Sunday, January 19, 2014

Flowers in the Attic – Books I Can’t Believe My Mom Let Me Read

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews is one of those books almost every girl of a certain again read. Looking back it’s amazing to me that my mom let me read it. I don’t know if she read it first or if she knew what the book was about. If she did, I’m even more surprised she let me touch it. Lifetime aired a TV movie based on the book this week, and it’s brought back memories of a story I remember loving. 

I couldn’t help watching the TV movie. Squeamish doesn’t begin to describe what it was like watching the movie as an adult. I remember devouring the book when I was younger. I’m not sure how old I was when I first read it. The book came out in 1979, which would have made me 9. Can’t imagine reading it at that young. I was probably closer to 12-13. Still, considering the taboo nature of the subject matter, I can’t believe my mom let me read it at all. I just remember being too engrossed in the story to be “grossed out” by Cathy and Chris (brother and sister) falling in love. I guess it’s a testament to V.C. Andrews that most of us “girls of a certain age” who read it back then almost didn’t care. It was a horror story after all. Four beautiful children locked away in an attic. The horrific grandmother who was evil personified, spouting her pseudo-religious filth about how the children were devil spawn. The spoiled mother who turns out to be every bit as scary as Grandma. I was devastated when the younger brother died. And the discovery that the arsenic-laden doughnuts meant to kill them all came from the MOTHER and not the GRANDMOTHER was a true bombshell reveal.

Actually, I think there’s a reason no movie could ever be anything but gross…and that’s because no
movie can truly capture the state-of-mind of Cathy (and Chris). The resulting romance between them actually makes total sense when you understand what they went through. If I read the book now as an adult I’m not sure I would feel the same way, but as a kid I bought it.

Did you read the book when you younger? Were you horrified or engrossed?

1 comment:

  1. I never read it, but I remembered my sister read it as a young adult and thought it was great. I have issues reading or watching things these days where children are abused. Because my mind NEVER wants to go there with regards to my own children. One day, I might pick it up.