Jump to content

FJ Reviews & Recaps

  • entries
    488
  • comments
    466
  • views
    85,772

Contributors to this blog

  • crazyforkate 304
  • Maggie Mae 97
  • jinjy2 35
  • MarblesMom 33
  • Curious 9
  • GolightlyGrrl 8
  • kunoichi66 2

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


Maggie Mae

1,566 views

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: 

Quote

 

Chris, there's one thing you've got to know: you can not waltz your whole life through, or do the foxtrot. Every year brings changes, like in clothes. You've got to keep up with the times, and adapt. Come on, let's jazz it up a bit, so you can limber up your creaky joints that must be going stiff from so much sitting and reading." 


 

 

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"

  • Upvote 8

9 Comments


Recommended Comments

littlemommy

Posted

"Someone get him a fedora, mt dew, cheetos, and a laptop already. "

Maybe a long trenchcoat, as well.

I love your take on this shitty book!

  • Upvote 5
Link to comment
Maggie Mae

Posted

@littlemommy There are a lot of things I never picked up on before in regards to Christopher and the mom. When I was 11 or 12 and reading this book for the first time, I was captivated. And since Cathy said something was so, it was. I just assumed that she was a reliable narrator, but she's kind of not. She's got all of these biases about her brother and father. And it's creepy af when you realize that someone wrote this and  we don't know if the author intended it to be that way or if Cathy is just a super mary sue who loves ballet and is beautiful and smart but not too smart because she's a girl and that's unbecoming. Which opens up another can of worms about misandry. 

  • Upvote 5
Link to comment
littlemommy

Posted (edited)

It's really just so bad. The thing is...I LOVE trashy movies, trashy television, and trashy books. I own every Twilight book and movie and love to make people watch and trash talk them with me. 

The Flowers in the Attic "saga" kind of reminds me of the Twilight "saga". Every man is the most handsome in the world and everyone loves the narrator--Cathy is basically a blond Bella Swann who has weaponised her sexuality by book two and went completely nuts. 

Edited by littlemommy
  • Upvote 5
Link to comment
JordynDarby5

Posted

On ‎9‎/‎19‎/‎2017 at 10:49 AM, Maggie Mae said:

@littlemommy There are a lot of things I never picked up on before in regards to Christopher and the mom. When I was 11 or 12 and reading this book for the first time, I was captivated. And since Cathy said something was so, it was.

I didn't either the first time I read the book. I was twelve when I started reading the series. I figured it just took Christopher a lot longer to accept or realize what Cathy figured out sooner that their mother didn't care about them anymore. When I re-read it two years later that's when I noticed the weirdness between Chris and his mother. That is not a normal mother-son relationship, that was a son in love with his mother relationship. Christopher is creepy and gross.  

  • Upvote 5
Link to comment
Maggie Mae

Posted

@JordynDarby5 He's supposed to be ever so "brilliant" and intelligent, but he can't see how absolutely horrid their mother is? And the weirdest part is that Cathy seems to just "understand" it all. This boy is so gross. 

I'd love to see a modern version of these books, where someone rewrites them with actual characterization. First off, they never really mourn the death of their father, then the mother disappears while they wait around in an attic. And the only person who is really throwing temper tantrums and acting out is Carrie. Who only has that trait, which .. ugh. Maybe next I'll reread the boxcar children and destroy my childhood favorites some more. 

  • Upvote 4
Link to comment
JordynDarby5

Posted

A rewrite would be interesting, there should be more mourning of their father, and maybe do a better job of showcase Christopher's trust in their mother? Because it really makes no sense as the years pass and its very clear Corinne doesn't care. He's the only one who remains why? Corinne doesn't do a very good job of pretending to be having a hard time too to her kids. Except for the first whipping she seems to be able to come and go freely, and is able to spend a lot of money on gifts and things for her kids. Why isn't he wondering why Corinne isn't saving up that money to leave and be able to take care of them? It would make more sense for Cory or Carrie to still believe and trust their mother. In a rewrite instead of having Christopher being creepy he and Cathy should be working together with the twins and for support in their situation, they should be talking and worrying to each other as the months go by. 

  • Upvote 4
Link to comment
turquoise

Posted

Even as a kid, I thought it was unrealistic that Cathy could become good enough to be a ballerina just by practicing alone in an attic, with no teacher. But of course she doesn't need actual training, just beautiful costumes.

  • Upvote 4
Link to comment
HerNameIsBuffy

Posted

On 9/20/2017 at 2:53 PM, Maggie Mae said:

And the only person who is really throwing temper tantrums and acting out is Carrie.

The true heroine of this book.  The truth screamer.

On 9/24/2017 at 11:58 PM, turquoise said:

Even as a kid, I thought it was unrealistic that Cathy could become good enough to be a ballerina just by practicing alone in an attic, with no teacher. But of course she doesn't need actual training, just beautiful costumes.

that went way over my head as a kid...i didn't take dance so I didn't catch it.  I was, however, fixated on how filthy those mattresses must have been. 

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
clueliss

Posted

Adult me is reacting to the above in a 'dang - grandmother's not necessarily all that far off in her ranting and devil's spawn weirdness with the C's behavior'

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Posts

    • mysweetetc

      Posted (edited)

      Surprised that it was these two who won the game of Twin Roulette between the G2 Dugglings. As a twin mom myself, I was under the impression that fraternal twinning is passed down through the mom, due to it being a case of hyper-ovulation. And I'm guessing it's fraternal twins because they did a double gender reveal--if they were identical, they'd know the kiddos were boy/boy or girl/girl.

      ETA: What will this be, 4 under 4 for them? Yikes on bikes.

      Edited by mysweetetc
      I fat-fingered the "enter" button.
      • Upvote 2
    • JermajestyDuggar

      Posted

      Laura and Katie are checking people in at Fort Rock this week. Jed is there too of course:

       

      EB8E0DD1-DB64-4E4A-B854-5B073DC417D2.jpeg

    • JermajestyDuggar

      Posted

    • JermajestyDuggar

      Posted

    • Ozlsn

      Posted

      6 hours ago, Bluebirdbluebell said:

      There are some versions of the bible that clean up the story of Jacob and Joseph, so that the reader is missing something. Joseph wasn't the arbitrary favorite. He was one of the only biological children of Jacob and Rachel. His brothers who plotted against him were all half brothers. Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, but was tricked into marrying her older sister Leah. The Lord made Leah very fertile to make up for it. Rachel was almost barren until Joseph. (In the meantime, Rachel and Leah both sent their maid servants to have children by Jacob.) Jacob and Rachel were eventually able to have 2 biological children: Joseph and later, Benjamin. Benjamin was too young and not apart of selling Joseph into Egypt. Some versions clean up the story to just say that Rachel and Leah are the bio-moms of all the kids and Joseph just happens to be the favorite, but this is incorrect. 

      Jacob's father-in-law arguably started the problem when he tricked Jacob into marrying the wrong sister. 

      They really don't do Biblical marriage like they used to.

      I think the best part of Gary's retelling is struggling to remember any of the names or relationships, that's what people look for in a preacher. Although I can see all the women in the story going through all the kids names until they hit the right one!

      • Upvote 1


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.