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FJ Reviews & Recaps

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About this blog

A collaborative effort from Free Jinger members to review and recap books, movies and tv shows.

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Flowers in the Attic: Table of Contents

Here is the Table of Contents for Flowers in the Attic. New recaps will be linked as they are hastily written.  Part One Prologue and Good-Bye-Daddy.
The Road to Riches
The Grandmother's House
The Attic
The Wrath of God
Momma's Story
Minutes Like Hours
To Make a Garden Grow
To Make a Garden Grow (Part II)
Holidays
Holidays (Part Two)
The Christmas Party
Christopher's Exploration and Its Repercussions
The Long Winter, and Spring, and Summer
  Part Two
Growing Up, Growing Wiser
Growing Up, Growing Wiser (Part II)
A Taste of Heaven
A Taste of Heaven (Part II)
One Rainy Afternoon
To Find a Friend
At Last, Momma
At Last, Momma (Part II)
Our Mother's Surprise 
Our Mother's Surprise (Part II)
Our Mother's Surprise (Part III)
Our Mother's Surprise (Part IV)
My Stepfather
My Stepfather (Part II)
My Stepfather (Part III)
Color All Days Blue, But Save One for Black
Escape
Endings, Beginnings and Epilogue

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Little House in the Big Woods Recap: Sundays

Sundays I remember reading about Sundays in Farmer Boy! They sounded awful and boring.  Regardless, Laura and Mary also find Sundays to be long, since they have to stay inside and be quiet. They get to take baths on Saturday night, which is nice for them. In the winter, Pa and Ma (the text says Pa, but let's just be historically accurate) melt snow for bath water. They have a screen made out of a  blanket hung over two chairs. Laura goes first, then Mary, then Pa has to empty and refill the bath tub for Ma, then Pa. I guess Carrie doesn't have to be clean on Sundays? Or maybe Carries gets bathed as needed.  On Sundays, they sit quietly and listen to stories.  Laura likes to look at the pictures in the Bible, and learns that Adam didn't have clothes to wear on Sundays. Laura wishes she had nothing to wear but skins. Eventually she acts up and instead of getting  a spanking, she gets a story from Pa.  Grandpa's Sled and the Pig  Pa's story is about Grandpa and how Sundays used to begin on Saturday night, and no one was allowed to work or play. Everything was solemn.  I did some independant research trying to figure out what religion Grandpa was but it's not really known. Maybe if I had an Ancestry.com account, i'd be able to figure out where and when they came to the states and figure it out from there. But it's just generic Christianity. Laura ends up at a Congregational Church, which is interesting to me for personal reasons.  Old Timey Grandpa Christian rules include going to bed on Saturday night immediately after the after-dinner prayer, sitting up straight, walking to Church (Which also led me to just delete a long, judgmental story about my Conservative Jewish college teammate) and a prohibition on smiling. I thought prayer and Jesus was supposed to bring comfort and joy? NO SMILING! (Also no working, so no horses or cooking. Cold food only.) After dinner on Sundays, they sat in a row on a bench, studying their catechism until Sunday was over.  Grandpa's house was on a hill, so they liked to sled. Grandpa and his brothers made a new sled. They had 2-3 hours on Saturday to play. But their father kept them longer on Saturday and they missed their chance due to chores. So during church, they thought about the sled. Then at dinner, they thought about the sled. Eventually, they hear their father snoring and they sneak out to try out the sled. Just once. Be back before he wakes up. (We've all heard this story!) The sled goes faster and faster and I just realized that there was no mention of a mother . The sled speeds out of control and they go right under a pig, which sits on James (one of the brothers). The three boys and the squealing pig sled past the house, where the father (this would be Charles' Grandfather) is watching them from the doorway. The pig runs off without goring anyone, the sled gets put away, and the boys go back to sitting and studying. After Sundown, the father takes them out to the woodshed and "tanned their jackets" which I am going to say is a euphemism for "beat them with a stick or some plumbing line."  Laura asks if little girls had to be good like that, and Pa said it was harder for little girls, because they were never allowed to sled.  They could only stay in and stitch.  Much like Laura (and Arya Stark), I'm very happy to not be restricted to that. Pa brings out his fiddle and plays. Laura falls asleep to the sound, then wakes up and Pa says it's her birthday and she needs a spanking. She gets six. (Soft, not hard) She's actually five, the last one was to "grow on." I wonder how long he does this. It's weird.  Laura is given a stick person to keep Charlotte company. Ma has five cakes for her, one for each year. Mary made her a dress. (Jesus, Mary's like, what, 7? I still couldn't make someone a wearable dress.) Although when I was 7, I did teach myself how to read music and play piano on a little keyboard, which convinced my dad that I needed to go outside more. Pa doesn't buy or make Laura anything, he just plays a song for her.  It's pop goes the weasel. They list out the lyrics and the girls are supposed to look for the weasel and they can't find it and I'm sure this would be fun to read to a kid.  --- So thinking about putting this into a historical context, this was taking place sometime around 1870; under Grant's administration. After the Civil War. Wisconsin has been a state for maybe 30 years, there is a university in Madison. The economy is centered around logging and brewing. This little family is just homesteading. There are probably miners and trappers and other resource type people.  It seems so lonely to be so far away from town. I know when I was around Laura's age, I was well aware of various states and countries and the space program,  my neighbors, different churches, towns, candy stores.   

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Little House in the Big Woods Recap: Christmas

Christmas Here's a list of things I enjoy about this book:  It is apolitical. Trump does not exist.  It is pleasant to read.  There is no comment section full of people yelling at each other about things that have nothing to do with the article.  The illustrations are perfect. They fit the theme and aren't too modern, yet still nice too look at.  I enjoy the setting & it's a picture perfect view of a time when things were likely not picture perfect.  Trump hasn't even been born yet. World War I and II haven't happened. It's just Mary and Laura and Ma and Pa.  Things I dislike:  Casual racism. Bullet making. Trapping.  Anyway, so Christmas is coming and Wisconsin is full of snow. I love snow. I love our hoarfrost. I especially love talking about the hoarfrost with young teenagers who get excited that they are allowed to say "whore" and their dumb jokes.  Pa makes Ma an intricate shelf, which Ma puts a "china woman" on.  I'm guessing it's some sort of porcelain doll? Or is it actually a Chinese doll? I have no idea.  I am inspired by Pa's woodworking skills though.  Ma cooks for Christmas - "rye'n'Injun" bread, Swedish crackers, baked beans, salt pork, molasses. Vinegar pies, dried apple pies, and cookies. Okay, I know what Swedish crackers, baked beans, salt pork, and molasses are. No idea on the Vinegar pies or rye'n'injun bread. I feel weird typing out the rye bread name.    For Christmas, extended family visits! All of the kids run around shouting, and get yelled at. There are no ages listed, but Laura is obviously younger than Peter and Alice and Ella. They flop around in the snow for a bit, and get so excited they can't sleep. See, olden days people are just like us, but without the internet. Or automobiles. Or Beat Saber.  Uncle Peter and Aunt Eliza tell a story that Laura eavesdrops in on. It involves their family dog protecting them from a panther. Man, there must have been a lot of big cats back in the day.  Ma realizes the kids are all awake and tells Pa to play fiddle for them.  Then it's Christmas! They all wake up and get their stockings! They all got candy and mittens. Laura gets a rag doll. The other girls are not jealous because Laura is the littlest, other than Carrie and Dolly Varden (OMG that's a fish). The dolls name is Charlotte.  Peter jokes about no one getting only a switch. I wonder if that's like the "you'll get only coal" that some parents threaten now?  Then they do chores because life during westward expansion and homestead isn't easy. They eat pancakes and now I want pancakes.  It's too cold to be outside (ha!) and so they look at the bible and Laura holds her doll, and they eat candy.  They are served dinner and we are reminded that children should be seen and not heard, which is so weird. And their aunt and uncle and cousins leave.  Not a lot happens but it's just a nice story. Definitely for kids. Very nice distraction from the very stable genius. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Little House in the Big Woods Recap: The Long Rifle

The Long Rifle Laura and Mary are schooled in the art of bullet making. Every night, Pa makes some bullets for the next day. I want to know why he doesn't plan ahead. The food will last. The woods are plentiful. This isn't like living in Huslia or Kobuk or Shungnak, where it's all hands on deck when a caribu herd comes around. He's got lots of food stored up. He can spend a day a month making bullets, which would likely save some resources.  Also, let's talk about the fact that bullet making involves melting bits of lead, pouring it from a spoon into a mold, and telling his daughters to stop touching the still hot bullets. Lead. I hear lead is delicious, maybe that's why they keep touching them and then sucking on their fingers.  After the bullets, Pa cleans his gun.  The illustration of Pa, Mary and Laura looks more like Mr Olsen (best character in the show), Nelly, and a brown haired toddler.  But I digress. Oh, nope... I just noticed he is NOT following basic gun safety in this illustration, but I'm not going to share it because I'm not sure sharing every single illustration falls under fair use. Sorry. He's holding like a cane, with his hand over the top. Never point the gun at anything you don't want to shoot! This must mean he wants to shoot himself through his hand and into his chin.  Pa also keeps the gun loaded at all times. In my world, guns are always unloaded and locked in a safe, not hung on a hook across a door. The ammo is kept in a different safe. My coworker, however, just keeps hers in her purse. I dislike that immensely. She has kids. I don't.  Also, what a pain in the ass. Pa has to stop after firing and reload by measuring gun powder, putting in a "patch" and then a bullet and a fresh cap. I just make sure the shell ejected and then slap a new one in. Technology! I also don't shoot animals. I shoot clay things with a shotgun and the target at the biathlon range with my biathlon rifle.   Pa is a very good shot, and he always kills bears and panthers in one shot. I don't have panthers, but I always carry bear spray for bears because it's safer and more effective. I also don't think I would hit a bear that was charging me. I saw The Revenant.  After the bullet making, Pa tells the girls a story.  The Story of Pa and the Voice in the Woods Pa was once young and his job was to track down the cows. One time, he got distracted by all the other creatures who lived in the woods and pretended he was an "Indian" until the birds started doing bird things. He called for the cows and they didn't come. (I can't imagine cows coming when they are called, but also now I want to go pet a cow. I used to have a great aunt in Northern Michigan (not the UP) who owned a dairy farm (not a factory type place) and I was SO shocked when I learned that dairy cows aren't black and white like on the package of milk (in the 90s). I was so shocked and upset that I didn't want to pet the depressing brown cows. I am sad now, because all cows have such big dumb eyes and soft fur.  Look at this guy.  Or these guys.  Other cows also deserve love.  I don't know how I can reconcile my love of cows with my love of carne asada, skirt steak, beef bourguignon, bolognase sauce, sunday gravy, steak, and beef wellington. UGH the struggle is real. I want to be ethical and a good person, but there is nothing like tenderloin wrapped in mushrooms and puff pastry. Or a corn tortilla with grilled carne asada, cilantro, chopped onions, and hot sauce. I also really like pigs and would like to stop eating them, but then there is pasta e fagioli.  I should blog more on Feed Jinger.  Oh, right. Pa is out in the woods being racist against Native Americans but it was well before the civil rights movement and I'm not entirely certain Wisconsin was even a state yet, and he lost his family's herd of cows. It's after dark, and he's in the woods. He's running around calling for the cows, and I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit amused by a small child running around aimlessly yelling "here cows."  He thinks he hears a panther, but it's only his own breathing. He yells "Sukey! Sukey!" and then a VOICE from the woods starts yelling "Who?" back at him! He runs and runs.  Anyway, spoiler alert, it's an owl.  All of the cows had already come home on their own (or Grandpa had brought them home, It's unclear), and Pa had torn off his toe nail.  Pa gets a thrashing at 9. His dad also makes fun of him a bit for being scared by an owl, which tells me he had his eye on the kid the whole time.  __ I liked the glimpse of Pa's early childhood. The story had lots of adventure and excitement. I am less interested in bullet making and gun cleaning. However, I do like that these books are giving a very interesting and not - textbook approach to learning about day-to-day life in a bygone era. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Little House in the Big Woods: The Story of Grandpa and the Panther

The Story of Grandpa and the Panther  This is Grandpa Ingalls.   Pa tells a story in which Grandpa is hunted by a panther on his way home from town. Grandpa shoots the panther.  That's it.  Which lead me to some questions about taxonomy. It's likely that Grandpa saw a cougar, which are common enough in North America. They are not normally black, though.  There is no follow up as to what happened to the body. If I shot a jaguar that had been stalking me, I would get it stuffed and then have a large black cat to pet. I imagine it was beautiful, plus it was over a 100 years ago so that cat was probably huge!  Oh, and Laura asks "How does a panther scream" and Pa replied "like a woman." I have no words for that. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Little House in the Big Woods: Winter Days and Winter Nights

Winter Days and Winter Nights It's winter now, and Pa is trapping animals. I can't imagine how much work he must be forcing on poor Ma. They are trapping small animals, big animals, and medium animals. I also despise trapping, more so than any other type of hunting. And now, in 2019, selfish trappers who can't be bothered to follow regulations occasionally trap someone's pet. Anyway, so back in 1873, Pa goes to check his traps and comes back with a bear and a pig. Pa "didn't know" where the pig came from, so he took the meat home. (The bear attacked the pig, this is the rest of the pig.) My guess is that he knows exactly which homestead it came from and decided to just take it. The meat is frozen, because it's winter. It snows a lot.  In the mornings, the frosted over windows have beautiful pictures of trees and flowers and fairies.  I might be reading this incorrectly, but is Ma drawing pictures for the girls? That's so nice of her. I never cared much for Caroline on Little House on The Prairie (the TV show), but this just seems like such a sweet thing to do.  Of course, I could be wrong. It could be natural phenomenon. We have one window that isn't double pained, and during the last cold snap (we had a high of -2C last Friday, I don't know what in US terms, I only know that because my non-American friend posted it on Facebook) I noticed it was iced over. I pulled the blinds down and hoped that the moisture would evaporate before it caused any real issues.  Laura and Mary have to help with chores. Boo. They wipe dishes every day, and air their own bed. The illustration of the little trundle bed is so cute and reminds me of Kirsten from the original and best American Girls. I should read those again. Or maybe I should read something intended for 36 year old women. Oh, wait, things that are marketed to my demographic seem to be "romance" "drama/romance" or the occasional comedy about shopping and being a Lady Boss. I wonder if there is a market for strong female characters in fantasy or historical fiction but not super historical because I'd rather not read about seducing Mr Darcy again thanks. (Never mind I love Bridget Jones).  There is an adorable poem about chores! I should use it!  I'd get to take Tuesday, Wednesday AND Thursday off! My poem would be more like this:  At no point do I ever do any dusting, churning, or ironing. If I am having people over, then I dust.  Laura loves churning.  Side note: My mom loved LHOTP, much more than I ever did. I loved Kirsten from AG because she went on adventures, not because I have a love of self-sufficiency and old-timey projects. I also usually went to camp for most of every summer. One year she sent me to a weird Girl Scout Camp. It was only 2 weeks and it was pitched as some sort of "Pioneer Girl" experience. I didn't really want to go, I liked the regular camp much more, and I wouldn't know anyone, and I'd never even heard of corncob doll making. I was most excited about the part where I was promised to "learn how to make your own butter" and I had pictured myself using one of those old fashioned wooden churning devices. Turns out we just put the ingredients in an old cool whip container and took turns shaking it.  I am very excited to learn that they colored their butter with a carrot! I am equally pleased that Ma scalded the long wooden churn dash before putting it into the cream. I've been wondering how clean those things really were. Wood traps bacteria. We have a very nice wooden cutting board, but we always use a plastic cutting board over the top because it's more sanitary, and glass destroys knives. Just a little kitchen tip from Maggie.  After the butter is removed, she washes and salts it, and then molds the butter! When I made butter at camp, it was just served out of the recycled cool whip container. No one liked it, probably because it wasn't salted.  Never send your kids to discount girl scout pioneer camp. They also had us "do real live pioneer chores" like "feed the horses twice a day." I seriously think they had our parents pay to use us as labor. We measured out oats and fed the horses, and we groomed the horses, and cleaned all of the riding gear, and didn't do normal camp things like "ride the horses" or "canoe" or "swim in the lake." (Well, we got to swim once or twice. But I'd think for a two week session we'd get to swim daily or at least every other day.)  Ma gives Mary and Laura a drink of buttermilk on butter making day. (Eww) And wow, that seems like a lot of butter if they are doing this every week.  On Saturdays they make bread. If I were a stay-at-home mom, I'd make bread more often, it's fun and bread goes stale quickly. Granted, I don't really eat bread which is why whenever I buy it it goes stale or moldy. Maybe I'd just make us go live in one of the two neighborhoods that have bakeries and then buy bread daily. I'd like to live like a French person, starting my day with a fresh croissant, eating herbed salads for lunch and coc au vin for dinner, with wine, and still stay within an appropriate weight range for my frame. Seriously, do they put something in the water? I've been watching my diet for 10 years and I am no where near french sized.  Ma sounds awesome or very bored. (Or both, they are not mutually exclusive.) After she does all of the work for the day, she does more work, and cuts paper dolls for her kids. Yet they seem to think the best part of every day is when Pa comes home. The girls run to him, and sit on his lap while he warms up, then he goes back out to do chores in the barn and bring in firewood. If the traps were empty and he comes home early because he found game early in the day, he would play with his children.  Ma yells at Pa because the girls are scared. He plays fiddle and sings. (Can you play and sing at the same time?)  Everything seems so cozy, a family with a dog and a cat living alone in the woods next to a lake. This is the setting for the next chapter, which is called "The Story of Grandpa and the Panther."  It's story time! 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Little House in the Big Woods: Little House in the Big Woods

Little House in the Big Woods This chapter starts off with "Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs." 1959 was VERY different! In this chapter, we are introduced to the little girl, named Laura. She is just described as "little." She's got a Ma and Pa, and two sisters. Mary is older and Carrie is younger. I apologize for my lack of LHOTP knowledge, I never read all of them, and I watched a bit of the show. I do remember going to a program at our library (it was Very Crowded) and hearing someone tell us all about how the show was terrible and nonfactual and blah blah blah. Well, the show was a fictional retelling of the books, which were also marketed as fiction, and the main purpose of television is to sell ads and be entertaining (so they can sell ads). I knew that at 10, so why that guy was so angry was kind of weird.  We learn that there are wolves in the woods, but Pa has a gun he keeps hanging over the door. The front yard has Oak Trees. There are no neighbors. Pa shoots a deer. Then he slaughters a pig. They all smoke some venison with hickory chips. Winter is coming.  After much discussion of the deer meat and the smoking process (which is interesting, you should read it. It seems like we use the same techniques to this day, only instead of using child labor to find hickory chips (?) on the ground, I buy them at True Value.)  Pa finds a bear eating a pig, doesn't get the bear, only the pig. Laura likes bear meat. (I'm not a fan. Maybe Wisconsin bears "sixty years ago" (I can't find a copyright, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that this is not describing 1959, or even 1958) are tastier than 2016 Alaska Bear, but I'll take deer meat or moose meat or wild boar over bear any day. Moose is so very lean and versatile.  Pa goes away one day and comes back with a wagon full of fish, which Ma has to process. Ma, I feel ya. Last summer we were gifted with a LOT of salmon, and spent a Saturday cleaning then in our driveway. I gave a head to my cat, which he ate and then threw up, because he's a little piggy pig who's favorite food is salmon. He hates turkey and most wild birds, though he'll eat the ones he catches himself I'm not fast enough to stop him and toss him back inside. He's old now, and will likely be an indoor cat for the rest of his life.  They process some vegetables from the garden and a pig. Laura doesn't want to hear the pig die, though she has no issues with playing with the bladder later.  They have an Uncle Henry! I had forgotten that they had extended family. It seems like life is OK in Pepin. Oh, yeah, they mention Lake Pepin. I guess Pa went dipnetting and that's where they got the white fish that they salted and stored in barrels.  Once it got cold, Laura and Mary had to stay inside to play. They also had to help with processing the pig, which sounded like a lot of work. They play with squashes and pumpkins (pumpkins are squash!) and their house is full of food. Mary has a rag doll but Laura only has a corncob doll.  At night, Pa plays his fiddle, which is the "best time of all."  It's been a really long time (if ever) since I've read these books. I vaguely remember picking up an occasional one as a kid. I know I had Farmer Boy, and I remember reading about Pa shaving Mary's head after she came down with a fever, but this one is kind of an unknown. I also didn't remember Farmer Boy being second in the series. I know that if I did read them as a child, they were read out of order.  So far, I like it. It's a lot more "childish" than I expected, based on the size of the book. I'm wondering/hoping that the third person limited narration will grow with Laura. It's weird reading about them making headcheese (gross) but also interesting? I am also interested in reading more about these "Big Woods."  I don't plan on being too snarky, just reading the books, recapping/reviewing as I go, and sort of sharing bits from my life. I found her focus on food interesting - I imagine that later in the long winter the family will begin to starve. It's a common thing in Kid's lit. It was clear to me, as well, that JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone while she was going through some stuff, as she focused quite heavily on food descriptions at Hogwarts. Which worked out well, as Harry was also being starved.  

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Little House in the Big Woods Recap: Table of Contents

These are the links to each individual blog post for my read of: Little House in the Big Woods
By Laura Ingalls Wilder    Little House in the Big Woods Winter Days and Winter Nights & The Story of Grandpa & the Panther The Long Rifle Christmas Sundays Two Big Bears The Sugar Snow Dance at Grandpa's Going to Town Summertime Harvest The Wonderful Machine The Deer in the Wood

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Endings, Beginnings" and "Epilogue"

Endings, Beginnings In the last chapter, we were left with a cliff hanger. Cathy was braced for the "knockout blow" of bad news that Chris alluded to, but didn't share. He was too busy describing the sex that John the Butler and a woman named Livvy had on the sofa he hid behind. He also described the Grandfather's library, right down to the placement of the furniture.  Chris asks Cathy to guess the reason that "she" (I think he's referring to the grandmother) gave for not having the children's room cleaned. Cathy shakes her head instead of speaking. She also mentions that it had been so long since the servants stopped coming, she had forgotten those first horrible weeks.  Chris says:  He then explains it out to her- Arsenic is white. And even more, he points out that you can mix it with powdered sugar, and put it on donuts.  Cathy is still skeptical. She wonders, much like @HerNameIsBuffy, why the Grandmother didn't just poison them outright.  Meanwhile, Chris is "cupping" Cathy's head between his palms.  He then tells her the plot to "Arsenic and Old Lace," but doesn't say the name of the film. I've seen the play once or twice, I find it quite funny. I should look for the film.  Our narrator is shocked. She asks if Cory died of arsenic poisoning. After all, Corrine said it was pneumonia. Chris than (kind of selfishly), hurts Cathy a little more, by pointing out that:  Momma can say whatever she wants, doesn't mean it's true Cory might not have even been taken to a hospital.  They decide to test the arsenic doughnut theory on the mouse.  *** The mouse dies a painful death.  They decide to put the mouse and two doughnuts into a bag for the police. Cathy suspects Chris is hiding something. He says he'll tell her later, he can't say anything more without vomiting.  ***  Cathy compares her life to a soap opera. While she is doing this, the Grandmother pops in for a final visit. She leaves them with some advice.  Chatty Cathy monologues to herself about happiness, being a woman grown, feeling older than the mountains outside, her happiness being a hill, I don't know.  "The wisdom of the attic was in my bones, etched on my brain, part of my flesh."  "Where was that fragile, golden-fair Dresden doll I used to be? Gone. Gone like porcelain turned into steel - made into someone who would always get what she wanted, no matter who or what stood in her way."  Cathy forces Carrie to eat, takes her to the bathroom, cleans and dresses her. They both dress in several layers of warm clothing. Cathy is wearing a fourteen-karat-gold watch from Switzerland. Chris has a watch. They have a guitar, a banjo, a polaroid, and watercolors, and the wedding rings. Cathy takes this moment to realize that the Grandmother could open the door and watch them without them noticing (good, god, children, be more observant), and could she know? Would she be preventing their escape?   Considering this is the last chapter, I'm going to go ahead and call it. No. The Grandmother is not going to prevent their escape. I think she only appeared here as part of the good-bye tour.  Our hero runs upstairs to say good-bye to the attic, and write on the chalkboard. How did they not run out of chalk in four years?  *** They leave with two suitcases, the guitar and banjo, Carrie, a dead mouse, and two doughnuts. They split the money between the two suitcases. It's not yet snowing. Cathy smells the clean air and feels the ground below her feet. She puts Carrie down and Chris yells at them to hurry up. Carrie (sniff) asks if they will meet Cory.  Cathy lies. She tells Carrie that Cory is waiting for them, with Daddy in a garden. Carrie worries about Cory not liking the garden if she's not there.  This kind of goes on, Cathy is sad, but lies to Carrie to get her to walk faster. Chris keeps telling them to hurry, I guess because VC needed to create a sense of urgency. If they miss the morning train, they have to wait until 4, and will likely be caught by the Grandmother.  I want to know what ole concrete boobs does and says when she goes up and finds them gone. Does she have a little smile? Is she angry? Does she grab her henchman and tear off in a Rolls Royce to track them down?  They arrive at the train station.  The ginger mail man greets them and says that Carrie looks "peaked" which I guess means tired or sick? They say she's been sick. Chris buys tickets. They get on the train, and Cathy watches the mansion. She sees a "shadowy, distant form of a large old woman" who appears and vanishes. Didn't it take hours to walk to the mansion? How can you see the shape of a person inside if they are hours away? They slide down in their seat anyway, just in case. Cathy then wonders why she's up there so early. *** They make it to Charlottesville, where they buy bus tickets to Sarasota. They have two hours to wait.  Worried about the Butler, they stash their stuff in a locker and wander around.  Chris decides to tell the rest of the story while holding up the dead mouse sack. He "overheard the servants talking." Was this part of the same night? Was it John and Livvy again? Or did he go spy on other servants? We will never know.  Whatever, on the night that shall be called "deus ex machina" when all of the servants gossiped within hearing distance of Christopher Jr, he overheard them discussing a codicil that was added to the grandfather's will.  It doesn't work like that. Corrine, you married a lawyer. Bart, you married a conflict of interest. Everyone stop it.  Chris doesn't think that concrete boobs is evil, because she prays before bed. Chris, I would like to introduce you to Free Jinger. He also thinks that Grandmother telling them not to eat the sweets is a clue that she wasn't trying to kill them. Christopher is an idiot and should not be a doctor.  He finally apologizes to Cathy for not wanting to leave and believing in Corrine. He then tasks her with the responsibility to choose what to do with the dead mouse and arsenic donuts, because he's still a manipulative asshole.  Cathy/VC Andrews moralizes at us a bit.  Ah, yes, sharing space with a drug addict and a prostitute!  After a page of hemming and hawing, Cathy makes a decision to throw the "evidence" away.  And that's it.  ______________ Epilogue The epilogue is four paragraphs. Five sentences, total.  She considers the previous story to be "their foundation years" of which they base the rest of their lives. They continue to move toward their goals. Carrie has a hard time without Cory. They survive, but that's another story.  _______________   My thoughts. (Pretty randomly thrown at the page)  I started this book over a year and a half ago. Rereading as an adult, I'm struck by how much I must have missed or forgotten as a child. I remembered bits and pieces of it, but had managed to forget the weird religious aspect of it.  Much of this book was a slog, and that makes me wonder if the monotony of some of the middle chapters was done intentionally. If the "dolls" had to endure day after day after day of doing nothing, I suppose we can read about it, right? I wish there had been more "showing" and less "telling." I also wonder how much better this book could be with a third person POV, or even multiple narrators. 

Medical science is pretty clear that "sun" doesn't make children grow. Though I am concerned about their vitamin d levels & anemia.  Is VC Andrews obsessed with appearance, or was that a choice to show Cathy's character?  Now that Corrine has moved out of Foxworth Hall, would the kids have been allotted more freedom and fewer arsenic doughnuts? I imagine they had to remain hidden. Or would concrete boobs use them as leverage to get her money back? How much is property tax in Virginia and do they have a trust? How is Christopher going to be a doctor? He's terrible. He lacks curiosity and doesn't seem to care about people.  All of these kids will have life long psychological issues. I'm sure that will be handled in an appropriate fashion in the next book.  I'm half tempted to write VC Andrews fanfiction, where I take them, give them new names that start with different letters, modern attitudes and language, curiosity, and Cory lives, and the adults go to jail.  Anyway. I don't know what to do next. I started to read Petals On the Wind, and I thought "wow, this is so much more interesting!" But at 25% through, it's already turning from "this could be really interesting" to "ugh, Cathy is annoying" and a lot of way too fast timeline things. I also hate the narrator and don't find her very interesting. At least in Game of Thrones, I can hate Cersei, and know that she's being written that way, and she's interesting. Cathy is not a schemer. I don't care about her thoughts on emerald bathtubs.   

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: Escape

Escape I bet you can't guess what happens in this chapter from the title!  It's November 10. I am reminded of how the timeline issues could so easily be solved if the author would have just not had them keep track of days in the attic, or had she not tied them to specific calendar days.  Cathy and fam are visited in the attic by their mother, who was "ill at ease" with little time to spend in the attic. Bart is taking her out. She doesn't want to go. He doesn't know why Corrine looks so sad. Well, maybe you should be a better lawyer and do a background check on your wife before marrying her.  Chris goes out with two pillowcases to fill with jewels. (I know they are "filthy" rich, but come on. One pillow case of jewels should be plenty.) Pillows must have been smaller in the 50s. What kind of jewels do they have, just laying about, anyway?  Cathy is sad about Cory. She remembers how he called her Momma, how Cory was afraid Chris would consider him a "sissy" and how he missed his mom and had to make do with Cathy. It's sad, but I'm a bit stuck on the glossed over sexism of "oh, my 4-8 year old brother was so concerned about appearing masculine that he pretended to not miss his mother" I'm guessing these kids would all be considered Baby Boomers, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised at the sexist language and weird behavior quirks, but I'm still annoyed. There's nothing wrong with a little boy wanting his mom after his dad died trying to recreate Need For Speed.  Cathy vows to be the best mother alive to her unborn children. (As of this moment, there has been no inkling that she thinks she's pregnant, or will be soon.) Chris takes longer than expected to return, and she imagines all sorts of scenarios where he is caught. She doesn't actually share those with the reader, nope, she just "envisioned all the calamities," and mentions that either Bart or the Grandmother could catch him. The worst punishment would be "The Grandmother." But what Cathy is imagining as the worst punishment (after her brother died in captivity) is not shared with the reader, either.  Somehow she can hear a "cock crow" as dawn arrives, but apparently no one can hear children screaming for days? Is this part of the house soundproofed? Will there be a secret sex dungeon one floor down?  It's mentioned that the carpet is too plush for Cathy to hear Chris coming back. She goes to the attic and hears the rooster again, but this time it sounds muffled and far away. (Is this some sort of explanation? Because Carrie was screaming in the room, not in the attic.)  *** Cathy remembers the coldness of that morning when Chris comes back into the room. She's lying beside Carrie. There's no mention of her heading back downstairs after going upstairs for no reason. We get paragraphs of this, and then "oh, i imagined all the terrible things that could happen" and "there was no time to stop in look in the other rooms." V.C.s writing style is not my favorite.  Chris hesitates in the door, eyes glazed over. The pillowcases are empty. Cathy yells him, and accuses him of turning chivalrous again. Just leave without him, girl. You can do it. Take Carrie, and go.  Chris mopes and can't use his words.  Cathy thinks he's lying.  Ah, yes, language changes. And wow, so you are aware that he looks upset, and your still "GOD YOU ARE SUCH A LIAR SHITTY BROTHER" which I think is fair because Christopher Jr is quite terrible.  He's "limp and boneless" and drooping around. Then he cries. Your brother should not have his face on your breast. You should not think of it as "terrible" for a "man" to express his feelings. Nor should you really think of your brother as a man. He's still 17 and you've spent every waking moment with him for 4 years. You should be annoyed because he's not using his words like anyone over the age of 4. You should be irritated because he's always around lecturing you. Not because he's crying for some unknown reason. He's probably trying to manipulate you again.  Cathy holds him and "caresses" him, which leads to kissing, trying to soothe him. I'm going to go throw up in my garbage can at work, now. Sorry cleaning crew! I don't know you, but I appreciate you!  (Note: I did not actually vomit. Although this book does make me nauseated at times.) I am very, very cold. Like my office was set to 65 when I came in. No idea why.  Our heroine is going on and on about how her brother is crying. This we get descriptions of. Eventually he is ready to talk. Chris tries to warn her about what she's about to hear.  Narrator Cathy in the future jumps in to say that she was not prepared for what she heard.   Momma and Bart had left their suite of rooms! Shocking.  NOT THE GEEGAWS! Nooooooooo.  Chris tells how he ran around opening all the drawers looking for something of value. He says the only things left are junk or things of no value to anyone - lipstick, cold creams, stuff like that. Great, so now women's beauty products - a $445 Billion dollar industry - are "no value to anyone." Way to value women, asshole. (I understand that there is no resale value. It's the phrasing.)  He then goes on to talk about how there's a secret drawer that she told them about. (I don't remember it being in the book earlier.) He put in the combo and there was supposed to be rings and bracelets, and there was no jewelry.  I'm laughing at your pain in my coffee, Chris the Dick. Your anguish is nothing compared to the pain that your siblings are feeling due to arsenic poisoning. Cory died because you wouldn't listen. Drop him, Cathy, drop him.  Spoiler: She doesn't drop him.  Lots of descriptions of him looking through luggage and how he panicked and couldn't find anything to steal, some bitterness in his voice about Momma's grieving. And Cathy, this whole time, has fingers that "twined in his hair" which I'm going to have to actually use a dictionary for, or imagine it's some sort of soft hair twirling? Google tells me it's when you twist your hair and cut off the bits that don't conform.  He finally comes across another drawer. Inside the drawer is a silver framed photo of daddy, her marriage license, and a small velvet box containing her engagement and wedding rings. Chris is hurt that she left only that behind, and junk. He convinces himself that she left it deliberately for them to find. He's delusional.  Cathy also says "No, she has Bart now."  He continues on, saying that it will take an unbearable crisis to pawn the rings. Cathy notices the warning in his voice. He moves on to what he found in Grandmother's room. (A grandmother, I presume.)  He realizes she's awake from the light coming under the door. Even so, he eases open the door, and looks around. Cathy is still a child, and accuses him of seeing her naked. He's annoyed. He's glad he didn't see her naked, which, rude. Old people still do it. He did, however, catch her without her wig! OMG. Crucial plot point right here.   We are treated to a long description of The Grandmother's natural hair. It's blonde and balding. She wears reading glasses and prays before bed.  Chris continues exploring, going into the grandfather's room. He found his way through the house because he has a wonderful memory and Cathy asks too many questions. Why can't they just be normal kids who sneaked out of their room regularly? These kids make no sense. He's also going on about how beautiful the furniture is. I know when my little brother just died, and I'm looking for things to sell, I totally stop to admire the Jacobean wall hangings.  He describes the libraray, and I am jealous. It's got wooden ladders. I've always wanted a library with ladders. Grandfather had six phones on his desk. I guess that means he had six separate lines installed and I can only think of the giant mess of cables. Chris does not disappoint with the description of this room, though I do feel it's a bit of a strange time to focus so much on the placement of the furniture. You're not getting paid by the word, here, VC.  Really, this part is just best read, and it's too much to quote and really claim "fair use," so as best as I can - Chris rambles on and on about how he became suspicious, due to the contents of the desk. He decides to confront the Grandfather, imagining what would happen. He's clearly never met an elderly sick person, because he's got this idea that the Grandfather would recognize him, and not automatically assume that dementia would cause him to think that Christopher Sn is back from the dead.  Chris Jr even has a monologue planned. These kids love monologing.  The grandfather is not there. He's gone.  Chris tries to unlock the wall safe. He can't. Maybe Corrine should have gotten them a copy of Skyrim to occupy their times. I bet that would have helped them level up their lock picking skills. While he's trying to break into a safe using methods he read in an encyclopedia, he hears footsteps!  Chris hides. Fortunately, the footsteps belong to John the Butler, and a woman. Chris says he thought he might nap while they are on the sofa he's hiding behind, because that is a safe place to sleep and human biology will allow that to happen. Chris says he didn't fear that Cathy would look for him, because he locked her in. Then he says "it's a good thing I didn't sleep" and Cathy asks "why" and he gripes at her because he's a not very nice person. "Let me tell it in my own way" ... jerk. She just asked why. There are a hundred better ways to say that!  John and Livvy talk. John is upset because Livvy is so nervous it takes the fun out of "this" which I'm going to assume is something sexual involving a person in power and a woman who wants a job. She thinks she's heard something. He says it's the mice in the attic, and she starts giggling so something is happening with his hands that we can't see.    Livvy complains about how mean her employer is, provided that the "Old Woman" is her employer and hasn't tasked that with the person normally in charge of such matters - the butler. She also mentions how the ole concrete bosom would stare at the empty bed smiling, and now that he's dead, she's got his money.  John corrects Livvy.  Livvy says that the daughter deserves it, she had to put up with a lot. Malcolm treated her like a slave, but at least she's still young and beautiful, with loads of money. "Some people have all the luck."  John says "You got me, until the next pretty face comes along."  Chris is still behind the sofa when they start to "get busy." He describes this to his sister, in all sorts of graphic detail. Cathy is intrigued at the concept of twice in the same night. Chris wonders why she's not concerned about the poisoning or the fact that their grandfather's been dead for a while. Cathy grasps the concept of "oh, grandpa dead, we'll be free" and starts to run with it.  Chris says there is more. Of course there is. And there is toppling and cuddling mixed in. Along with some kissing. There was no reason this had to be a romance novel.  Cathy's emotions in this chapter are all over the place, as expected for a teenage girl. She's angry - at Chris, at her mom. She's sad. She's scared. She's paralyzed with fear. She's sad. In that respect, the writer did pretty well. I'm angry with Cathy. I'm annoyed with Chris's annoyingly slow system of telling what happened. I'm frustrated at being locked up and so close to getting out. However, I'm really tired of the long descriptions of things when it should be plot, and no descriptions or even any displays of curiosity.   I'm also torn at the question of Chris. For a brief moment, Cathy was blaming him for Cory's death, which was kind of nice. Part of me wants to argue that he is liable for Cory's death, in that as the oldest he was left "in charge." They had reason to fear for their lives - they'd been locked up for years. There was tarring, whippings, and no medical treatment when they all got the flu. They had the ability to leave with the key or through the roof. But he didn't want to leave so none of them did. However, he's a victim as well.  The more I think about it, the more I wonder what life was really like back in Gladstone. Some people have a tendency to remember only the good times.  Cathy and Chris show an extraordinary lack of curiosity.  Were they beaten into submission?  The next chapter is the last chapter. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Color All Days Blue, But Save One for Black"

Color All Days Blue, But Save One for Black I realize that this chapter title is referring to something earlier, but I can't remember where, or why they are coloring days. I also think that things are about to get really dark.  Cathy and Chris seem to have forgotten their worries, and are now dreaming of moving to Sarasota and joining the Circus. What child didn't dream of joining the circus? I know I for sure wanted to be a trapeze artist, just like Cathy. Or do horse tricks like on "Wild Horses Can't be Broken" staring no one I've ever heard of. For some reason I thought Christian Slater was in that film. I wonder what I'm mixing it up with.  While Chris is being creepy and telling Cathy:  Cory and Carrie get upset and say "NO." They don't like those plans. They don't want to fall. Was Pollyanna out yet? That kept me from climbing out of second story windows for years.  Cathy feels old, looking at her siblings and making plans. It's October.  One night, Chris tells Cathy "tonight." I assume it's the night of their escape, and not the night they decide to storm King's Landing, or try a new position from the Joy of Sex.  Momma has taken off, not pausing in the doorway to look at her children. They put a pillowcase inside of a pillowcase, with plans to get all of the jewelry.  Of course, this is the night that Cory starts vomiting. He says his bones hurt. He's calling Cathy Momma. She wonders how he can throw up when there's nothing left. I too have wondered that after a night at [insert your schools party fraternity here]. (Sorry, bad taste, I know.) Chris goes to study medical journals while Cathy does all the real work of cleaning up Cory. Cory pleads "don't go and leave us behind" because obviously the incest twins didn't bother to explain to their sibs that they are coming too.  Carrie is barely three feet tall. She asks to sleep with Cory. Cory tosses and turns and asks for Carrie all night, despite their faces being very close to each other. Cathy cries.  Cathy thinks this is punishment for the sex. Except she doesn't say that, she says "for what we had done." and then talks about how the Grandmother had warned them up until the whipping. I don't get it. Was this written before she realized what their transgression would be? Did the Grandmother stop the lectures and warnings after the whippings?  Chris finally decides that it must be food poisoning. He suspects the milk. Cathy says she sniffs and tastes everything before giving it to the twins or Chris. She believes her tastebuds are keener than Chris's, and that he would eat rancid butter.  She says the milk was fine. Chris than says it must be the burger. Cathy says it tastes fine and it must have tasted OK to Chris as well and gets a little dig into how he ate his, and half of Carries, and all of Cory's. Well, duh, if Cory didn't eat the burger it's not the burger.  Chris than changes the subject to Cathy, and says she's not eating. Cathy does plies at the dresser, because of course she does. He whines that she needs to eat more. Someone needs to smack him, and I'm not a violent person. He is an annoying person, though. And now we are onto the ... (dun dun dun..) doughnuts. Cory loves the doughnuts and those are also all that Cathy wants to eat. Is arsenic addictive? My internet search is inconclusive.  I do know it takes quite a bit of arsenic to kill people, though, and it's in my well water. There's a legal limit and it's naturally occurring and everywhere.   Cathy continues to take care of Cory, changing his PJs, getting him to drink water. When the grandmother comes in, Cathy tries to get her attention.  When the grandmother admonishes her for speaking out of turn, Cathy blows up and says that Cory needs a doctor. Grandmother leaves instead of looking at her grandchildren.  Jerk.  Just as the older "Dollangangers" decide to unlock the door and go get Momma, she walks in. Momma and "the grandmother" hover over Cory, while Cathy wipes sweat from his brow. Cory can't breathe. Cathy is curious about how he can be sweaty and cold at the same time. I guess if they don't go to school, they don't get the flu.  Cathy yells at the physical adults.  In response, Corrine and her mother stare at Cathy. Corrine "siled" over to Cory, even though they are still standing over him. Seeing him makes Corrine's lips tremble, hands shake, and she's holding back tears.  Cathy yells some more, telling Corrine to act like his mother.  This just pisses off Corrine more, and Cathy gets slapped. Cathy slaps back. It's a slapfight!  Sorry.  Grandmother is watching in satisfaction. I'm sure that this is something I'll learn more about in whatever book 5 is called. If I ever get that far.  Chris goes to hold Cathy back, before more slapping happens. Golly Gee, just throw a punch all ready!  Cathy sees her father's face. (?)  There is more shouting. Where are the servants? What about guests? Neighbors? (I know, there are no neighbors.) But there should be a groundskeeper and a chef and some gardeners and a stableboy, maybe a pool boy, a house cleaner, a personal assistant or two, a nurse for the dying grandfather. (I know, he's already dead.)  After a monologue of yelling, where they all just stand and listen instead of yelling back or tackling her or just walking away, Grandmother quietly says that Cory must go to a hospital.  *** The next night, the evilest mothers in the world come back to smuggle Cory out and to the Hospital. Carrie and Cathy want to go. They aren't allowed.  Notable things: Momma has a glassy blank stare.  The three of them feed Mickey the Mouse, (oh, i just got that) and the mouse is sad. They wait. They try to sleep in the same bed. Cathy prays. She apologizes to God for sinning, and says there was no pleasure.  *** The next day Cathy does housework to fill the time. Corrine comes back to tell them Cory has died of pneumonia. Carrie screams.  There will be no funeral.  There's nothing to snark on here. They behave in logical ways, Carrie lines up Cory's shoes. (Once she finishes screaming) Everyone, including Momma is sad. (Although she does run away as fast as possible, which I actually do understand. I want no one around me when I'm grieving.)   She put a fake name on the tombstone, which is horrifying. *** Carrie gets smaller and smaller every day, no one is eating. Everyone is crying.  Chris whispers that the three of them have to run before they all die like Cory. He thinks its because they are without resistance to germs. Sure.  Cathy doesn't want to die like a mouse in a trap. She makes plans to leave right away. Chris says no, they need more money. Chris is a dick. Granted, Cathy is already worrying about how they are no longer beautiful. She thinks they have educated themselves by reading and watching TV. She wonders why TV doesn't teach survival. Isn't Gilligan's Island on by now?  The next part is sad. Cathy removes Cory's clothing from the suitcase and cries and cries. and reads a poem/song that Cory had written.  *** She dreams of Cory and Christopher (her dad, not her brother-lover) *** Her brother-lover wakes her up from that nice dream and yells at her. Ass.  She's confused because her brother looks so much like her father. Which makes this a lot creepier. Wait, it was super weird in the beginning (I started this over a year and a half ago) with "i'm in love with my dad" vibes, right?  She realizes that people never really die, they move on to a better place, and wait for their loved ones to join them.

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers (Children) in the Attic: "My Stepfather" (Part 3)

TW: anti-feminist behavior, discussion of rape.  They go out onto the roof. Apparently Corrine has not yet brought them cigarettes and cheap wine, so they cry into each others arms. This night is described a "night for lovers." Whatever that means.  Cathy blames herself because this book was written in the 70s and takes place in the 80s, though, she does say "he didn't mean to." Which is something, I guess. Cathy worries to herself about giving birth to a deformed baby or an idiot. (Nice.)  Chris assures her the odds are against a baby. It was one time. There wont' be another. It was her first time. He says he didn't "mean to rape her," though he's kind enough to tell her that he's been tempted plenty of times. He'd turn it off by going into the attic or the bathroom and "putting his nose in a book." Uh huh.  Cathy claims she could have stopped him if she wanted to, and reiterates that it's her fault too. She thinks to herself how it is her fault, how she shouldn't have been wearing "skimpy little see through garments around a brother who had all a man's strong physical needs" and how "she shouldn't have kissed Momma's handsome young husband" and on and on. Cathy. It's not your fault.  Cathy goes on about the night being peculiar and fate and destiny (the concept, not the person who posts on FJ). There's some scene setting. It's cold on the roof, and we're reminded that it's early September and the leaves are falling. (This is the south, right? Is that accurate?)  Paragraph on top of paragraph describing each other, feelings, loins, leaves, and music.  Chris says that they have $396.44, they don't have winter coats or boots, and the twins are so weakened that they will catch cold. The parents believe that the maids are stealing, and he worries that Momma will suspect it's Cathy. He thinks that stealing all the jewelry is a good idea, in one sweep, and just go. Cathy is all "duh, I said that AGES ago" but only to herself because she's a good little princess in the Patriarchy.  Cathy worries for half a second about her mom missing them, before she moves on to thinking about an owl she hears in the distance, and the fog rising. She ends this bit with "All we could see in the murky-gray and cold, damp clouds was that single great eye of God - Shining up there in the moon." I don't get it. I guess she means the moon?  *** She wakes up and stands over Chris and Cory. Chris is crying and she names his tears because this book is ridiculous. I'm reminded of the quintessential early 90's film staring Ricki Lake "Cry Baby" with a girl crying into a jar. She tells him she loves him, and calls him Christopher Doll.  The reader is reminded that she knows him right down to his "bone marrow." She says:  And this chapter is DONE. Three more chapters. We're on page 359 of 411, so it can't be that much longer before I can move on. Or I could watch the film.   Let me know in the comments if there are typos or things I should fix! I'm rushing through this at the end of a long work day. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "My Stepfather" (Part 2)

My Stepfather aka Forbidden Pleasures of the Sexual Kind.  Part 2. Cathy whines to the reader that Chris is taking too long to come up with $500. Oh, wait, I already read this section. Corrine looks fabulous in black. This is very important information.  Chris and Cathy are sharing everything, problems, aspirations, doubts. He's her doctor. (Are they "playing doctor"?) Scandalous.  Cathy says her physical problems are not much consequence, only the monthly cramps. Her "womanly time" is not showing up on schedule. I'm concerned that she thinks nothing is wrong, when in the previous section, she said that they all had headaches, cramps, and other stomach aliments. Chris and Cathy are proto-internet doctors and believe that her "womanly time" is not on schedule because Cathy has a "quixotic nature." Thank you Dr Oz.  We are reminded that Cathy is writing this in "present" time, reminiscing, as she says "I can write now of Chris and what happened on September night."  Maybe the unreliable narrator is intentional, after all. Chris has come back from a trip to Momma's suite, and he's been interested in that book. Cathy wonders why he needs to keep looking, she remembers each photograph. Chris is "reading the text" lol. Sure, like people get Playboy "for the articles." Chris felt guilty about growing up, and how these years should be "blossoming years" for both him and Cathy. As he reads through the book again, Mom and Hubby come back. Chris hides in the closet. Bart has forgotten his wallet. Bart and Corrine argue about money, Bart thinks the maids are stealing, Corrine doesn't care. Chris thinks he doesn't count money and is worried. Corrine is like "what difference does $5 matter, anyway" and I'm kind of with her, which is why I don't carry cash. $5 in cash seems like nothing, and it's so much easier to track spending on my debit card - I can sync the statements right to YNAB and see where my money is going. Where as cash just sort of feels like play money. Bart says he had to work for his money, and he doesn't want 10 cents stolen from him. Okay, come on Bart. it's 10 cents. I get it, but if the maids are so underpaid they are stealing dimes, just pay them more. Or vote for policies that allow household servants to make a living wage.  Bart is so married to Corrine for the money, and maybe the sex. Bart doesn't want to go if they missed the first act (i'm with him) and implies he'd rather stay home and try out positions from the book, but Corrine is surprisingly in charge (yeah, because she has the money and the hot body, I guess) and complains that last time he fell asleep and she had to go to a party without him. Grow the fuck up, Corrine. If he's tired, he's tired.  Bart is irritated, and tells her how he had a nice dream that time, about a "lovely young girl with long, golden hair, who kissed him while he slept."  Chris is displeased.  Chris has a whole paragraph of expressing his disapproval at Cathy. Corrine is sick of hearing about this dream, and wants to get out of the house. They decide to stay in a hotel, so Bart doesn't have to see the Grandmother's face in the morning (I guess she never gets a name in this book).  VC Andrews doesn't trust her readers, and has Cathy explain that all of this is happening while Cathy waits in the attic. Cathy misses the sliver music box her father, Christopher, gave her so many years ago. Now Chris is in the attic with her. He's telling her she is beautiful, and can see the shape of her body through her clothes. He grabs her and yells at her for kissing Bart. She tells him he wasn't there. Chris tells her that Bart saw her and thought it was a dream.  Chris pulls her down from the window sill and starts shaking her.  "You're Mine, Cathy! Mine! No matter who comes into your future, you'll always belong to me! I'll make you mine... tonight... now!"  Its such bad dialogue.  They "wrestle"  She has "strong dancer's legs" while he has "biceps and greater weight." He also has "determination" to "use something hot, swollen, and demanding."  I'm at work. Donald Trump is still President. Our newly elected Governor has fired 800 state employees, political and non-political alike. Everything sucks and the ground is constantly moving and there is no snow in December. Yet this is literally the thing that is making me nauseated. Fictional people.  Cathy monologues: "And I loved him. I wanted what he wanted - if he wanted it that much, right or wrong." Gag.  They "ended up on that old mattress" (which has, to my knowledge, only been mentioned once or twice.) I'm just going to quote the rest.  No, it doesn't! Have your mom bring you a Seventeen and learn about hand jobs. You went from nipple sucking to straight PinV.  Still a better love story than Twilight.  (I thought that was a Twilight GIF, but now I realize that's not Bella. Anyone?) See, she's fine.  Spoiler. There will be no baby.  (Cersei isn't pregnant, either.)  Act Break.     

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "My Stepfather" (Part 1)

My Stepfather This chapter starts with "That spring, Chris got sick."  I am going to just retcon that the timeline is a bit wonky because it's being written in past tense, as Cathy tells this story to a ghost writer. How long did they hang out in the attic knowing they could sneak out at any time? I can't imagine not going anywhere for years. That makes me feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic.  Chris is sick and being a giant baby. He yells at Cathy, and tells her to be independant, not like "momma." Terror jumps into Cathy's heart and she starts dramatically crying, falling on her knees, and pressing her face into his (most likely congested) chest. He caresses her hair. Tenderly. (So he's not like me "caressing" my cat's fur, when what I'm really doing is 'dematting' and eventually there is biting and growling and then licking and purring. Cats are weird, yo.  They discuss the idea that if one of them dies (hopefully it's Chris) the other will have to get the twins out. Cathy promises to be brave and go out looking for money by herself. She promises not to take anything larger than ones or fives, and all change. Oh, come on. If you found a stack of hundreds, why wouldn't you take them and leave that night? After they kiss (ew) and Cathy leaves, she narrates that she plans on taking whatever she finds, and jewelry too. For the pawn shop.  Cathy basically sprints down to the bedroom, telling us all sorts of pointless logistical things, where she freezes in terror! Her mother's new husband has long legs and is sprawled out in a chair. Cathy "helpfully" points out that she is directly in front of him, wearing a transparent blue nightie (it's very short), with matching panties. She braces herself to be yelled at. However, he does not speak.  In case anyone cares, he's dressed in a black tuxedo, with a pink ruffled shirt under. The edges of the ruffles are black.  He's asleep. Against her better judgement, Cathy sneaks up on him. She does not go through his pockets, but instead gazes into his "handsome" face.  Cathy is kind of old fashioned, because now she thinks "Momma - how could you? You should be ashamed! This man is younger than you - years younger!" Love is love, Cathy. Money is Money. Status is Status. What does age matter?  There is quite a bit of description of Bart's body, his smile, his ring, his other ring, his nails, his height, his sensual lips and beautifully shaped mouth, and Cathy has an urge to kiss the man she believes his her stepfather. Poor Cathy, stuck in an attic with her brother during the most hormonal time of her life. She should be kissing boys behind the bleachers and in malt shops, not dreaming of making out with her stepfather, and letting her brother suck on her nipples.  She is fearful of waking him up. I personally would likely have woken him up, just to see if he might be responsive to, you know, not keeping me locked in an attic. While Cathy ponders the pros and cons of waking him up for four paragraphs, Bart sleeps on. In a chair. So he's probably not having the most restful sleep, unless he passed out from drinking, in which case he won't remember this at all. Cathy finally comes to the conclusion that no one will care about four children over all of the riches of Foxworth Hall, which tells me that her early childhood was also full of shallow, superficial, materialistic "love," and not as stable as she made it sound.  *** Cathy goes back to her room, crying. She didn't steal anything. Chris is like "what? Why?" and she doesn't answer him. She snuggles into bed with him. This section is some dialogue, and three paragraphs of her clinging to Chris, crying,  and finally him telling her to go to her own bed, and that she's a bad liar. *** It is now summer. They have a goal of $500. She's fifteen now, the twins are eight. August will mark three years of being in the attic room. Cory is picking at some black-eyed peas, and it's offhandedly mentioned that he would "eat nothing but donuts" if they let him. Carrie comes to Cathy and tells her that "Cory don't feel good." (In a bird twitter, whatever that means.)  Cathy is like "WE HAVE TO GET OFF THIS ISLAND" and then there is some discussion about colors and I am so bored with this book right now. Momma likes black dresses, Cory and Carrie believe that white is the safest color, the twins are now sleeping (actually sleeping) in the same bed, with Cathy (not Chris, because he's useless) moving Carrie after the little ones fall asleep.  It's another act break so I'm going to leave this here. I've got to go find my folder of gifs for the next section anyway! 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Our Mother's Surprise" (Part 4)

Part Four: Our Mother's Surprise.  I will finish this chapter today. Even if I have to take a nap at work to do so. Sort of kidding but also not. I recently interviewed for a new lateral position at a sister type organization. I didn't get it. I don't even know if I wanted it. But I still feel the sting of rejection, despite the weirdness of the "culture fit" interview. I actually don't know if they ever intended to treat me like a normal candidate. Or maybe they did? I don't know. I do know, however, that this book will be here for me. Ever so weird, ever so creepy, the question of "why, VC, why?" and "did you intend for this subtext to be here?  Chris finds money in his mother's bedroom easily. The ease of which he finds her money casually scattered over the dresser decreases his trust in his mother. (FINALLY, GAWD). He sees his mother's "negligees trimmed with fur or marabou feathers" and further loses hope that she is saving up for the release of her four children from the attic.  More interesting than the contents of Corrine's wardrobe, are the clues that something is amiss. The Grandmother is no longer punishing them for being half dressed. The twins have become deep sleepers and it scares Cathy to look at them. They also receive four powdered sugar donuts every day, along with sandwiches, lukewarm soups, and milk. All in a picnic basket. Cathy would like the menu to vary a bit, and bring brownies or cookies, or pie. Pie is probably the last thing I would be thinking about, but I generally don't think about pie very often in general.  The two teenagers run along the corridors one night, so we can get more visuals of the home. The trophy room reveals that Cathy hates the oil painting of the Grandfather she's never met, because he's a "cruel and heartless man" who has no right to be handsome. Chris does not let her look in every room, because he's a boring, terrible person. He calls her "nosy" and I am reminded that sexism knows no bounds. Men are "curious" while women are "nosy." Men are "born leaders" while women are "bossy." Fuck that. Women, be curious. Be bossy. Stand tall. Take up space. Cathy, grow a spine.  Cathy is impressed by the house's grand and beautiful size.  They make their way to their mother's "grand suite of rooms." Chris had already told her, in detail, about the swan bed. But seeing it in person is ... Well, Cathy says that "hearing isn't seeing!" Her breathe is pulled in, her dreams take on "wings of fancy" and she's all a flutter. "Glory be to heaven!" She can not believe the "posh splendor" or the opulence. This goes on for a while. She's overwhelmed and decides to touch all the things. She rolls around on the bed, then realizes that she doesn't like being on the bed where her mother sleeps with some new guy she hasn't met. Cathy rolls off the bed, runs into the walk in closet and starts describing the contents. Keep in mind that this is not supposed to be written in present tense, so she's recounting this. This is something that was important enough to commit to memory. There is quite a list of different types of fabrics and her mum's "sleeping" clothes. The attached dressing room & bath has live plants and a bidet.  Why can't Americans embrace the bidet?  The bathroom is so modern, it has a bath and a separate shower. That just sounds like more to clean, though I do appreciate a good deep bath, and a nice flat shower with a nice shower head. Cathy becomes aware that Chris has been shielding her from this ridiculous waste of money. Cathy is literally wearing rags, the twins are half dead, and her mom is prancing around in a leopard coat with green wool in between the fur trim. (SO CLASSY) Instead of remembering that there are literally dying children in the attic, and the headaches, cramping, and general illnesses, Cathy tries on her mom's clothing, and makeup. I don't know what Chris was doing while she's putting on too-big nylons, heels, and applying all of the makeup. Obviously we need to rush around and not look through the other rooms, but no reason to hurry Cathy along while she plays dress-up. Which, isn't she like 14? I kind of get it, but I also feel a sense of "why aren't you doing something useful with your time?" She fishes for compliments from the only male over 10 she knows, and he's not pleased. She also drenches herself in perfume.  Chris overreacts, but not in the way I would expect, which would be "please just help me look for money" and instead calls her "an adolescent whore," and orders her to wash her face and clean up the dressing table. She looks at herself and realizes that she doesn't look the same as her mother in the same dress, and contemplates what is different. She decides it's because she's wearing 17 bracelets, 26 rings, necklaces (plural), a tiara, and the dress.  She puts away the clothes, and puts her own clothing back on, stealing a plain white bra in the process. She finds a book called "How to Create Your Own Needlework Designs" and gives it a glance through. It's not a book on needlepoint at all. It's a book full of pictures of unclothed people doing things that unclothed people do. Cathy is shocked and frozen. Chris comes along and looks through it too, also stunned. He takes Cathy's hand and pulls her back to the northern wing, where their room is, and the entrance to the attic. Cathy contemplates how Carrie and Cory are made from what she saw, so it couldn't be evil. She prays that the twins will stay safe and healthy until they leave.  Chris offers Cathy the bathroom first. I'm kind of grossed out that I'm thinking about this, but he is a teenage boy who just looked at The Joy of Sex (or a similar book) for the first time. I'm surprised he didn't "need" to go first. Unless he's relieving himself in the room where the twins are sleeping, but that's awful.  She comes out wearing her thickest most concealing granny gown. They can't look at each other. They skip their prayers and go to bed separately. She thinks about how she should have shut the book before he saw inside, and then thinks about how "someday in the near future she was going to need to know all there was to know about how bodies are used in ways of love."  And this chapter is over!!!!! It was long and rather boring, despite finally making some plot progress. V.C. Andrews is not a world builder, for sure. I almost want to read this book if it were set in the modern age or at least embraced anachronisms and made it sort of timeless, because the "Golly gee!" and gushing about fabrics and just general weirdness makes Cathy so unrelatable.  (Spellcheck says that's not a word.) I'd like to hear more about the house and what's in the unused rooms. I want to read Corrine's point of view. I want to know what Bart is thinking. I don't care about Cathy playing dress up. Or maybe this book is just not for me? I mean, I'm obviously not the target audience anymore. Chris is not my idea of a dream guy, he sounds controlling and terrible.   

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Our Mother's Surprise" (Part 3)

PART THREE OF THIS NEVER ENDING CHAPTER The next section of this chapter is nine paragraphs.  Cathy's "bright" dreams are interrupted by nightmares of her grandmother cutting off her breasts. Even when Cathy is sleeping, she is thinking about her breasts. In my head, I just simultaneously compared VC Andrews to GRRM's idea of what women think about and wondered how big VC's breasts are. Unfortunately, google image search only returns headshots, and I'm not putting the phrase "VC Andrews breast size" into my google search history, especially at work. Even if I do control the google accounts, I don't have access to the ISP. For real, though, all of that popped into my head at the same time. For those of you unfamiliar with the Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin, while fairly competent at writing women characters, has this idea that women are constantly thinking about their breasts and nipples. Well, young women, anyway. Women with children are often hysterical. Or Cersei Lannister.  Back to our hero. Cathy is sleeping poorly. Chris "sleepily" stumbles over to hold Cathy's hand and ask about her nightmares. She believes that the dreams are precognition and psychic. I agree with Chris that dreams don't mean anything. (Sorry! I think they might "mean" something in that they are processing your memory and emotions, but they don't foretell the future.) in the dream, Momma comes in and cuts out Cathy's heart, while covered in diamonds. I am reminded of Tobias stealing Lindsay's diamond cream.  And now I'm sad, because I'm thinking of how all of my favorite shows are ruined by fandom people. Skip this next paragraph if you don't care  about anything other than FITA, because I'm going way off topic.  So I started looking at dedicated subreddits to my favorite shows, and I'm starting to just hate fans. I can't seem to find both the volume and quality of discussion elsewhere, ever since TWOP disappeared. For shows like "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" or "BoJack" or "Arrested Development" it's just kind of where I ended up looking. I was kind of hoping for discussion about "where do you think the show is going." But it's more like "THIS SHOW IS TERRIBLE" and "WOMEN WRITERS RUINED IT" Basically, I've been annoyed about this since last week's IASIP episode aired. There will be comments about how they shouldn't have pandered to the SJWs, and you can click on the user name, and it's inevitably some jerk who posts in The_Donald and hates women and minorities and has this bizarre view of the world. It's fascinating, but it's also profoundly irritating. Because I think IASIP has always been political. It's a show about degenerate characters doing weird things, but it's always topical. Anyway, so Tobias and his diamond cream reminded me how much I miss Portia De Rossi on Arrested Development, and how horrid fans were after season 4, talking about how she didn't look good anymore. Which was bullshit because she looked great, and also bullshit because why can't she just be funny! No one thinks Tobias is attractive, but he's funny.  Ok, back to Flowers. Chris listens to Cathy recount the dreams and finally decides that they must escape! (Yay!) Then he goes into a whole lot of sexist nonsense.  Well, as long as there's a plan.  He then kisses her on the lips.  ACT BREAK  This chapter is never going to end. I want to get to the sex. I have my gifs ready.   They decide that they need to get a key to the room, and somehow they "know" that the key to the room is also the master key to every room. They can't use the sheets tied together because of the twins. They don't think that the grandmother will ever be careless enough to put the key down. Her "hateful gray dresses" have pockets. Momma is a terrible person who cuts all of the pockets out of her clothing, so she is extra terrible, but also more likely to leave the key laying (lying? I don't know.) about.  Cathy describes how terrible Corrine is again. Corrine is coming to visit two to three times a month, bringing gifts. The gifts are usually ill fitting clothes. Cathy needs a bra, asks for one constantly, and never gets one. She gets ballet shoes. Momma doesn't ask about the twins. Momma is awful and I hate her. It's mentioned that Cathy brings up all the small illnesses, how they all have headaches, craps, and vomiting. Momma lectures them about food safety, in between telling them about Bart and all the wonderful parties she's attended. It's fucked up.  They steal the key and make a mold of it in a bar of soap. She didn't notice.  ACT BREAK.  It took three days to make a key. The process is described in one paragraph, but not really. They used wood from the attic, they had metal, but nothing to strong enough to shape metal. Who knows what they used to whittle down the wood. Who knows what kind of wood they used. Who cares, right? It's not about "how to escape an attic" it's about "how to fall in love with your brother."  Which brings me back to A Song of Ice and Fire. I wonder if GRRM ever met VC Andrews or read these books.  Game of Thrones came out in 1996, ten years after VCs death, but that doesn't mean anything. Or was incest just a pop culture thing in the 70s? Pushing boundaries and all? (I'm going to assume he took 10 years to write GoT, as it seems to be a good 5-10 years between books. Where is Winds, George? I NEED it.)  They get a key that works. Instead of just fleeing, they decide to plan it out. Chris decides they need money, and to get money, they have to steal it from their "mother, her husband, and the grandmother." Good luck. Cathy worries about the twins being whipped and being starved again. They know that Momma will leave to go party, and she doesn't count money or change. The plan is to wait for her to tell them about the next part. This happens. Turns out that Corrine hates living in this house, but Bart would rather stay home. Considering that Bart, presumably, works for a living, this seems fair. It also explains how she can run out and buy random shit and schlep it up to the attic without him asking questions.  I think Bart might have married her for her money. Evidence: He's younger. He's living in a client's home. He married a woman who locked four children in the attic. His mother-in-law can't possibly be very welcoming. There is a butler who makes the Maxwells look like fun.  That's another Act Break. I guess the rest of this chapter will have to wait. UGH. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Our Mother's Surprise" (Part 2)

I have gained weight and my underwire is poking into my boobs. It's very uncomfortable, and yet, I'm ever so grateful that I have a bra at all, unlike Cathy.  Cathy is waxing poetic about love, as many people have done throughout history. It's raining. The twins are watching TV. Chris and Cathy are laying on the old mattress in the attic, reading a book that their mother brought up from the downstairs library. They argue over each other's reading style.  The book they are reading is likely made up for the novel. It's a book about star-crossed lovers who are looking for purple grass that they are already standing on. Because of the romantic nature of this book, and the unhappy ending, Cathy slams it shut and hurls it at a wall. She then rages out at her brother. He neckbeards at her about symbolism and they launch into a rather strange discussion and misplaced discussion about "romantic trash" literature, sexism in writing, and sexuality. During this exchange, we are reminded that Cathy has a bosom. Over her bosom, she is wearing white leotards (which she is wearing in a presumably filthy dusty attic, and washing in a bathtub, so while they are described as white, I'm going to picture them as dull grey with shiny spots from overwearing.) Over her leotards (more than one?) she has a short wool skirt and a wool cardigan. Great. I dress exactly like Cathy Dollanger, but I wear black instead of white. And my wool skirt is plaid.  They kiss. Eyes meld and held. There is nervous laughter.  The New Yorker has a piece about this book and chapter, and I recommend it.  Cathy decides that she is a sour lemon, contaminating Chris, who is a "barrel of good."  She decides that to make him feel "manly" she needs to give him a haircut. Holy gender roles! She says that "right now, your hair is long and pretty, like mine" and he disagrees that Cathy's hair is pretty, and says maybe it was, before the tarring. Way to make your sister feel great, Chris. Is this part of that negging thing I read about?  We learn that Chris is sleeping with a lock of Cathy's hair. It's just sort of mentioned, as though it's a perfectly normal thing. I'm not sure if this book is discussing that like it's normal as an intentional part of Cathy's narration and the general fucked-up-ness of their lives, or if VC Andrews thinks it's somehow romantic.  Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew Ew.  Chris tell her again that he's never said her hair was pretty. She rubs his cheek and thinks about how he needs to shave.  Neither Cathy, nor Carrie have had their hair trimmed since they came to Foxworth Attic. Now Cathy is claiming that only the top of hers had been snipped off to signify submission to "a mean old woman made of steel." Which makes me question again the whole "tarring" chapter, but whatever.  A line from VC Andrews pops up here.  I have to admit, I'm always a little worried about hair-cutting scenes, ever since "The Color Purple." I don't think I would cut anyone's hair, but especially not a man's. How weird is that? It seems so oddly intimate, before we get to the fact that I will likely associate it with rape for the rest of my life. Fortunately I live in a world where anyone can pop on down and get a haircut by someone with a license and not expect me to mangle up their hair. For now. Gilead could still happen.  Chris's hair hangs below his shoulders, she tries not to take too much. Cathy uses a silver backed mirror with her initials to show him her work. Apparently, she received a sterling silver set of a brush, mirror, and comb for her last birthday. She has to hide it from the Grandmother, of course.  Chris thinks he looks like Prince Valiant. Which. Um.  He calls her "Catherine Doll" which is creepy, because the whole "Dresden Dolls thing" is creepy to me. She says Prince Valiant should be lucky to look like him, and I probably agree. Then she lays it on reeeeel think with a "handsome, manly, blond brother"  OK, VC, you can go to the salon and become blonde if that's what you want. It's OK.  Chris "pounces" and chases her about the attic, threatening to cut her hair. If she gave him the haircut above, I can see why he wants revenge.  This leads to her tripping and him stabbing her with the scissors. How do you not know that running with scissors is a no-no?  Ask your mom for some more up-to-date medical journals or something. Never mind. I'm sure the medical journals at the time were still spouting the benefits of cigarettes. Then again, maybe cigarettes would be preferable to arsenic donuts.  Chris goes and gets medical supplies, Cathy worries about her sweater. I get you, Cathy, for once.  After patching her up, he leans over her, gazing into her eyes, seriously and intense. She is "in thrall," which is a word that means "a servant or captive" but in this case means "the state of being in someone's power." Which is gross. LIke this book.  She sees the suffering in her captor's eyes, which are kaleidoscopic and rainbowed. She draws his head down to her breast as she has seen her mother do??? WTF He then BLAMES HER - "why did you run? Because you ran, I had to chase. I was only teasing. I wouldn't cut one strand from your head; it was just something to do, to have fun. And you were wrong when you said I thought your hair was pretty. It's more than just pretty. I think you may grow on your head the most glorious hair in the world."  I'll leave that and allow you to make your own connections to the real world and the "it was a joke" excuse.  The lay there, with Chris on her bare breast, she pretends to not notice him stroking it. He kisses her nipple. She wonders why it feels so strange and thinks about the romance novel they read together. She says "I can't imagine them doing what comes next" (breathlessly, of course.) He wonders if Cathy knows what comes next. She does, "sort of." She asks him the same question. He laughs, and says he learned at school, in the boy's restroom.  I wonder what their relationship would be like if their father hadn't died and they attended school like normal. Chris would probably grow up and be a know-it-all condescending doctor who dismisses women's pain. Cathy would likely be rather self-centered and superficial. But also, their lifestyle was likely unsustainable regardless, so I wonder if there would be some hard truths in their future? Perhaps lots of sibling fights where he makes fun of her and she makes fun of him.  She says "you do think i'm pretty" and he moans, sits up, and stares down at her breasts. She cut off the tops of the too-small (white) leotards so he sees too much. He fastens her sweater, reminds her that she is his sister and that's weird and wrong, and reminds her that they need to check on the twins. They talk about sin.  Cory is playing on his banjo because that's a super quiet activity that no one in the house will notice. Carrie sings, Chris plays guitar. We've got a family band in the attic! They sing "Somewhere over the Rainbow" together without actually saying the name of the song because song rights.  Cory mentions that Mamma never noticed Cory's pet mouse and wonders why. Everyone is sad. Chris "brightly" explains the "new husband" aspect of her relationship. I wonder if "not telling your husband about your four minor children from a previous husband" is grounds for an annulment, because if not, Bart is really being screwed here.   Cory calls Cathy out about the blood on her shirt, they lie about it being paint. Chris says, and I am not joking, "I want to look at TV while Cathy prepares dinner." and then orders her to put on a clean shirt.  That night, Cathy thinks a lot about sex and love, and she decides that what she sees in his eyes makes her aroused. It takes five paragraphs to come to that conclusion, including some thinking about sin and the grandmother.  Act Break!

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Our Mother's Surprise" (Part 1)

Chris and Cathy go another 10 days without seeing their "mother." During these 10 days, they speculate for hours about why she went to Europe. They think of it as a punishment, so when she finally does show up again, they don't demand to be let out. They are "quiet, timid, and accepting." They believe they can not escape using the sheets, because the twins go hysterical on the roof.  Because they are so "respectful," "momma" laughs and spins around, telling them how HAPPY she is. She begs them to guess what happened.  Christopher suggests that perhaps the Grandfather has died. This annoys mommy dearest who says  Cathy reacts in a predictable manner with a dull "why don't you just tell us. We'll never be able to guess, we don't know much about your life anymore." If this were me, I would have added in a "because you haven't visited in 10 days, and prior to that it was months, including a 10 day period where we resorted to eating/drinking Christopher's blood, plus Grandmother dumped tar in my hair, the twins aren't growing, I'm being deprived of my constitutional right to an education, under Virginia's constitution, article 8, section 3, and also it's very boring! I miss my friends, I miss my bike, I miss being able to run and the twins deserve to play and they also deserve school. Can't you just drop us off at a fire station or something? We promise we'll pretend that we don't speak English or have amnesia, we don't care."  Anyway, so shocker, "Momma" has married. Chris and Cathy are unsurprised.  Ew.  This news, coupled with Momma's voice, causes Cathy to feel as though a "little gray bird of panic" has fluttered in her rib cage. It's a forced, terrible metaphor that makes less sense the more I think about it. (Why am I still thinking about it?) It's a gross mental picture.  MOTY Corrine wants her estranged children to be happy for her. Maybe they would be, if you had not LOCKED THEM IN A ROOM FOR YEARS ON END. They would have been introduced to their stepfather in an appropriate manner. How are you even going to tell him, Corrine? When? How do you start that conversation? So, "Bart, dharling, I've got a secret and it's simply horrible." Bart: "oh, corrine, you know i love you and your money until the ends of the earth" Corrine: "you'll hate me I know. (heavy sigh), I suppose, it just can not wait anymore." Bart: "love, what IS it?" (embrace)  Corrine: (break embrace) "You'll never understand, but I must share this with you as it weighs heavily upon my heart. My love. Remember when I was away from Foxworth Hall?" Bart: (Cautious) "yes, my pet" (holds hand dramatically) Corrine: "I was married"  Bart: "It's a new world out there! I love you no matter who was in your bed before me! I might have expected it, a woman of your beauty and height. Oh Corrine, I am so sorry you felt you had to hide that from me, I would have expected it. Does your mother know?"  Corrine: "She knows. There is more, my love. I have four children whom you've never met. They live with their grandmother. I miss them terribly, but they also remind me of him, and they are quite comfortable where they are. Do you think less of me?" Bart: (jokingly) "as long as you didn't lock them in a closet to starve. We all make hard choices in life, and this is your path. I love you unconditionally. Someday we'll go get those kids back, and I will love them as my own because they are yours"  Corrine looks off into the distance.  I suppose I was premature with that soap opera moment, as Corrine tells Cathy (while smiling) that Bart has been in love with her (Corrine, not Cathy) for a long time, though he was an incel loving that bachelor life (totally not code for gay in 1950). Corrine had to beg her father to be "allowed" to remarry. While she is emoting her woes all over her teenage daughter, Corrine is "nervously working" a string of "genuine pearls." Good news, everyone, she was allowed to remarry AND inherit. Gots to keep that MONAY.  Cathy is aware through body language that Momma is lying to her about the amount of love she has for Bart in comparison to money  herself Christopher the Elder, and changes the subject.  They talk about the gifts, and Momma segues into Bart's family and background. More talk about the "genuine pearls" which are on a string, being twisted around and I'm sure there is some sort of metaphor here I'm missing but It's dumb, just like the phrase "genuine pearls."  Momma asks Cory if he likes the boats and tries to talk to Carrie about dolls, but the twins talk to her like she is a stranger.  Cathy asks a probing question: Does Corrine's new husband know about the children. I bet you can guess the answer. And of course Corrine doesn't like being asked that question. I question what kind of mother she REALLY was before they went into the attic.  We also find out that Bart is also Malcolm's attorney. Which seems like a conflict of interest when there are ridiculous clauses in the inheritance, like "my daughter shall not inherit if her marriage to my brother/son produces children" even though in that case the estate would pass to the spouse, who is still living. Corrine would get nothing when he dies, only what her mother would let her have.    Cathy wants to say that a man should know when his wife has four children from a previous marriage, but Chris is an incredibly useless human being who glares "meanly" at Cathy, so she shuts up. Cathy prays for a hot minute and we get an act break. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "At Last, Momma" (Part II)

Guess who's back?

Back again.  Momma's back.  Tell your friends.  Oh, wait, Chris and Cathy don't have friends, because their selfish, terrible, inconsiderate mother (who is out-of-this world beautiful & wonderful and smells great and wears flimy negligee while interacting with her children) locked them in a room in Foxworth Hall.  In case you were interested, Corrine is wearing a "beautiful lightweight suit, with soft gray fur at the cuffs and around the neck of the jacket."  Corrine yammers on about missing them, wondering why they aren't so excited to see her, and she's got presents and excuses and she's just a full paragraph of terrible. She ends with "you didn't suffer, did you?"  Cathy is feeling conflicted,because she loves her mother and wants to trust her.  Chris's voice has dropped and he tries to be very diplomatic, saying that of course they missed her but it was wrong of her to stay away for so long. Is anyone going to be like "Mom, we feel like shit, the twins aren't growing, and by the way, our grandmother didn't feed us for 10 days? Look the scar on Chris's arm from where he fed us with his blood." or even "hey, in case you didn't know, we are children and children need to be in school" or "hi mom, can you please get me a bra?"  Anyway, so Corrine is upset at Chris, and asks him if something went wrong.  He responds with an impassioned plea for her to really look at them, and realize how much they have grown up in the attic.  They argue and talk about love. Chris feels that he has to love his mother, and it goes on for several paragraphs. In short, they love her, but they have had enough of being in the attic. He demands that she let them out of the room. He offers to let her off, scot free. She'll never have to see them again. Cathy thinks about the starvation, the tar, and the blood drinking. Cathy decides that what Chris is saying and the way he is saying it to Corrine is her fault. I'm not sure why she thinks that what he does has anything to do with her, but apparently the mom has also decided that Chris's behavior is Cathy's fault.  So convoluted. Cathy starts yelling at Corrine as well, pointing out the obvious - the twins are gaunt and have dull hair, their eyes are "hollowed out" and look unhealthy. Corrine doesn't like this, turning away and crying. Corrine manipulates the children, textbook style. She turns it around, pointing out that the children agreed to wait in the attic until the patriarch's death. She promises rewards in the future. Cathy is touched by Corrine's monologuing, but isn't buying it. Chris is quiet. Cathy follows suit.  Corrine cries about her children being ungrateful. Says that she is the only person who cares about them. They hug their mother and apologize to her.  Pardon me, but  God damn it.  Corrine is such a bitch.  Corrine looks awful, btw, while she's being stone cold. Mascara is dripping down her face, her lipstick is smeared, her hair is a mess. Cathy points this out. I can't say I wouldn't be equally petty if I were narrating a book about my imprisonment.  Corrine ignores everyone but Chris, and tells him that she purchased a set of encyclopedias for him. They are bound in genuine red leather, tooled in twenty-four-karat gold around four sides, and hubbed-spined a full half-inch outward. They will have his name on them, but she can't mail them to him directly.  Cathy is at least smart enough to think about the cost of the books and how that money could be better used in their escape from Foxworth Prison funds, but then realizes that Chris really wants them.  How much the world has changed! When i was a kid, we had encyclopedias in the hallways, AND a CD-ROM encyclopedia that took equally if not longer to use. These genuine leather bound encyclopedias that cost Corrine thousands are now worth nothing. Momma Corrine raises her head "regally" and turns to leave. She then tells them the following:  That's not how this works, Corrine. Turns out that the mother-of-the-year didn't speak, touch, hug, or even really look at the twins. So Cathy sucks it up and pretends to be happy for them. Carrie is concerned that she looks funny, and didn't grow. Cathy lies and tells her she grew lots. They open their gifts.  New books, new toys, new games, new puzzles. Corrine knew their tastes and hobbie, but not their sizes. She also brought Cathy books she's already read.  Cory was gifted a banjo. Not even going to question the logic here. Corrine is all "oh, it's so hard for me to sneak gifts to you" ... but here's a banjo that I wrapped. Never mind me, servants, mind your business, I'm just carrying a stack of wrapped gifts to the attic, nothing to see here, it's not weird. Cory immediately knows how to play it and Carrie sings along. If only Corrine wasn't a terrible person, they could have managed to make money by becoming a family band!  Cathy is lectured by her brother. She is too upset to eat the candy, and he yells at her about playing the martyr and suffering needlessly.  The dresses her mother got her don't fit in the bust, because we can't go a chapter without being reminded that Cathy has breasts. I am glad that Lifetime decided to do this recently, otherwise it might have ended up as a limited HBO series; and no one needs that.  Chris is a complete ass while Cathy is upset. He tells her:  Thankfully, Cathy yells at him. But not in the "destroyed by words" way I want to yell at his smug, stupid, douche-bro face. She tells him to shut up, and that she shouldn't have to point out that she's no longer a tween, it's obvious that her mother hasn't looked at her. Unfortunately, she closes her statement with "what you need is a jock strap - and some sense in your head that doesn't come from a book!" Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.  Cathy flounces out and starts dancing in the attic. After pointing out that she hates everyone and everything and wants to be dead. Well, she is a teenager, so some of that is hormonal and some of it is situational, and she's entitled to her feelings. She dances so hard and fast that she falls and hurts herself. She struggles on her now-bum knee and climbs out onto the roof and contemplates throwing herself into the rose bushes. (Where there be thorns!) And imagines a future where the mother and grandmother make up a story about a local girl climbing up the house and dying, and then Corrine feeling so bad that she lets Chris and the twins out. Cathy then wonders "what if momma doesn't care" and worries about the twins. Cathy climbs back up the roof and lays outside well into night, getting colder and colder. She ponders God and Heaven.  Eventually Chris comes up and gives her a jacket. He tells her that the twins have eaten dinner & they only pretended to eat all of the candy. She's like "wtf is wrong with you" in her head, but is unable to voice her concerns. He lectures her about not saying "ugly things." Cathy points out that what she said is true, and it's what she feels, and she knows he feels the same way. He says that he has never wished himself dead, and that she shouldn't say such things or even think about death.  Fuck that. Stop trying to make mental health about "smiling more." You will be a shitty doctor, Christopher Dollanganger Foxworth Jr.  Eventually, Chris tells her that he isn't stupid and he knows that she's more of a mother to the twins than Corrine. Since this is a "gothic horror romance" novel, we learn that his voice is "gritty, hushed, and deep." He also spoke "without bitterness, only regret - just the flat, emotionless way a doctor tells his patient he has a terminal illness."  How would she even know about the "flat emotionless way a doctor tells his patients he has a terminal illness?" She's been locked in an attic for several years, medical dramas aren't really a thing yet, and as far as I know, they have lived a pretty charmed life and never heard a doctor diagnose anyone with a terminal illness.  Cathy also points out "what a perfect way to strike back at Momma and the grandparents." She decides that God has closed his eyes to everything the day Jesus was put on the cross. She also realizes that her Daddy would see her and feels shame. Chris demands that she look at him.  She then apologizes to him, saying she didn't mean it, and she's just so afraid all the time and how she wants to do things, outside things. They hold each other.  Finally, she points out that they have to take the initiative, and points out that old adage that many of our fundies forget: "God helps those who help themselves."  Chris pathetically says "I'll give it some thought, though, as Momma said, we could come any day into that fortune."   

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "At Last, Momma"

I am on the second paragraph of this chapter and it seems like the last chapter was a short story she wrote about this family and jammed it in. This chapter opens with a reminder of the whipping, but no lasting repercussions. Just that Cathy & Chris never discussed them. She often catches him staring at her. (PSST, that's because he's a teenage boy with no role models, a neckbeard spirit, and "nice guy" vibes)  Paragraph two is where the reader is once again reminded that Cathy has breasts.  Chris has also hit puberty, but I don't really feel like describing that. NO WAIT OMG.  ...  Cathy has a sudden epiphany and stops polishing the school desks. I'm reminded of my old boss (both old as in, prior, and old as in WHY ARE YOU STILL WORKING) who once made fun of our ED at the time for cleaning his "work surface" which always confused me. Cathy turns to look at Cory and Carrie and is astounded because she realized that they haven't grown much in 2 years and four months. "Their bodies seemed frail flower stems too weak to support the blossoms of their heads"  Christopher seems to think that they need to go outside and get sun. I suppose they could be lacking vitamin D. I don't know if that means that they will stop growing. Mostly it makes people depressed and susceptible to bone pain and cardiovascular events. This is where I stopped to take my supplements, as pretty much everyone in the northern hemisphere is Vit D deficient. Also, weirdly enough, Australia. Of course, if you go outside in Aus, you'll get skin cancer from the sun and/or be eaten/poisoned/attacked by creatures that live no where else. Like the Blue Ring Octopus, or the evil and DEADLY Drop Bear. Or you'll just get Chlamydia from a koala.  The older Dollangers decide to drag the little 'uns outside. I guess they are six. Cathy... "I leaned to heft Carrie's slight weight." Kind of sounds like she's calling her six year old malnourished sister fat.  It's Thursday, so the "servants" are off and spending their day in town. Supposedly it's "safe" to use the back part of the roof. The kids wake up and flail around and panic and scream. I don't understand why they don't want to go on the roof. Carrie bites and hits Cathy. They decide that trying to force them out endangers all of them. They measure them in the school room, looks like the young'uns have only grown two inches in height in two years. Cathy brags about growing "many, many inches between five and seven". YES! I now know that the twins are seven. They should be around 48 inches and 50-60 lbs, but I'm a USA-ian so adjust those weights as needed. Cathy knows that her twin sibs were smaller at birth, five pounds each, with Carrie having an ounce on Cory.  Cathy is bawling her eyes out into her brother's chest and hating her mother for ruining her children's lives, while simultaneously comparing the twins to plants and trembling in her brother's embrace. She decides that once they are FREE they will catch up. Oh, Cathy,  you are so naive.  She wonders if it is money or love that makes the world go round.  Let's ask Liza Or perhaps Meryl J-Lo? LMM That's the act break, folks. Stay tuned for part two. It's gonna be good long.   

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "To Find a Friend"

This installment of the bestest ever book series opens with a scintillating passage.  Isn't that just the definition of scintillating? Clever, skillful writing.  Chris yells "What the hell is going on now?" which is another one of Grandmother's rules. The rules that have been conveniently been forgotten as they watch TV. I don't see them staring at books they can't read for five hours a day, anymore.  Cory is upset because one of the mousetraps has worked, and there is a mouse who is chewing off his own foot. Mice are SO gross. I mean, they are cute when the have the little white bodies and are on TV, but actual mice in houses are always weird brown lumps that scurry around and are gross. The first time I had one in my house I literally jumped on a chair, like a weirdo from a 60s movie. It was instinctual. But, of course, Cory wants Cathy to save the mouse. Cory has never had a pet before. Cory, sweetie, at this point, you ARE a pet. You are locked into a room and your mother takes you out once in a while to look at and play with, and then she puts you away when she grows bored. Maybe VC Andrews is a better writer than I give her credit for?  All punctuation errors in the previous quote are as written in the book. And, no, he doesn't have everything money can buy.  He doesn't have healthcare! Just like millions of Americans.  We get a page and a half of Chris and Cathy's efforts to macgyver a solution to save the mouse. Unlike The Lost World: Jurassic Park, they did not set the wild animal's leg with gum. Which is a much more interesting book than this, though not without it's problems. One of which was setting an infant T-Rex's leg with chewing gum. This scene made it into the film, though the characters were changed.  Carrie interrupts often to yell at Cathy and hit Chris. Discipline, Carrie, discipline.  Speaking of discipline, Grandmother has entered the battle room again. This time they are all still in their nightclothes, no ropes to conceal their bodies from each other. They have unwashed faces, tousled hair, and BARE FEET OMG.  Speaking of "shoes in the house" I ended up reading a "spirited discussion" this morning on Reddit. It went about as well as that conversation topic went over here. How weirdly privileged are we (people in general) to have so much emotional attachment around shoes?  It gets worse! The beds aren't made. They left clothes laying on chairs! Chris is in the bathroom with Carrie!  What about the failure of the Grandmother to provide adequate places for their clothes? Or, you know, beds for four children instead of just two?  Carrie's eyes go wide.  (Carrie's eyes are BLUE because apparently BLUE eyes are best in VC's World.)  Chris picks up the terrified 6-8 year old and shoves her in Cathy's lap, saying he's going to look for a birdcage for the mouse. Grandmother remains silent.  Grandmother purses her lips and looks at Cory with stone-cold eyes. She tells him that a pet like that suits him.  It takes two weeks to win over the mouse's affection. (Taming him, if you will.) I'm still a bit grossed out by it. By a bit, I mean They talk about the damn mouse some more, Carrie yells about it being in the dollhouse. No sign of their mother.   

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic:"One Rainy Afternoon"

One Rainy Afternoon (Page 269 Kindle)  This stock photo makes me laugh. Completely unrelated to anything happening in the book.  He keeps coming up in my searches, and I was going to write a story about him, but I'm feeling uninspired. I suppose I still can. I'm going to call him "Gary." Gary is a mans-man, he's not a beta soy boy cuck, he likes to forge metal and drive a truck. He's the guy that Donald Trump aspires to be, despite his disproportionately small hands. After Gary makes a metal ring, he flexes his muscles and ... I can never be a 4Chan porn writer. I'm looking at this photo like "you are unsafe! Put a shirt on! Put eye protection on! Why is that forge just a random pile of burning ash? Where are your gloves? Are there kids running around making those chalk marks? What even is the giant circle of metal?  Right. Back to the book. Chris is holding open the tapestries, which are heavy. Please take them down and wash them in a washing machine, Concrete Boobs. As you can tell, it's raining. Chris is waiting for the four o'clock train. Cathy is sitting "cross-legged" on the bed she shares with Carrie. I actually wonder if "cross-legged" was in the original edition, or if the common 70s term for that position got switched. If someone is editing 37 year old books for non-offensive language, then we should definitely be concerned with 35 year old allegations of sexual assault.  Cathy is scrapbooking. She's scrapbooking her wedding, to be exact.  Pre-Pinterest life must have been hard. Cutting and pasting with scissors and glue. Eww. No Thank You. Her life is mapped out. Career, husband, children when retired. This is a side note so she can describe her future bathroom. She lives in an attic with three siblings so I'll let her have this dream. Which, after looking up "emerald glass" I may actually share. Her description of the bathroom leads into a long description of how she will smell and how she will feel getting out of the tub without anyone bothering her. It's almost touching, if a bit dramatic and self-centered. I suppose she's allowed to be a little selfish, she's been raising her siblings for literally years by now.  She tries to talk to Chris about escape. He's gripping the curtains and angry. Her impulse is to run and kiss him, and cuddle his head on her breast. Dear god, you have to get out of this room. Momma's been ghosting them for two months. They talk about where she would go if anywhere. This is a conversation I've had a lot in my life. Cathy would like to go somewhere warm, like a sunny beach, which she describes in excruciating detail, because no one has ever been to a beach before. I'd go to Hawaii, specifically the same VRBO we were in before. Except I can't, because it's now literally a pile of lava rocks. Next option would be to find a very similar place but not in the lava flow zone, buy it, and stay there forever and forget about the rest of the US, while still reaping the small benefits of being a citizen with a passport that can go most places? I don't know, maybe Belize or Mexico or Canada? I would love to live in a warm place but I also like the cold. Chris wants to surf and describes it oddly.  She tells him to get away from the windows and he throws a hissy fit, which includes whining about the food. Cathy says that it's not worth it to suffer like this for money. Chris's face is red and he yells at her about his education and how if they run away he'll never be an MD, and how the only jobs he can get to support them would be "fruit-picker," dishwasher, short-order cook. (Is that the same as a line cook?) He's in a tight spot, but duh, if you don't leave the attic you'll never get into med school. Also, you'll never get in because you missed 4 years of secondary ed that you can never get back. Cathy yells back that she can work too, and she tries to helpmeet him.  Chris, being a neckbeard, questions what she can do in a way that I am reading as "what can a girl with no skills do?" But before the fight heats up, duh duhnnnn dum! Grandmother enters the battle  room. He refuses to move from the window and berates his elder for calling him boy. Concrete Boobs tells Christopher that she HATES the name Christopher! SHOCKING. She's spitting out some plot points.  Stress can cause illness, but to say that your daughter caused her father's heart disease is a bit much. There are genetic markers and besides, Corrine is the victim here! She's the one groomed by her creepy uncle Christopher.  Chris points out that they are not to blame for their parents sins. Concrete Boobs retorts that they ARE to blame for what they did. He wonders what is sinful about being locked in this room. He yells at her, Cathy tells him to stop, Concrete Boobs (CB) slams the door as she leaves. Chris tells her that they can hide from her in the attic as she's scared of the stairwell. (Did this come up before? I'm sure it must have. I know it came up when they were arguing over Cathy's hair, but do we know why CB is scared of the stairwell? Is it normal for grown people to be scared of stairs? Is she a horse?) Grandmother comes back with a switch. I bet none of you saw that coming.  She grabs Chris's arm and hisses that if he hides in the attic, no one will eat for a week! Oh, and she'll whip Cathy as well.  We cut to a calendar. Chris will be 17 in a month. He is small, compared to the huge frame of O'le Concrete Boobs. The twins are clinging to each other. Grandmother drags Chris into the bathroom, where she demands that he strips and lean over the bathtub. Carrie pleads for Cathy to make CB stop. Carrie, it's time you understood power.  Cathy monologues about how they are "like one" and blah blah blah. She screamed everytime the whip hit. How soundproofed is this room? Cathy keeps screaming as Chris comes out of the bathroom in a towel swathed around his hips. Cory bites Grandmother's leg, she kicks Cory, Cathy is told to go into the bathroom and strip, and Cathy goes with:  "I'm going to get even one day, old woman."  "There's going to come a day when you are going to be the helpless one, and I'm going to hold the whip in my hands. And there's going to be food in the kitchen that you are never going to eat, for, as you incessantly say, God sees everything, and he as his way of working justice, an eye for an eye is his way, Grandmother!"   Grandmother with the knife slashed mouth says "Never speak to me again!" which is not what I call great grandparenting. Then again, your daughter was groomed by an older uncle whom she married so maybe it's not just a Grandparent Fail. The twins are screaming, Cathy's curled up trying to protect her breasts (I think VC or the editor just wanted to squeeze in yet another use of the word "breasts")  After calling CB a monster, Cathy is knocked unconscious, soap opera style.  In real life, this generally means a brain injury, but this is fiction, so she'll be fine. Concussions, lingering effects of malnutrition, being stunted educationally and socially, eh, they'll all be fine as long as Chris goes to Med School. I don't think I'd be comfortable with my doctor being married to his sister. but that's me. She wakes up from being knocked on conscious in yet another grandmother fail, and she cleans up Chris' back while he cleans her cuts and bruises. Sleeping Beauty just happens to be playing on the record player in the attic, which does not drift into the rest of the house at all.  They are in the same bed, on their sides, under a sheet, with their eyes locked. Caressing each other softly. Singing (?) and kissing, and talking about how it's wrong. There is bitter laughter. It's gross. Gross language, lots of swelling and turmoil. Then there is the forced Sleeping Beauty Aurora metaphor.  Next Chapter: "To Find a Friend" Will they get out of the attic? (no) Will they meet a housekeeper who promises false hope? (no.) Where are the twins? (who knows, probably in tupperware.) 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "A Taste of Heaven" (Part 2)

Oh boy, here we go again. To distract myself from the rage inducing political nonsense that is going on (We have SERIOUS issues in the US, and it's not just guns and the economy and Trump, it's a serious undercurrent of anti-intellectual propaganda and ridiculousness) I have decided, once again, to reduce my blood pressure by laughing at the absurdity of a novel about incest. Fun fact: My local newspaper won't let me use the word "incest" in the comment section, which is really fun when trying to explain what the Hyde Amendment actually does and does not do.  I digress. Guess where our heroes, Cathy and Chris are? If you guessed "the attic" I think you might be wrong. They are in the bedroom adjacent to the attic. Attic-adjacent. Chris is on his bed, staring at his sister. He apologizes for forgetting that she is so weak in the arms. Ass. That is not an apology, dick.  "The night lamp was burning with a rosy glow over in the corner." Their eyes met. So she met his eyes, as he was already staring at her. Where are the twins? This is terrible writing, are the twins just sleeping through all of this in separate beds? Who is beating them into submission, they should be trying to stay up late and yelling "you aren't my mom" at Cathy. Has VC Andrews met a six year old? (eight year old? It's been a week, I can't remember.)  Cathy is not sorry that they went out. Good. Go out again, this time with your siblings. Or don't. Just leave them. She continues to badger Chris with questions about their mother.  She's been gone over a month, never stayed away so long before. I think that might contradict what I just read. They discuss having children and how Cathy will never lock them away. Chris reminds her she doesn't want children. She says the most absurd thing:  Feminism has come so far in so many ways. Cathy - if you don't want kids, don't have them! If you do, have them! But don't do it for a man unless you also want to spend your days wiping spit and being touched by sticky hands and hearing screams for a year. Of course, perhaps you'll just go into debt like your mother and get yourself a nanny to raise them. Or die young, in a tragic accident, leaving your daughter alone to carry on your legacy. Who knows? Anything can happen when you are nothing more than a dream.  Chris tells her she's pretty and he knew she'd change her mind. Dick.  She thinks for a few paragraphs and we move on to the next chapter. Which should be good, it's called "One Rainy Afternoon." Enticing!  So much of this chapter could be condensed. If she wanted to show that they tried to leave and realized why it wasn't a great idea, fine. But having her nearly be unable to get back up isn't the way - she could still figure out a way to get the twins down (or have them climb down too, they are 6 or 8 not toddlers) and if they are leaving forever, it doesn't matter if they can't get back up.  The conversations could have all been shortened and combined into one, at the lake.  I do think that even though it was written in 79, setting it earlier makes sense. These kids weren't accustomed to modern tech, so they would be docile for a while with a TV. Me, I'd be going nuts if I was stuck with antenne tv only and no internet. Times sure have changed!  I really want to see the original film. It looks so soapy.   

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "A Taste of Heaven" (Part 1)

This chapter is called "A Taste of Heaven." And that's all I have to say about that. Make your own jokes about heaven.  Cathy & Chris climb down the rope ladder. It's night, the moon is out. It takes less than ten minutes for her to climb down. She gets down and he hugs her close. Boundaries, Chris.  All the rooms of Foxworth Hall are dark, but the "servant's quarters" are bright yellow. I have written several snarky paragraphs about this but they might be taken wrong. Regardless, we have enough staff that lives on site that there are dedicated "quarters" for the "servants."  (Seriously, though, is this a former plantation or just a rich person's mansion? I don't know enough about southeast USA and will rectify that soon.)  Wooo Reference that I don't get at all! Is it The Simpsons? (no, because this book was published in 1979, and The Simpsons didn't come out until the late 80s early 90s, I still remember it being "controversial") Is it a reference to a certain Scottish Tragedy? I don't know.  Chris knows the way to the swimming hole because Momma had told them about it once, several years ago.  They cross over a bridge, holding hands, and they find the water at 10:30. This is NOT safe. I am 100% pro open water swimming, I think all kids should be exposed to swimming early, and I think it's a wonderful tool, especially in states with massive amounts of water, like anything on a coast, or Minnesota, or anything bordering a Great Lake, or ... well, people need water to survive so almost all cities are on some sort of river, lake, or coast. Its a method of transportation and fresh water is crucial to survival.   Fun Historical Fact: The Aleuts came from the Aleutian Islands, which is a chain of islands that stretch from the Alaskan Peninsula to Russia. They are windy, cold, and it rains all the time. Some of them have no fresh water. I can't imagine living in the "traditional" way of several families per subterranean home.  Anyway, so first the Russians invaded and made them all be Russian Orthodox, then the US came and was like "we need this land" and then the Japanese came and took some as POWs in WWII. Others were "relocated" to a cannery in Southeast Alaska, 30 miles from where we held our Nazi POWs. Guess who was treated nicer?  Back on topic!  Cathy says they have to swim in their underwear, but she doesn't own a bra. They dive in (in the DARK, which is dangerous, nor do they know anything about this body of water never having swam in it before). Chris jumps off some rocks and hits his head, is knocked unconscious and drowns. Oh, nope, he dives in, pretends to drown, swims under the water and pulls Cathy under. NO HORSEPLAY. STOP IT. DON'T MAKE ME USE MY WHISTLE. They splash around and sing at each other. Suddenly Cathy is tired and Chris has to help her out of the water, delicate flower that she is. They look at the stars and the fireflies. Cathy asks him questions about the fireflies and is astounded that he doesn't know everything. GAG.  k C&C realize that they are the same age as their parents when their parents met and fell in love. Chris's voice is hoarse. He tells Cathy that he used to see pretty girls at school and "fall in love" with her, but then realize that they were often stupid. Did they then dump you for a "chad?"  Cathy asks him if SHE is stupid and he *shudder* touches her hair and tells her no. He also tells her she's great, and then calls her "silly girl." They discuss their mother, while looking at "Polaris, the north star."  He becomes irritable at Cathy's incessant questioning about his feelings toward his mother. Yeah, Cathy, you are his little sister and you are together 24-7. Not that it's any excuse for him to be mean to you. She starts to question him about dating and claims that a girl of her age (14) is actually one year older than him (17). She also calls him "Mr Big Brain" which I don't think is normally how siblings communicate but I don't know for sure. He finally admits that he's mad as hell at his mother, and he misses having "a man" to talk about having feelings or whatever with. It's OK, Chris, you can miss your father. You can even say "I miss dad." Because it doesn't seem like anyone really cares about the death of their father anymore.  He's also upset that Cathy's hair is taking so long to grow back, for some (pervy) reason.  Cathy's white PJ pants are clinging to her and Chris's white jockey shorts are clinging to him. Seriously. We went from "i miss my dad" (without saying it) to "I miss your hair" to "our wet clothes are white and clinging to us." I think VC Andrews could have done quite well churning out romance novels.  They head back to Foxworth, and Cathy suggests making slings to carry the twins (who have to be almost 8 by now) and running away. Only, OH NO. Cathy slips on her way up. She's having a lot harder of a time going up than going down. I occasionally dabble in rock climbing and I think I have the opposite problem. Downclimbing is harder for me. But I also have not been starved. Nor have I ever started at the top, down climbed, and then climbed back up. I imagine the second leg would be much more difficult that way.  Couldn't they sneak into the house through the door?  Disable the lock? Overpower Ole Cement Boobs, grab the kids and flee? Or, you know, leave them there. Maybe since they are smaller, Momma can write it off as "oh, look at my twins, just one pregnancy, not even Christopher Sr's kids, I sinned, sorry!" Or make up something? I mean, if Momma really cared, she would have concocted some story where she found out that Christopher the Elder Brother/Uncle was sterile but she wanted kids so she cheated or they adopted or something. Anything other than "let's lock em in the attic!" PARTY. Maybe what's her name in Florida was inspired by this book.  Sorry, that was dark.  Anyway, so Cathy is swinging free "held only by weak hands" because she's a ballerina and therefore petite and weak except ballerinas have to be STRONG so why is she floundering around like a wet noodle?  She screams, and I'm picturing Lois Lane in Superman. Chris yells down to her. HOW HAS NO ONE WOKEN UP YET? I understand that this is an older house and it's much larger than the Jonbenet Ramsey home in Colorado but COME ON.  She's crying and climbing and shockingly the narrator of this book doesn't fall off of her homemade sheet rope. Chris grabs her in "a tight embrace" and she's actually happy to be back inside.  End of Act 1 I have no idea what is going on there, but it didn't happen in the book. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Growing Up, Growing Wiser" (Part 2)

I quit yesterday with one page left in this chapter. I had no idea. I would have finished had I known. No matter. We'll finish it now. To recap yesterday's work:  The impossibly blonde and beautiful blue-eyed bimbo Cathy and her hunk of burning love brother Christopher (hereby known as Chris, to avoid mix-ups with his father, also called Christopher.) play monopoly after being starved in an attic for several weeks while baby-sitting their younger siblings. Who are also very blonde and attractive and now consider Chris and Cathy their parents. This isn't weird, because Christopher married Corrine and he is actually her older half-brother/uncle. Christopher died in a car wreck, Michael Bay style. Check out the first entry in this series if you'd like to refresh your memory on that plot line (no, don't, I just told you. It was maybe one paragraph and shared through dialogue. The writer needed to save space for the riveting tale of Monopoly in Part Two). I will spare you the details of the Monopoly. Turns out it's just as boring to read about as it is to play.  So on the last page of the first chapter of part two, Chris whispers in Cathy's ear at night. It's late August and he would like to go swimming. Well, so would I. I can't imagine how gross that attic must be, late August, Virginia. Heat rises. Central Air is not a thing yet. It's also the attic and a small room that attaches to the attic on the top floor of the Foxworth Mansion. Cathy is sulky because she lost at Monopoly. Not because she was recently starved and kept in an attic while going through puberty with her older brother and twin younger siblings. Nope, she's sour because of monopoly. Not because her mother abandoned her, her friends are all in Pennsylvania, and her Grandmother poured hot tar in her hair (impossibly) while she was sleeping.  Chris is like "hey, I made a ladder so we can get out in case of fire." (I don't think it's foreshadowing. I think it's something that the ghostwriter decided to roll with). Cathy protests, he's like "we're stronger now and have to practice" They talk about leaving a note for the twins, who may or may not be able to read.  We learn that there are eight (8) chimneys on the roof. Chris has made a ladder out of sheets. There is no description of where the sheets came from. Magic sheets, I guess.  Chris explains to her how to climb down the rope he made, because in 1950, if girls took gym, their uteruses would fall out.  The final line of the chapter:  DUM DUM DUHHHHHN.  What will happen next? Will they decide to run away and contact a LEO to retrieve their siblings and put them in foster care? Did foster care exist in the 1950s? Will they happen across a kindly stranger in a cabin in the woods who is also a witch who wants to eat children? Will they get caught? Find out next time! 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae



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