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FJ Reviews & Recaps

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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

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Mr Willy Wonka's Factory The old people are old. They are not only chronologically old, but they are physically old and described in great detail how very old they are. They are so old they are willing to stay in bed for years, all day, every day. They are so old they are sharing a bed with people who at one time were acquaintances. Grandpa George and Grandpa Joe only know each other because their children married. Mr and Mrs Bucket (who have no first names) must not have siblings. And while I understand this is a children's story and it makes it easier for kids... what are the chances of a "George" marrying a "Georgina" and a "Joe" marrying a "Josephine" ... and then the children of these people married each other. Maybe the reason they don't have names is because Roald Dahl couldn't think of a third form of Joe and George.  Anyway, so back to the story. Charlie likes to listen to the old people's stories at night. He will spend up to HALF AN HOUR listening to these old people talk. The old people who sleep almost all day and only perk up when Charlie is around.  This is depressing.  One night, Charlie (who has a fixation on this chocolate factory) asks the Grandparents about Wonka's Chocolate Factory. It's the biggest in the world. The Grandparents have nothing bad to say about Mr. Willy Wonka. He's just amazing and extraordinary and famous and everyone in the world loves him. And he's got all these amazing chocolate inventions, like a way to make chocolate ice cream that stays cold and doesn't melt.  He's got gum that doesn't lose it's flavour, and caramels that change color, and a million other things. Charlie and Grandpa Joe talk about this and are kind of sad about not having any money.  Then Grandpa Joe says he's going to tell Charlie about "that crazy Indian prince" and the chapter ends. DUN DUN DUN.       

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: Prologue & "Good-bye, Daddy"

I thought I might attempt a reread of the "classic" coming of age/incestfest novel "Flowers in the Attic." Those of us of a certain age remember reading these in secret, learning about horror and sex and rich people's games. I, however, did not read it in secret. Rather my mom checked it out of the library for me. I'm not sure why, or what about it appealed to her or if the librarian suggested it. But somehow I ended up reading this one and a number of other VC Andrews books.  For those of you who don't know, VC Andrews wrote this book, and a handful of others. Then she died and the publishers hired a ghostwriter to finish off this series, the Casteel Series, and a few others. He later added to this series, rewriting them from Christopher's POV. I have not read that far into it. Too many terrible books by this "author." Flowers in the Attic is a story about a preteen who is literally locked in an attic with her two brothers and sister. By her mother and grandmother.  Anyway, I paid money for the kindle edition of this book, i'm not sure why. I had forgotten that it's divided up into "parts" and then "chapters."  We start with the Prologue, which is written from Cathy's POV. It's clear that we are supposed to believe that she is literally writing this novel. She compares herself to Charles Dickens, says she is using false names, and living in fake places. She claims that she thinks of herself and her family as "flowers in the attic." Paper flowers. Brightly colored and then faded and dulled through nightmarish days. K.  Chapter One: Good-bye Daddy.  Cathy, our main character, has a brother named Chris. Her father's name is Christopher, her mother's name is Corrine, and her twin brother and sister are called Cory and Carrie. This should be fun. Not at all confusing. She describe at length how great her father was. He was 6'2, 180, tan, "hair was thick and flaxen blond, waved enough to be perfect; his eyes were cerulean blue and sparkled with laughter." He played tennis and golf and ran away all week leaving the kids in the car of their mother. He "warmed their mouths with kisses."  I thought the incest came later.  Her mother, on the other hand, would spend half the day in a beauty parlor, come home, bathe, "emerge in a filmy negligee." Because that's exactly how 12-year-old girls describe their parents. Much is made about how her mother is "a creature so ravishingly beautiful she didn't look real." and Momma answers questions with kisses. (Mother kisses father, but father spends a LOT of time kissing Cathy as well.)  Cathy tells the story of when she and Christopher found out that Mother was pregnant and the twins came; Cathy was upset so father came and talked to her. Beautiful bit of prose:  Then Daddy slips a gold ring on Cathy's finger.  The twins are born, and we get a bit of foreshadowing with the babysitter remarking that Corrine and Christopher look more like "brother and sister than husband and wife."   We find out that they are called "Dollanganger" but sometimes people call them the "Dresden dolls" which I'm guessing I don't know about because this book was published before I was born.  Christopher (Daddy) is killed in a car accident on his 36th birthday. Oy, I can't imagine having a 14 year old right now. Also I probably read these when I was Cathy's age and now I'm almost Christopher's age and ugh I'm going to have a completely different perspective on these books, aren't i?  It's a sad story about how they were waiting with friends and he's killed and I remember reading about how they found the plushies and clothes on the side of the road when the suitcase was ejected from the car.  Even sadder is this is just the first car accident that VC Andrews wrote and it's probably the best executed. I mean, later there will be another car accident in this series, and I know there is at least one in the Casteel series. That can't be it though! I mean, these books all have the same things going on: incest, deaths, houses that are named, extreme poverty, abuse, extreme wealth, tragic accidents (I believe there is a character in the Casteel series who is thrown from his horse and dies, tragically. Only he's not dead! He is hiding because he loves someone he can't be with!)  Anyway, the car accident is described through dialogue, which.. well, here:  Brilliant writing. Very realistic dialogue.  At some point after the funeral Cathy and her Mamma have a talk. Cathy wants to pretend that her daddy will come home, Corinne doesn't want that. And then we find out that Cathy feels envy towards her mother, as she looks like her mother, but comes in second after her. Um. OK.  IIRC, Christopher and Corinne are half brother/half sister? Or some other sort of relation; either way I guess they don't have the same mother.  I'm still on the first chapter. Page 26 out of 411. We find out that Christopher and Corinne made most of their purchases on credit; that Corinne is the reason why - she asked for the bigger house, and she would convince him that luxuries were necessities. Everything will be repossessed. It's tragic. Cathy cries about losing her dolls. The mom is talking about hiding the engagement ring. Then she gives Christopher and Cathy the "good news" which is that they will be going to Virginia, where she grew up. And her parents are rich! "Not just middle-class rich, or upper-class rich, but very, very rich! Filthy, unbelievably, sinfully rich!" Because that's what children who just lost their loving father care about.  They can only bring two suitcases for four kids, as the mom needs two for her things. She's already the most selfish mother I've read about in the last 20 minutes and we haven't even gotten to the part where she locks the kids in the attic yet.  Also:  That's when "Momma" decides to let them know that their "real" surname is Foxworth. Both of Corinne's older brothers died in "accidents." I vaguely remember one of them driving off of a cliff on his motorcycle. Obviously the lesson learned from VC Andrews is: don't be poor. don't be "filthy rich." don't drive cars or motorcycles or ride horses or go skiing. Also, it's okay to love your brother and marry him.  Christopher pleads for her to reconsider & find a way. She gives a little rant about how she has no skills and can't support four children. OBVIOUSLY this is the only option. To go back to Foxworth Hall and try to get back into her father's will. Not, you know, go to secretary school and ask the church for a handout or get on food stamps and move into a smaller house and do odd jobs. Nope, this is VC Andrews world, where a father in W. Virginia literally sold his children (one of which ends up mauled by a tiger) and where it's perfectly normal to seduce your stepfather for revenge.  Or to buy a daughter from a shack in the West Virginia Mountains, and proceed to abuse her. I think someone in one of the books was forced to drink castor oil to induce a miscarriage as well.  Anyway, so Corinne (Momma) needs two suitcases for her things and the four children have to share the other two suitcases. They leave just about everything behind. 

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

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chapter 10

Chapter 10  It is now winter in unnamed city of indeterminate size, in the year of "industrial revolution/Victorian era. Or maybe later. Who knows. It's winter. It's snowing, and the Bucket family + Mrs Bucket's parents are cold, hungry, and still very poor. Soon after the candy bars ran out, Mr Bucket lost his job at the toothpaste factory. So the three meals of cabbage soup a day are halved. Mr Bucket goes out to try and earn money by shoveling, but it doesn't feed the family. Charlie begins to try and eat the chocolate scented air.  Grandpa Joe, stating the obvious, points out that Charlie is growing and has to eat more. Charlie, though, being the Mary-ist of Mary Sues, refuses any extra food. He even made his mom take back an extra slice of bread when she tried to slip him her portion.  Charlie, as he is starving, starts to move about his life slower. He skips recess, he leaves for school early so he can walk slower. One day, walking home from school, he finds a dollar. (So he's in the states then? Or can I assume that the UK edition has him finding some sort of note or pence or bobbin? ) Charlie looks around to see if anyone had dropped it, though it was half buried in the snow. He then thinks "food." But before he takes it home to him mother, he decides to buy a candy bar. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chapter 1

I was "inspired" to reread the children's classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" today, when @HerNameIsBuffy voiced a thought I've had many times about Grandpa Joe. I posted the photo of the cover I am most familiar with, which is the 1970's cover. Apparently I too was poor as a child and read mostly used, hand-me-down books. Fine with me! Less wasted paper in the world, I suppose.  Chapter 1: Here Comes Charlie  We are immediately introduced to our main characters by having drawings of them along with their names and relationships. Grandpa Jo is married to Grandma Josephine. They are very old and the parents of Mr. Bucket. Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina are the parents of Mrs. Bucket. Mr and Mrs Bucket do not have first names. They have a child named Charlie. All six adults and the one "small boy" live in a wooden house that is too small for them. The able bodied adults and their child sleep in one room on mattresses on the floor. The grandparents all share one bed. I feel uncomfortable thinking about what it must smell like.  This family is poor.  The only person with a job is Mr. Bucket, who works in a toothpaste factory before they designed a machines to screw the lids on to the tops of toothpaste. Seriously. He screws the lids onto toothpaste.  They eat boiled cabbage and potatoes, which does not make me feel better about the smell coming from this old wooden house stuffed full of old bed-bound people. Once a year, Charlie receives a chocolate bar for his birthday. He savors it, which I LOVED as a kid. One other notable thing to learn in this chapter. Charlie lives in a town with a huge chocolate factory. Charlie wants to go in and see what it's like, but for now he is content with just smelling the chocolate scented air. If I lived in a house full of boiled cabbage and grandparents, I too would walk as slow as possible past the old chocolate factory. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chapter 3

This chapter is awkward.  Chapter 3: Mr. Wonka and the Indian Prince  Grandpa Joe tells Charlie the story of "Prince Pondicherry," who had asked Mr. Willy Wonka to "come all the way out to India and build him a colossal palace entirely of chocolate." Those Indians, amirite? Always with their weird names and schemes to do impractical things. /s Mr. Wonka, of course, builds the chocolate palace and tells Prince Pondicherry (Which is a cute name but also strikes me as somewhat inappropriate. This book was written in the 1950s, published in the 1960s, so this would be about when the UK was taking in a lot of refugees from the India/Pakistan border area. I am not intimately familiar with the causes of the partition, and being a 30 something American, I am not 100% certain that I'm not talking out my ass right now.) to start eating the castle immediately, as India is hot and the castle will melt.  The castle, btw, sounds amazing. Both amazingly engineered (hot chocolate comes out of the chocolate pipes, even the chocolate carpet) and amazingly gross. Seriously, you'll just be sticky all the time.  The story of Prince Pondicherry, btw, has little to no bearing on the rest of the story. It's used to show that Charlie is skeptical of this story, and Grandpa Joe want to "tell him something else that's true." Which is that Willy Wonka's factory doesn't use local workers. At this point in the story, it's just Grandpa Joe, whispering to Charlie that "nobody....ever....comes...out..." and "nobody...ever...goes...in" And of course we find out how "good" Charlie is. He's a kid, poor as hell, and his supposedly bedridden grandfather is telling him a story, when his mom tells him it's time for bed. And Charlie and Grandpa Joe immediately decide to finish talking about Mr. Wonka's mysterious workers the next night.  As I mentioned earlier, I grew up with the 1976 paperback with the illustrations by Joseph Schindelman.  The bottom is the version that was in my book. The top, I believe, was in the UK version, published around the same time.       

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Holidays" Part 2

Holidays: Part 2 (Page 176)  I forgot to mention a very crucial plot point yesterday. Cathy asks for bananas and Mother refuses because her father doesn't care for them. Yup. Was there no editor at whatever publishing firm took on this mess?  It is now Christmas Eve and the children have been "living" at Foxworth Hall for 5 months. They still have not seen the entire house. To be fair, I'm certain that the staff hasn't seen the entire house, either. They are still saying grace before every meal, praying before bed, keeping their thoughts pure and innocent (except, you know, when they knowingly disobey the grandmother by sunbathing nude on some old mattresses and inspecting each other genitals.) Cathy believes that the meals they are provided are growing poorer in quality by the day. She doesn't actually address how they are not as great as before. We get pages of details about gifts and the mothers "filmy negligee" but for something like "how are the meals not good anymore" we get "they grow poorer and poorer by the day." Are they less substantial? Are they getting rotten fruit? Do they have to eat gruel and cold mush?  It doesn't matter because Cathy is upset about not being able to go Christmas Shopping. But she consoles herself by reminding herself that in the future she'll be rich, rich, rich! And then she'll be able to go into a store and buy anything she wants! (Except, you know what, Cathy? The high end stores will realize that their guests have unlimited money and start making ridiculous things like pre-mudded jeans, and you'll buy them and then the poors like me will laugh at you.)  Chris and Cathy have been making secret gifts for Momma and the twins. She's also secretly knitting a cap for Chris in the bathroom. Chris decides they need to make the grandmother a gift as well. Where are they getting the supplies for secret gifts? Our narrator describes the gift but doesn't actually say what it is, so I don't really know. Something about linen and a "stretcher frame" and me being uncrafty, I have no idea what they are doing.  Mother brings them a tree. Okay, so now I'm supposed to believe that she's sneaking in a tree and the staff doesn't notice, yet she can't smuggle out a 4 year old for a trip to the hospital?  They are given false promises of forgetting the time in the attic once they are in their own house in the future.  The mother sneaks into the room in the middle of the night to fill stockings and put gifts under the tree. They are given candy, and nuts, and fruit, and gum, and chocolate. Which, IIRC, the grandmother said NO CANDY EVER.  Carrie wants to know how Santa found them, which is, for once, an age appropriate question.  Cathy points out that Chris's movements remind her of her father (whom she was clearly in love with, making me question VC Andrew's relationship with her own parents) and cries a bit. Then she looks around some more, and cries because she believes that her mom is trying and cares and loves them. Ah, because gifts = love. She's ashamed for thinking mean thoughts. Chris tells her to get up. Shut up, Chris.  Santa's note told them to hide the candy from the grandmother. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE WRAPPERS? That's how you get ants!  Cathy sits on the floor wearing a "stunning new robe of green velvet." They all got new robes. Did any of you get excited about new robes and pajamas when you were ... ever? I mean, I'd be happy for a new robe for Christmas, but excited? And to call a robe "stunning?"  The grandmother comes in. They finally tell us that the gift is a painting which they created a garden. 3D collage style, from materials found in the attic. I wonder what they destroyed to make silk butterflies.  Grandmother doesn't take the gift. Shocking. A lot of talk about the grandmother's cold eyes, her stone cold eyes. Grandmother's scornful eyes.  Cathy is hurt and flings it to the ground, and swears and stomps on it. Chris tries to save it and they decide that they tried and Grandmother doesn't try.  ***  It's still christmas. Momma comes up to the room next to the attic, and gives them a dollhouse. Well, she gives Cory and Carrie a dollhouse. And the description - Corrine's dialogue - is marvelous.  I'll let you make your own jokes about 5 year olds and their interest in wainscoting.  Christopher takes a book and tries to read it, squinting and holding it close. Cathy mentions that there is "a special kind of microscope he hopes to own someday." And how she "hopes to be the one to give it to him." Is it a special microscope so he can see his penis?  It just keeps going on and on about the stupid dollhouse. I don't care.  Mother says that it used to belong to her mother (I think that's the grandmother?) It was in a glass display case (which they call a glass box.) Finally, her father smashed the "glass box" and let Corrine play with it, as long as she doesn't break anything. Spoilers: she broke something. She was whipped for breaking a boy doll after she tried to take its clothes off.  Carrie likes the dollhouse and Cory is interested in it because Carrie is.  They are given tricycles and roller skates. WTF.  Oh, and a TV! But no DVD player. How is Comcast going to install their cable service without anyone knowing? Hope they can get a good antenna signal in the attic. Also, imagine all the quality daytime tv they get to watch now! Days of Our Lives, Maury Povich and his paternity testing, Price is Right, Jenny Jones, The People's Court, General Hospital... They are going to learn so much! Oh and maybe Sesame Street, this predates the HBO thing.  Mother also tells them that her father is having her put back in the will!  Because if there is one thing that 12 year old girls care about, it's contract law!  And then Mother tells them that there will be a party that night to reintroduce her to society. Ugh. What kind of weird-ass grownup debutante ball will this be? Oh, it's going to be a  "grand affair." Lovely. I'm sure your children look forward to you telling them about it. At least they don't have to perform, ala Sound of Music.  How the hell did she get the dollhouse upstairs without anyone noticing? Doesn't the staff wonder why she's always hiding in the attic?  I guess she could be putting it into long term storage, but what about the potted tree? Or the TV? TVs used to be a lot heavier.     

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

 

Game of Thrones Reread: Tyrion II

Chapter 13: Tyrion Tyrion travels north and talks with Jon Snow.   Location: The Kingsroad, north of Winterfell, south of The Wall.   Characters Present: Tyrion Lannister: A dwarf, two different colored eyes. Benjen Stark: Eddard Stark’s brother serves in the Night’s Watch.  Not a fan of Lannisters. Jon Snow: Eddard Stark’s “bastard.” Traveling to “Take the Black” aka, pledge to protect the realm.  14. Yoren: Stooped and sinister. Has a beard. Brother of the Night’s Watch. Has a “twisted shoulder” and a sour smell. He is dirty and greasy, with patched old unwashed clothing. Morrec: One of Tyrion’s men.   Recap: Tyrion travels north with Benjen Stark and Jon Snow. We get a bit of world building. Lots of descriptions as the weather & ground grow colder. The trees get darker, and Tyrion feels unsettled by Ghost, Jon’s direwolf. Benjen, Jon, Tyrion, and two unnamed Lannister servants/men meet up with Yoren and two peasant boys from the fingers, who are “rapers.”  They also were bringing twenty horses and a cage of ravens from Winterfell to the Wall.   Tyrion has brought his warmest clothing, but it is still not warm enough, and he borrows a riding fur from Benjen. We learn that the Lannisters never decline, graciously or otherwise, they take what is offered.  Tyrion, despite the gymnastic skills he showed us in a previous chapter, is too hobbled and small to be useful. So he goes off to read every night while the other men create shelter and feed the horses. Nice.   Tyrion has taken some books from the Winterfell library as well. One is a book on the history and properties of dragons. He reads about the properties of Dragonbone. He (I guess?) reflects back on the time he first came to King’s Landing and sought out the remains of the dragons. King Robert had banished the skeletons to a cellar but Tyrion found them and was amazed by them. There were 19 of them, the largest being Balerion, large enough to swallow aurochs whole, the smallest being the size of Mastiff skulls.   We also get a little Lannister / Westeros history. I’m not certain if it’s relevant or just more world building. King Loren of the Rock & King Mern of the Reach (when the Seven Kingdoms were kingdoms and not provinces) joined to try and fight Aegon Dragonlord. They lost, despite having more numbers. King Loren lived, pledged fealty to the Targaryens, and beget a son.   Jon Snow asks Tyrion why Tyrion reads so much. Jon Snow is not what we would call an academic. This won’t be the last time he questions why people read. Tyrion, however, decides to answer him honestly and asks Jon to “Look at me and tell me what you see.” Jon, of course is suspicious and polite, and answers with Tyrion’s name. Tyrion points out that he, Tyrion, is a dwarf. Tyrion points out the many problems he has with being a dwarf, from needing special equipment to ride a horse, to his arms being too short to make a swordsman. He also points out that his father was Hand to the King that his brother killed. He ends this monologue by saying that his mind is his weapon.   They talk for a bit. Tyrion thinks that Jon has the Stark face, and that whomever Jon’s mother is, she left little of herself in her son. (L+R=J) To further the L+R=J speculation, the conversation drifts toward dragons. Jon points out there are no more dragons. Tyrion talks about how he dreamed of riding a dragon and watching his sister and father burn.   Jon looks horrified at this, and Tyrian questions him, prodding into Jon’s insecurities about Lady Stark, Robb, Winterfell, and the Wall. Jon gets upset and is close to tears. Tyrion feels guilty and goes to pat him on the shoulder when Ghost attacks Tyrion.   Jon forces him to ask nicely, and when Tyrion does, Jon calls of the wolf. They return to camp.   Characters Mentioned:                  Robert Baratheon Eddard Stark Aegon Targaryen: Unleashed dragons on the Seven Kingdoms of Old. Balerion, Meraxes, Vhaghar: Targaryen dragons King Loren of the Rock: Lannister ancestor. King Mern of the Reach: Joined Lannister ancestors to oppose Targaryen conquest.     Other Locations Mentioned: Winterfell King’s Landing Summer Isles Casterly Rock – Where the Lannisters come from. Port of Ibben – hairy mammoths said to roam the cold wastes here.     Thoughts: This is another chapter where the majority of the “action” is just a dialogue between two people. I’m beginning to see GRRM’s television roots in this book. I enjoyed the bit of Westeros history this time around. I don’t think I ever noticed it before. Another “shout-out” to Jon’s very Stark-like appearance. I like the interaction between Jon & Tyrion. Tyrion wasn’t too upset at the humiliation and before he was attacked he was on the verge of apology. Jon really isn’t into the reading, and he’s got a bit of a temper. I don’t know if Tyrion will ride a dragon. But I do know that this passage about Tyrion and dragons is cited a lot when people talk about Tyrion being a dragon rider. I do wonder if this dreaming of fires and dragons is just normal Westeros boy stuff, or if it has something to do with the stuff about Aerys and Johanna in TWOIAF. I wonder who those two raper boys from the fingers that Yoren is bringing to the Wall are. Jon is showing signs of maturity by the end. “It is what it is.” Poor Jon. Will Tyrion lose his intelligence? He lists people’s strengths, and the people he listed have lost their strength. Robert’s Warhammer won’t do him any good. Jaime loses his sword hand.   Or just coincidence? What is the point of “conquering?” Burning people alive with dragons for what? For some reason, I was surprised that Jon shared a tent with Benjen. And Benjen was kind of Uncle-ly toward Jon in their interactions.    Links to Previous Chapter Recaps:  Prologue Bran I Catelyn I Daenerys I Eddard I Jon I Catelyn II Arya I Bran II Tyrion I Jon II Daenerys II Eddard II

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

 

Super sad face

Sorry, there is a problem There was an error joining the chat room. Please try again or contact us. Error code: 5H269/A I know D is on it.  But still, sad face.

MarblesMom

MarblesMom

Flowers in the Attic: "Minutes Like Hours"

Minutes Like Hours: Page 112 of 411 (Kindle Version)  Jesus. I'm on page 112. I now understand why Fred Clark's Left Behind Fridays have been going on for years.  Just like this book.  We get a paragraph of melodramatic teenage thoughts that lead me to believe that I could have been a much better writer had I not ever read such pondering about time.  Then we get a paragraph of "what Chris thinks" about the same thing she was just thinking about.  Momma comes to see them. She brings them games. So now they kids have a stack of board games, including the absolute worst game ever invented, Monopoly. Fun fact: Monopoly was originally created to help show how certain economic principles work. Also, the house rule about free parking sucks and should be abolished.  The twins aren't interested in games, or toys.  For some reason, the kids wake up at the same time every day, despite not having an alarm clock. They do have wristwatches, though.  More logistics about how they go to the bathroom and get dressed. I'd wonder if perhaps the "All the days dragged by" was some sort of literary device to help you understand that the book is dragging because the kids are locked into a room with the same routine; but i don't know if VC is that smart.  The grandmother quizzes them about the bible, they repeat back verses much like an internet atheist. However, you'd think that asking kids to repeat verses from Job is just asking for trouble. If she told me to recite a verse, I think I might go directly to Ezekiel 23:20. Then again, Grandmother has a whip and she's not afraid to use it.  The mother shows up at 6 pm every evening with gifts, books, games. Does she ever remove broken items, trash, etc?  Momma worries about how she's getting fat. Because that's what your children who are locked into an attic care about. How you aren't getting your daily run in because you bring food to your imprisoned children.  The kids go to the attic and break a piano trying to tune it and listen to old records on a Victrola (records are these things we listened to music and audio recordings on before tapes, which came before CDS. You can still find CDs for sale sometimes. It was much less convenient than an MP3 but the sound quality was amazing and it's all probably  nostalgia for me.)  Carrie is a brat.  The kids take lots of baths because they are bored.  They mock the grandmother, which is dangerous because you never know where she might be lurking.   Cathy starts calling the twins "our twins" which is bizarre and sad. As they are the primary caregiver now, the twins are exhibiting learned helplessness at times with temper tantrums more suited to 3-year-old toddlers rather than 5-year-old children who should be in school, Carrie will only wear ruffled lace panties, which I'm not sure is information we need, nor does it develop the character in any meaningful way.   We also get our first glimpse at the reality of living in a room with kids not long out of diapers. Carrie gets diarrhea from fruit, Cory has a temperamental bladder. Cory is frequently peeing in a blue vase and Cathy is washing out lacy ruffled panties. Gross.  They try to explain why they are imprisoned to the twins and it's just sad.  Halfway through the chapter Momma didn't show up on a Sunday until the evening. She came in dressed for sailing, tan, bragging about how she's made plans for the afternoon, though she was kind enough to cut them short so she could see her children for five minutes before dinner. Her brothers taught her to sail. Which is pretty contradictory to the original claims that nothing fun was allowed in the Foxworth Ancestral Home.  Cathy grows a tiny bit of a backbone and pushes back and asks why. Until Chris comes down and tells her to stop shouting at "our mother." He's such an ass. He kisses up to her a bit, complimenting her on her outfit and hugging her. Cathy shouts a bit, tells her she has to tell her father about them, that she wants to go sailing. Momma does the dramatic thing and sinks weakly into a chair.  And then she confesses that she hasn't been honest. Well, shut the front door, I did NOT see that coming. The letter that was written before they moved to Foxworth had a note from the grandfather. The grandfather said that he was glad that Christopher the Elder was dead and the only good thing about the marriage was that it hadn't created any Devil's Issue. (WTF?) Mother Olivia made plans for the concealment of the children that Grandfather didn't read. Cathy compares Chris to their father in the middle of this.  Anyway, it takes over a page for mamma to come out and say that she plans on keeping the kids in the attic until Grandfather dies. Mother of the Year, might as well ship that right off to Foxworth.  Links to previous recaps  Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy" "The Road to Riches" "The Grandmother's House" "The Attic" "The Wrath of God" "Momma's Story"

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

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

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Chapters 7, 8, and 9

Chapter 7: Charlie's Birthday Charlie's present is a bar of "Wonka's Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight" and I am not going to lie, it sounds delicious, and my opinion is based only on the name, because it is not described at all.  Charlie's entire family gathers to watch him unwrap this candy bar. They remind him that it's still a candy bar, that it has the same chance as any other candy bar. Finally they tell him to hurry up and get on with it before he's late for school. Charlie opens the bar up all the way to reveal... a candy bar.  Charlie tries to share the chocolate with his family, and they won't even dream of it.  Chapter 8: Two More Golden Tickets Found  The newspaper announced that two more more winners have been found. The third winner is "Miss Violet Beauregarde." Violet says that she "is a gum chewer, normally. But when she heard about the tickets, she switched to candy bars. Now she's back to gum." She also claims to have been chewing the same piece of gum for three months. She also criticizes her mother, talks about leaving gum on the elevator buttons, and has a frenemy named "Miss Cordelia Prinzmetel."  The Grandmothers hate her.  The fourth ticket is found by Mike Teavee. Mike Teavee is nine-years old, and so far the only child who was given an age. I could be wrong, but I don't think so. Mike Teavee can't stop watching TV and shooting off toy guns. The Grandmothers are appalled. Grandpa George helpfully points out that there is only one ticket left.   Chapter 9: Grandpa Joe Takes a Gamble The day after Violet and Mike are introduced, Charlie goes to see his grandparents. They are all sleeping, with the exception of Grandpa Joe. Grandpa Joe gives Charlie a 10-cent piece, and tells him to go get another Wonka bar. Charlie buys a "Wonka Nutty Crunch Surprise," which would not have been my choice. It is not a winner. This chapter is kind of a cute moment between Charlie and Grandpa Joe.    One of the things I'm noticing on this reread is the lack of real details. I've read this book a LOT. And I've seen the movies. The kids aren't really given nationalities or ages. Slugworth is just a rival candy maker. Grandpa Joe doesn't explain why he has a ten-cent piece. If you had asked me last week, I would have sworn in a court of law that the Buckets had a TV they pushed into the Grandparent's room to watch the announcements on. But, no, they are just reading a newspaper. That makes sense, though, because it seems to be taking place in an unknown industrial city, sometime during the industrial revolution. 

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "The Grandmother's House"

Chapter 3: The Grandmother's House My dad's funeral is tomorrow. I've got my own VC Andrews world going on, with lots of family secrets coming out. No one has been locked into an attic and poisoned with arsenic donuts though. And, instead of a 200 year old house with a name, I'm in the armpit of the midwest in a 100 year old farm house that may or may not burn down at any moment due to bad wiring and 50 years of DIY "upgrades." Think antique tractors in the yard, chickens, several barns full of "stuff" (i think people just move items out there for "storage" and forget about them. lots of rusty metal.) Me and Cathy, we are basically the same. I mean, she has a narcissistic mother, and I have a mother who keeps telling me she loves me. She has several siblings and I once imagined I had a sibling. She's heir to a fortune and I'm allowed to keep my dad's military flag. Alas, on to the recap!  We find out from Cathy that Cory and Christopher have curly hair. Seriously, the first page is a description of their hair and the room. Cathy also claims that her brother Christopher is "all boy" which is a phrase that makes my eye twitch.  The room is cluttered and dark, with four lamps and an "Oriental red rug."  Cathy is talking about a picture of hell, by the way.  Christopher: Because preteen boys know Spanish romantic painters.  We get a little bit of character development for the twins. Carrie is opinionated. She talks a lot. Cory is a listener.  Grandmother shows up with a tray of food. She decides that in the future she'll use a picnic basket. She tells the children to make the food last all day. The breakfast food is, surprisingly, for breakfast. The sandwiches and soup are for lunch, and the dinner is for dinner. It's fried chicken, potato salad, and string beans, if you cared. I'm concerned about a mayonnaise based "salad" sitting around all day. Unless they make it differently in Virginia.  Actually, my mom makes a hot potato salad that she called "german potato salad" that has no mayo and is actually really good. I think it has vinegar and mustard? I have no idea. I'll look for a recipe later.   The children are told the fruit is for dessert and if they are silent and good the grandmother might bring ice cream and cake or cookies. "No candy, ever."  Grandmother gives them a list of rules. Before she pulls a literal list out of a "dress pocket," (Which, whaaaaaaaaaaaat??? I have, like, two dresses with pockets. Was this common and then in the 90s the male fashion designers who hate women decided to kill the dress pocket? Assholes.) she reminds them to "be modest in the bathroom."  Several paragraphs about getting dressed and Cory peeing into a vase later, Christopher says:  Carrie complains about the food. She wants cold cereal with raisins, not "no hot, lumpy, bumpy food that's greasy." She did not meet the grandmother the night before, obviously.  Chris reads the rules. They are typed in all caps, according to Cathy. As follows (paraphrased) FULLY DRESSED AT ALL TIMES DO NOT TAKE THE LORDS NAME IN VAIN, ALWAYS SAY GRACE. HE IS WATCHING NEVER OPEN THE DRAPERIES NEVER SPEAK TO ME UNLESS I SPEAK FIRST  YOU WILL KEEP THIS ROOM NEAT AND ORDERLY, ALWAYS WITH THE BEDS MADE NEVER TO BE IDLE. DEVOTE 5 HOURS EACH DAY TO STUDYING AND USE THE REMAINDER OF YOUR TIME TO DEVELOP YOUR ABILITIES IN SOME MEANINGFUL WAY. IF YOU HAVE ANY SKILLS YOU WILL SEEK TO IMPROVE THEM, IF YOU HAVE NO ABILITIES OR TALENTS OR SKILLS YOU WILL READ THE BIBLE. IF YOU CAN NOT READ YOU WILL SIT AND STARE AT THE BIBLE AND TRY TO ABSORB THROUGH THE PURITY OF YOUR THOUGHTS THE MEANING OF THE LORD AND HIS WAYS.  YOU WILL CLEAN YOUR TEETH AFTER BREAKFAST EACH DAY AND BEFORE RETIRING EACH NIGHT IF I CATCH BOYS AND GIRLS USING THE BATHROOM AT THE SAME TIME I WILL, QUITE RELENTLESSLY PEEL THE SKINS FROM YOUR BACKS YOU WILL BE MODEST AND DISCREET AT ALL TIMES YOU WILL NOT HANDLE OR PLAY WITH THE PRIVATE PARTS OF YOUR BODIES NOR LOOK AT THEM OR THINK ABOUT THEM YOU WILL NOT ALLOW WICKED THOUGHTS IN YOUR MID YOU WILL NOT LOOK AT MEMBERS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY THOSE OF YOU WHO CAN READ WILL TAKE TURNS READING ALOUD FROM THE BIBLE DAILY BATHE DAILY, CLEAN THE TUB LEARN ONE QUOTE FROM THE BIBLE A DAY YOU WILL EAT ALL OF THE FOOD  YOU WILL NOT STRIDE ABOUT IN THE BEDROOM WEARING ONLY NIGHTCLOTHES. AT ALL TIMESS WEAR A ROBE OVER NIGHTCLOTHES STAND AT ATTENTION WHEN I ENTER YOUR ROOM  DO NOT LOOK AT ME OR THINK OF ME WITH DISRESPECT YOU WILL NOT JUMP, YELL, SHOUT, OR SPEAK IN LOUD VOICES. NEVER WEAR HARD SOLED SHOES YOU WILL NOT WASTE TOILET TISSUE OR SOAP. IF YOU OVERFLOW THE TOILET YOU WILL CLEAN IT. IF YOU BREAK IT, YOU'LL USE THE CHAMBERPOTS AND YOUR MOM WILL EMPTY THEM THE BOYS WILL WASH THEIR OWN CLOTHES IN THE BATHTUB, AS WILL THE GIRLS. MOTHER WILL TAKE CARE OF THE BED LINENS AND TOWELS. IF YOU SOIL THE BED, YOU WILL BE THRASHED.  Through out the reading of the rules, the children comfort each other and Cathy sighs and has melodramatic thoughts. At the end, Grandmother gives yet another warning about not deceiving her, mocking her, joking about her, etc. Also they are never to mention their father's name or refer to him. Which seems kind of difficult, considering that Christopher is named after Christopher, but whatever. I really wish VC Andrews had chosen names that weren't so similar.  They wonder if they will be locked up for a long, long time. If only they knew.  So this chapter was shorter and more interesting than the previous one, though Cathy is overly dramatic, and the prose is ... not great. I'd forgotten about all the religion, somehow. I mean, I remember the horrible things that were done, because of greed, and fear of incest, but I'd forgotten about the religious motivation. The children are still full of hope - or at least Cathy is. Talking about being free, and their grandfather's love, and how it's going to be better.  Christopher reminds them that they still have their mother. And then the chapter is over.  Links to previous recaps 
Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy"
"The Road to Riches"  

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

 

Flowers in the Attic: "The Wrath of God"

Chapter 5: The Wrath of God Momma's back! I know it's been, like, an entire week or two since the last chapter.  So I forgive everyone for forgetting that's been an ENTIRE DAY of not seeing their primary caregiver. If you, like me, had forgotten how long it had been, VC Andrews reminds you in the first sentence. "Momma came into our room this first night..."  "Momma" is tight-limbed and stiff-jointed. She's 33, so she's actually younger than me. I do not have 4 children locked in my hypothetical attic, so I'm winning in that aspect!  Cathy claims that the twins "thoughtlessly" run to hug Momma. She also goes on and on about her feelings while Momma just cries. Cathy isn't yet aware of how much her mother is an all over terrible human, so she thinks that Momma is crying for her. The twins complain about Cathy and Chris. Carrie is annoying.  Grandmother yells at Corrine to get Carrie to shut up, as Carrie has melted down into full blown temper tantrum. Grandmother grabs Carrie by the hair, Cory starts kicking Grandmother. There is some delightful description. "Quick as a cat he pounced on the grandmother!" and we get another "Good-golly day!" from Cathy. Seriously, if you can find a copy of this book without paying for it, I highly recommend it, if only for the overly dramatic writing about every minute detail. I thought I could handle extra details. I love A Song of Ice and Fire and even enjoyed reading about who is eating what and where. This, though, is something different.  Two pages to share that the Grandmother slapped Cory and yelled at Corrie to shut them up and that only Christopher the Elder knew how to handle the meltdowns.  Eventually something other than whining temper tantrum throwing children and the fallout that ensued happens and we find out that Corrine can't or won't leave Foxworth Hall with them. We also see that Grandmother has whipped Corrine. Thirty-three times, one for each year of her life, then fifteen more for each year of living in sin with Christopher Sr. Grandfather ordered the punishment and Grandmother carried it out. There's some shouting about Children from the Devil! Evil from the moment of conception!  Cathy "flounders in a maelstrom of uncertainty, aching inside, not know who she is" She wants to whip grandmother back.  Chris is angry, as he loved his mother best. K.  Links to previous recaps  Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy" "The Road to Riches" "The Grandmother's House" "The Attic"

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

 

Flowers in the Attic: "To Make a Garden Grow" Part 2

To Make a Garden Grow: Chapter 8, Part 2 I'm back.  It's been two months in the attic. It's almost been two months since I last posted on this blog. This was not intentional.  Cathy waxes non poetically about love, truth, and faith. Her grandfather is still alive. They watch the summer turn into fall from their window seats in the mansion's attic. Christopher is unreasonably positive while she shares her pessimistic and self-involved thoughts with us. We are treated to a discussion about how boring Christopher and Cathy found American history class but they miss it. Probably because they haven't left the same two rooms in two months. Still, I'm kind of offended by Christopher's dialogue here: "I thought school a bore, too, and history a dull subject, particularly American history." Maybe they had terrible teachers. But I'm thinking that they are just boring people who only care about superficial things like money, makeup, and status. I do wonder how deeply VC Andrews thought about these characters. Is Christopher her idea of an ideal mate? Does she prize beauty and money over intelligence?  Cathy has decided that she wants to be a prima ballerina. From my seat at my desk in 2017, this seems unlikely as she's missing out on quite a bit of training by being locked into an attic. Christopher tells her she must practice for 5-6 hours a day, and he will attach a barre in the attic. Where he found a barre, I do not know. She runs out of this conversation crying about how she's not smart. Ok, so that might be a believable part of being a teenage girl. Her siblings try to make her feel better as she sobs on a bed.  Momma comes back and gives her some ballet stuff. Costumes and leotards and toe shoes. (Dear god, I hope her pre-attic instructor had already transitioned her to toe shoes. And how did they fit them?) Do some research, VC. She was also gifted records of "ballet music". She cries.  Her mother has also ordered her a costume from Swan Lake which has not yet arrived. So she gets three costumes in exchange for freedom.  Cathy mentions that the record player is hooked up to a dozen extension cords which makes me cringe a bit. Maybe they can escape if the place catches on fire. She also doesn't have a mirror, so on top of not having an instructor, she's not able to self correct except by feel. Cathy is going to have a hard time unlearning bad habits that she's reinforcing in the attic. IMO, of course. My guess is that VC Andrews believes that Cathy will not have any bad habits, because she is perfect and Chris is perfect and everyone is perfect except for the horrible mother & grandmother. I think they are all terrible.  Cathy dances. Chris watches her with 'the oddest expression on his face' and she remembers that he is turning 15 soon. God, he's so gross and creepy. Someone get him a fedora, mt dew, cheetos, and a laptop already.  She tries to get him to dance with her, and he refuses saying the most absurd thing. "Ballet dancing is not for me. But I'd like to learn to waltz - if the music is Strauss." Yup. He's 15. Shouldn't he be out LARPING or something?  So she puts on Strauss - which I guess was a joke because it's the only waltz they have. And they dance. She says he is clumsy.  Cathy is given the swan lake costume. it's wrapped in "giant-sized slippery-satin white box with a violet ribbon" - what the hell are they doing with all of this trash? Does it just go into the attic?  Christopher doesn't want to learn the Charleston. He just wants to dance with a girl in his arms. Fair enough. She monologues:    She somehow has an Elvis record and puts on Hound Dog. She "gyrates her hips" and whines some more, ending with "no one is ever going to love you." And Chris repeats that back "Then no girl is ever going to love me." Which is weird and manipulative and creepy and my god you are in an attic and why is your mother such a bitch? And for some reason, this makes Cathy like him more. GAG.    Same chapter and yet another act. They change the flowers in the attic to go with the season. Chris reads and paints a lot. C&C like to "lay" side-by-side on an old mattress for hours on end, talking and making plans for the future. His plans involve falling in love with the most beautiful, sexy woman, who is brilliant, understanding, charming, witty, and fun. She's also a good devoted wife and mother who is a perfect housekeeper, submissive, and understanding when she loses all of their money on the stock market. Oddly specific for a 15 year old. When I was 15 I just wanted to marry Kurt Cobain. Who'd been dead for several years. As a back up, I hoped to marry any number of generic 90s alternative rock singers and lead guitarists. Never a bassist.  Cathy wonders why her brothers wife has no flaws and worries that she won't be able to be a wife to someone like Christopher. This is the wrong question, Cathy. Someone needs to tell you that you are more than a future wife and mother. However, this leads to a discussion about how Chris thinks that their mother has no flaws whatsoever.  I can think of at least one flaw.  Cathy wants to marry and settle down after being a prima ballerina for years. She doesn't know what kind of man, other than Christopher or her Father. She wants beautiful children. She wants him to be brilliant so she can respect him. She expects to be offered a diamond engagement ring. She will play games before accepting the engagement and if she beats him, she'll say no.  Yet another act, same chapter that I started in July.  The twins stop asking to go outside. Chris and Cathy find more old mattresses. They put them in front of the eastern window that they open, taking off their clothes and sunbathing naked. They told the mom, who told them to never tell grandmother. The twins play naked like babies. Cathy reads Wuthering heights.  Yet another discussion of genitals and how Cathy believes that her parts are much neater than Chris's. I swear, this book gave me a complex when I was a pre-teen about the size of my labia. Someone get these kids some national geographics and the internet, already. Chris doesn't need the internet, though, as he's now bombarding Cathy with Bird Facts. Which she did not subscribe to, yet somehow are being given to her in the 1950s version of text messaging.  The next act isn't even an entire page. They stop sunbathing as it's cold now. They claim Arctic Cold, but aren't they in Virginia? I guess they in the mountains though, plus adapting to climates is a thing. I'm still going to laugh at them if they ever get to the arctic. I've experienced -60F, it's not fun. (Actually it was kind of fun. I didn't live there and I got to leave after a week with stories.) My guess is that the attic wasn't insulated, so they got really cold and momma suddenly is concerned about a fire so they can't have a space heater. Somehow momma sneaks them more new clothes. Does no one look at the finances for this house? Does the staff not question the extra trash? I'm guessing that there is at least one housekeeper who suspects something but is keeping quiet because she's a single mom and needs this job and her suspicions aren't close to the actual truth.  In the next act, they play hide-and-seek. Cathy thinks "innovative" is a big word. Cory ends up trapped in a trunk and nearly dies. He wants his mom. They decide that Cathy is his mom now. Chris smashes every lock on every trunk and every wardrobe. They all sit in a chair together and Cathy sees them in the mirror, looking like younger versions of their parents. And i've made it to page 161! 250 pages to go!    Link to previous recap "To Make a Garden Grow: Chapter 8, Part 1"

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "Growing Up, Growing Wiser"

PART TWO.  Apparently, I don't have enough to do at work, so I'm back. Or I just really like the external validation I get from the compliments of my snarky recaps of a book that was written around the time that Brett Kavanaugh was sexually assaulting teenage girls. BTW, I really do enjoy compliments on my typo-riddled column, or articles, or whatever you think these should be classified as.  Part Two starts off with a quote from The Song of Solomon, verse two, chapter 17. For those of you who are familiar with this particular scroll, it's weird, its sexual, and its supposedly an allegory of the relationship between God and and Israel, or the Church and Christ, depending on your denomination. Personally, I think it was a rough draft of an early romantic novel that got mixed in with real scrolls. Her neck is like the Tower of David, she smells of Lebanon. Real steamy stuff. Blow on my garden, my breasts are like fawns. Seriously, most repressed kids in religious schools know all about the Song of Songs. I think VC Andrews found the one verse that doesn't really work with her text. I mean, she could have gone with His arms are rods of gold, set with topaz. His body is like polished ivory, decorated with lapis lazuli.His legs are pillars of marble set on bases of pure gold. Maybe I'll recap Song of Songs in the future. It has no real plot, though. Chapter 1 of Part Two is called "Growing Up, Growing Wiser." We'll see.  Another year passed. That's is. Another year passed. Mother comes less. (Are we still doing phrasing?) Every night they  mark off the date in a calendar. How old is everyone now? Oh, no worries. They have three calendars full. So they've been living in an attic for three years. Three years without school, without friends, without proper cleaning (they are washing clothes and sheets in the bathroom!).  Cathy and Chris are immodest, because "grandmother's wrath had not yet materialized" ... then why are they so willing to stay in the attic? I'd think at some point they would just slip up and go downstairs because of an emergency. That's what kids do! They get hurt and they go find their mom.  It's not that difficult. Really. Ask the Maxwells.  Cathy finds a time when she's alone to inspect her body in the mirror. If anyone read Madonna's memoirs, her account of looking at her pussy is much more fun. Cathy is a weirdo.  Her brother is spying on her! Oh, god.  Who is the target audience for this? Middle aged women? Teenage girls? Teen boys? My grandmother? I have no idea.  They stare at each other for several paragraphs of absolutely ridiculous writing. There is trembling. There is copious use of a thesaurus. There are metaphors.  There are rippling sensations and Chris uses the mirror to get the full view. I regret my lunch, because fries are never good when vomiting. Cathy reaches for her dress and Chris is like "no, don't." There is more trembling.  I bet no one here can guess what happens next.  (cue the music)  It's Grandmother! I bet you never saw that coming. And she is pissed. "Sinners!"  Oooh Chris is standing up the Grandmother. It's about time. But, like many many men in the US, he decided to take out his anger and embarrassment on the nearest young woman, who happens to be his sister.  Leave. Leave the room, Cathy. Climb out the attic, signal a servant, shimmy down the chimney, figure it out. Check the door every single time. Make a rope out of sheets. Maybe you'll get paralyzed, ala Pollyanna, but at least save your sister and brother. Start dropping notes out the windows; do something. Playing pretty princess in a tower is just pathetic.  Grandmother comes back with scissors.  The choice is theirs: No food or milk for an entire week, or Cathy's hair.  Chris is holding a chair, threatening the Grandmother. Just hit her with it and get out the door! Grandmother ups the ante by threatening two weeks without food if Cathy hides or locks herself in the bathroom. Then decides to make Chris do the shearing. She'll be back.  Who thinks of this kind of torment?  Cathy has nightmares that night. And she wakes up, feeling drugged, and her hair is gone. Chris finds "a small red prick" on her arm and tells her to stop screaming. Shut. Up. Scream all you want, Cathy. If someone has injected you with who knows what and shaved your head, you deserve to scream. Oh, and she didn't cut the hair, she poured tar on her head. While she shared a bed with her little sister. And Chris is telling her not to scream and upset the twins. Fuck that. Scream. Make a scene. Let the cleaning staff know that you are being abused, next Friday. Stop hiding away.  I'm a bit confused about how she's not suffering from burns, but whatever. Carrie wakes up and insults her sister's new hairstyle. And cries and cries, and everyone tries to calm her down.  Chris and Cathy try to wash her hair. In the middle of him deciding he needs to go try out some chemical compound from his chemistry set, he also has to pee. And we are "treated" to this:   Cathy is disturbed that he also suggests that she "go" in the water as well, hoping that the ammonia might unglue the hair. The twins come in while she poetically contemplates her nightmarish day and I wonder if I missed something in my reading because I can't tell if he peed on her or not.  She lies to the twins. I don't know how I feel about that. Nothing is normal in their life, and I get they want to protect them, but at the same time, this is not normal. Don't normalize it. It's wrong.  Carrie's response to being told to go away is "don't you like me no more?" and Cathy corrects her grammar. Therapy and school! ASAP.  Cathy's hair is thinner and platinum now. Chris brushes it. Her hair "gleams" and feels like "gossamer silk" Chris sleeps in a chair propped up against the door, holding the scissors. He should keep those scissors, he might need a weapon.  They ate the crackers. Cathy cuts her hair. The grandmother doesn't come. They ran out of food, clean linens, towels, soap, and toothpaste. The toilet overflows because they are using paper from old books. Then they used old clothes from the attic to mop up the filth from the toilet.  After who knows how long, Chris feeds his siblings blood from his wrist.  Cathy finally decides that she hates her mother for doing this to them.  After two weeks, or so, they head up to the attic to find a way out. They debate on eating some mice. For some reason, they went full vampire before eating the mice, which seems unreal to me. While christopher is going to get spices for the raw mice (and I gag in my office), Cathy blathers on for several paragraphs. I'm bored. I just got out of an extremely boring two hour meeting and now I'm bored in a very different way. Maybe I should write a book on the types of boredom. The first, being the "i can not stay awake while you discuss the same thing again that I really don't care about" the second being "I have so much money that I go to Russia and ask prostitutes to pee on me because I've done just about everything I can imagine in my tiny brain" and then there is "I'm reading a book written before I was born and it's got a semi-interesting plot but the worst writing I've ever imagined, outside of a random canadian who pretended to be a Serbian guard on the internet"  Guess what! They don't have to eat the mice! Christopher comes back with a basket which contains the following: vegetable soup, milk, sandwiches, and (dum dum duhhhh) powdered donuts!  Since I moved out of the city and into a community with a community well, I've learned more about arsenic than I ever thought I would need to know. It's naturally forming and really common. Get your wells tested! Most wells will have some, at least in my area. But there's a limit to how much is acceptable, and how much is lethal.  Do we ever find out where they got the poison and is it arsenic? There are so many types of arsenic.  Cathy has decided that Chris and herself are the genuine parents of Carrie and Cory. That's not how it works, Cathy.  So they head back downstairs, and she immediately goes for the mirror. It's gone! OH NO SHE CANT LOOK AT HERSELF. And low and behold, ALL THE MIRRORS ARE GONE. It's a tragedy, way more traumatic than literally drinking your brothers blood.  HOLY SHITSNACKS  I feel gross just typing that.  There's more. And a reminder that they had friends.  Then Chris reminds her that she came home filthy dirty and chewing on tar to make her teeth whiter. OK. I guess maybe she didn't mean it in a racist way but I'm not totally sure. Gross.  Chris talks about playing monopoly and the loser has to wash everyone's underwear in the bathtub. Ugh. It was the 50s. I have no idea when washing machines were invented, but it's a very useful appliance.  They lose the twins and find them behind the tv. IDK.  Cathy forfeits the Monopoly game and goes upstairs to dance. What a remarkable recovery from starvation.  And then we get several paragraphs about monopoly and it's an act break and I'm done with this entry. 

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: "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: Momma's Story

Chapter 6: Momma's Story  The Grandmother (yes, Cathy refers to her captor as "the grandmother" which is somewhat awkward, but I suppose it makes sense.) has left the room. Momma is still half naked and Cathy's "heart fluttered madly" as she watched her mother button up her blouse. Momma, unsurprisingly, downplays the abuse. Momma says that she should have warned the children that the grandparents are fanatically religious.  "Momma" then details her upbringing. It's all very boilerplate fundie; they (she has two older brothers) were forced to go to church even if sick. Normal pleasure were sinful. No swimming, because bathing suits expose too much. No card games or gambling. No dancing, no fun. Basically, it was Maxhell. Only with violence and money. Lots and lots of money. Apparently grandfather tithed very well, and basically owns the church.  All that is well and good, and somehow the very bland descriptions of "no fun" has captivated Cathy whose "eyes widened" and is spellbound. Even the twins are "spellbound" while 'momma' talks about religion. Has VC Andrews met a 5 year old?  Corrine continues to detail her past. "A beautiful young man came to live" His father was Corrine's grandfather, Garland, Christopher Foxworth. His mother, Alicia was only 16 when she married Garland (who was 55, and we are going to gloss right over that, aren't we?) Half of his estate (Garland's estate) should have gone to the three year old son of Alicia. But Malcolm, Corrine's father, contested it and kicked Alicia and her son out. They moved away. She remarried (this is important, why?) and died of breast cancer. Christopher then went to live at Foxworth (he was allowed back, why?) and his real name is Garland Christopher Foxworth the Fourth.  Corrine grew up with two older brothers. One day she hears that her mysterious half-uncle is coming to live at Foxworth Hall. She wants to make a good impression at 14 and decides to "prepare herself" by primping. She put on her best clothing, bathed, curled her hair. She also claims that 14 is an age when "a girl just begins to feel her power over men." Gross.  As an aside, when I was somewhere between 8 and 14 I was watching Baywatch, and I think the Beach Boys guest starred and for some reason there was a music video of "California Girls" or whatever that song is called. I remember watching it and thinking how gross it is that these old men are fantasizing over stereotypes. I never did figure out if I was a "northern girl" "East Coast Girl" or a "Midwest Farmer's Daughter" ... So I clearly did not get my "power" I just felt objectified. But, I also realized that different people like different things. Just like I didn't find David Hasselhoff to be super attractive, my cousins often argued over which baywatch babe was the best looking. It was not Pamela Anderson, btw.  Back to VC Andrews.  Momma is going on about how Christopher was poor and impressed by the great display of wealth and how her home was "exceptional" and how Chris was poor and his eyes lit up and bla bla bla.  Fortunately she is not going to share the details of her romance with Chris. I mean, she IS talking to her children. NO ONE wants to hear the details of their parents romance. She's shared enough.  For some reason, her parents sent Chris off to Yale. I mean, earlier, he was cast out of the house so he couldn't challenge their inheritance, but by all means, let's educate him and let him live here. Corrine isn't all concerned about his, though, she's yammering on about how her father thought of her as "his" and she would never get out and no one was good enough.  They educated him after Corrine's older brothers died tragically in accidents. (Of course.) So basically they decided that Corrine, being female, wasn't fit to inherit and the other heirs were gone, so why not?  This also leads me to believe that there was no reason for her to lock the kids in the attic (we knew that.) There are no other heirs. Her brothers are dead. Her half-uncle husband is dead. She could have just been a normal human who, when faced with the death of her husband, filed claims on his life insurance, sold the things of value, downsized the house, filed for welfare and social security for the dependents, got a job, and waited out her parents eventual death.  For some stupid reason, they had to hide the fact that Chris had a master's degree from Yale when they went out in the world.  And Cathy's take away is:    Corrine then tries to reassure the kids that they are not "deformed or mentally retarded" (hello, 1980s vocabulary!) It's several paragraphs of how perfect Cathy and Chris Jr are, along with some cheerleading. "Who are you?" "The Dresden Dolls!"  Momma claims that she will go enroll in business school to learn how to be a secretary. Man, I don't know why anyone needs to go to school to learn how to type and file, but then again, we go through admins like the Duggars go through tater-tot-casserole.  Corrine:  You are so dumb, Corrine. She leaves, going on and on about how she too is a prisoner, only of circumstances. That they need to keep to the rules. She'll bring them toys and games.  The kids go to bed. It's hot and there is no breeze. Cathy wants to be called "Catherine Doll" as her stage name in the future.  They discuss how they didn't get the ice cream they were promised as the chapter ends.      Links to previous recaps  Prologue and "Good-Bye Daddy" "The Road to Riches" "The Grandmother's House" "The Attic" "The Wrath of God"

Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Flowers in the Attic: "The Long Winter, and Spring, and Summer"

The Long Winter, and Spring, and Summer. Pages 215-230 (Kindle).  If I make it through these 15 pages, we will be done with Part 1 of this book!  Recap: Cathy and her siblings are trapped in an attic. I believe they are literally locked it, but they are also emotionally trapped. Their mother is a piece of gold-digging trash, and their grandmother would punish the Maxwells for having too much fun. On Christmas, the downstairs people had a party while the children upstairs skulked around and spied on their rich relatives.  The children are cold. They are watching ungodly amounts of television. Cathy compares her life to that of "invalids, sick people, and old people" because they eat, bathe, and dress daily to sit down and watch tv.  I'd make a joke about Americans, but come to think about it, most of us do other things besides TV. Even the "invalid, sick, and old" people. For one, there is the internet.  It's so cold that they huddle in the bedroom, not going into the attic. Cathy claims that the TV is teaching them how to spell and pronounce difficult words. Sesame Street doesn't debut until 1969, so I don't know what they are watching that teaches them how to spell. Was there a predecessor? I do not know. I am, however, remembering watching Sesame Street and being so confused as to why no one would teach me how to make a "2" the same way that Kermit did. Also, Kermit is my favorite and I think his investigative work contributes to my love of journalism. (Real journalism, not 24 hour cable news or list bait stuff.)  Cathy's 13th birthday is coming up in April, so she examines her skin daily to check for acne. I get the impression that they are having difficulty distinguishing advertisements from documentaries.  Both Chris and Cathy have reached puberty and are "growing hair where we hadn't had hair before." Cathy plucks the "funny looking, crispy, amber-colored hair" with tweezers whenever she can, but she notices that they keep coming.  Chris catches her one day with her arm raised and asks her what she is doing. She "likes her body nice and neat" and he tells her to think of the hair as sexy. This could be a somewhat charming scene, but it's creepy. He ruined it. And then she ruins it some more by saying that "big bosoms were sexy, not crinkly, wiry hair." And then goes on about how she has "hard little apples" poking out of her chest. And her brother looks at them quite often.  I need a shower.  I should have waited on the shower.  Shockingly, she's also seeing stains on the boys sheets. And he tells her they are nocturnal emissions, she doesn't believe him. She tells him to go to a doctor so that Cory doesn't catch whatever is wrong with him. Chris tells her that he heard older boys talk in the locker room and it's all normal. I thought he was a doctor and was reading books about this kind of thing? She claims it's too messy to be normal.  I find it too weird to be having these dreams in the bed with your brother, and then making your sister wash the sheets. Also, poor Duggar girls.  Chris warns her that her time to mess up the sheets is coming, and he's noticed that she's developing and should talk to their mother about it. Why is he such a douche? I know he's the oldest sibling but ugh.  All of the kids are kind of each other's last nerve, which is understandable as they have been locked in a room together for months. Carrie talks constantly and freaks out if you tell her to stop. The grandmother gets upset if the beds are messed up so they can't sit on the beds. Cory fiddles with Tinker-Toys and doesn't make anything not noisy. The kids want everything they see on TV. Chris and Cathy watch soaps. My guess is All My Children because Days of Our Lives didn't come out until 1965. DooL would be my choice. I scheduled classes around it in college. I occasionally skipped lunch during high school and watched it in the band room or went home to catch it (Always watch on Fridays, they recap most of the week and leave you with a cliff hanger.) Marlena was possessed! Wait, secret island! Clones! ... Will Eric Brady finally reconnect with Nicole? He's the son of Roman and Marlena and his twin Sami is such a train wreck and then she's not! Maybe I should start going to the gym on my lunch so I can catch back up. I miss it.  In late March, Corrine comes in with a box. Chris takes the twins to the attic. I wonder when he cornered the mother to tell her to have the period talk with Cathy. Cathy wants to be a ballerina, not deal with periods. Don't we all, Cathy, don't we all. Corrine says there is nothing they can do. In 2017, there is! We've got Mirana and starvation. Two time tested ways to limit your period. Or you can take daily pills and just skip the sugar ones.  Corrine says that having babies is very rewarding. How, exactly, are these children rewarding to her? I get the impression she thinks of them as toys that she keeps in the attic and can go back to and play with when it's convenient for her. Corrine tells a very bitter story about how she didn't know anything about periods when she got hers for the first time.  Corrine ignores the twins when they come back from the attic. She "fondles, kisses, and fawns" over Chris.  *** The attic grows warmer, they take down the paper snowflakes that I forgot they made, they make spring flowers. Cathy turns 13. Cathy gets ice cream, cake, and some needlepoint kits. The twins get better gifts (IMO), ice cream, cake,  an accordion and piano.  There is no way the staff isn't noticing Corrine carrying objects upstairs that disappear and cartons of ice cream. Malcolm Foxworth Senior doesn't approve of men who play music and write poetry. One of her brothers was forced to work in a bank. Oh, the horrors of having to work a well paying job that gives you plenty of time to study music on the side. Malcolm Jr rebelled by buying a motorcycle and crashing it, falling hundreds of feet down a chasm and dying.  Her other brother, Joel, ran away during the funeral. He died in a skiing accident in Switzerland. They never found his body. When this happens on DOOL, you just know it's so they can recast the character later. Or the actor wants to go on vacation.  These stories disturb Chris and Cathy, as it seems as though men around their mother tend to die in tragic accidents. That's what happens when you are a character in a gothic romance novel, kids.  I'm not as familiar with this series as I am with the Casteels, but I'm certain that at some point, you'll both die in a tragic accident so one of your offspring can narrate a sequel. Sorry about the luck, Cathy.  Chris is annoyed because they've read every book in the attic. Maybe your mother should bring you more books. Compared to ice cream, televisions, and accordion, books are pretty easy to sneak in. Especially paperbacks. But then again, you'll be trusting that Corrine can read well enough to figure out something you might like and don't already have. Since they don't have anything new to read, they decide to teach the twins to read and write. They don't want to and Carrie throws a screaming fit. They are 6, btw, which is old enough to not act like this. But then again, they are being raised by a sister mom and a neckbeard brother.  Corrine is down to visiting once or twice a week. Classic.  *** It's summer. Oh, Corrine got the message about the books, and is now stealing books from downstairs and giving them to the children in the attic. She's not looking at titles or making any effort anymore. They read a historical novel that made them enjoy history more. Somehow this book gets them talking about being naked. Cathy is on her period, it's her second one, and she is crampy. He tells her that he likes this about her particular situation, and that if it makes her into a woman like their mother, he's all for it. Thanks, asshole. Also, stop being so fucking creepy.  Cathy asks again if she thinks its odd that they've been locked up for so long. Thank you, Cathy. Please keep pressing the issue. Throughout this conversation, which is finally actually relevant to the plot, he is breathing into her hair. I'm not even joking. "His face lowered into my hair" is a direct quote from Cathy. He pulls back when she mentions mother, then embraces her again. He has to believe. Apparently he's an optimist, not just a creepy teenage boy who wants to have sex with his mother. Seriously, dude, get a reddit account and friend that guy who supposedly actually had sex with his mom after he broke his arms. They love this stuff over there. He also mentions that there must be some reason they are in the attic and not at boarding school, which is, actually a good point. The grandmother has money too! Either one of them could sneak these kids off to boarding school! Or they could leave them in a fire station or sell them on an orphan train or put them in a cottage on the edge of the property.  *** Corrine is now visiting rarely and not on a regular basis. She tells them that Malcolm is close to death. And then she comes back and says that he is fine. It's August and they've been there for a year. They also did not mention the anniversary of their own father's death.  With that, Part 1 is DONE. We are halfway!   

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

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: "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



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      Went to a writer's group meeting yesterday.  First time I've gone to this group's meetings.  Different from other groups I've participated in - this one was a series of prompts and exercises.  I was in a bit of a mood going in - Father's Day weekend for a recent widow is no laugh matter; several social/annoying things happened at Shabbat service in the morning, and one of our service leaders made a "somebody really should" statement of the writing variety and once I hear someone say "someone really should" I usually can't unsee the idea until I've had a try at it.  We did a word association map for one exercise, then wrote something based on part or all of the word map.  I picked a section of the map that had some references to knives and fancy dress balls to write from.  I'm pretty proud of what I wrote in 15 minutes but it's pretty clear that I was in a "mood."
       
       
      The night of the long knives came and went as a plague on the first born of the land.  Men perfectly healthy went to bed only to be jerked from sleep with knives against their throats.  Here were the leaders of men, thrust against walls at the point of a stiletto, there the young men only following their orders, and over there again the family men who didn't exactly plan to pursue this path but perfectly content where they'd found themselves.  At the end of a blade, deep in the depression years, taking their payslips home at the end of the week feeling they'd done a good job, and a little extra for mother in the kitchen. The years of children, church, and kitchen. The good women. Most of them not owning a fancy pair of shoes or a party dress, for who had time?  The children needed their mothers at home, the men away at work.
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