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Review: Flowers in the Attic

January 24, 2014

Flowers in the Attic

Siblings Chris, Cathy, Cory, and Carrie have kind, loving parents who adore them.  When their father dies in an accident, their mother is unable to support the family so she and her children return to her old family home.  It turns out her parents are wealthy but have written her out of their wills.  She vows to return and win their affection but the children must be hidden away in the attic for her to do that – the children’s grandfather must not learn of their existence.  Their mother assures the children they will only be hidden for a short time but they’re locked away for years.  Faced with a cruel grandmother and a mostly absent mother, the children learn they must rely on each other in order to survive.

I got married the year Flowers in the Attic, by V. C. Andrews,  was first published and somehow missed reading it so I was excited when the opportunity to do so presented itself.  I’ve heard a lot about this book through the years so I went into it with pretty high expectations and, I’m sorry to say, it didn’t live up to them.  I can see the appeal for teens, after all it’s full of angst and explores some taboo subjects but, as an adult, I found it to be verbose and overwritten, especially at the beginning of the book.  There were many passages like this throughout the book:

“She chuckled, then hugged me closer and put on my cheek a kiss.”

“I leaned above Carrie, staring down in her sleeping face, which, in her sleep, regained the innocence and childishness that evaded her during her waking hours.”

“He was frowning, silently telling me I must always have respect for the woman who gave me birth.”

The story is told from Cathy’s point of view and her confusion and frustration come through well.  The taboo subject is handled subtly and isn’t graphic so older teen readers can handle it.  Flowers in the Attic wasn’t the book for me, but I have a feeling I’m just too old for it.

kid konnection newI will link this up to Booking Mama’s Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site tomorrow.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
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33 Comments leave one →
  1. January 24, 2014 6:33 am

    I read it years ago….when it first came out…..and I didn’t ‘love’ it back then. But I kept thinking I must have missed something because it was so popular. After reading your review, I’m kind of glad that I missed the Lifetime movie the other night. (yes, it’s 3:32 am…I can’t sleep)

  2. January 24, 2014 7:26 am

    I’ve seen this author’s books around. This sounds such a sad story.

  3. January 24, 2014 8:06 am

    I never read this one way back when either, but my sisters loved it at the time.

  4. January 24, 2014 8:47 am

    I only remember that this book shocked and scared the crap out of me. I probably shouldn’t reread it. I *thought* I wanted to do that read-movie challenge this month but part of me said ‘don’t do it!’ Did I hear that the movie was awful?

  5. January 24, 2014 9:34 am

    I did read it as a teen and I think that is what held the appeal for me when I reread it this month. Nostalgia! 🙂 I wonder if I would have been a first time reader how I would have felt about it.

  6. January 24, 2014 10:08 am

    I read the book plot on wikipedia and it just kept getting more and more bizarre! I might still read the book just so I know exactly what it is about but I know I’m not going to like it one bit.

  7. January 24, 2014 10:30 am

    I never read it when it was first published. Thanks to your review I will not waste my time reading it now. Too many books, too little time.

  8. January 24, 2014 10:38 am

    Oh man, I could never read this today! I loved it as a kid but now? Goodness, no.

  9. January 24, 2014 10:48 am

    You’re right, this is more suitable for teens. I read it at around that age when it came out and really enjoyed it, but I don’t know if I’d fall in love with the writing today. I do like the movie that was made, and I’m anxious to see how the Lifetime movie will be when it comes out. Apparently, Heather Graham is starring in it?

  10. January 24, 2014 12:08 pm

    I meant to watch the movie, but we were not home. I read the book years ago and kind of suspect I wouldn’t like it very much with a reread. I was still curious about the movie, though.

  11. January 24, 2014 12:32 pm

    The whole subject, euw

  12. Amy @ My Friend Amy permalink
    January 24, 2014 12:57 pm

    lol @ “put on my cheek a kiss” I did watch the LIfetime movie and that was enough for me!

  13. January 24, 2014 1:11 pm

    Kathy, thanks for your honest review. This book is actually new to me. I’m not sure if I’ll read it, or if I’ll see the movie. Perhaps. It does sound most suitable for teens.

  14. Patty permalink
    January 24, 2014 1:39 pm

    I feel the same way…when I read it everyone of my friends was passing it around…I could not even watch the movie now let alone read it again! Yuck!

  15. January 24, 2014 3:29 pm

    I was obsessed with this series when I was 12 but am not surprised to hear it doesn’t hold up. I don’t think I have it in me to reread it as an adult, though I’ll watch the Lifetime movie at some point! Glad you gave it a shot!

  16. January 24, 2014 6:29 pm

    I keep hearing the same: didn’t live up to a second reading!

  17. January 24, 2014 7:54 pm

    I want to read this one just because everyone seems to be reading it too. But I guess I’ll wait till I have mostly forgotten about it.

  18. January 24, 2014 10:32 pm

    I read this one a long long time ago; hated then and cannot imagine trying it once again. I know the books are popular. . .just not for me either

  19. January 24, 2014 11:01 pm

    I was a wee bit obsessed with this series when I was a young teen. I recently re-read this one in anticipation of the TV movie. It was just as cheesy as always but the memories got to me! I could still remember so much of it, vividly!

  20. Elizabeth permalink
    January 25, 2014 8:04 am

    I read my first VC Andrews last summer, and it was just not very well written. I think I understand better why my mom didn’t want me to read them! I think one is definitely enough for me.

  21. January 25, 2014 8:05 am

    Oh wow – I read all of these growing up! Looking back – they were so twisted! This is the second review of Flowers in the Attic I’ve seen lately…

  22. January 25, 2014 8:55 am

    I’ve never read any of these books but my husband’s mother loves these.

  23. January 25, 2014 11:22 am

    I read this many years ago, over a decade actually, and the second in the series as well. I enjoyed them back then. I don’t remember the writing, but the quotes you shared are just not well written. This just seems dated now.

  24. January 25, 2014 12:25 pm

    I read almost all of the books in this series as a teen and thinking even back then that it was psychologically disturbing but was too caught up and fascinated to do anything but read them! I don`t think I would like them as much as an adult though.

  25. January 25, 2014 5:36 pm

    I read this many many years ago, at the time it seemed so “dangerous”. Our teacher had a fit when she discovered we were reading it, if she only knew I read Catcher in the Rye shortly after.

  26. January 26, 2014 12:29 am

    I can’t remember if I read the entire first book or if it was a DNF. I just remember not liking it at all.

  27. January 26, 2014 12:37 pm

    I probably waited too long to read it too. I recorded the Lifetime movie and will watch that instead.

  28. January 26, 2014 2:21 pm

    I never read this one as a teen, although I have no idea why since I definitely read my fair share of books I had to hide from my mom. I’m sort of glad I never read it and now just don’t feel like I need to bother picking it up 🙂

  29. bookingmama permalink
    January 27, 2014 8:55 am

    Totally agree! I can’t believe I was so obsessed with those books when I was a teen!

  30. January 27, 2014 12:28 pm

    I read it in high school and liked it. Tried reading it again a few years ago and couldn’t get past the first few chapters. The style of writing was just not for me.

  31. January 27, 2014 6:40 pm

    I read it in Junior High school and have no desire to revisit the book or see the movie. Too much of an ick factor!

    2 Kids and Tired Books

  32. January 28, 2014 1:57 pm

    I read it as a teen and I think I might have read one or two after too just because that’s what my friends were reading and talked about. I remember thinking it was pretty bad.

  33. January 30, 2014 4:33 pm

    I read this when it was first published and loved it so much I did the same with the rest of the series. Now, I don’t want to re-read it or see the movie because of all the twisted relationships they have with each other.

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