Friday, January 9, 2009

Flowers in the Attic

Before we begin, I should admit that this is not technically a movie novelization, although it is a novel that's been made into a movie. So it nearly counts, even though I haven't actually seen the movie in question.

The reason I read this book is this:

I've been blogging here and there since 2001 or so, and I've never really participated in one of those multi-site ongoing challenge deals. I nearly did with Seven Days back in 2002, but that didn't actually take off. But the idea of reading and commenting on eleven V.C. Andrews books over a year strikes me as too hilarious to ignore. So I guess what I'm saying... is that it's on.

I was nine years old when Flowers in the Attic came out, and within two years, it seemed like it was everywhere, due to its allegedly graphic descriptions of incest sex. I never read it myself, since I jumped straight from Judy Blume to the somewhat more classy (but still properly sleazy) The Hotel New Hampshire. Reading Flowers in the Attic now, I imagine that the sex scene must have been fairly disappointing for the kids who had been looking forward to the graphic detail.

Naturally, I got this copy at a used bookstore, and I have to say I'm delighted with the copy I got. Here's why:

Yes! It's highlighted! Frankly, I think it's got too much highlighting to actually be useful:

About half of the book is highlighted. Here's a tip for you young would-be-highlighters out there: if you highlight so much of a book that you dry out three separate pens, you've probably gone overboard.

This is not one of those highlighting jobs that goes for the sex bits; I think this is for a book report or something, because every single reference to flowers, family, wholesomeness, and colors got the treatment. And there were some handwritten notes for foreshadowing, which doesn't seem that hard to spot. I think the cleverest part of Flowers in the Attic is that the narrator is a teenager, which can justify any amount of clumsy narration. I don't think it quite justifies the occasional "Golly-lolly", though. Also, since the narrator allegedly spends every waking minute reading Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and the Bible, I don't think it would have been out of the question for her to write a little better. But I guess it's plausible for her to sound like she does.

The book was about what I expected in terms of cartoonish villainy and doubtful plot developments. I do have my suspicions about the children's father, though. I realize that he's described in glowing terms (literally, in my copy, thanks to the highlighting), but here's what we know about him: 1) he insists on his children greeting him with lavish hugs and kisses, and 2) he's willing to commit incest. Also, these are probably the unluckiest children you're likely to find, so I think even if he'd lived, things would have gone badly for them anyway.

All right, there you go. Flowers in the Attic. Next month, I'll have another V.C. Andrews book. And next week, I'm going to take on one of the most mysterious novelizations ever: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a novelization of a movie with no dialogue.


Taren said...

That was hilarious -I'm so glad you're participating in our challenge! I really hope you continue with more non-made into movie VCAs. Used books are sooo the only way to go with this. I had never really thought about being suspicious about their father before, but now that you mention it I think I have a new category to add to my upcoming Primer: Part 3. Loved this post and can't wait for more!

Steph said...

Yay, first post by a participant! I loved your observations. Right on. I read this one (and only this one so far, which doesn't bode well for a co-host of said challenge, but whatever) and loved it for all its trashy nature. Interesting comment about the dad though... :)


Monty Ashley said...

Oh, I'm definitely continuing. Next Month: My Sweet Audrina!

motomotoyama said...

My copy is highlighted too, so strange.

Anonymous said...

So where are the rest of them? I read this a hundred years ago but no hi-lighter used. Pretty sexless for a book about incest from my recollection.

Monty Ashley said...

Yeah, I have to read another one and have something posted by the end of the month. Which is Tuesday. Time to get reading!

Ben said...

"About half of the book is highlighted. Here's a tip for you young would-be-highlighters out there: if you highlight so much of a book that you dry out three separate pens, you've probably gone overboard."

I used to highlight incessantly. Now I underline incessantly. I also tend to fill up the endpapers with notes and quotes. Probably too much. But the way I figure it, they're my books and all of that underlining and scribbling is useful to me. I leave it to my biographers to argue whether the extreme underlining was my way of lashing out against my mother or my father.

Sherry Mauro said...

Read it in school during my History class. I know! I know! But I couldn't help myself, the book was that good.

I have a bio on my blog about VCA and her original books....

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