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Flowers in the Attic - Virginia Andrews

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Author: Virginia Andrews / Genre: Horror

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    28 Reviews
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      07.01.2013 21:08
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      A family saga, with more shocks and twists than you can imagine

      Virginia Andrews as an author was absolutely superb. Her writing was spell-binding - her original work was written exceptionally well and was totally original.

      I first read Flowers in the Attic around 1983, I was in luck as at the time 2 sequels had already been published and I read them all in very quick succession

      The book was based around the Dollanganger family.. Mum (Corrine) Dad (Christopher) and their four children, Chris, Cathy and the twins Cory and Carrie. Life was perfect for them all, until the Dad died and their world changed beyond all recognition.

      Corrine returned with her children to her wealthy parents home - she had fallen out with them years before. The children knew nothing of these Grandparents and were shocked to discover that they existed. However the Grandmother was far from a loving, doting grandmother.

      This book follows the story mainly from young Cathy's point of view, it follows her relationship with her mother and Grandmother, but mainly her brothers and younger sister.

      The young Dollanganger family had the biggest change of lifestyle that one could imagine - how different their life would have been had their father not died that day.


      Flowers in the Attic was the start of a series of books by Virginia Andrews, the sequel was Petals in the Wind, followed by Seeds of Yesterday... these books traced Chris and Cathy's lives.. their relationships with other people and with each other..

      This book is gripping, as are the sequels - you won't be able to put them down once you start reading..

      In my opinion this book is the original and the best, the sequels that followed were nearly as good and most definately should be read to follow that story through and find out what happened to this close family.

      Virginia Andrews, the author died and unpublished manuscripts were published after her death, in my opinion though the series of books that followed were all on the same lines of Flowers in the Attic, and dare I say it - a bit "samey" as you get to know the main characters in the book you aliken them to the family from Flowers in the Attic, and you soon get to work out which way the story will go..

      Flowers in the Attic, the original and the best

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        18.11.2012 16:10
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        A beautifully written book and a story which will ignite all of your emotions.

        I first heard about Flowers in the attic at a young age, whilst in a video shop with my mum. Picking up the film I asked what it was about and she told me she had read the book and it was about four children who were locked away in a room by their mother for many years. Being around ten or eleven at the time, the very concept haunted me and therefore fifteen years later when I saw the book I knew I had to read it.
        Without going into too much detail I shall briefly outline the plot. The story focuses on the Dollanganger children, and is the first in a series of books by Virginia Andrews. The two main protagonists in the story are Chris, a clever, thoughtful mature teenager and his sister Catherine, a talented caring adolescent who looks up to her elder brother and mothers her twin siblings Carrie and Cory. The children are described almost angel like, with their golden blonde hair and cherub faces; as the story progress' later in the book and becomes extremely dark and frightening with a demonic edge it wasn't lost on me the contrast between the these beautiful angels and the hell they were in.

        So, it begins like this; the Children's father dies in an accident right at the beginning of the book, and unable to provide for them their Mother decides there is no option but to move them to live with her parents, who subsequently are extremely wealthy and live in a mansion. Upon arrival their Mother explains to the children that her father, their grandfather does not know of their existence, and that they must stay in the attic room until she has spoken with him. The grandmother dislikes the children from the beginning and makes it clear to them that they are unwelcome guests. The grandmother is portrayed as true evil throughout the book; but everyone has their own story and there are some twists and turns to learn later on.
        Right from the off this book leaves the reader wondering and questioning. What's, why's and how's makes it the page turner that it is.

        Going back to the plot, the Mother eventually reveals some information to the children, letting us (the reader) in on the secret at the same time. In fact, we only find out information at the same time as the children, which does actually make you feel like you are in the attic room with them. She explains that her Father had written her out of his will a long time ago (to tell you why would ruin the story) and that she is now working very hard to gain his forgiveness so that they can all benefit from his money when he dies. She explains to the children that he is very poorly and therefore they won't need to stay in captivity long.
        However, the days turn into weeks which turn into months and then years; the children initially trust and love their mother, but as time goes on they begin to realise that they are alone in the world. This is hard to deal with; especially for Chris the eldest child. It's extremely interesting to see the tensions which exist in the attic room, especially the sexual tension which begins to simmer between Cathy and Chris who are full siblings. This is done slowly and over time and therefore doesn't seem unrealistic; you actually understand why they feel the way they do. The difference in the way the children relate to the situation is also interesting, offering substance to the book and separating the characters who visually are similar.

        There is also a lot of beautiful moments in the book, the attic room which they decorate full of flowers and pretty things, a way of bringing the outside world inside.
        Another extremely clever thing about the book, and in fact the writing, is the way it captures time, in particular time slowing down...which in turn helps you to relate to the children's situation, something which without going into another review, the film does not achieve.
        The title 'flowers in the attic' totally sums up the book. These children are like flowers; beautiful living things who left without the basic things in life will eventually shrivel up and die... both physically and emotionally. But they have one basic thing which keeps them alive, they have each other. But is that enough? You will need to read to find out.

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        01.02.2012 01:16
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        A tale of money versus love

        I remember my friends reading this book when I was younger and saying how good it was, but I have never got around to reading it until just recently.

        I don't want to go to deep into the details of the story, in order not to spoil it for anyone, but I will generally outline it:

        This is the first book in a series about the Dollanganger children, four blonde beautiful children who start out the story with two wonderful loving parents and a perfect life. At the start of this story tragedy strikes when their father is killed in a car accident, their mother struggles to cope both emotionally and financially and announces that they must go and live with her parents for a while.

        After a long journey they arrive at their grandparents house in the early hours of the morning, tired and confused. Their mother initially tells them that her father fell out with her and wrote her out of his will some years ago and she must get back on his good side so she can get written back into his will and they will then have enough money to all live happily ever after. However he does not know about her children and would disapprove so she asks the children to hide in one of the bedrooms of the huge house until she can sort things out. She explains he is very ill and likely to die soon so they won't have to stay there long.

        They initially meet their grandmother, who far from being pleased to meet the grandchildren she has never seen before, is cold and uncaring towards them. She explains they must stay quietly in the room, that they they can play quietly in the attic, that they must not open the drapes and many other rules which bewilder the children. The door is then locked and the children are left alone.

        For the first day or two they feel confused, though not desperately unhappy; their grandmother brings them food and their mother comes in to see them a couple of times a day, whilst trying to spend as much time with her father, begging his forgiveness, as possible.

        Soon however the days turn into weeks....then months. The children make the most of their life and try to focus on the happy times ahead promised by their mother, but as her visits to them become fewer and fewer and they begin to fall sick, doubts begin to surface in the children's minds about their mother's promises.

        What eventually unfolds is a tragic and unsettling series of events and a terrible tale of deception and greed, but also of love.

        It is easy to see why this book shocked people when it was first written and it still has the power to shock even now.

        Though a little bit far fetched at times I really enjoyed it and was gripped from start to finish........I couldn't wait to start on the next book, 'Petals In the Wind', which I have also reviewed!

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        22.03.2010 10:36
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        A must read for anyone, a truly compelling read

        Flowers in the Attic is the first in a five part series of books by Virginia Andrews based on the Dollanganger family. This book is a well known best seller and more or less started Andrews career.

        The story centres around the Dollanganger', the mother Corrine, father Christopher and children Chistopher jnr, Cathy and Carrie and Cory the two twins. The family are a model family all smiles and blonde hair and blue eyes and have a happy home.

        One day while waiting for their father to come home a knock on the door reveals two policemen who inform the family their father has been killed in a car accident. The family's world crubles as they lose their figurehead as well as a large income.

        Unable to support the family and their comfortable lifestyle, Corinne writes to her mysterious mother who she hasn't spoken to in years, the mother replies and tells her she can bring the children and stay with her and the also mysterious grandfather at their grand statley home.

        The arrival at the house is the start of a terrifying chain of events for the children in particular which will test them to limit and change their lives forever...

        This book has all the elements of a great book, the drama, tension and tradegy as well as believable charcters which draw compassion from the reader in the first instance. The story is totally unique and is apparently based very loosely on a true story.

        The book is a constant page turner with at the final page you cannot leave it there, the quality of this book compells you to read the next four all of which are just as good. The tension created by the author as you wait and hope for their escape and revenge is immense. A true classic!

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          10.03.2010 16:53
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          Read this book and you will follow it with the rest

          First of all , I love this Virginia Andrews as a writer she is fantastic with every book she brings out as good as the rest if not better.

          Flowers in the Attic is a book that as you reading into the night not been able to put it down page after page.

          The storylines goes that there is four Dollanganger children Cathy who is the voice throughout the book Christopher and Cory and Carrie the five year old twins.

          There father dies tragically and this shatters there world, they go to live with the grandmother and they are locked away in a room for years whilst there mother lives it up in the big house they have moved into. The books goes through the lives of the children how they survive how there are growing up with no sunshine not so much as a peak outside this room.

          The story includes murder and incest and is a very gripping read.

          There is a attic entrance from one of these rooms and this becomes the children playground where they find light at the end of the tunnel.

          I dont want to tell you the ending but believe me you will not be able to put this book down it is such a good read. The book is followed by four more taking you throught the children lives the Dollanganger series is gripping from one book to the other I dont know how otherwise to state it honestly try it.

          I purchased my book for my mum orignally in a charity shop and was passed it down when she finished it I bought it for a £1 but you can buy it online for around £3. Virginia Andrew is a very popular writer and many a time I had to reserve book I wanted for her in the library.

          Try the book you will love it,

          Flowers in the Attic is a very emotional read but there is light at the end of the tunnel believe me.

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            17.01.2010 13:28

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            This was a very well written story and the first of a series I will definitely be reading.

            I first heard of the story of Flowers in the Attic when I caught the film one day on TV, very late at night. At first I didn't believe it to be my cup of tea as I usually go for action/horror/comedy films/books, but after getting into the film half way through and then having to switch off because of prior arrangements I immediately sort after the book as I thought that the story would probably be a better read than as a film to watch. Books generally have more detail than films and can make you feel for the characters more than any visual attempt.
            The book is very deep and emotional and really makes you feel for the children that are mis-treated throughout. At first it is difficult to believe (from the story) that a mother could behave in such a way towards her own flesh and blood, but in this day and age, such behaviour is becoming more and more believable as each year goes on. The book is aimed at developing an emotional response from the reader and the story does it's job very well. I don't want to go into any particular detail about the layout of the story as I believe revealing any part of the story before you have a chance to read it yourself may ruin the impact of each chapter as it comes.
            All I can say is that the story revolves around a mothers desire for greed and self satisfaction, which out ways her natural emotions towards her four children. Because of this, the children are literally left to slowly wither away, physically and emotionally, something that really chokes the reader up.
            This is something that I would definitley recommend to fellow readers out there. A book that will provoke an emotional response from all.

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            18.09.2009 12:45
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            A very good read

            Flowers in the Attic is a book from the Dollanganger series from Virginia Andrews. It is followed by Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. If you read this book and find it interesting I would definitely suggest that you read the rest of this series.

            Flowers in the Attic is based around the Dollanganger family. Mother Corrine, father Christopher, Son Chris Jr (14), daughter Cathy (12) and twins Cory and Carrie (5). It is written from Cathy Dollanganger's eyes.

            The story starts in the Dollanganger home and with the father of the family, Christopher, dying in a car accident. This leaves the family in extreme financial strain and forced to return to Corrine's family home, Foxworth Hall to her extremely rich parents Olivia and Malcolm.

            Corrine was banished from the family home when she secretly married her half-uncle, her father's half brother.

            The existence of the children is kept from Malcolm who is really ill and dying. Corrine and Olivia latch a plan that the Children will live in a room on a closed down wing of the house. There is a small bedroom and a staircase to the attic above where they can play until their grandfather dies and their mother can take them out of hiding and provide for them.

            The story follows their time in the attic, their mothers increasing disinterest, their grandmother's emotional and physical abuse of them, Cathy and Chris Jr growing attraction towards one another and their eventual escape 3 ½ years after being locked in the room.

            The story is apparently based on a true story, I haven't ever seen or heard of anything to back this up. It is very extreme.

            The book is totally enthralling. You will find it hard to put it down. The content will shock you and you will also experience many different emotions from the book. Its an extremely well written book in which you will find it hard to get bored with and it explains the relationships between the characters well. It is riddled with secrecy and lies and also covers the naivety of the children.

            I would definitely recommend this book and would give it a 9/10.

            I would pay around £4 for this book new because it is a very old book.

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              18.07.2009 17:39
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              The Horrifying Secrets of the Dollanger Family

              When my friend told me that Virginia Andrews novel send chills through the spine, I had to laugh at the dramatic expression on her face. But when I finally picked up her first book, I have to admit that chilling is the rightful expression for this novel. This book is the first in the Dollanger Series, and the very first novel Virginia Andrews ever wrote. In all the books I have read and studied, I have never, ever encountered one such as Flowers in the Attic.


              The story is about The Dollanger family who is quite happy with the addition of twins to their family until the father dies. The mother decides to go and live with her own mother, a rich old and cruel woman who confines the four children in the attic. Left to fend for themselves in their little space, the children gradually grow and uncover the deep, dark secrets of the Dollanger family.


              The main characters include Chris, Cathy, Cory and Carrie- four children who are imprisoned in the attic by their own mother and grandmother. The way that two teenagers are left to play parents towards their little brother and sister is guaranteed to bring a tear to anyone. Themes such as wealth, greed, revenge all contributed towards the predicament of the children. Certain aspects of the novel are extremely disturbing, and somewhat remiscient of the Nazi war and how Jews were forced to hide in dark cellars or the attic.


              The plot is the main element which helped this book into becoming such a huge success. It is bold, daring and original, and contains taboo elements such as incest. I really admire Virginia Andrews for being daring enough to introduce such elements, especially considering the fact that she wrote and lived at a time where people were a little more conservative than now. While I myself regard incest with a certain amount of disgust, Andrews is very tactful in depicting the relationship between Chris and Cathy. When reading the book, one understands the reasons behind their attraction to each other, as well as the desperation which lead them towards all their actions.


              The characters of Flowers in the Attic are by far, the liveliest and most vivid characters I ever encountered through my readings. The description and appropriate words are such that when you read the book, the characters just bounce off the pages and into your mind's eye. For example, one can just portray the grandmother in all her tall, statuesque and grey-clothed appearance. I really loved the mastery of Andrews with words, she paints with her sentences and her sense of description and detain is just absolutely amazing! I just love books where the author pays a particular attention to detail, and till now, Andrews has exceeded expectations.

              Every detail described contributes to the plot, in one way or the other. This novel sets the dark gothic tone, without however, being too heavy and dark for most readers. In fact, she balances between horror and humor. Indeed, this is one book which made me cry, laugh, bite my lip in anticipation, and sigh with relief every time I turned a page. The gothic aspect of the novel mainly arises from sub-plot and sub-characters. Like any good piece of gothic literature, the description of the grandmother's house is straight out of a horror movie. A large, majestic mansion with hidden doors and horrifying secrets. Other gothic elements which are incorporated into the book include the appearance of the grandmother herself, and the slow but gradual introduction of the family butler. Both these two characters play a major role into turning this book into a genuinely horrifying one.


              This book has been my first Virginia Andrews one, and the best one so far. Flowers in the Attic psychologically prepare the reader for the drama and horror which will follow in the other books in the series.

              A note of warning: Certain themes and aspects of the book can be disturbing to certain readers.

              Thanks for reading!

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                29.06.2009 02:03
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                A book I'd recommend to anyone

                Flowers in the Attic, is a shocking tale of betrayal, murder and incest. I first picked up this book when I was about 13, I read it for a while, but didn't understand it, and my mother took it from me when she saw it, (can't imagine why). Years later I picked it up again and was drawn into the difficult life of the Dollanganger Children.

                Virgina Andrews always wrote from the heart, perhaps sometimes her writing is a little too dramatic, but when you read Flowers in the Attic, you really feel as if you are getting to know the characters, it draws you in quickly, and painfully to the world of one of the Dollanganger Children - Cathy, as she relates her memories following her father's death.

                Cathy, her brother Christopher and the twins Cory and Carrie go to live with their mother in their grandmother's house, we follow the saga as the children are locked in a room for years, while their mother forgets about them and remarries.

                Without spoiling the ending, I can say I was enthralled by the end of the second chapter, and fully in tears by the end.

                I have read a lot of books, several a week, and this still ranks as on of my favourites. I love Cathy, always so honest and petulant, I love Christopher, so down to earth and pragmatic, I love the twins, who are like every other five year old I've met, and I hate the mother and grandmother with a vengeance.

                This book is wonderful and awful all at once, but it is a must for anyone that loves something a bit sinister. Not for the faint-hearted.

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                  01.10.2008 22:38
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                  Worth a read if you like these sort of books

                  First book in the Dollenganger series available in bookstore and online for about £5.

                  This book is narrated by Cathy Dollganger and tells the story of her fathers tragic demise in a car accident and how their mother lost their house and money.
                  This sent her back to her parents who hide a secret that makes them treat Cathy, her brother Chris and Carrie and Cory the twins like prisoners.
                  The Grandma in the story tells the children they are devils spawn because their father was also their uncle.
                  The children are locked in a room with an attic aside it and treated worse and worse.
                  They are kept there for three and a half years and in that time they are starved the young boy Cory died and Cathy and Chris become entangled in an incestuous relationship.
                  After discovering it was Arsenic that killed their young brother they decide to make good their escape and steal money from the house and escape.
                  This is a good page turning book that makes the reader absorbed by the fast pace and the horrific tragedies.
                  This is far better than the other stuff that came out of V Andrews estate after she passed away.

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                    04.09.2008 02:37
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                    Just brilliant

                    When i first began reading this book, i must admit it took me a while to get into it, but when i was a few chapters in, the book hust grabbed hold of me and i couldnt put it down. The story line is so heartwrenching i finished the book within a few days and have read it a few times since as well.
                    It begins with Dollagher family. A beautifully formed family, where every member of the family was so beautiful it was unreal. They were all perfect with one another and all loved each other deeply.
                    One day there was a terrible car accident and the father died leaving the wife to look after the 4 children and a house se couldnt afford without any skills for her to earn money.
                    One day she takes her children to her parents house and tells them, to stay in the attic for the first night and the next day she will take them downstairs and show them the grand house and they will meet their grandparents.
                    The children stay in the attic room that first nite and were very upset with having to leave their many possessions at there old house along with their memories of their father. The room feels strange and scary and has stairs leading to an attic. They find theirselves exploring their new surroundings.
                    The next morning the grandmother comes into the room and brings them all breakfast on a tray. The mother also arrives and tells them that they must stay in the room a little bit longer, but it wont be for long.
                    Their mother did an unforgivable thing when she was young. She fell in love with her fathers younger half-brother. she couldn't resist this man she had fell in love with an so married him without her fathers permission and began a family that eventaully had 4 children.
                    The father, oblivious to any grandchilden that he might have, changed his will, so that if his daughter ever had any children with his half-brother, then his daughter would not get a penny.
                    Their mother visited them every day bring with her lots of love and affection. Over a period of about a year her visits slowly stopped at 1 visit maybe every month. The children were getting restless in their small room and decided to make the attic a beautiful colourful room with swings and painted butterflies stuck to the wall. The attic is a place they knew the evil grandmother did not like to go. They knew they could escape her here. She made the children stick to really strick rules...Be up and dressed by the time i bring breakfast with the bedroom spotless and the beds made... boys and girls must not share the same bed.....Boys and girls must not see each other getting dressed....You must not be loud, and the list just goes on.
                    Alltogether the time the children were in the attic room for was over 4 years. In this time the oldest girl and boy had grown into young adults, and were going through the puberty stage. Things got a bit out a hand and the 2 got a bit close and rape happened that nite.
                    The two younger twins were beginning to get sick. Well it isnt healthy growing up with out any sunlight and their health began to detoriate. Little did they know that their mother had been lacing their sugared doughnuts with arsonic, slowly poisoning them so they would become ill enough so they be taken out of the house one by one and away from their evil grandfather.
                    Her plan failed when one of the twins bacame very ill and eventually died in hospital. That was it for the other siblings. They began sneaking around the huge house and stealing money from their mother and her new husband (she had been depriving them of her attention and married a new husband that knew nothing of her children locked away in attic).
                    Once they had collected enough they hatched a plan to ascape and never return. They snuck down ropes they has attached to the side of the house and ran away across the country, until they came to transport and made their way across the county, well away from their prison they had lived in for the past 4 years.
                    They came across a kind mute lady on a bus and knew the children were ill. She promised to take them to a doctor and led them down a path until she came to a house. They followed her inside and was greeted by a doctor that was concerned about their health. He helped the children and made a deal that if they stay and help him with the chores they can stay their and get better. The childeen agreed and thre children began a beautiful relationship witht he kind doctor.
                    Im trying not to tell you too much information about this book. But it is absolutely amazing and i garrantee you wont want to put it down.
                    I must admit whilst reading this book i actually cried.

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                      02.05.2008 14:28
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                      Not at all to be taken seriously

                      I remember when I was about fourteen. This book was the one slipped between girls in my class with the whispers and giggles of teenagers up to something that they weren't quite meant to be.

                      Flowers in the Attic is a book about a family gone wrong. Disowned when she ran away with her first cousin, the mother suddenly finds herself in serious trouble when her husband dies in a car accident, leaving her with four children to raise alone. She writes to her parents to ask for help, but knows her father will never accept her children - the children of incest. So together she and her mother hide them away in the attic, meaning to tell her father when he'd grown to love her again, but always somehow putting it off.

                      So, why is this book so popular amongst teenage girls? I'll be blunt. It's because it contains porn. It has what I, as an adult, would desribe as laughably badly written porn. If you're 14 descriptions of "his hardness" are probably very exciting, but as an adult it just makes me giggle. Virginia Andrews seems dedicated to describing the genitals without actually using the words because THAT would be dirty.

                      I'd tell you not to read it, but you will anyway, just as we did at 14, just as I sometimes still do convinced it can't be that bad. So, when you do, you can get a copy for £5.05 from Amazon. Just have a shower ready for afterwards.

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                        16.01.2007 11:57
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                        The first novel in the Dollanganger series by Virginia Andrews.

                        Normally I don’t have much time for reading books “for fun” as I’d put it, doing a degree in English Literature means that most of the books I read are for academic purposes and not always the most enjoyable. However over Christmas I decided to treat myself and read something simply because I wanted to and not because I had to! Being too lazy to actually go and buy a book or borrow one from a library I had a root around in my friend’s room and came across “Flowers in the Attic” by Virginia Andrews. As it was either this or some trashy chick lit with the oh so typical story of girl meets boy, girl falls in love, etc. I decided this was the best bet to stop me becoming depressed from my lack of love life over Christmas!

                        Virginia Andrews was an American author who sadly died in 1986 at the age of 63 after a battle with breast cancer. During her time as an author she wrote seven published books within two series, the most famous of which is the Dollanganger series which this book belongs to. Her stories seemed to focus on the horror genre and also the family genre incorporating forbidden love, betrayal and other such themes. Her books were so successful, and several series left unfinished, that her publishers hired a ghost writer to complete the tales after her death in 1986. Andrew Neiderman is the ghost writer and quite strangely, despite the format of the books having changed now, still writes under the name of Virginia Andrews.

                        Flowers in the Attic was published in 1979 and followed over the next six years by four other books in the series. The books focus on the Dollanganger family and are told from the viewpoint of Cathy Dollanganger, the eldest daughter of the family. The books were quite controversial at their time of publication, and still are now to a certain extent, due to the strong themes of child abuse, child neglect and incest that run throughout them. Although Flowers in the Attic was the first book to be published it is actually the second in the series, the prequel to it Garden of Shadows came later in 1987. There are also three books following the tale that Flowers in the Attic portrays, Petals on the Wind, If there be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday. As you can probably tell the titles of the books have the common imagery of flowers running throughout them, meant to link the five stories together and also the recurring image in the Flowers in the Attic book of a flower growing just as a child should grow.

                        The Plot

                        The plot of Flowers in the Attic sees the Dollanganger family immediately after the death of the father. Prior to this event the reader is told that they lived a happy life in Pennsylvania where the parents were deeply in love and blissfully contented with their existence. They were blessed with four beautiful children, Christopher aged 14, Cathy aged 12 and twins Carrie and Cory aged 5. Sadly however the tale opens with them hearing the news of the death of their father from an horrific car accident while he was travelling home to them.

                        As the family could no longer cope with the financial burden Corrine decides to take the four children to live with her very affluent parents. However Corrine was disowned from her family when she was much younger and therefore needs to win around the love of her father again so as to be wrote back into his will, in order to do this she tells her children they must remain hidden for a couple of days until she can tell him she has children. Only her mother, the children’s grandmother, knows of the children’s existence and takes an instant dislike to them.

                        The reader soon learns that Corrine fell from her father’s grace when she ran off with her half uncle at the tender age of 18. As he is exceptionally ill at the time they arrive at the house Corrine feels it would be best to keep the truth about the children hidden from her father, and in doing so keep the children hidden as well. As she waits for him to die the children are kept locked away in a large bedroom with only a bathroom and a dark attic in which to play.

                        What then unfolds is not a couple of days of being locked up, but several years of it. As time passes and Corrine readjusts to her lavish lifestyle she soon begins to forget about the children. Their only solace is in each other and their frosty grandmother who brings them a basket of food each morning. Within the confines of their prison the reader sees the story unravel and with it time seems to pass so very slowly for the imprisoned children.

                        The Characters

                        The story is told in a narrative script by Cathy and as such sees her own fears and thoughts unravel along with those of her brothers and sister. Cathy is arguably more observant than her older brother and more cynical as well which adds to the dislike we soon form towards, Corrine their mother. Although an innocent child at the start of the book throughout the discourse the reader can see her grow, in maturity and responsibility as she soon finds herself promoted to main care giver of the much younger twins. She holds out a large amount of respect and love for her mother although the reader can clearly see this dwindling as the story goes on, being replaced for admiration for her older and stronger brother.

                        Chris is the oldest of the children and is presented as a brainy, caring and compassionate individual. One can wonder if his life had not taken such a turn and he had continued to mix with his peers if he may have remained as caring and nice towards his siblings. He is the leader of the small brood and always the one to sacrifice himself or his own things in order that the others shouldn’t go without. As the story is told the reader can develop a large amount of respect for Chris and admiration for his determination and caring capacity of the other children.

                        The two younger children have little input into the story as they are only five at the time of the commencement of the book. They appear to be very similar to other children of their age, easily bored and impatient while all the time just wanting someone to love and care for them. As time goes on it becomes clear that their daily imprisonment is having an affect upon them within them becoming increasingly withdrawn.

                        Corrine is the mother of their children and as such it is only fair that the reader expects her to show concern and consideration for her children. As the start of the story the reader can empathise with her as her suffering is clear, however as time moves on and she appears to care less and less for the children I did start to dislike her immensely. The most annoying factor about her was that rather than be continually sorry for keeping her children locked up, she lavished on them presents and tales of her wonderful life, all the while surely knowing how they were suffering.

                        The final main character is that of Corrine’s mother, the children’s grandmother who throughout the story the reader will maintain a very low opinion of. A heavily religious woman she is continually punishing the children for her own daughter’s elopement with her half uncle. Obviously it is not the children’s fault yet the Grandmother continues to say the most minimal things to them and constantly refers to them as Devil’s Spawn. She abhors anything unholy or ungodly and has very strict rules which the children must adhere to at all times.

                        My Opinion

                        I absolutely loved this book! Despite its rather depressing nature and sordid undertones I could not put it down and finished it within a week. I really found I was able to empathise with Cathy and was in awe most of the time at the sheer determination of Chris and Cathy to make the most of their situation and also their almost unfaltering belief in their mother. I did feel slightly annoyed at Chris as he seems to have faith in his mother no matter what, where Carrie began to see her faults and notice that she was visiting less and less, Chris would shout at her if she dared to mention that Corrine didn’t have their best interests at heart.

                        My feelings towards Corrine were completely different, at first I did sympathise with her as she had lost her husband and home, yet as time went on and she began to forget the children she professed to love so much, my dislike for her grew. As the book goes on we are told that she visited the children less and less, at one point going away for over a month without seeing them or even apologising for this and then my hatred for her really set in. Is it really possible to forget your children who you so loved several years ago? At the end of the book are a number of shocking revelations that will have you wanting to see Corrine hanged!

                        What I did find refreshing was that the novel focuses on the feelings and thoughts of Cathy as well as the changing relationships between the children, rather than on their day to day activities. Something like that could easily have become quite mundane and lacked any emotive feelings from the reader so by focusing on the relationships a much deeper knowledge of the characters and their situation is gained. Through the book we see the characters progress over a number of years and the growth of Cathy from a young girl into a young woman is both compelling and insightful.

                        The pace of the book was kept up throughout, despite it telling the tale of several years never once did I feel the book had reached a stagnant pace. I was always eager to move onto a new chapter and read about the next trial that faced the children or the next heartless act the mother was about to commit. It was one of the books that literally would have had me on the edge of my seat had it been a film. All the characters seemed very real, whereas in some books I find that I cannot relate to the story or the characters seem very flat, in Flowers in the Attic it was easy to imagine them as alive, existing and actually going through what they were in the novel.

                        A film adaptation was made in 1987 although I have been told that it is very poor in comparison to the book, it lacks many of the storylines and the acting is quite poor too apparently. I would recommend this book for anyone who likes anything from the drama or sordid family genres – initially it wouldn’t be one that I’d pick off the shelf but I’m glad that I did read it now. Apparently it is a true story and is a book that has affected me emotionally more so than the majority of books I’ve read in the past.

                        The overall tone of the book is quite dark and despairing, it isn’t one that’s going to make you smile or laugh. However it is one that will have you stamping your feet in despair at the sheer injustice going on as well as willing the children to stand up to their grandmother and make an escape from their prison. I can guarantee this book will have you hooked within the first few chapters, and it’ll keep you hooked until the very last word.

                        Thanks for reading!

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                          19.05.2006 20:05
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                          This book has put so much love in my heart for the characters, and i would recomend this book.

                          flowers in the attic.
                          this book is a heartbracking story. i have never read such a heart bracking story that makes me want to read more of it. i loved this book so much that i am reading it for the second time.

                          The love, hate, compassion, the effort, that has made this book, which has been put into this book, and which is shown in the caracters.

                          This book has left me thinking about parents, and how they could do anything for money, which also makes me think to never do this to my children.

                          I wanted to say so much about this book. it makes u dream and wonder what the characters look like, and it would feel to be them, which also makes u imagine it!

                          I would give this book 10/10, for the effort, hard work, time, heart, compassion in this book.

                          Virginia Anderews wrote a great story.

                          Rest In Peace

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                            09.06.2005 13:58
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                            Virginia Andrews, Queen of all things melodramatic and secretive, was sadly never the kind of author to gain much in terms of accolades. The intellectual snobbery so often present in literary circles has meant that her work has been deemed too trashy to merit any real praise. To that, I say ‘bollocks!’…‘scuse my French.

                            ‘Flowers in the Attic’, as the first novel in the five part Dollanganger series, begins the journey of Christopher, Cathy, Cory and Carrie; the four ill-fated Dollanganger children. Based loosely, and I stress loosely, upon a true story, this novel tells the tragic tale of children sacrificed by their mother in the name of greed. In short, 'Flowers in the Attic' portrays the sad story of the Dollanganger children, who lose their father and then suffer the even greater tragedy of being isolated from the world by their own mother, as she attempts to woo her cruel father into re-instating her into his will.

                            Not one for overwritten sentences or pretentiousness, Miss Andrews presents her story in a compelling and relatively unchallenging narrative. The plight of the central characters can thus be conveyed with heart and loving that might have been lost had Andrews worried herself about providing the critic fodder that seems to be so desired by novelists. Andrews’ clear love for the characters she has created is reflected by her attention to detail, and each character is developed well and on a good time scale. The affection you feel for the characters, borne most likely from Andrews’ own affection on clear display, makes reading this novel an easy task, as the pages just seem to turn and turn undeterred. Despite the fact that the majority of the events take place in only two rooms and with limited characters, I was never bored by the prose. The true heart of the story, which is tragic and compelling enough in itself, combined with the engaging narrative of Andrews makes this a truly gripping read.

                            The plot itself, though based upon true events, is a rather dramatic one. You could be forgiven for questioning why four mature and intelligent children would allow themselves to be manipulated for so long, though Andrews’ clever characterisation and realisation that children may misguidedly show unconditional maternal love makes the events all the more credible. The hope that Cathy and Chris will somehow escape their sad circumstances compels you towards the climactic end of the novel, and it’s a satisfying one at that.

                            As the first in a series of books, ‘Flowers in the Attic’ provides a close portrait of the characters who will continue into the following novels, and with it an affection that will undoubtedly lead you to purchase the sequels. The story, by the end of this novel, is far from over, though it is also perfectly acceptable to stop reading here, as the main issues of this section are relatively solved. The one issue with the plot that may cause concern for some readers is the controversial relationship between Cathy and Chris. The brother-sister bond most certainly goes further than it ever should, though Andrews presentation of its development and causes is done with sensitivity and by the end of the novel you feel only sympathy for the characters rather than disgust. If you can foresee yourself having major problems, then I’d advise you not to bother, if you’re more open minded, though, this storyline shouldn’t bother you at all.

                            ‘Flowers in the Attic’, although not anything on a par with Woolf, Joyce, Hogg etc, is an extremely compelling novel with all the factors one would look for in an enjoyable read. The characters are well crafted and lovingly developed, the narrative is very compelling and the plot is an interesting and quite unique one. Andrews clearly had a talent for melodrama, though she does it with a greater touch of subtlety than many authors, which makes for a great read. This story, with it’s controversial elements and wonderful personas will stay with you for a long time. When I read this as a young teenager I found my first love in the character of Chris, which just goes to exemplify Andrews’ talent for characterisation. An emotional rollercoaster ride, ‘Flowers in the Attic’ will see you laugh, cry and want to rip the pages out in frustration. Surely I’ve convinced you enough?

                            You can purchase this novel for around £5.99 on Amazon. And while you’re there you’ll probably want to buy the rest of the series!

                            P.S. My name is not a reference to this novel!


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                          • Product Details

                            First book in the Dollanganger series.