Flowers in the Attic, by V.C. Andrews.
"It's all right, Momma," said Chris, drawing her into his embrace just as our father would. "What you ask isn't too much, not when we have so much to gain."
"Yes," Momma said eagerly, "just a short while more to sacrifice, and a ltitle more patience, and all that is sweet and good in life will be yours."
What was there left for me to say? How could I protest? Already we'd sacrificed over three weeks - what was a few more days, or weeks, or even another month?
At the end of the rainbow waited the pot of gold. But rainbows were made of faint and fragile gossamer - and gold weighed a ton - and since the world began, gold was the reason to do most anything.
This book was my first foray into V.C. Andrews who has written many, many books, mostly in series. This one, the Dollanganger series, has five books, and is the one for which she is most famous. The TV movie adaptation of the novel is coming to Lifetime on January 18th, and I can't wait to see it, because this book was one of the most screwed up novels that I have read in quite a while.
It wasn't that she didn't love her children. She did. But there was a fortune at stake - a fortune that would assure their later happiness if she could keep the children a secret from her dying father.
So she and her mother hid her darlings away in an unused attic.
Just for a little while.
But the brutal days swelled into agonizing years. Now Cathy, Chris, and the twins wait in their cramped and helpless world, stirred by adult dreams, adult desires, served a meager sustenance by an angry, superstitious grandmother who knows that the Devil works in dark and devious ways. Sometimes he sends children to do his work--children who--one by one--must be destroyed....
'Way upstairs there are
four secrets hidden.
Blond, beautiful, innocent
struggling to stay alive....
I unfortunately had read many spoilers online because of this movie and its sequel, which Lifetime also plans on producing, so I knew what was in store for me in Flowers in the Attic. That didn't make what happened any less crazy, though, and it was interesting to read.
The basic plot is that after their father dies, the Dollanganger children - Christopher and Cathy, the oldest, and Carrie and Cory, the twins - must move with their mother to their grandmother's house, whom they've never met. Their mother stashes them in the attic with promises to visit every day, and soon we learn why they have to stay there instead of one of the main other rooms in the mansion; their grandfather didn't approve of their mother's marriage. They're waiting for their grandfather to die, so their mother says, and then they can re-enter the world and live downstairs with her.
It's pretty hard to explain why this book is so strange without giving away spoilers. I will say there's a reason why the Dollanganger children all look so alike, with blonde hair and blue eyes, same as their mother, though. Events happen later on in the novel, too, that show their mother's real personality and also their evil grandmother's.
I will say that the novel was originally published in 1979, and because of that, some of the writing was a little hard to get through - older expressions are used and sometimes the writing seemed a little stiff. I won't be reading the other four books in the series because of this, but I did go on Wikipedia to see what happens to the characters, as I was definitely curious.
Lifetime is premiering Flowers in the Attic on Saturday, January 18th, at 8pm EST, and it will repeat at 12:01 EST that night and 9pm EST the next night, in case you're like me and will be watching the SAG awards then. The cast includes:
Heather Graham as Corrine (the mother)
Ellen Burstyn as Olivia (the grandmother)
Kiernan Shipka as Young Cathy (the oldest daughter)
Dylan Bruce as Bart
Mason Dye as Christopher (the oldest son)
Chad Willett as Christopher Sr. (the father)
Ava Telek as Carrie (twin #1)
Maxwell Kovach as Cory (twin #2)
You can check out the trailer below - I love the Sweet Child O' Mine version they used in it:
3.5 stars out of 5.
*Disclosure: I received a copy of this novel for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.