Customer Review

114 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful modern gothic novel, February 12, 2003
This review is from: Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger) (Mass Market Paperback)
Okay, I realize that this novel is nothing resembling great literature. But that just doesn't matter nor does it affect my pure enjoyment of this series, as it is a well-written, completely engrossing story.
Flowers in the Attic is a *fairy tale*. A dark, twisted fairy tale, but a fairy tale all the same. This means that the characters and situations within the story should NOT be expected to be realistic in any form. Anyone complaining about the lack of realism is not seeing it as it should be seen. It takes place in some strange, imagined land that almost mirrors our world but not quite. It starts out all shiny and happy, describing the perfect, blessed existence of this beautiful family, and then it descends into a nightmare. Many of the complaints about the shallow characters are accurate but in my opinion it fits with the theme. The characters here can be silly and melodramatic and stereotypical. Nobody in this book talks like a real person would. Some of the older male characters are never developed at all but just kept shadowy, sometimes sinister figures who want to prey on Cathy and other women. And Cathy...she is the ultimate fragile blond-haired fairy tale princess. Only the twisted, upside-down version. Others have pointed out that she is not a likeable character. This is true, especially if you have read the rest of the series. But I don't believe that she was meant to be likeable. The abuse she has suffered has made her too messed up to be likeable, and her increasingly selfish, cruel behavior makes it very hard to have any sypmathy for her. So how did the author manage to make me care so much about a character's story when I so dislike the character? It all lies in the telling of it, the subject matter, the horror that goes beyond evil villains and straight into the human psyche. The incest, for example, lends a deeply unnerving, disturbing, and tragic element to the series that no fairy tale monster could have inspired. I can't believe some people think this book would have been better off without it? Some need to gain a wider perspective.
I've read this series countless times and I hope VC Andrews knew how much her stories touched people. That ghostwriter tries pathetically to copy her style and fails. His novels are all the exact same, and they are boring and tame to boot. He is scared or just unwilling to go to the places she explored. At my local bookstore they still keep his novels under Horror which is quite laughable. Andrews' books belonged there; his would be more at home under general young adult fiction.
FitA is a story meant to get under your skin. It has been condemned in churches and to this day still brings about strong reactions in people, whether they are positive or negative, and so I think the story succeeded in its purpose. Love it or hate it, I doubt you'll ever forget it.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 2, 2011 8:41:09 PM PDT
JM says:
I have to agree with you about VC Andrews ghostwriter. I have read a lot of his novels and they are always the same. Miniature copies of Flowers in the Attic but with different characters. They're boring and dragged out.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 19, 2011 4:43:37 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Sep 19, 2011 4:44:52 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 17, 2012 6:30:37 PM PST
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Mar 27, 2013 1:43:25 PM PDT
doug bunch says:
i whole heartly argee with you even the movie brings something new to the table me being a kristy swanson as well vc. andrews books should be on every readers book self its one of my faverite books next to the cement graden which also has incest in it so like you said you havet to open your mind to understand what theses children go through to get pushed to madness and dispair

Posted on Jul 24, 2013 2:44:11 PM PDT
This is an excellent review of Flowers in the Attic. I read it many years ago. I don't classify it as great literature either, but it held me spellbound as much as or more than Jane Eyre, my all-time favorite novel and the only one I have ever read several times. I was intrigued, horrified, repulsed, move to disgust for the mother and so much compassion for the children. I must confess I did not realize it is the first in a series. Guess I got some reading to look forward to, but they will have to queue up.
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