Yes, I’m talking about the V.C. Andrews novel Flowers in The Attic. It was published in 1979 and is considered a Gothic novel. There is even a Lifetime movie based on the book, and, no, I have not watched the movie., but the movie was the reason why I wanted to read the book. Just so you know, there will be spoilers ahead in this post. That means if you have not read it, and you don’t want anything ruined for you, STOP READING NOW. Thank you.
So, a quick little overview of what this book is about:
Four children and their mother go to live with their grandmother when their father dies. Their grandmother turns out to be a fire and brimstone woman, and their mother, at first, seems to be a sweet woman who is doing the best she can.
The children are forced to live in the attic until their grandfather dies because he didn’t approve of his daughter’s marriage, and he doesn’t know she has children.
The amazing thing about this book is that my emotions followed Cathy’s, the oldest girl and 2nd oldest child. At first, I was sympathetic to the mother and optimistic that things would work out. Then, as the story progressed, and the mother became more and more ostentatious in how the dressed and acted, the more annoyed I became with her. She broke promise after promise to her children, but if they said anything about it, she played the victim. She felt that if she brought them enough stuff and expensive things that they would forgive her. She believed that money could solve every problem. While money may help out with a lot, it can’t replace love or the knowing that somebody is looking out for you.
I’ve had to deal with people similar to this. No matter what happens in somebody else’s life, their life is always way worse. Or, nothing that happens to them is their fault, there is always somebody else to blame.
Chris, the oldest child, got on my nerves from time to time because of the way he was willing to stand up for their mother. I get it, though. He was trying to stay optimistic. Who wouldn’t want everything to work out in their favor? For them become rich and not have to worry about anything else.
Then their mother remarries. The man she marries doesn’t even know she has kids. By this point, they have been locked away for over two years, going on three. She barely looks at the two youngest twins. Who, in their time in the attic, have only grown two inches between the ages of five and eight. She hasn’t even noticed that Cathy’s body has changed, and still brings her little girls clothing as if she were still 12 and not 14.
Cathy and Chris make the decision to escape the room, for the safety of the twins. Unfortunately, they don’t make their escape soon enough to help Cory.
They make a replica of the door key, and Chris would sneak out of the room on the nights their mother said she would be out with her husband. He would go to her bedroom and take some money. They do this until they have over $300. That may not seem like much now, but the book is set in the 60’s, so that would probably last them a good little while.
Now, I’m not going to go through every little detail here, I don’t want to give away the big realization. All I can say is, I was as devastated as the children when they learned about their mother’s secret.
If you love books that send you on a roller coaster of emotions, then this is definitely the book for you. I have yet to read the rest of the books in the series to see how the three remaining Dollenganger children survive, but I have the books and I plan on starting Petals on the Wind today.
This book really has everything: a mean God-fearing grandmother, a deceiving mother, innocent children, money, sex, incest, and arsenic.
If you’ve read the book, tell me what you thought.