Book / Movie Review

Flowers In The Attic by V. C. Andrews | This horrific tale will live with you forever

Flowers In The Attic by Virginia C. Andrews is a book which I read quite a few years back but it left an impact so strong that the story is still vividly etched in my head. Similar to the old scars from my childhood which are adamant to leave my skin, the memory of this story haunts me still after years.

The storyline is really dark and depressing with an incest angle to it. This book spoke to me on different perspectives. It made me feel alive and at the same time it made chills run down my spine.


  • Title of the Book – Flowers In The Attic
  • Author – Cleo Virginia Andrews
  • Genrè – Gothic, Horror, Young-adult Fiction, Family Saga
  • Ratings – 4/5
  • Series – The Dollanganger Series is the first series written by V.C. Andrews.

Flowers In The Attic (1979)

Petals On The Wind (1980)

If There Be Thorns (1981)

Seeds of Yesterday (1984)

Garden of Shadows (1986)

Summary of Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews

This story is about the Dollanganger Family, who lived in Pennsylvania. Due to the untimely death of Mr. Dollanganger at the beginning of the story, his wife, Corinne, was left behind with their four children – Cathy, Chris, Cory and Carrie along with heaps of debt. The Dollanganger Family then decided to move in with Corinne’s wealthy parents.

When they reached Corinne’s ancestral home, Foxworth Hall, they were not greeted warmly by Corinne’s mother, Olivia. They were provided with a small bedroom connected to the attic and the children were restricted from going out and meeting their grandfather, Malcolm.

Corinne was whipped savagely which depressed the children. She confessed to her children that their late father was her father’s half-brother, and this incest led to unhealthy ties. She promised her children to win back her father’s love and then introduce them to him.

Flowers In The Attic

During their initial days in the attic, Corinne used to visit the children daily and bring them gifts too. But their wicked grandmother, Olivia, would abuse the children mentally and physically and whip them for sinful acts. Then with time, Corinne visited them very frequently.

After almost an year, Chris and Cathy started entering adulthood and developed a physical attraction towards each other. One day, Olivia caught Chris staring at half-dressed Cathy and she abandoned them for a long time.

Corinne visited the children after a long time with an explanation that she had been on honeymoon with Bart Winslow, Malcolm’s Attorney. When they realised that they could no more rely on their mother, they make an escape plan of sneaking into the house.

During the plan, Cathy saw their step-father sleeping and kissed him to which Chris was enraged. He took the revenge by raping Cathy. After sometime, when he overcame with the guilt of his action, Cathy forgave him saying that she wanted it too.

After few days, Cory became very sick and was taken to the hospitality by Corinne but he could not survive. Corinne moved out with Bart without informing the children. Chris heard from a house helper that Malcolm had died few months back and Olivia was feeding the children doughnuts sprinkled with rat poison to kill them.

Cathy, Chris and Carrie ran from the mansion and caught the train to Florida. Chris told them that he had discovered that Corinne could only inherit her father’s wealth if she had no children from her first marriage. This was the reason why she was poisoning them. They did not go to the Police as they wanted to stay together and raise Carrie who was a minor still. But Cathy never let the idea of revenge vanish her mind.

Review of Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews

This book is quite famous because of the incest angle added to it by the author throughout the story. Inspite of the book being scandalous, tainted, tacky and gruesome, it is so deep and elegant in the way it is presented. The flow with which the book is written works well with the dark plot and every damn word is packed with emotion.

The characters are so full of life that they make the story come to life. The narration of the story in Cathy’s words is extremely connecting and emotional. The children are treated ruthlessly and are locked in the attic for years. They were never allowed to go outside and were only given meals once a day. This stunted their growth and made them weak and fragile. Cathy and Chris are forced to mature so young in order to take care of their twin siblings – Cory and Carrie. The author has shown an incest angle by displaying their physical attraction towards one another.

Flowers In The Attic

The cruel and mean grandmother, Olivia, has been portrayed as a true villian along with their mother, Corinne. Her sadistic behaviour is very well reflected in her actions when she is shown whipping children savagely for their sinful acts. This was quite disturbing for me. Both the mother as well as the grandmother are unaware about the emotional needs of the children.

Other characters in the book have played their parts well in order to let the story flow till the end. Malcolm, Bart Winslow and the house keepers were all very impressed for the storyline and have done justice to the book.

Although the story is quite scandalous on various levels and extremely disturbing at certain points, I found the story quite raw and interesting. Basically the main gist of the story is to highlight the far-reaching consequences of incest, abuse and neglect. This core has been very beautifully woven in the plot of the book.

The story has remained with me since forever now and I shall read the series too in order to know what goes next in the children’s life. If you are someone who is into Young-adult Fiction, Horror and Gothic genre; you must go for this amazingly written book – Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews.

About the cover of Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews

 

The cover of Flowers In The Attic in the first look is quite beautiful yet at the same time haunting. It is innocent yet leaves you dazed.

Flowers In The Attic

Flowers In The Attic offers an iconic cover and revolutionized the paperback universe with respect to the design it offers.

The front cover shows a powerful picture of a red and grey coloured house with a beautiful yet horrified girl peeking out of the Attic window. But as you lift the cover, you see another quite disturbing portrait of four young children, all dressed in white. Behind them is shown a male spirit hovering over them, with his hands reaching towards them in a frightening manner.

The picture of the cover shown above is the first design that came out amongst the readers. Although with time, many changes were made in the cover.


FAQs

There are some frequently asked questions about the book, which I thought should be answered. So here go the questions which most people ask about Flowers In The Attic by V.C. Andrews;

Q1. Why was the book ‘Flowers In The Attic’ banned?

The book ‘Flowers In The Attic’ caused a great stir amongst the readers because of the scandalous storyline it offered. The plot of the book revolves around child abuse, incest and demonizing of religion which led to the bann of this book from various schools and libraries.

Q2. Is the book based on a true story?

This book was initially advertised as being ‘based on true events’ but was passed off as Fiction. Although there’s no actual proof in concern to the story being based on true incidents, the official V.C. Andrews website claims something different. The website contacted V.C. Andrew’s close relative who suggested that the story is loosely based on similar incidents in someone else’s life.

Q3. What is the right age to read Flowers In The Attic?

Since the book revolves around some horrifying topics such as child abuse, it is suggested to be read by teenagers above the age of 16 years. This book is of the genre Young-Adult Fiction, so it is a mature read and the story is pretty adult for children below 16 years. The incest angle described in the book can be pretty disturbing for the young generation, so an age group above 16 years will be appropriate according to me.