Petals on the Wind – My Thoughts

I’ve got another review for you all. I have finished the second book in the Dollanganger series Petals on the Wind. Like I warned with my first, if you haven’t read it and you want to, then proceed with caution. There may be spoilers ahead.

This book is just as a good as the first. It also sends you on just as much of an emotional roller coaster, if not more so. It made me cry at one point, and there was one character that I wanted to rip his head off.

So this book picks up right where the other left off. The kids are trying to head south. While on a bus heading through South Carolina, Carrie starts trowing up. Everybody starts fussing about it, but this lady, Henny, goes to the kids and helps them. She then tells the bus driver to go to the place where she works and lives, which was not on the bus route. Henny introduces them to Dr. Paul Sheffield.

I’m not going to walk you through the whole books step by step, so, to make a long story short, Paul takes them in, makes them all better, and becomes their legal guardian when their mother doesn’t come after being sent a summons (shocker).

I had to keep reminding myself that these books took place in the ’60s and not in modern times. There were things done and said that annoyed be based on how things are now. But back 50 years ago, they were completely normal.

Chris and Cathy really become their own person. Carrie, not so much. She never really got over Cory’s death, and she couldn’t overlook the fact that her growth had been stunted because of the three years and four months they had spent in the attic. She pretty much stayed in a deep depression who whole life, even if she did put on a facade of a happy face. Unfortunately, she was a little too good at acting.

Paul gave the kids everything they ever wanted and made sure that they were happy. Chris became the doctor he wanted to be. Went to Duke University, had an internship at the Mayo Clinic. Cathy got to become a ballerina. She didn’t quite get to be a prima ballerina, but she did get to dance in New York and travel the world. The biggest thing that held her back was the fact that she wouldn’t let go of revenge against her mother and grandmother. This ended up with her having two sons by two dead men.

Now, she did get involved with Dr. Paul and eventually married him. She also married a ballet dancer Julian who was an utter ass, but that had more to do with the way his parents raised him more than anything.

I do have to say, Cathy got on my nerves some with her revenge plan. I won’t reveal any of that. I will let you read it for yourself, and you should. But she was a great mother. She doted on her children and made sure she was a better mother than her mother had ever been to her. And I felt really sorry for her at the end of the book. Death has plagued her life. She can’t help but feel responsible for all of them, even though she probably couldn’t have done anything to prevent most of the deaths.

While Chris kept telling her to forgive and forget, that God would exact the revenge on their mother when he saw fit, Cathy wouldn’t listen. She kept on with her plan. But, and I’m going to give you a little insight into my mind, maybe God (or whatever Universal power you want to believe in) was exacting his revenge the way he wanted, through Cathy. That what Cathy did is what she was meant to do. Just a little thought for you.

There is a lot more to this story. It fills the span of around 12 years of their lives. There is probably more death and heartache in this book than the first, but it’s definitely worth a read. It really makes you think about religion, society, and the stress that both of them puts on us. And if you’re wondering, yes, Cathy and Chris get to see their mother again in person. Trust me, it’s a great meeting.

Make this book series your next read. I can’t wait to get finished with the third.

Flowers in The Attic – My Thoughts

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.