I haven’t read this book since I was a teen. When I was a kid my morbid friends and I would buy these books and pass them amongst each other until the pages nearly fell out. I think one of us might’ve even used her church collection fund to buy a few after skipping out on church and going roller skating instead, oops. I have to say it was money well spent. I still have my original (now moldy) copy that has writing inside from those friends and I will likely keep it forever for that reason alone. It’s one of the few items that survived my tumultuous childhood and only because I hid it and wouldn’t let it go. This revisit brought back a lot of memories and I credit this book for creating my thirst for dysfunctional stories about beautiful people keeping secrets and doing horrible and atrocious things to each other. To this day I cannot get enough of that sort of thing! So thank you, VC Andrews. I sure wish you had been able to live a long and healthy life.
So yeah, let’s get this out of the way. The writing is fantastically over-dramatic and if I heard “golly lolly” or “lolly day” or even plain old “golly” one more time I thought my eyeballs were going to get stuck somewhere up in my brain. Whoever on this planet ever said that?! No one in my circle of sometimes naughty friends but I don’t remember that sticking out to me as a kid. What I do remember (and who on earth could ever forget?) was the love between the kids, the abuse, the loss and, oh loard, the incest! I don’t care how cute brother Chris was, you do NOT kiss your brother but then again I wasn’t trapped in an attic with my siblings so who am I to judge? Anyhow, it’s all here and the rollout is slow so hold on to your heart. It is as awful and chilling and horrifying and painful to read now in 2020 as it was back in the ’80s when this book was everywhere.
The adults in this story are human monsters. Or they’re dead and perfect angels. There really isn’t any middle ground. I think this is what attracted me so much to this story. My home life was a nightmarish stew of anger and grief and unpredictability until I got out and this book made things look pretty damn normal. These kids were living with fear and anxiety and out of control emotions too and so much worse. Their emotions were raw and real even if the dialogue was ridiculous at times (most times!) At least I wasn’t stuck in an attic with my three siblings while my greedy and weak monster of a mother bought jewels and plotted . . . well, I won’t spoil that!
Anyhow, if you haven’t ever read this book and you like horror (and this is indeed horror - this is a hill I will die on) do yourself a favor and give this one a read. It lingers around for a reason. I’d take off half a star for that awful dialogue but I can’t bring myself to do it because I have such undying love for this book for helping a messed up girl through some very rough times.
Content Warnings: Oh there are so many but child abuse and dubious con sex might be the two biggest if you don’t count the incest!
This quote. Oh, how I love this quote:
“My anguish was always like a mountain of rage.”