• Book Review: Flowers in the Attic by V. C. Andrews

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    I’ll be the first one to tell you that I love scary things. Whether it be books, movies, or video games, I love any story that gives me the creeps. Blame my weird fascination with horror on R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series and the television show Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Whatever the cause, I love anything that frightens me. And Flowers in the Attic is no exception. Note: this review contains some spoilers.

    I feel like I’m the last person in the world to have heard about this book. V. C. Andrews wrote it in 1979, so it has certainly been around for a while. The book achieved widespread popularity after its release, selling over forty million copies worldwide. In 1987, it was adapted into a movie. Somehow, though, I still hadn’t encountered it until discovering it on a list of contemporary classics. I’m so happy that I found it.

    The narrator of the novel is Catherine Dollanganger, a young girl who wants to grow up to become a ballerina. After Catherine’s father dies in an automobile accident, Catherine’s family loses all of their money and possessions. Corinne, Catherine’s mother, moves her four children (Christopher, Catherine, Cory, and Carrie) out of their family home and into the house where she’d lived as a child. Corinne’s wealthy parents have written her out of their will, and she hopes to win back her father’s approval and secure a stable future for herself and for her children.

    Upon arriving at Foxworth Hall, the house of Corinne’s parents, the children discover that the grandfather has no idea that they exist. Apparently, he and the grandmother would view them as an abomination because they are the product of incest. Corinne goes along with the grandmother’s plan to hide her children in the attic. The mother assures the children that they will only have to stay in the attic for one night. The next morning, she says, they can come out into the open.

    Needless to say, the children spend a great deal more time in the attic than they anticipate. Without giving too much away, days turn into weeks and months and even years. As the children grow older, they also grow weaker. Could it be that their mother has no intention of ever letting them out of the attic?

    Flowers in the Attic is a chilling story that reveals the dark side of human nature and the capacity for imagination and innovation in children. This book is certainly not a light read, but it’s hard to put down. If you’re looking for something haunting, psychological, and intense, be sure to pick up V. C. Andrews’ bestselling novel.

    Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

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  • Books to Get You in the Spooky Spirit

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    I love Halloween. You should know that about me. I also love reading.

    Why not combine the two?

    There are several books that I love to reread around this time of year. These books are full of thrills, chills, suspense, scares, horror, and mayhem – every spooky sensation that you can imagine. That’s what makes them perfect for an All Hallows Eve read. If you’re looking to curl up with a creepy classic or a contemporary chiller, check out one from this list:
    • Dracula by Bram Stoker – Whether or not you’ve read the book, the story of Dracula is certainly familiar to almost anyone. Read about the vampire that inspired them all. The cool thing about this book is that it is told in the form of letters from several different characters.
    • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux – Another haunting read whose story is pervasive in modern culture. This novel tells the story of the ghost of the Paris Opera House and his obsessive attraction toward a young chorus girl. Fear, violence, love triangles – what’s not to love? And yes, this is the book that inspired one of the longest-running shows in theatre history.
    • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – Released in 1938 and made into a movie by none other than Alfred Hitchcock, Rebecca has been dazzling audiences since its initial release. Hands down one of the best books I’ve ever read. I couldn’t put it down. Without spoiling anything, this book is about a young woman who marries a widower with a mysterious past. It. Is. Good.
    • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – One of the most famous examples of the gothic romance. Jane Eyre is a young woman who falls in love with her employer… and finds that he has a skeleton in his closet (or perhaps in his attic, but I’ll say no more). If you read it in school, it’s worth a second look.
    • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – This is the novel that birthed science fiction. And it was written by a woman. Need I go on? If you read this book, you’ll understand why some people cringe when you refer to the monster as “Frankenstein.”
    • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne – Okay, okay. This book is not necessarily scary, but parts of it are unnerving. Hester Prynne has an affair and is forced to wear a scarlet “A” on her chest so that everyone will know her crime. This novel is haunting, and I can’t explain why.
    • The Shining by Stephen King – The King of Horror writes the King of all horror novels. Just read it, mmkay?
    • Misery by Stephen King – Another masterpiece from the master himself. Man, do I love Stephen King. Even if you’ve seen the movie, you should probably read the book.
    • Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews – This book creeped me the eff out. A mother keeps her children locked up in an attic for over two years. Terrifying because it reveals the dark side of human nature. I couldn’t put this one down, either.
    Of course, these are just some of my favorite scary reads for the scariest time of the year. I’m interested to see which of these books you’ve read and enjoyed. 
    What do you like to read around Halloween? What books did I miss?
    Helene in Between