Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Book Details
Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
Paperback, 400 pages
2005, Pocket
ISBN: 1416510885
Series: Book 1 of Dollanganger

The four Dollanganger children had such perfect lives -- a beautiful mother, a doting father, a lovely home. Then Daddy was killed in a car accident, and Momma could no longer support the family. So she began writing letters to her parents, her millionaire parents, whom the children had never heard of before.

Momma tells the children all about their rich grandparents, and how Chris and Cathy and the twins will live like princes and princesses in their grandparents' fancy mansion. The children are only too delighted by the prospect. But there are a few things that Momma hasn't told them.

She hasn't told them that their grandmother considers them "devil's spawn" who should never have been born. She hasn't told them that she has to hide them from their grandfather if she wants to inherit his fortune. She hasn't told them that they are to be locked away in an abandoned wing of the house with only the dark, airless attic to play in. But, Momma promises, it's only for a few days....

Then the days stretch into months, and the months into years. Desperately isolated, terrified of their grandmother, and increasingly convinced that their mother no longer cares about them, Chris and Cathy become all things to the twins and to each other. They cling to their love as their only hope, their only strength -- a love that is almost stronger than death.

Flowers in the Attic is one of those books that everyone you know seems to have read when they were a teenager. The book was pretty slow going for me in the beginning. Once the children get locked in the attic, they wanted out. So did I. I put the book down repeatedly. It just wasn't working for me, but once I sat down and really pushed myself, the pages started flying.

Flowers in the Attic is horror in the scariest sense, the horror that could truly happen. The terror that occurred was not perpetrated by some supernatural bogeyman, but human beings being inhuman to each other. There has been a lot of talk about the incest portrayed in this book, as it was the only thing I had heard about before reading it. It was there and it was graphic, but not overtly so. It was important to the storyline and as tastefully done as possible given the topic. It didn't seem to be written for shock value, but to help the deeper meaning of the story emerge.

The ending of the book threw me. Everything was resolved and satisfying, in a sense, but it wasn't the way I wanted or expected the story to end. I wanted vengeance, revenge, retribution, but, in the end, V.C. Andrews stayed true to the personalities of the characters she created and the ending made more sense because of it. I don't think I would have appreciated Flowers in the Attic if I had read it as a teenager, but as an adult it was definitely a worthwhile read.



  1. I'm one of those people that read it when I was a teenager. And man - I just remember how extraordinarily CREEPY it was!
    It's crazy how sometimes human being being in human can be so much scarier than "scary things."

  2. I am so glad you read this! I really consider it a cult classic. I think you captured the book beautifully in your review! :)

  3. I read it as a young adult, I thik I was in my early 20's. I still remember how disturbing it was. I ended up reading 4 of her books. But I don't think I could reread them.

    Great review! Thanks for the memories.

  4. yep, i read this when i was about 15 and all i can remember is the brother looking at medical books and the incest which at the time freaked me out - typical teenage reaction! maybe i should take this off the shelf and give it another read.

  5. You really fought reading this one but in the end it was worth it, nice review, I totally feel like you captured it well.

  6. This is one of Andrews' books I never got around to reading. I did see the movie though. I'm definitely planning on reading it sometime in the future though.

  7. I also read this, I saw these in the YA section the other day. I don't remember them as being YA, but maybe I need to reread them.

  8. I've never read it but my older sister loved V.C. Andrews as a teen. I've seen the movie though.

  9. But...are you going to read...Petals on the Wind?

  10. So VC Andrews is my FAVORITE author. I own everything she wrote before she died, and everything that has been published since. They may be sick and twisted. But they are also captivating and extremely well written. You just can't wait to see what happens next. I can't wait to see what you have to say about the rest of them.