is forced to contact her parents who are very very rich but disinherited her years ago for the sin of marrying her half uncle. When the 5 of them arrive at the house the children learn that their grandfather does not know that they exist and that the children will be locked up for a short while till the mother gets back into her father's good graces and she can tell him about her 4 children. They will spend that time in a small room with two beds and a bathroom. Their playground will be the attic upstairs where they can run around and make as much noise as they want. Months pass and the children finally learn that they have to wait till their grandfather dies before their mother can inherit any money. Years pass and the mother remarries and barely comes to see the children. The cruel grandmother begins to starve them. They are fed poison donuts that kills poor Cory. They find out through eavesdropping that the grandfather died a long time ago and that if the mother ever had children with their father that she would lose everything. Hence the poison donuts Eventually Chris, Cathy, and Carrie escape but they are forever scarred by what happened.
This book is still one of the most shocking and disturbing books I've ever read. It has been at least 15 years since I last read this book. Now as a mother I'm shocked and angered beyond belief by the selfishness of the mother. She is the ultimate show of what a selfish mother can be. She keeps them locked up where they cannot see the sunshine nor play with other children. She buys them expensive presents to "show" she is thinking of them but really it is to buy off her guilt. Because the brother and sister go through puberty together in such close confines it leads to the most infamous part of the book where Chris rapes his own sister. She forgives him and that truly shows just how twisted their minds have become after so many years being locked up.
Cathy who is the main character in the book really is something special. She constantly sees through her mother and never hesitates to question her and badger her on things.She is brave and willing to stand up to who is arguably the scariest grandmother I've ever seen. In the beginning of the book when she sees her mother struggling financially she swears that she will never become so dependent on a man that she can't take care of herself. She never backs down and always fights for what she wants.
This is a dark and disturbing book often called a modern day gothic novel. I have often said that this is on my top 5 of favorite books. And after rereading it after all these years I've come to discover that it is indeed still in my top 5. I plan on reading the follow up book Petals on the Wind in the next week or two. The third and 4th book in the series I've never really cared for. I give this 5 out of 5 stars
2011 Challenge-Way Back when
Kick Ass Heroine