* Prices may differ from that shown
I am a big fan of Virginia Andrews and since reading Flowers in the Attic I am always on the lookout for a good Virginia Andrews book.
I recently bought Brooke in a charity shop, it cost me £1 for three paperbacks so around 33p for this book, a Bargain! The recommended retail price of the book is £2.99 which in my opinion is not that expensive for a book, however it is only 167 pages long and took me only a couple of hours to read so if you can borrow it or buy it second hand this is what I would recommend.
I would describe this book as a pocket read as it is quite a short novel and is part of the Virginia Andrews collection of books within 'The Orphans Mini Series'. Brooke is number three in the series. The book consists of ten chapters and is very easy to read. In my opinion most of Virginia Andrews books are simply written but also catch the reader from the beginning. I could not put this book down until I had finished it!
Without giving away too much about the story line, the book consists of three main characters, Brooke (a once orphan now living with her step parents) and her two new step parents Peter and Pamela that welcome Brooke into their lives. The step parents, particularly Pamela have high hopes and expectations for Brooke and she is thrown into a life that she has never known before, how will she survive?
I found this little book a great lighthearted read. The book really revolves around three characters and the new relationships that they form with one another. The book gives a little bit of an insight into the world of an orphan and throughout the book from the beginning we do not feel sorry but certainly empathise with Brooke and the quick changes she has had to make in her life to survive.
A good portion of the story concentrates on explaining and showing the reader the relationship that Brooke begins to form with Pamela. At the beginning of the book I did not like Pamela at all but it takes a while into the read for the reader to start to understand Pamela and realise that she has Brookes best interests at heart even though she is not the best parent in the world, she does try.
Pamela and Brooke are from two different worlds and it is amazing to see how two people so different, can try and build a family together. There are ups and downs and the book is written very well to portray the emotion of both Brooke and Pamela.
I really enjoyed this book and will be looking out for the other books in the series, a recommended read however I do not think I would pay £2.99 for it as it is quite a thin read, perhaps the publisher should of put the whole series into one book!
From the day I could read, Virginia Andrews has been one of my favourite authors. Her ability to draw you into her books and really will the characters forward is a skill not all have and I have read many a book by others where I find myself not finishing it. However Virginia Andrews has always created a great story which means I find it difficult to put my book down and leave it till later. In turn this means that because her books are mostly considered a light read I have found my way though most of her collection.
The life of Virginia Andrews was unfortunately far from perfect. Born in Portsmouth, Virginia in 1923 Virginia was only daughter of the family. As a teenager she feel down a stairwell at her school which would eventually cause her to spend her life in a wheelchair. She then spent four years succesfully completeing a course which would map out the rest of her life as an author.
Before her passing in 1986 caused by breast cancer she wrote eight books including the imfamous 'Flowers in the attic'. With hundreds of more ideas penned, the family members left behind sort and found Andrew Neiderman who was to become her ghost writer. He now uses her short stories and makes them into a novel which is then published under her name.
In 1998 the five books of the Orphan series was published. Like most others made the idea is four separate storys which somehow come together to create the fifth, In this instance the books in order were to be named Crystal, Butterfly, Brooke, Raven and finally Runaways.
At the tender age of two Brooke Okun is abandoned by her mother and is left with only a faded pink ribbon to remember her. This allows Brooke's mind to wander about who her mother could be and if she will ever come back for her. Brookes pride and joy at the Orphanage is that she is amazing at athletics. From running to bat and ball she is in her element. However when she is finally adopted by Peter and Pamela Thompson her sporting skills are far from the families mind.
Thrown into a life of luxury Brooke is soon to learn that her new father Peter is a well known wealthy lawyer and Pamela is best described as a trophy wife. Pamela is a reining beauty queen whose life consists of nothing but a strict timetable of moisturizing, washing and constant etiquette. Being the perfect host whenever she is awake even if only to the workers around the house. Of course Peter doesn't help her by pandering to her every whim whether that be things she desires or just getting her way.
Enrolled into an expensive private school full of girls with similar mothers, Brooke soon learns that what you wear and how you look means everything and her passion for sport is seen as a disease to all but her coach. Home life is far from different with Pamela trying to force her way of life onto Brooke with lessons of how to eat, act and even draw a bubble bath so the balance of oils is perfect. With days full of piano lessons which take up her free time instead of sport, photo shoots and Pamela breathing down her neck every step of the way Brooke is soon to question if a life of luxury equals a life of happiness and if not where does that leave her.
A gripping insight into the world where theoretically all your dreams are laid out for you Brooke must decide what she wants from life and how to do it.
Brooke is the person who tells the story and so it is as if you are hearing what is in her head. This is a nessasary element of the book as it is her story and you need to understand what she is going though and the justifications for her actions. However this does mean that you only hear one side of the story. How I longed to hear what was going though the obsessive Pamela's mind, to understand how she can be a constant living manaquin and if she is truly content with her way of life or if it is all now just routine. On the flip side it would have also been interesting to hear what Peter had to say as even though he has a beauiful wife and amazing job there is always a hint from him that he desires more from life.
One of the big faults I always find with these books is that I always find it too short. Bringing spaces together and empty pages the book consists of a measly 160 pages at font 10. Now I am fully aware that minus the Dollanganger series V.A is meant to be seen as a light read but there is so much more room for growth into these book that there is a lot to be desired.
Despite the abrupt end to the book it is still a good read which flows very well. There are no plot holes within the story and there isn't a moment where something just seems too far fetched. Don't expect to come out of the book feeling like you have gained something though. The books originally written by V.A have a lot more depth and sometimes a lot of darkness then that of her ghost writer Andrew.
This book would be best recommended for teenagers and/or women as the style of the story may be a stretch for guys. A definite for all V.A fans especially if you have ever read the Dollanganger series as you know what to expect. However, I would seriously advise that you read the series in order (with this being book three) so that the stories flow together better and then if you want you can read the final book.
In all the series can offer you several hours of enjoyment as well as the possibility of branching out to the rest of the V.A series.
Other books in the Virginia Andrews Series:
The Dollanganger series
The Casteel series
The Cutler series
The Landry series
The Logan series
The Wildflowers series
The Hudson series
The Shooting Stars series
The DeBeers Series
The Broken Wing series
The Gemini series
This is what Brooke must be continuously thinking in this emotional and riveting read. If you enjoy Virginia Andrews then this will not disappoint. For as long as she can remember Brooke has wished for her mother to come back and take her from the orphanage. Then glamerous Pamela and Peter Thompson chose her to adopt and she can not believe her luck. Brooke just wants to be loved and be part of a real family. Unfortunately Pamela has different intentions. She tries to mould Brooke in to becoming a winner of Beauty contests - what she once did - and is determined to make Brooke suceed where she failed. So Brooke is brought in to Pamela's world of obsessional beauty routines. Not the cleanse, tone and moisturise regime we all try to stick to! Pamela's daily life is a ritual of strict regimes and Brooke realises she must learn to live like this or risk being sent to another orphanage. This is quite a sad story. You are willing Peter, who sympathises with Brooke but has little spare time, to stand up to Pamela and help her. And when Brooke starts to be liked at her new posh school because of her aptitude for sports - you are nearly shouting out loud at Pamela when she ignores Brooke's achievements. Infact Pamela believes that Brooke should not be playing sports at all. She is so concerned that Brooke is getting slightly muscular that she takes her to see a Doctor as she feels Brooke needs hormonal treatment to make her more womanly. When Brooke is chosen to be in the local County's baseball team she has never felt happier. Infact that is an understatement, for the first time in her life she felt so worthy and needed. Unfortunately Pamela tells her in no uncertain terms that she will not be able to play. Pamela doesn't even know how Brooke could consider it...it is going to be on the same day as the Beauty contest. The contest that Pamela has worked so hard to prime Brooke to win. Even t
hough Brooke has pointed out that she really doesn't think she is cut out for Beauty Contests, Pamela can not see Brooke for who she is. Pamela is lost in a dreamworld -Brooke's nightmare. So Brooke has no choice. She doesn't want to go anywhere near the Beauty Contest and she is sick and tired of the regimes Pamela has subjected her to. It is the last straw when she realises she can not escape this nightmare and play baseball in the County team, so she does the most drastic thing, the thing that will put a stop to Pamela's dream of Brooke being the winner of the contest. Oh yes, there is no way Brooke will ever be able to be in a Beauty Contest now...... and the result, will someone save Brooke? Will she be sent to another orphanage? What will happen to her? That's all I kept thinking towards the end. The thing is with Virginia Andrews the stories are never predictable and true to form the ending might not be what you expect or possibly hoped! Hoped this review is helpful to you
Third book in the Orphans mini-series.