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Flowers in the Attic - Virginia Andrews
Member Name: gemmamets
Flowers in the Attic - Virginia Andrews
Advantages: Beautifully written taking you on the journey every step of the way/
Disadvantages: None...it's excellent!
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.
Summary: A beautifully written book and a story which will ignite all of your emotions.