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30 January 2009


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Electric Landlady

OMFG. I remember everyone in my Grade 9 class was OBSESSED by these books. I skimmed this one but I can't have read it very thoroughly.

Thank you for suffering so the rest of us don't have to. Wow.


I'm so glad you did this so the rest of us don't have to.

And I really think you should reconsider that VC Andrews Challenge. You could suffer some permanent damage from this kind of reading!

Sarah Miller

Oh, the memories! That was beautiful. My stomach hurts -- from laughing, not arsenic-covered doughnuts.


This should be the Wikipedia entry for "Flowers in the Attic." Good lord. I've never touched a VC Andrews book and now I never will. Gah.

I hope that one day, my children will blog about Breaking Dawn in this same fashion.


Wow. Just . . . wow. Way to take one for the team, Leila.


Hi-larious post! Way 2 scare people away from V.C. Andrews. U've really captured the extreme tedium & creepy-assedness of this book. i hope there will be more posts like this 1!


Thank you so much! I was afraid to take the challenge out of fear that my brain would rot right out of my head (and also I would have to put the books on hold at the library, and I work there and all my co-workers would KNOW), and now you have saved me from this dreadful fate. And also this is much funnier than the real book is.

But I'm sad that you didn't describe Momma's shocking sparkly gown at the Christmas ball, where the top of her fanny is showing--for some reason that bit stuck in my head.

A Paperback Writer

Thank you for proving to me that my own junior high school hunch was correct: these books aren't worth picking up.
Also, thanks for proving that it's not GOOD books publishers want; it's books that will SELL, regardless of what they're like.




I only knew the title--never read this, just knew it's popularity.

Ohmygod. I had no idea.


Oh my gosh, that was brilliant! You have to post the link to this in the participants' post on my blog (it's on the sidebar). You're going to be one of the greatest VCA participants -I can feel it! The thing is, this stuff is totally Twilight-esque in writing, but in actual execution? The characters in these books *gasp* have sex! Stephenie Meyer would have a stroke. The readers would totally dig it though. Aaaaand OMG I almost died when you mentioned Drake Hogestyn -because yes, I could totally see it. The whole entry was totally fab -you made it super long without taking forever to read, so many thanks for that.


I agree. Your posting was brilliant and hilarious. I could not stop laughing out loud...my cat thinks I am crazy and am ignoring her. That posting regarding your multiple reading steps made my night. It was funny and a little wicked but in a good way...I felt myself agreeing with you all the way. I remember skimming through the first book in the series during school. Everyone was reading it so I checked a friend's copy out. That was the last of anything by VC Andrews for me. I still cannot figure out why she was so popular...maybe it was the lurid allure of juvenile wrongness. (Cannot believe I just wrote that line.) The taboo that was too fantastic to really believe but still indulge in. Sorry you had to read it. I hope you never have to read another one. I guess that is one series that I am happy to have missed. I apologize to those out there that enjoy her books...they are just not for me.
PS...Are you going to watch...the movie?????? (Post again if you do!)


Oh, my WORD. WHY did so many people lurve this book in middle school!?!? SUCH. BAD. WRITING. Oy.
Still, it has that old-school romance novel vibe going for it -- the passion-fueled rape... oh, yeeeuch.


You're not really going to read the next eleven (or whatever) are you?


That was just about the best thing I've seen this week. Did I really read those books? What was wrong with me? On the days I long for my youth, I'll remember this.

Gina Dalfonzo

Holy cow! I always thought the book sounded kind of stupid. I didn't know it was THAT stupid. What on earth do people see in it??

Re: "Punky Brewster" and Cherie in the fridge -- ooh, don't remind me. That episode freaked me out for days when I was a kid.


Flowers in the Attic was my Clan of the Cave Bear -- the icky book I read "for the good bits," whose "good bits" were ICKY AS ALL HELL. Why couldn't I have read Alanna instead?


Wow. Really glad I missed that one as an impressionable middle-schooler. But thanks for this hysterical look at V.C. Andrews!

Even with the humor, I had messed up dreams after reading it. I need to call my mom today and make sure she's not a psycho.


She swung Carrie around by her hair and slapped Cory, but I expected worse. She does seem like the type who can bide her time, though. I'd like to see a cage match between her and the Trunchbull.


Oh, thanks for suffering for the greater good of reader-kind. (At least those of us who enjoy our brain cells...)


*stunned silence*

I've always had the vague thought that I should read one of these. I'm so glad I never followed through with it!


I would doubt that this was really on the page, but I once read the Wikipedia synopsis, so I know it really is that whacked out. Thank you for throwing yourself on the grenade. Now go out and get some vodka.


This made me almost want to read the book, so I could check in with what you had to say every few pages. Only almost though. *shudder*


And in the next book, Cathy becomes a world-famous prima ballerina, because you don't need professional training for that. And she gets a sugar daddy. Then gets incestuous in a different way. And then in the way she'd already been.

I can't remember if I read the third book, but thankfully, I never read any of the other series written by Andrews, or written in her name after she died.


This was insanely funny. A bunch of my girlfriends were into these in about 5th grade too. I started "Flowers" and got completely creeped out. Please don't read them all. If you want to kill brain cells, vodka is WAAAAAY more fun. and less creepy.

Calamity Jane

I've kept thinking about this book after reading this because the story sounded familiar to me.
I just remembered that I bought the prequel to this series (Garden of Shadows) a decade ago. I've read it once and never thought about it again until today.
I guess we DO try to forget unpleasant things.
And now I can't seem to remember where I've put the book...


hehee. I love your commentary. I'm surprised at how much I remembered. I consumed these books when I was a kid, I guess somewhere around middle school age. I wasn't quite as creeped out by the incest I guess because I got that it was a thing they'd been pushed into. I had quite a bit of harlequins under my belt already, so I liked the sexy stuff....

but I think the reason I liked it was because I too knew what it felt like to be unwanted, unloved, and maybe the deep pull beneath consciousness was at least my life wasn't THAT bad, and that maybe I wasn't so bad off being poor. it was pure escape that made my life seem normal.

if this is Twilight-esque, I'm glad I read this way back when, and not Twilight now, without the sex.


Thank you. You took a bullet for us, and made it highly entertaining. :-)


ha ha ha ha! That's great! I read this book when I was like 10 or something and I did go through a period where I liked V.C. Andrews, but I doubt I could read her now! Instead, I am just going to laugh at your break-down and remember all the 'great' scenes. lol

Kate Fall

OMG Leila I am laughing so hard right now!! That was the best. Thank you so much for saving me from re-reading that book. (Huh, I remember liking it the first time around, but then I used to guzzle Lik-M-Aid powder too.)

Brent Hartinger

You're missing the point! It's brilliant, I tell ya, BRILLIANT! ;-)


Your post was cheesetastic ! I just re-read Garden of Shadows, the prequel that explains why the grandmother turned into a nutjob and why Corrine should have been fed the donuts, too. Now I'm re-reading FITA, and briefly considered making up a drinking game based on how many times each mentally defective sibling says "golly !", but I don't think I could possibly consume that much alcohol in one sitting. Next hilariously awful author on my list: Dean Koontz, the male V.C. Andrews.


^ Oops, didn't mean to imply your reviewing itself was cheesey, but that the book is a giant slice of Velveeta (not even real cheese, just processed crap). I love re-reading this book the same way that I love watching bad movies at 1 a.m.- fabulously awful !


Crazy thought here: if you didn't like the book, why in God's name did you keep reading it? Obviously some part of you was looking so desperately for something perverted or else you might have stopped reading it when you first realized you wouldn't like it.
Just a thought...

Laura Roberson

I have read the entire series, more than a few times, but all when I was much younger. Okay, in Petals on the Wind Cathy, Chris and Carrie meet an older doctor and they move in with him. Cathy has sex with him, Chris goes to college, Cathy becomes a dancer, marries a dancer, has his baby, he dies. Carrie eats donuts she laces with arsenic and dies. Cathy breaks into Foxworth Hall and tortures grandmother, whips her, pours wax in her hair, starves her. Cathy seduces her mother's new husband Bart and get pregnant. Has a dress made like the green one in FITA, shows up at Foxworth Hall, spills all the secrets, sets the house on fire, grandmother and Bart are killed. Mother tells lies to make it seem like she poisoned them just to get the grandmother to let her take them out of the house, all lies since in FITA she moved out and let her mother care for them. Mother goes to sanitarium. Cathy marries doctor and he dies. I noticed that this book a lot of people have icky sex and a lot of people die.

Laura Roberson

Okay, If There Be Thorns is written from the perspective of her two sons. Jory is the good one, the dancer, and Bart is the bad one. Cathy and Chris live like husband and wife. Kids know something is not right. Strange lady who wears scarves over her face moves in next door. Turns Bart into a bigger psycho and it turns out to be Chris and Cathy's mother. She tries to make amends, even though she is still pretty terrible. Mother dies saving Cathy's life. In ITBT there is a lot of crap, they have a goddaughter, a housekeeper, Chris is a doctor, they go to Georgia to see Jory's grandmother. She dies. John the butler is in this one, with the mother, Corinne. This is the most boring of the 5, yes 5! books.

Laura Roberson

Ok, Seeds of Yesterday finds Bart Jr having inherited Foxworth Hall from crazy grandmother Corinne. He pays to have it fixed up. Chris, who works as a researcher now, Cathy, who does nothing but complain, Bart Jr, and Jory move into the newly rebuilt Foxworth Hall, which was built exactly the same as it was before the fire in POTW, WHY? He knows about their confinement in the house, WHY??! And why do Chris and Cathy agree to move in there? WHY? Cathy and Chris live like husband and wife, and their sons know they are brother and sister. When they move into the house Joel is there, he is the youngest boy, Corrine's youngest brother, who everyone thought died in an avalanche. Jory is a world famous ballet dancer, married to a female ballet dancer, they are world famous and come home for some reason, and Bart gets them to dance for his big birthday where he gets all the money. Bart, I am pretty sure sets the stage to crash on his brother who becomes paralyzed. His wife Melody is pregnant. Melody cannot face Jory and begins an affair Bart. He dumps her once she gets too big from the pregnancy. She gives birth to twins, boy and a girl, both have names that begin with the letter "D". Soon after their birth Melody leaves to go back to dancing and divorces Jory. Someone is mean to Jory, trying to make him sick, putting tacks in his shoes, opening the windows while he is asleep (is it Bart or Joel, I don't think we ever know for sure). Chris is killed in a car accident, nod to FITA. WHY are they still in this house!?? Cathy hires someone to help take care of Jory, hoping she might also fall in love with him, so he is not so alone. There is a "sister" in this book, I think her name is Nicole. She is a tramp, acts a lot like Cathy, and proves to be a pain in the ass, like Carrie would be if she had grown up, I think VC Andrews should have made it so that Cathy had three kids, and regretted it, so this goddaughter showed up in ITBT. Anyhow, she knows how mean and bad Bart is, Bart takes the little twins to a church he built on their land and he and uncle Joel tell them they are evil and the "devil's spawn." The nurse has an affair with Bart, then marries Jory. Bart realizes he is a prick and becomes a better person. Bart and Nicole sing together on a church program?? And Cathy dies in the attic.

Laura Roberson

Garden of Shadows is my favorite book in the series. Olivia, the evil grandmother is a 20-something woman living with her father when she meets Malcolm Foxworth. Her father set them up. Olivia is described as a "handsome woman" and Malcolm is a gorgeous stud. They marry after three dates and he moves her to Foxworth Hall. Her first day there she goes about exploring the house and finds Malcolm's mother's room. The Swan room. The room is described exactly the same in GOS and it is described by Chris is FITA. Almost WORD for WORD. Apparently a 25 year old woman and a 14 year old boy would describe it the same exact way. Anyhow, Malcolm finds Olivia in the Swan room and tells him all about how much he loved her and how she ran away from his father and left him alone at 5 years old. He talks about her clothes and her smell and forces sex with Olivia, who was a virgin, all the while saying his mother's name...wait for it...CORINNE! Olivia knows Malcolm married he because she was nothing like his mother, who abandoned him so young. He did not love her. Olivia has two children early in the book, Malcolm Jr and less than a year later has Joel. Joel was born sick, and the doctor told Olivia and Malcolm she should not have any more children. Malcolm is a bad father, thinks of his sons as sissies and effeminate because Joel is sickly and Malcolm Jr plays the piano. Malcolm's father, Garland returns from Europe with his MUCH younger bride, Alicia. Alicia is beautiful. Peaches and cream complexion, lovely figure, chestnut brown hair, with blond highlights. When Garland returns he has some shocking news, he is going to be a father again, Alicia is pregnant. Olivia tries to hate Alicia but she is sweet, and naive and brightens up the entire house. After she arrives she gives birth to Christopher Foxworth. This is the father of Cathy, Chris, Cory and Carrie. Malcolm tries to rape Alicia and Garland fights with him, and Garland dies from a heart attack. Alicia stays on at Foxworth Hall awaiting her inheritance from Garland. She is deeply saddened by Garland's death, and mourns for a long time. Alicia comes to Olivia and tells her that Malcolm has raped her repeatedly and she has become pregnant with his child. Malcolm wants to keep the baby and Olivia goes along with it. Alicia leaves Foxworth Hall to find a place for her and Christopher to move to, but really she is moved into the north wing, to live out her pregnancy in seclusion. Alicia goes half crazy all those months in the attic. She gives birth to a daughter whom Malcolm names Corinne. Alicia and Christopher leave and Olivia and Malcolm raise Corinne as their own. Corinne is spoiled from day one. She grows into a beautiful woman. Malcolm Jr. is killed riding a motorcycle, and very soon after Joel is presumed dead in an avalanche. After this Olivia's cousin, the religious man, John Amos comes to live with Malcolm, Olivia and Corinne. A letter arrives asking Malcolm to take in his half brother, Christopher, because she is dying of cancer. She tells them he knows nothing of Corinne, only that he has a half brother named Malcolm. They allow Christopher to move in with them, and he is 17. They send him to college and Corinne is at a private high school for girls. The year Corinne graduates from high school Christopher graduates from college. Olivia opens the mail and finds an acceptance letter from Harvard Medical School for Christopher. She runs to find him and finds him in bed with Corinne. Malcolm kicks them out, and has a heart attack and a stroke. Olivia never tells Christopher and Corinne they are brother and sister, now would be a good time, huh? Christopher and Corinne leave Foxworth Hall. Olivia hires a PI at Malcolm's request and learns, over time, of the birth of her 4 children. She never tells Malcolm about the children. Then she gets a letter from Corinne asking for help, since her husband, really her brother, was killed in a car accident and they are destitute. John Amos learns the truth about Corinne and Christopher and tells Olivia they should be allowed to return to Foxworth Hall and kept away from society to keep from poisoning people with their incestuous blood.

So, the grandmother in Flowers in the Attic hates the children because they are a product of a brother and sister, not uncle and niece. With this revelation I believe it was the mother who was poisoning the children, not the grandmother. She wanted to keep them locked up there forever. The mother was the only one who stood to lose everything if they were ever discovered. Corinne is not the same person in GOS as she is in FITA. She left her fortune behind and went with Christopher. There are many incongruities between the mother and grandmother in this novel and the same mother and grandmother in the next novel. However, I love this story. The brother and sister who did NOT know they were brother and sister, and who loved each other so much, that money did not matter to them at all. I dunno, this is just my favorite.

I hope my synopsis of the novels saves you the time and money of buying them yourself and reading them. These books are not for the brain food type people. They are dime novels without much to offer, and not everyone's cup of tea.


Laura Roberson, that is pretty much the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Thank you!

Laura Roberson

Thanks Leila. I tried to remember everything I could. Believe me, there is a lot I left out, forgotten over the years, like 17 years, but the general facts are there.

I have read the Dollanganger setries, Heaven series, Dawn series, Rain series, and My Sweet Audrina. When I was in junior high and high school. My favorite, and I think the best was Heaven. All of her books have some sort of incest in them, which I find to be a little redundant. However, the Heaven series the incest is not the story, and slight and only between people who did not know they were related. The men in that series,most of them, are not morons or sexual deviants. There are a few truly beautiful men. That is a series I recommend you read with Heaven first and not Web Of Dreams.
There is a pretty good VC Andrews site: http://www.completevca.com/library.shtml

It shows all her books in each of the series, and believe me, there are a lot of them.

Her ghost writer is pretty good, but I believe that Flowers in the Attic series (Dollanganger), Heaven series (Casteel), and the Dawn series (Cutler) are all written by her, and are all pretty good for light reading.

I did notice that VC Andrews must have some hatred for rich people. All the the truly decent people in her books are poor, and all the truly hideous people are wealthy.

Anyone else read any of these books and get that idea? I mean I know a lot of horrible people who are poor, just as I know many wealthy people who are wonderful. So, what is her gripe with the wealthy? I mean did every book have to be propelled by the idea that "Gee, we are poor, but happy, and if we had money we would be happier," only to be trust into a world of riches beyond imagination and surrounded by the most evil people ever born?

I have very little money, but I live comfortably, and I am pretty happy, and if I found out I was really switched at birth and an heiress I would still be me, but with loads of money, which would make me happy.

Money cannot buy happiness is a crock of shit. It is something some poor people imagine to not be so sad about their own situation. But my husband and I would fight less if I didn't have to worry where that extra $20 went.

Share with me your thoughts on this, as I really thought VCA had a real hatred and resentment towards people with money. If you have only read the Dollanganger series you might think it is just the Foxworth's, but I have read 4 different sets of her books, and I dunno, she makes money sound awful.


I hope that someday you give us a blow-by-blow as detailed and funny as the one you wrote about FITA. I'm re-reading Seeds of Yesterday, and my eyes hurt from all the rolling they've been doing.


^ Grrr ! I thought I'd typed that the funniest blow-by-blow would be of My Sweet Audrina, but noooooo, I didn't see the title wasn't in the comment until it had already posted.


This is the greatest thing ever.


I read ALL of those creepy books when I was in the 5th or 6th grade. Reading this review, they were even worse than I remembered.

This is hilarious!


HEHEHE! Visiting via Becky's blog, just had to read your review, she said it was great! I got in trouble at school for reading this "classic crap" when it first came out in the sixth grade. Someone's mom called the school and ranted about them allowing students to read such things in school. They took it away and called my mom, who didn't care. She let me read anything, but told me to bring more age-appropriate books to school in the future. Even as a kid I thought the dialogue was weird and the situations improbably, but I kept on reading the rest of the saga.

I'm having a huge book giveaway as a build-up for BBAW. I hope you'll stop by and check it out.


I love this book


If you didn't like the book from the begining, then why continue to read it? You make a mockery out of a good read. I enjoyed this book, and if anyone finds it creepy it is because of their lack of maturity with the incest themes in the book. I see no likeness with twilight except for the macabre feeling throughout several parts of the novel.


HAHAHA. Oh my GOSH! This was the funniest thing I've read in a LONG time. I will admit that I read this book when I was 14[I'm 19] now and was horrified beyond belief...then went on to devour every book in the series. Like, I read them in record time XD I've read a few other books of hers but nothing really compared to the Dollenganger Saga for me. I'm re-reading Flowers right now, but I'm finding myself disappointed...I didn't notice how terribly BAD the writing was when I read it the first few times. Live and learn, I guess.

Thanks for the laugh-I needed it!


laura small

I dont know what you guys are talking about.. I first read the books when I was in grade 7 and loved them, I just recently re-read ( I am currently 26)and I still found them amazing. I get it the siblings get together in the end and that is "gross" in our society, but the writing is very well done and captures the emotions the characters are experiencing in their situation. I thought the story was beautiful, no one is accepting of the brother-sister relationship, but if you look past that I think it is a great read.


the no kids by the first marriage thing i get,but why
couldn't she have kids by the second marriage,god I remember this book


i loved this book, ever since i read it like ten years ago and i still re-read it once in a while, i really find it quite harsh how you judge the twins, they are not brats they were just small children. So surely they will act their age and ask odd questions while whining all day, after all being locked up in one room with just a scary, smelly attic to play in is surely a reason enough for them to be annoying at times. Maybe some of these readers should try putting themselves in their shoes for a while, just so they could learn to have a little sympathy.


wow, what a pile of crap. I cannot believe that a blogist would take the time to trash novels. why not write your own novel if vc andrews sucks so much?

I hate motley crue but you wouldn't see me sitting down, taking time, to deconstruct the crap out of their songs. wouldn't that show that I secretly love them? geez.


While I actaully do enjoy this V.C Andrews series, I have to admit I laughed my ass off while reading this XD. Just because you like a series, doesn't mean you can't hate it at the same time I guess. My one problem with V.C Andrews is that ALL her series have EXACTLY the same plot! If you've read one of em you've read em all. *shakes head in disbeleif*


I don't remember the book being THAT bad, but it has been a long time, and my mind didn't know what quality lierature was yet. I remember actually crying when Cory died, and I have to give the author credit for imparting an emotional experience that most writers aren't able to do.


I literally choked when I read how Cathy described her brother's junk as "hillock of his growing maleness". It reminded me of that episode of "Friends" titled 'The One With The Thanksgiving Flashbacks' where fat teenage Monica described a guy's penis as "His Tenderness".


I actually loved the book and the series. It still haunts me, even years later. The controversial issues were what made the book more enjoyable. I mean, the reason I first picked up FITC was because of its twisted story and the controversy it provoked. So what if some of the language was overkill, who cares? The good parts, though hidden in the folds of the improbable story, were worth the read, in my opinion. I cried many times while reading FITC, and it's difficult for a writer to tear your heart out the way VCA does. Believe me, the majority of books out there will not invoke as great an emotional response.

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In defense of V.C. Andrews, from what I’ve read about her, she was the youngest of three children and the only girl. When she was a teenager, she fell down a flight of stairs at her school and severely injured her back and hip. Arthritis and a failed spinal surgical procedure forced her to spend most of her life on crutches or in a wheelchair. Since most young men were not exactly banging down the door to date or befriend a crippled girl (she never married), and she couldn’t participate in the same activities as her peers, I think she was desperately lonely and cooped up with a bunch of Victorian style romances to read, giving her a very unrealistic view of love and life. Since the only males who were paying any attention to her were her older brother(s). That’s how I believe the incest theme got started. You take love and affection where you can get it and even if you are still not getting it, you fantasize that you are. I don’t believe that she actually had incestuous relations with her brother(s) who probably only thought that she was a little clingy, but I do think she was aware of her own feelings, which probably unnerved the hell out of her and she obsessed over it. While some people deal with these things by trying to forget and not think about them, others can’t stop thinking about it. That’s probably why the incest angle played such a prominent role in her books.

That being said, I loved your review. I laughed my ass off. I had forgotten how really bad this book was until your review reminded me. Then I remembered all the golly-gee's and the like and was obviously written by someone who had absolutely no idea how kids their age actually talked and thought. My mother grew up in the '50s and when she read the book knowing nothing about V.C. Andrews, she said it sounded like writer had never been a child. Ever. I literally choked when I read how Cathy described her brother's junk as "hillock of his growing maleness". It reminded me of that episode of "Friends" titled 'The One With The Thanksgiving Flashbacks' where fat teenage Monica described a guy's penis as "His Tenderness".

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