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Flowers in the Attic: "Christopher's Exploration and Its Repercussions" Part 1

Maggie Mae


Christopher's Exploration and Its Repercussions: Pages 202 - 215 (Kindle) 

At the end of the last chapter, Cathy climbs in bed with her sister, while Chris dresses up like Groucho Marx and goes exploring while a rip-roaring Gatsby party rages on in the Foxworth Mansion. We were treated to descriptions of how they had to pee, what the guests ate, and Cathy's inappropriate thoughts about her brother.  Said brother stared at his mom's boobs. If they hadn't been locked in a room together, they probably would have found someone else to creep on, right? 

Anyhoo, we open to Cathy being shaken awake by her mother that she barely recognizes. Corrine demands answers to Christopher's whereabouts.  Cathy tells her that he went exploring; Corrine is very displeased. She shakes Cathy "like a rag doll" and tells her that they will never be allowed out again, for any reason. Cathy recognizes that they didn't betray her as much as Corrine betraying them. There is some staring and flowery language in regards to Corrine's anger, which I won't repeat here. 

Oh, who am I kidding. 


She stared at me in an odd, harassed way, without answering. I thought she might slap me, but no, she released her hold on my shoulders and spun around to leave. The flaring chiffon panels of her couturier gown seemed like wild fluttering wings, wafting sweet, flowery perfume that went ill with her fierce demeanor. 

I'm aware that I am from a background that is less "Foxworth Hall" and more "Mousetrap Trailer Court" so I ask the question - When being yelled at by my mother, do I remember the scent of her perfume not matching the anger in the room? Or is it just that the odor from the family next door drowned out any "flowery perfume that goes ill with her demeanor?"  

Chris enters stage left. Mother is displeased. His eyes do not light up at Corrine's appearance, as expected. Corrine slaps him across the face! Twice, once on each cheek and threatens to whip both him and Cathy if he ever does something like that again. Then she hugs him and apologizes. Cathy monologues (internally - I don't know if there's a word for several paragraphs of her thoughts) about how Mother has changed, she doesn't come every day, how she used to come twice a day (phrasing!) and Cathy is scared. 

Corrine slips up and says that they can't mess anything up because things are going right for her, then she quickly corrects it to "us." 

There is a lot of skeeziness about her breasts. 


Kiss, kiss, kiss, finger his hair, stroke his cheek, draw his head against her soft, swelling breasts, and let him drown in the sensuality of being cuddled close that creamy flesh that must excite even a youth of his tender years. 

Cathy realizes that she has never felt her cheek against the softness of her breast. 


MOTY leaves them as the clock strikes 1. It was their first Christmas in the Attic. Chris and Cathy cuddle in her bed, next to Carrie. She rests her head on his chest, saying that they smell different and Chris has lost weight. 

Creepy Chris defends his precious Mum to Cathy. STFU with this mansplaining bullshit. 

It goes on and on. 

Cathy questions why they had to wait for a TV when she could have just bought one. He claims that they wouldn't have done anything but stared at it, but instead they learned stuff, like how to create a garden out of construction paper. (pretty sure we all learned how to make a paper flower well before 14, Chris.) Cathy claims that Mother has changed. Chris claims that Cathy has changed, but won't tell her how. 

Cathy drops that subject, and demands that he tell her everything he saw while exploring the halls. Batten down the hatches and tighten up your bootstraps because it's about to get weird. 

He begins by describing the house. Cathy demands he pretend that she is there and he locks eyes with her and tells her she was there. In a "weird voice." Thanks for the clarification. He felt her holding his hand. Anyway, so the house is big. He went down and looked at people and talks about perspective and yadda yadda yadda, long story short, he ends up hiding behind a suit of armor when Bart and Corrine come upstairs to make out. Bart wants to see the bed, which apparently is shaped like a swan and once belonged to a French courtesan. I don't know about you, but I definitely want my next bed to be previously used by a prostitute. Chris doesn't want to talk about what he saw. Cathy asks what a courtesan and he gives her a sanitized version of a "woman who does favours for nobility" which is absurd. She's 12, she knows what sex is. 

So Corrine and Bart went up to her room for some kisses and talked about the swan bed, which I guess didn't belong to a courtesan, because I didn't read very closely and am slightly confused as to why it's even been brought up, but whatever. It was her Grandmother's bed and Corrine always wanted that suite but her parents told her no because religion. Chris gets upset about the idea of corruption, as he doesn't believe that Corrine is corrupted, and Daddy loved her and they were married, etc. 

Chris then tells Cathy how he also found a trophy room. (Game hunting kind of trophy) There is a portrait of the Grandfather, Malcolm Neal Foxworth and he looks very much like their father, and was painted when their father was 5. He finds the room with the swan bed and it's AMAZING. (Supposedly) There is also a baby swan bed. 

Cathy asks if it was better than their house in Gladstone, which was a ranch with eight rooms and two and a half baths. I'm not an expert on architecture, but would that style of home even existed in Pennsylvania in the 1950s? I thought the whole point of "ranch-style" was that they started in the sunbelt/out west where there was more land and moved eastward, mixing with Colonial style? How do you even get 8 bedrooms in a ranch style and not have it sprawl? 

They go to sleep. 



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God, these books are creepy. How did teen me not see it?

A+ Archer references again. <3

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Maggie Mae


I'm so glad someone gets my references!

These books are terrible. They aren't even well written! I expected some old language and moderately offensive bits, just because they are 30 years old, and set 30 years prior, but it's just so hard to slog through. The Christmas Party was awful. And this chapter, I was ready to split it into multiple parts after two pages.

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I read these shortly after they were first published (in 1979) and what perplexes me thanks to your reread and posting about them.  Is why this was not considered highly offensive in content when The Blue Lagoon (just checked 1980) (the movie - Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins) was at the time just all sorts of scandalous ick, nast.  


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Maggie Mae


48 minutes ago, clueliss said:

I read these shortly after they were first published (in 1979) and what perplexes me thanks to your reread and posting about them.  Is why this was not considered highly offensive in content when The Blue Lagoon (just checked 1980) (the movie - Brooke Shields, Christopher Atkins) was at the time just all sorts of scandalous ick, nast.  


I wasn't born yet, but IIRC from something I read once and possibly a VH1 documentary, The Blue Lagoon's kerfuffle was about Brooke Shields and her nudity and adult content. She was definitely treated like an adult from a very early age and photographed nude frequently, playing character much other than her physical age. There was a similar outcry about Katherine Heigl in "My Father, The Hero" IIRC.  

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Re: ranch houses in the 1950s. I don't know about Pennsylvania, but those things are everywhere in Michigan. There are entire suburbs with nothing but that style of house. Street after street after street, they all look exactly the same. I've never been out West, so I have no idea if real ranchers live in these things or if (most likely) this is just the name some developer came up with to sell houses.

At any rate, I expect the house in Gladstone probably looked something like this:


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@FloraDoraDolly, if the house in the book were truly a ranch, yes, it would look much like that.  Ranches seem to be all over North America, and they have mostly the same layout; apparently they were a massively popular stock-plan for a long time.  i've had relatives in two states and a Canadian province, all separated by hundreds of miles, and all three of their ranch houses had the same layout.  2 had additions built over the years, but ranches seem to be mostly the same everywhere.

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