Monday, April 6, 2015

Reading Through the Classics: Flowers in the Attic

TITLE: Flowers in the Attic
Book 1 in the Dollanganger series
AUTHOR: V.C. Andrews
GENRE: Realistic Fiction/Drama
PREMISE: A group of children gets locked in the attic while their mother grovels to their rich grandfather for an inheritance.
MY THOUGHTS: First, I can see all you book snobs about ready to ream me for calling this a classic. But I'm sorry: it is. It has been out over thirty years now. It has stayed popular and in the public eye in all that time. So much so that Lifetime just recently re-did a movie of it (and are apparently doing the rest of the series as well). Like it or not, classic does not just mean "has literary merit". It can mean has lasting popularity and influence and this novel, good or not, has endured to become a modern classic. We need to get away from this idea that classics can only refer to things written over a hundred years ago by dead white guys.
I am actually familiar with Andrews work. During high school I gobbled up all those mini-series she released in the nineties. Orphans, Wildflowers, Shooting Stars, I read them all. But for some reason, I never quite got to this one. I think the incest scared me off. But frankly, the incest was the least disturbing part in this book. I find it strange that no one worries as much about the severe psychological and physical abuse that the grandmother and mother put these children through.
Yes, this book is pulpy. Yes, it's mostly family saga drama. I'm not going to sit here and pretend it's the best novel ever written, but there's something addicting about it. I do see why millions of people got hooked on it.

Rest of the series for those who want to read the rest:
Petals in the Wind
If There Be Thorns
Seeds of Yesterday
Garden of Shadows

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