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  #1  
Old 02-21-2010, 11:18 PM
Gestalt Gestalt is offline
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Flowers in the Attic -- Wow. <spoilers>

So, at a friend's recommendation I just finished reading (well, really, more skimming for important plot points) Flowers in the Attic. I have to say, I'm really surprised this book was so popular! It's so very, very bizarre. For one thing, the whole plot is totally unbelievable (It seems like it would make more sense for the kids to go in temporary foster care or something while the mom gets training for a job -- deciding to win back your bajillionaire dying father's affection while keeping his grandkids hidden from him in his house is . . . weird). Then, there's the fact that these kids plights just get more and more miserable . . . it's like an upper class Dickensian existence. When the kids are starving for two weeks, the boy cuts his veins open to give the twins his blood to drink to keep them from being thirsty! Isn't that so unnecessary, and unhygenic? And would it actually be hydrating? Wouldn't it make more sense to sneak some food from the freaking mansion they lived in?

And finally, the elephant in the room . . . incest! Ewww . . . how on earth could a brother and sister raised as such actually have sex with each other, even if they were confined? I feel like that requires a special congential form of crazy.

That being said, I thought it was a page turner, although from what I could tell a good chunk of it was, "We are stuck in the attic, the twins are sick, we're trying to play make-believe to brighten up their world, and my brother wants to sex me. Oh, and gramma is mean."

Anyways, I would be really interested in hearing about others' reactions to this book. I would especially like to know how the whole incest angle was received by readers when the book was first published, because that seemed quite strange and gratuitous to me, but actually is also the only thing that really sets this book apart from your typical maudlin-romance-tragedy type novel.
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  #2  
Old 02-21-2010, 11:35 PM
bengangmo bengangmo is offline
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All of her (actually the her is a him under a pen name right?) books have some pretty incestuous stuff inside.

nd yes, the story is not logical - but since when does any story have to be logical to be enjoyable?
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  #3  
Old 02-22-2010, 01:04 AM
statsman1982 statsman1982 is offline
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V. C. Andrews was not a pen name. She wrote almost all of the Dollanganger Series (in which Flowers is the first). The last book was started by Andrews and finished by a guy named Andrew Niederman.

There are plot summaries of the other books on Wikipedia. If you think Flowers was odd, well...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flowers_in_the_attic
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  #4  
Old 02-22-2010, 01:07 AM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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Yeah. It's not like it was ever considered "great" lit. More like the kind of stuff that teens read because it was so out there and ooh, sex. Very trashy--predecessor to Twilight and all that.
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  #5  
Old 02-22-2010, 06:30 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Originally Posted by Gestalt View Post
When the kids are starving for two weeks, the boy cuts his veins open to give the twins his blood to drink to keep them from being thirsty! Isn't that so unnecessary, and unhygenic? And would it actually be hydrating? Wouldn't it make more sense to sneak some food from the freaking mansion they lived in?
The door to the attic was kept locked. No sneaking for them ...

I got about 30 pages in before I tossed it in the fire. I had to listen to the girls in school squee over the damned book. Blargh.
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  #6  
Old 02-22-2010, 06:37 AM
sandra_nz sandra_nz is offline
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I read this book when I was about 15, and most people I know who have read it also read it as a teenager. At that age, you're not really critically analysing the plot, it's just a good read.
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  #7  
Old 02-22-2010, 06:54 AM
Spice Weasel Spice Weasel is offline
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When I was eight -- yes, eight -- my grandmother gave me V.C. Andrews' Dawn series (though I think at that point she was dead and someone else took over.)

Summary of the plot of the series:
1. Poor girl sleeps in a bed with her poor brother, who she often finds staring at her as she gets dressed in the morning.
2. Poor girl attends rich school where she is ostracized and humiliated, falls in love with rich boy at school who tries to snow her in the front seat of his car.
3. Suddenly one night, poor girl is awakened in the wee hours of morning from police who have discovered her ''true'' identity as the daughter of rich parents -- yep, that's right, poor girl and rich guy are brother and sister. She is ripped from the only family she has ever known and sent to live with her true, rich family.
4. Rich guy is devastated, decides the only proper course of action is to rape his newfound sister (in graphic detail.)
5. Poor girl realizes that the guy she thought was her poor brother is now the love of her life. They do it.
6. Poor girl and former poor brother get married and have a baby.
7. Next book in the series starts from the daughter's perspective. Her parents die in a fire.
8. Then her uncle (the one who raped her mother) rapes her (in graphic detail.)
9. So she runs away from home.

The one thing I remember the most vividly is when she was laying in bed with her boyfriend, Niles, and they were basically trying really hard to be abstinent. She looks down, sees he's got a hard-on, and asks, completely seriously, ''Does it ache, Niles?''

This stuff is mind-numbingly stupid, but when you're a kid, it's entertaining as hell.
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  #8  
Old 02-22-2010, 09:29 AM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Oh man, I read the Dollanganger series so often I practically had it memorized. Also, the possibly even more fucked-up My Sweet Audrina.

I didn’t go around admitting it though!

ETA: After re-reading olive's post, I realize I must have read at least some of the Dawn series too. :O

Last edited by Dung Beetle; 02-22-2010 at 09:30 AM..
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  #9  
Old 02-22-2010, 09:34 AM
delphica delphica is offline
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Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
Oh man, I read the Dollanganger series so often I practically had it memorized. Also, the possibly even more fucked-up My Sweet Audrina.
Some days when I'm bored, I sit around trying to figure out which one is more fucked up.

Did an adult person recommend Flowers in the Attic to the OP? Without irony?
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  #10  
Old 02-22-2010, 09:39 AM
Sateryn76 Sateryn76 is online now
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I reread my VC Andrews books (the Dollanger and Dawn series) once or twice a year. They're just brain candy, and I enjoy them, even though at this point, they're practically memorized.

And, when I was bored last month, I bought the first book in the new series, which by this point is written by someone who wasn't even born when VC Andrews was alive...it was absent of incest, but included a creepy sister, a dead mom, and a secret pregnancy. I'll probably pick up the next one when it's published...
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  #11  
Old 02-22-2010, 09:47 AM
Hello Again Hello Again is offline
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Did an adult person recommend Flowers in the Attic to the OP? Without irony?
I wondered this too. If I recommended it, I would say things like "it's sooo trashy, but good in a crazy trashy way." If I tried to claim it was "good" without describing its hilarious over-the-topness (melodrama only a 13 year old could love, really) my irony meter would explode.

File with "Forever" and "Valley of the Horses" under Books I read in Middle School Because I Heard There Was Sex in Them
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  #12  
Old 02-22-2010, 09:54 AM
delphica delphica is offline
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I wondered this too. If I recommended it, I would say things like "it's sooo trashy, but good in a crazy trashy way." If I tried to claim it was "good" without describing its hilarious over-the-topness (melodrama only a 13 year old could love, really) my irony meter would explode.

File with "Forever" and "Valley of the Horses" under Books I read in Middle School Because I Heard There Was Sex in Them
Yeah, I could see doing it if you wanted to share something like "omg, when I was in middle school, I read this OVER and OVER and you have to read it because it's INSANE."

Before I ever touched the book, I knew what pages had the sex parts.

To this day, every time I walk with scissors I have creepy Flowers flashbacks.
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  #13  
Old 02-22-2010, 10:05 AM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Whoa, V.C. Andrews. Blast from the past!

Yes, all of her books were creepy as shit, far fetched, involved rich families and incest. At one point, I'd read every book of hers, but I think I stopped because 1) they were essentially the same story and 2) they become increasingly uninteresting variants of the same story.

My reaction to Flowers in the Attic can be summed up as "This shit is crazy!" and "Eww!"
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  #14  
Old 02-22-2010, 10:44 AM
Gestalt Gestalt is offline
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Some days when I'm bored, I sit around trying to figure out which one is more fucked up.

Did an adult person recommend Flowers in the Attic to the OP? Without irony?
Haha, actually, it was recommended to me for a very specific reason: as an only child, I've always been mildly intrigued by sibling-incest, and have always wondered if it happens more than people admit to. So, my friend recommended this book, for obvious reasons.

I can understand that it's essentially a bodice-ripper, with all the typical trappings of that genre, and that can explain a lot of its popularity. However, I'm still surprised that more teenage girls weren't squicked out to the point of discarding the book by the brother-sister sex. Or was it the over-the-top scandalousness that kept young girls hooked?
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Old 02-22-2010, 10:47 AM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Or was it the over-the-top scandalousness that kept young girls hooked?
Over-the-top scandalousness for me. Soap operas are generally more believable.
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  #16  
Old 02-22-2010, 11:10 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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V. C. Andrews was not a pen name. She wrote almost all of the Dollanganger Series (in which Flowers is the first).
Basically, when Andrews died, her heirs knew they had a good thing, so trademarked her name and hired ghostwriters to finish her books and write new ones.
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  #17  
Old 02-22-2010, 11:17 AM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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I read it when I was a teen, which is why I don't think Twlight is a big deal (for teens - not the 40 YO women who are reading it). I still own a copy, and I read it and own it for this reason - I had a pretty bad time in my teenage years, with plenty of emotional and verbal abuse. That book comforted me a great deal because whatever was being done to me, they had it way worse than me. It also acknowledged something very fundamental, even in an over the top way, which no one around me was acknowledgeing - sometimes, mothers can be bad.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:23 AM
Gestalt Gestalt is offline
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which no one around me was acknowledgeing - sometimes, mothers can be bad.
Oh yeah, that bitch definitely wins "worst mother of the year" award. Even the grandmother was a gift basket of peaches compared to her.
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  #19  
Old 02-22-2010, 11:23 AM
Hrududu Hrududu is offline
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These were the books that we all snuck off our mother's shelves and read in secret. They always seemed so scandalous at the time. I think I only read the Flowers in the Attic series and the Heaven series.

However when I was all growed up I hunted down My Sweet Audrina. Jebus Cripes. I refused to read it where I could be seen, but I still read it. So trashy, but hilarious.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:23 AM
MitzeKatze MitzeKatze is offline
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Whoa, V.C. Andrews. Blast from the past!

Yes, all of her books were creepy as shit, far fetched, involved rich families and incest. At one point, I'd read every book of hers, but I think I stopped because 1) they were essentially the same story and 2) they become increasingly uninteresting variants of the same story.

My reaction to Flowers in the Attic can be summed up as "This shit is crazy!" and "Eww!"
I quit reading VC Andrews (long after she had nothing to do with them) for the same reason. She had one or two intriguing (for the age I was) stories then she just changed the setting, names, and which relative the main character would fall for (or would fall for her) and how the incest would come to light.

It worked though, those books are still making money hand over fist. Somebody is still reading them. I even thought about reading the newest series just to see if the formula is still the same.
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  #21  
Old 02-22-2010, 11:27 AM
Carol the Impaler Carol the Impaler is offline
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Barf. Thought Flowers in the Attic might be a good "laying-out" book when I was 15. Nope. That book was so stupid and implausible that I tossed it across my back yard in frustration.
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  #22  
Old 02-22-2010, 11:27 AM
MitzeKatze MitzeKatze is offline
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These were the books that we all snuck off our mother's shelves and read in secret. They always seemed so scandalous at the time. I think I only read the Flowers in the Attic series and the Heaven series.
I read the Flowers in the Attic series when I was 11 or 12, and it was handed to me by my mother. For a while after that, my Mom would pass down the next book in the series after she had read it (she was not screening them for me or anything, she read them then gave them to me and my sisters). It was scandalous, but even then it was so far-fetched and dramatic as to be silly. Mom never worried it would warp our young minds or anything (but she probably would not have let me read Scruples around that same age if she had read it first).
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:38 AM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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However when I was all growed up I hunted down My Sweet Audrina. Jebus Cripes. I refused to read it where I could be seen, but I still read it. So trashy, but hilarious.
Ha! This was my favorite Andrews book when I was in junior high.

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I even thought about reading the newest series just to see if the formula is still the same.
Hell, I might do this. My reading list is getting too heavy, so maybe some trashy pre-teen fiction will lighten things up a bit. Although, much like Hrududu, I'd probably be a bit embarrassed to read it in public. Oh, who are we kidding? I have no shame.
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  #24  
Old 02-22-2010, 11:41 AM
Palo Verde Palo Verde is offline
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I loved those books in middle school! I'd didn't get grossed out by the brother/sister sex probably because I had only sisters, no brothers, and I can't imagine how that relationship works. It just seemed scandalous and romantic and fascinating.
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Old 02-22-2010, 11:44 AM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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I loved those books in middle school! I'd didn't get grossed out by the brother/sister sex probably because I had only sisters, no brothers, and I can't imagine how that relationship works. It just seemed scandalous and romantic and fascinating.
I had (and have) a little brother who I'd never want to have sex with and I still thought it was romantic. Hey, teens are messed in the heads. No, make that PEOPLE are messed.

But I also read a novel that included a kid gang bang and didn't think that was all that unusual around the same time. (Age fourteen, I believe.)

Last edited by Freudian Slit; 02-22-2010 at 11:44 AM..
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  #26  
Old 02-22-2010, 12:05 PM
delphica delphica is offline
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I can understand that it's essentially a bodice-ripper, with all the typical trappings of that genre, and that can explain a lot of its popularity. However, I'm still surprised that more teenage girls weren't squicked out to the point of discarding the book by the brother-sister sex. Or was it the over-the-top scandalousness that kept young girls hooked?
Trying to remember how I would have answered that question at age 11, when I read it -- part of it was the over-the-top scandalousness that was so appealing, and the other part was that the fictional brother in the book was hawt, and all the real-life brothers we knew were gross and stupid, so it didn't seem like the same thing at all.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:06 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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Trying to remember how I would have answered that question at age 11, when I read it -- part of it was the over-the-top scandalousness that was so appealing, and the other part was that the fictional brother in the book was hawt, and all the real-life brothers we knew were gross and stupid, so it didn't seem like the same thing at all.
And the fact that he forced her but she wanted it. (Hey, maybe it's not safe/sane/consensual, but it's the kind of thing you see in bodice rippers so I know I'm not alone in finding it hot.)
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  #28  
Old 02-22-2010, 12:23 PM
Drain Bead Drain Bead is offline
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My Sweet Audrina got passed around from kid to kid so much in the 6th grade that it practically fell apart. This thread is totally bringing back memories--I lived on VC Andrews and Dean Koontz in middle school, and wouldn't touch either now.
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  #29  
Old 02-22-2010, 12:31 PM
MeanOldLady MeanOldLady is offline
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Speaking of formulas, I popped in V.C. Andrews into Amazon, clicked on the first book on the page, then read the first review.

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Originally Posted by Some Person on Amazon
Sigh. Where do I start? The cardboard characters? The simplistic yet contrived family secrets and insanity, the predictable sibling rivalry, or the yawn-inspiring revelations? Let's not forget the recycled TITLES (April Shadows/Girl in the Shadows ---> Secrets in the Attic/Secrets in the Shadows ---> Heavenstone Secrets/Secret Whispers) This particular book is even more disappointing after you read the synopsis for its sequel (which can be accessed at the 'Complete VCA' site - a truly fine and wonderful site. Despite my feelings for Andrew Neiderman himself, I certainly don't hold it against the site)

Andrew Neiderman isn't even trying anymore.
Ha ha! So I guess that answers our question about whether the formula is the same.
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  #30  
Old 02-22-2010, 12:32 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Originally Posted by delphica View Post
Trying to remember how I would have answered that question at age 11, when I read it -- part of it was the over-the-top scandalousness that was so appealing, and the other part was that the fictional brother in the book was hawt, and all the real-life brothers we knew were gross and stupid, so it didn't seem like the same thing at all.
Yep, thats it. If shed been locked up with my brother, shed have found a way out sooner, with virginity intact.
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  #31  
Old 02-22-2010, 12:34 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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Speaking of formulas, I popped in V.C. Andrews into Amazon, clicked on the first book on the page, then read the first review.

Ha ha! So I guess that answers our question about whether the formula is the same.
I think some of the ghostwritten ones took some paragraphs from Flowers nearly word for word.
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  #32  
Old 02-22-2010, 12:38 PM
badbadrubberpiggy badbadrubberpiggy is offline
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I think some of the ghostwritten ones took some paragraphs from Flowers nearly word for word.
I remember reading the exact same passages in several of the different series when I was a kid.
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Old 02-22-2010, 12:38 PM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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More like the kind of stuff that teens read because it was so out there and ooh, sex. Very trashy--predecessor to Twilight and all that.
In particular female teens. I read it while bored one summer and visiting some relatives who had an extremely limited selection of literature to choose from. But V. C. Andrews wasn't passed around by teen boys that I can recall. But I know a small army of women that read it as some sort of Rite of Passage when they were teenagers.

I can see Twilight, sorta. But it's interesting to me that for all the talk of the degeneracy of our current generation of youth, the earlier one grew up on something that was miles less wholesome .

Last edited by Tamerlane; 02-22-2010 at 12:39 PM..
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  #34  
Old 02-22-2010, 12:38 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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I think I'm the only person in the universe that thinks that the movie was way better than the book. I'm probably also the only adult male to have read it. Hey, I saw the movie, I wanted to read the book.

Yes, I know what real pain is.

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When the kids are starving for two weeks, the boy cuts his veins open to give the twins his blood to drink to keep them from being thirsty!
I don't think it was to quench the brother's thirst, it was to give him nutrition. The brother was dying of arsenic poisoning. (At least in the movie. I don't remember the book as well.)
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:27 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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My best friend in junior high was obsessed with those books. I mean, she had a display case of pristine copies, along with her constantly re-read ones (she didn't have a brother). She made me read them and I think I was scarred for life. My Sweet Audrina was actually the first one I read. I kind of want to read one again, to see how bad it is--the whole "rainbow skies and dark clouds of tears" thing might make me gag--but I won't buy one and I can't check one out at the library. (I work there, I can't face anyone at the check-out desk with these books, and anyway they only have a couple of the Dawn series.)

Yeah, I don't like Twilight for many reasons, but then I have to look back and remember that when we were 13 we were all reading this, which makes Twilight look like Jane Eyre or something.
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  #36  
Old 02-22-2010, 01:31 PM
MitzeKatze MitzeKatze is offline
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... I can't check one out at the library. (I work there, I can't face anyone at the check-out desk with these books, and anyway they only have a couple of the Dawn series.)
This is a reason that all libraries should have a self-checkout. Now that I can scan the books myself without having to face an actual person I can check out all kinds of trash without embarrassment. Makes trips to the library much more interesting.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:32 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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This is a reason that all libraries should have a self-checkout. Now that I can scan the books myself without having to face an actual person I can check out all kinds of trash without embarrassment. Makes trips to the library much more interesting.
Oh, I LOVE self check out. Off topic but I hate the long lines at the library. Love being able to get in and out.
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Old 02-22-2010, 01:49 PM
Gestalt Gestalt is offline
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Speaking of formulas, I popped in V.C. Andrews into Amazon, clicked on the first book on the page, then read the first review.

Ha ha! So I guess that answers our question about whether the formula is the same.
Teehee, the plot summaries on wikipedia for the Dollenganger series are wonderful. I love how the whole damn saga ends with Corrine going up into the attic (in the insane son's Foxworth-hall-replica house, natch) and dying, but not before putting flowers up by the window . . . get it?? Cause that's how it started!

They kind of remind me of old Indian movies, except maybe (maybe) the incest.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:08 PM
Dung Beetle Dung Beetle is offline
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I'm probably also the only adult male to have read it.
You impress me more all the time.
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Old 02-22-2010, 03:31 PM
Anaamika Anaamika is offline
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They kind of remind me of old Indian movies, except maybe (maybe) the incest.
Yes, pretty much. Over the top drama - what's not to like?

I also wasn't bothered by the incest. I'm an only child, and it seemed to make sense to me. I'd go batshit insane locked up like that.

Plus the incest is really brief, at the end of the book, and not at all the focus of the book. Unlike later books. I read the whole series.
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  #41  
Old 02-22-2010, 03:31 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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This is a reason that all libraries should have a self-checkout.
As soon as we can afford them, I'll be sure to recommend getting those. (Since the county laid half the staff off last year, it's not going to be very soon.)
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  #42  
Old 02-22-2010, 03:38 PM
tdn tdn is offline
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You impress me more all the time.


It was funny, I saw the ads for the movie without realizing that it had been a novel. It looked kind of scary. So a year or two later, I was at the video store on Halloween, and I wanted to get a couple of scary movies. I picked that and House. House was your average basic scary movie, nothing to write home about really. But Flowers was totally unexpected. I had no idea where it was going. I also liked the cinematography, the acting, and especially the score.

I liked it enough that I watched it a few times. I thought if I liked the movie, I'd love the book. Then I found out that it was an entire series, so I decided to go ahead and buy the whole thing.

I HATED the style of writing. It was like a bad romance novel. But I was determined to get through it all. It was about 2 weeks of pain, but I did it.

I want those 2 weeks back.

Last edited by tdn; 02-22-2010 at 03:39 PM..
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  #43  
Old 02-22-2010, 03:42 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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I remember first reading Flowers because I was into horror as a teen and loved sick things. But I couldn't get too far--Flowers is SO schmaltzy/romance-y. I read another V.C. Andrews book, Tarnished Gold, about a poor girl on the bayou who gets raped by a rich guy. His wife can't have kids, and apparently is insane, and invites the poor girl to live in a tiny room in their mansion and then give up the baby...and then she ends up dying and it's all FRIGHTFULLY romantic.
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  #44  
Old 02-22-2010, 04:37 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is offline
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I guess this needs to be shared: Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension reviews Flowers In The Attic.
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  #45  
Old 02-22-2010, 05:42 PM
Cat Fight Cat Fight is offline
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Originally Posted by Drain Bead View Post
My Sweet Audrina got passed around from kid to kid so much in the 6th grade that it practically fell apart.
My seventh grade copy of Flowers in the had the corners bent down so much they just fell off. Only made getting to the good stuff that much easier! God 'tween girls are horny little devils.
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  #46  
Old 02-23-2010, 02:04 AM
AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet AboutAsWeirdAsYouCanGet is offline
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But I know a small army of women that read it as some sort of Rite of Passage when they were teenagers.
Hahahaha..... yes me too. I remember my sister and her friends reading it. I read them and devoured them. Then I remember at camp all us Senoir girls reading them.
I used to LOVE them, but looking back they were SO cheesy!
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:28 AM
bengangmo bengangmo is offline
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. It was like a bad romance novel. .
Sorry...can I be a bit of a language Nazi here....

It WAS a bad romance novel, (no like,almost, or anything else - just an outright statement of fact)
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  #48  
Old 02-23-2010, 04:38 AM
Neidhart Neidhart is offline
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It's interesting that Flowers in the Attic is one of those books that no males ever seem to read (or at least admit to reading.) Just like Anita Diamant's The Red Tent.
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Old 02-23-2010, 04:43 AM
bengangmo bengangmo is offline
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It's interesting that Flowers in the Attic is one of those books that no males ever seem to read (or at least admit to reading.) Just like Anita Diamant's The Red Tent.
Heh - I read it, and the sequels, I think about 70% of the series, and to my shame I have also read Sidney Sheldon.

In my defense, I was in a New Country, waiting to start work, had no money and it was the only reading material available
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Old 02-23-2010, 06:12 AM
Icerigger Icerigger is offline
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I have to admit to reading the book and I'm a guy. I stumbled upon the movie on TV and I have always liked "locked room scenarios" or "prison break" stories which Flowers is sort of like. So I got the book and started reading, it was really sick far more than the movie which was toned down a bit. Just from memory we have: incest, rape, beatings, infanticide, child abandonment, flogging, children being ordered to strip naked, drinking blood, watching mother have sex etc. Again sick and then I learned this book is read almost exclusively by young teen girls, WTF! Girls are supposed to be "every thing nice". This is twisted, twisted stuff what's the deal?
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