Oh my god, you guys! It's time to FINISH Flowers in the Attic! Thank GOD! I have had way too much incest in my life the past few months! I mean, not, ACTUAL INCEST, like, in my ACTUAL LIFE, but, you know, in my book life. I feel like I've dug myself an unfortunate hole now. I . . . I swear I'm not dating any of my relatives. Even though my family's from Mississippi. We don't really do that in Mississippi, or anything; we just let you guys think that so you won't want to move in and eat all our boiled peanuts.
Before we begin, I thought I'd share with you my Facebook status update from a few days ago. See? It's PROOF that I wasn't allowed to read this book as a child (but did it anyway, obvs):
So let's NOT take my mother's advice and see how this story ofour favorite incestuous homebound kids ends! It's heated up, you guys!! Incest, ahoy!
Chapter 16: To Find a Friend
You've got a friend in me - R.Newman
Number of Drinks Taken: 8
Number of Drinks Chugged: 3
Number of Shots Taken: 1
Chapter Summary: Well, gosh! Just when I thought our attic adventures couldn't get any more boring, we've gone and topped ourselves! Because we found a mouse trapped in one of the traps, but he was still alive! And Cory pitched a fit because he wanted a pet, so Chris pretended he actually had any medical training at all and doctored up the mouse! And then we put it in a cage! And that's all that happened! Ten whole pages about the capture of a mouse! Hooray!
The Creepy Award Goes To: Cory. Look, I get that you might want a pet. And I think mice are kind of cute! But do you really want one that you captured in a trap? The little brother of tens or hundreds of his brethren, burrowing into the walls around you, running over your food and infecting it with their mice feces, and scrambling over your feet at night while you sleep?
. . . Okay.
Notes from the Margin:
As far as I knew, Cory had just about everything money could buy except for a pet, his freedom and the great outdoors.
Well . . . I mean, that's kind of A LOT, Cathy. That's like saying, "Julia Roberts' character in Sleeping With the Enemy had everything money could buy, but occassionally she was brutally beaten by her husband!" But, by all means, get the kid a little mouse to trap in a cage so we can all be BEATEN OVER THE HEAD REPEATEDLY with the fucking metaphors about how you four are just like wild things being caged. BEATEN JUST LIKE JULIA ROBERTS' CHARACTER IN SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY.
"I'm going to call him Mickey," said Cory . . .
"It might be a girl," said Chris, who flicked his eyes to check.
"No! Don't want no girl mouse - want a Mickey mouse!"
Oh! TYPICAL! What's wrong with a GIRL MOUSE, Cory? Is it going to get too tied to you emotionally and cut down on your running-around time? Is it going to whine when you want to watch football? STOP BEING SO SEXIST. And besides, you're not in a position to be picky, kid! Do you see any other mice running around willing to be your pet? No. So you will take what you get and you will like it.
ALSO. I'm no expert on mouse anatomy, but I'm PRETTY sure that checking a mouse's sex is not as easy as checking, say, a chimpanzee's or a dog's. It's a MOUSE. Everything on it is small. How do you know it has a little mouse penis? Maybe that's a peniform clitoris, which is what female spotted hyenas have*! YOU DON'T KNOW, CHRISTOPHER! BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T EVEN GRADUATED EIGHTH GRADE!
*This is my number one piece of party trivia. All of my friends have had to hear about spotted hyenas' peniform clitorisis (clitori? clitorises?) for years; they're completely sick of it.
When Cory wore a shirt with two breast pockets, and the right one held a bit of cheese, and the left a bit of peanut-butter-and-grape-jelly sandwich, Mickey would hesitate indecisively on Cory's shoulders, his nose twitching, his whiskers jerking.
WHY DO I HAVE TO READ ABOUT THIS, V.C. ANDREWS? Is this an effort to charm your audience with a cute tale of a mouse, a la Fievel or Desperaux? Cause if so, IT'S NOT WORKING ON ME. You can't just have 245 pages of nothing but whining and incest and whining about incest and tarrings and beatings and claustrophobia-inducing discussions of being locked in an attic and then come in on page 246 and make it all okay with a cute little mouse who likes PB&Js. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, OKAY.
Chapter 17: At Last, Momma
"Mama, ooh, didn't mean to make you cry." - F. Mercury
Number of Drinks Taken: 21
Number of Drinks Chugged: 8
Number of Shots Taken: 12
Chapter Summary: Well, golly-day! After a short, silly chapter entirely about a mouse, I'm going to make this next chapter ENDLESS and cover several weeks of events! Because along with algebra, mols, macroeconomics and the major Civil War battles, I also never learned how to pace a fucking novel, because I've been trapped in an attic for the last three years!
It was time to measure the twins' height progress up in the attic! And they've only grown two inches in two whole years! And they're always tired and listless! I really think that maybe the lack of sunlight might be affecting their growth! If only they could run around outside! Then I bet that slow arsenic poisoning wouldn't be affecting them at all!
Momma's been gone a super long time, for months! Maybe she's forgotten about us! But then she comes back! With lots of presents! But we're so mad at her, cause of how she doesn't know our clothes sizes and left us in the care of mean Grandmother, and also, presumably, because she has imprisoned us in an attic for years!! And Christopher and I are both really stern and we tell her just how we feel! And then she cries and pitches a fit because she's a 30-something year old woman who has gotten away with acting like a toddler for her entire life! And Chris apologizes, but Momma's so mad that she leaves!
Then I go up to the attic and dance and dance and dance, even though no one has brought me new pointe shoes for several months so I'm not sure how my shoes have managed to make it through daily practice on an unvarnished floor, but WHATEVER, and then I hurt my knee!! So I decide to end it all by jumping off the roof! But unfortunately, Christopher comes out and talks me out of it and then I realize I want to bone him. It's totally unfortunate, cause of how he shares my genetic code.
The Creepy Award Goes To: Corrine and Christopher. Oh, I just can't decide! Corrine thinks it's cool to waltz in and out of her children's lives (granted, children she has LOCKED AWAY IN AN ATTIC) and be all, "La la la, did you miss me?" and then pitch a fit like a three year old when she doesn't get her way.
But then, Christopher's a gross, rapey jackhole, so.
Notes from the Margin:
We were growing moreday by day, he and I. My breasts filled our fuller, my hips widened, my waist diminished, and the short hair above my forehead grew out longer and curled becomingly.
I have created an ARTISTIC RENDERING of what Cathy looks like:
Certainly their heads were larger and that should have diminshed the size of their eyes. Yet their eyes appeared extraordinarily large.
Here is another VERY TALENTED Artistic Rendering!
"But look at us, Momma, and really see us. Cathy feels, and I feel, that you close your eyes to what you are doing to us."
Jesus, has Chris been going to therapy and learning about using his Emotion words? Chris, I feel that your mother is a shiteous hosebag and that you are dumber than a bag of hair.
" . . . we want out of this room! Not next week, or tomorrow - but today! Now! This minute! You turn that key over to me, and we'll go away, far away. And you can send us money, if you care to, or send nothing, if that's what you want, and you need never see us again, if that is your choice, and that will solve all your problems . . ."
Okay, Chris, I want to reward you like a person does a small, dumb puppy, since this is the first logical fucking thing you've said in two years and 293 pages. BUT. There are FOUR of you. There is ONE of her. Why are you waiting for the key? Just rush the door, you idiot! Tie your mom up with something, if you need to, and LEAVE. This isn't difficult! Has the arsenic eaten your brain, you silly pudding head? YOU. JUST. GO. IT'S. NOT. HARD.
Her voice broke. She turned sideways, throwing Chris an appealing, woebegone look. "Haven't I done the best I could by you? Where did I go wrong? What did you lack?"
WOMAN. ARE YOU HIGH? Where did you go wrong? Where DIDN'T you go wrong?? First, you married your half-brother/half-uncle! Then you bred four horrible children. Then you pranced and preened and used up all your savings so that when your half-brother/half-uncle/husband died, you had no money left. THEN, instead of oh, I don't know, GETTING A FUCKING JOB, you decided to run home with your tail twixt your legs and ask mommy and daddy for their millions. THEN you LOCKED YOUR CHILDREN IN AN ATTIC FOR TWO FUCKING YEARS and left them at the mercy of a woman you KNEW to be unhinged, mentally deranged and, possibly, a part-time dominatrix named Miss Taffeta on the weekends! WHAT DID YOU DO? WHERE DID YOU GO WRONG? Woman! I can't even! I can't even put it into words! You make Lucille Bluth look like goddamn June Cleaver!
" . . . I'll have money to send all four of you to college, and Chris to medical school, and you, Cathy, can continue on with your dance lessons. I'll find for Cory the best of musical teachers, and for Carrie, I'll do anything she wants."
Typical. Carrie never has any actual interests other than screaming and kicking Cathy. When she gets older, her interests are eating disorders and dating preachers and killing herself, but she manages to make even that boring. Ugh, Carrie is the WORST.
"Make out a shopping list," he joked. "It's time you started wearing bras and stopped bobbing up and down. And while you're at it, write down a girdle, too."
I could have slapped his grinning face! My abdomen was a hollowed-out cave. And if my buttocks were rounded and firm, it was from exercise - not from fat!
Typical Chris, staring at his sister's breasts. Typical Cathy, completely missing the point that her gross brother is staring at her chest in favor of being annoyed that someone might possibly imply that she's fat. Typical V.C. Andrews, going on and on and ON about how fucking perfect fucking Cathy's fucking body is, but in a way that makes normal people want to vomit. A hollowed-out cave? Does . . . is that something people want? That sounds like something that results from a prolonged illness or wasting disease. TB patients, maybe, have hollowed-out caves for abdomens. Tapeworm hosts. Not, you know, attractive people.
Chapter 18: Our Mother's Suprise
"My sweet midnight suprise, staple down my eyes." - Lightspeed Champion
Number of Drinks Taken: 24
Number of Drinks Chugged: 12
Number of Shots Taken: 14
Chapter Summary: Boy! Christopher and I just can't seem to stop ourselves from wanting to have sex with each other and also making the dumbest decisions available to us!
It all started when Momma came back! After staying away from us for nearly two weeks because she was busy throwing a strop like a four year old, she came back to tell us she was married! Married! Well, gosh golly day! She went and married that Bart Winslow with the mustache who grabbed her boobs at the Christmas party! I knew he was trouble! And I sure do hate the fact that some other man but Daddy has been in the precious folds of Momma's labia! In fact, I'm so upset about it that I think I'm going to write several long paragraphs' worth of text, detailing how upset I am! Using descriptive words! Cause it's not weird at all for a 15 year old girl to discuss her mother's sexual agency!
I think Chris is kinda mad that Mommy has been sleeping with anyone who isn't him or Daddy too, cause he got all funny and quiet and sad. I think his heart is broken that Momma didn't marry him instead!
So then later Chris and I were in the attic and he had a big ol' hard-on for me, but I diffused the situation by cutting his hair! But then he chased me around with the scissors because apparently no one has ever taught us never to run with scissors in our hands and then he accidentally stabs me! And I have to take my sweater off so that he can clean my wound! Which led to us going to second base, obviously!! Gosh, I really shouldn't let my brother touch my boobs, but, you know, then this book would be even more boring than it actually is! I have to add some sexy incest to liven it up!
So THEN I started having weird dreams about people cutting off my boobs and putting them into Chris's mouth, so Christopher and I decided we needed to leave the house or we'd end up having sex for realsies, so one time while Momma was visiting we made a copy of the key! And now we sneak out at night to steal money from Momma's room! And one time I went along with Chris and Momma's room is so opulant and fancy and she has tons of dresses and furs! I wonder why she can't sell some of this stuff so we could leave the house and live on our own! It can't possibly be because she wants to keep us a secret until we DIE, could it? No! That wouldn't be possible! It's totally normal to keep your kids locked up in anatticfor more than two years!
Then I found a SEX book in momma's nightstand! So Christopher and I looked at all the pictures! Imagine! Some people have sex with people who aren't even related to them! And sometimes the lady has sex with the man and she's on top of him! It's CRAZY!
The Creepy Award Goes To: Christopher, obvs. Christopher, I am BEGGING you here, PLEASE STOP PERVING AFTER YOUR SISTER. PLEASE. It's so gross! And, if you must perv, fuck's sake, perv in private. Stop TELLING her how much you want to have sex with her! THAT MAKES IT EVEN WORSE!
Also, please stop touching your sister's breasts.
Notes from the Margin:
". . . I've married a wonderful man, an attorney named Bart Winslow. You're going to like him. He's going to love all of you."
Yes. Particularly you, Cathy. Of course, the son he impregnates you with is going to end up being BATSHIT INSANE, but I think that's more down to your genes than his.
Words were on the tip of my tongue to say a man should know when his wife had four children by her first husband.
Psh. I've had twelve (imaginary) children by my first husband, Jonathan Brandis of Ladybugs and SeaQuest fame (God rest him), and you don't see me banging on about it to my gentleman caller Ryan Reynolds, do you?
"Don't ask me what men are like!" he stormed with such bitterness that he didn't seem himself at all. He raged on: "Up here, living as we do, how am I ever going to know how it feels to be a man? Up here, I'm not allowed to have any romantic notions. It's don't do this, and don't do that, and keep your eyes aerted, and don't see what's before your very eyes gliding about, showing off, pretending I'm just a brother, without feelings, without any emotions but childish ones. It seems some stupid girls think a gonna-be doctor is without sexuality!"
FIRST OF ALL, Christopher, shut the fuck up. SECOND, while you've got your mouth closed, let me give you a little pro-tip: being a man has fuck all to do with having sex with someone, you obnoxious little mealy-mouthed asshole. But hey, while you're here, it seems like you've done a bang-up job of absorbing rape culture and spouting it back like Nir Rosen or a Fox News commenter, because for some fucking reason, you think you have some sort of dominion over someone else's body and that your sister "gliding about" and "showing off"means that she's engraving you a gold invitation to fuck her, but GUESS WHAT? She's not, and you can't. So sit down, shut up, and get the fuck over yourself, you asshole.
I cupped his face in my palms first, then drew his head down to my breast as I'd seen Momma do in the past.
Drink! DRINK!!!!! DRINK ALL THE THINGS!
"Me? I don't think about girls, or sex, though I wish to God you weren't so damned pretty! And it would help if you weren't always so near, and so available."
Let me just see if I've got all of this straight, Christopher. You wouldn't think about sex at all, except that your sister is around. And you wouldn't think about sex with your sister, but she's just so super pretty. And you wouldn't think about having sex with your super pretty sister if she had, what, a boyfriend already? So, just to sum up - it's your sister's fault for being pretty, within 20 feet of you, and single.
Yep. That makes total sense! I can't count the number of people I've met who've told me, "man! I totally want to have sex with my brother! He's so hot! And single! And we live in the same house! I'm totally going to hit that!" This isn't your COLLEGE ROOMMATE, Christopher. THIS IS YOUR SISTER.
Also, you're gross.
If it did, in no way did she indicate that she saw us as less than perfectly normal, though I took pains to name our small illnesses: the way we threw up so often now, and how our heads ached from time to time, and we had stomach cramps, and sometimes very little energy.
"Keep your food in the attic, where it's cold," she said without flinching.
Um, Cathy, the reason she's not answering you about your complains of suffering from arsenic poisoning is because SHE IS THE ONE POISONING YOU WITH ARSENIC. Jesus Christ! PLEASE SELL ONE OF YOUR FANCY BUT ILL-FITTING DRESSES AND BUY A CLUE.
Chapter 19: My Stepfather
"Time makes you bolder, children get older" - S. Nicks
Number of Drinks Taken: 29
Number of Drinks Chugged: 7
Number of Shots Taken: 80 (I had to turn to alcohol to numb the horror)
Chapter Summary: Oh, gosh. I sure did do a bunch of stuff in this chapter! Let's start at the beginning!
Well, Chris was awful sick and green around the gills. Gee, I wonder why we're all so sick all of the time! It seems to have started soon after the Grandmother started bringing us those powdered doughnuts! But that can't have anything to do with it! She's probably just bringing us those doughnuts cause she likes us so much!
Anyway, since Chris was so sick, I took care of the robbing tonight. But when I got to Momma's room, I saw my stepfather, Bart! He was asleep in the chair! I know I should have just left, seeing as how it was dangerous to steal from someone who is actually in the room, but I didn't. Then I thought about maybe waking him up to tell him about us, all locked up in the attic! But I didn't do that either, because a baby that can only shit itself and cry is smarter than I am. So instead I kissed him! That's totally normal, right? To kiss your stepfather?
And then a few weeks later, Christopher was doing the stealing, but while he was in the middle of reading the sex book in Momma's nightstand, he heard Momma and our stepfather coming back to the room! So he went and eavesdropped on their conversation!! And they know someone's stealing from them, and then he heard Bart tell Momma about his dream of a young blonde ballerina coming in to kiss him, and now he thinks maybe Momma knows we have been sneaking out to steal!
Boy, Chris sure is angry about me kissing Bart! Not because I could have woken him and ruined our entire plan, of course, but because I kissed another boy. And he got so mad! And then HE RAPED ME! But, of course, somehow I am to blame for being raped, because I am a girl! So I'll just start victim-blaming myself now!
Anyway, Chris apologized cause of how he never meaned to rape me, and I apologized for having the audacity to own a vagina in his presence, and now I'm worried God's going to strike us down or make us have a deformed baby!
The Creepy Award Goes To: Cathy and Chris, though Cathy's Creep Award is small compared to Chris's, which takes up an entire stadiun with its creepiness. Cathy, please don't kiss your mother's husband. I know your mother is a conniving beast with little to no redeeming qualities which aren't directly tied to her magical vagina, but still. Don't kiss your stepfather. IT'S GROSS.
And Christopher, I have a tip for you! It's pretty simple, but it seems that neither you nor a bunch of other people in the world can manage to wrap your head around it, so I'll go slow and use small words so you can understand me: DON'T. RAPE. PEOPLE. Shh! Shh! I know, I know! It's so complicated! You just don't understand how it could possibly work! But I promise you! You CAN get through life without raping someone! Plenty of people do it! Every day! It's so easy! You wake up in the morning, and when you're writing out your To Do list for the day, you don't put "Rape Somebody" on there at all! You just leave it off entirely! And, unlike, "remember to get milk at the store," which is something I often forget to put on my To Do list but still do it after work, you just don't do the raping at all! When you look at someone you'd like to have sex with, you remember that they are ANOTHER PERSON and THEY HAVE AGENCY OVER THEIR BODY and you HAVE NO RIGHT TO THEM! You remember that, actually, whether someone wants to have sex with you or not is THEIR DECISION and that if they don't, then you DON'T HAVE SEX WITH THEM. IT IS REALLY VERY SIMPLE! I PROMISE.
Notes from the Margin:
There, in a chair, with his long legs stretched before him and crossed at the ankles, sprawled Momma's new husband! I was directly in front of him, wearing a transparent blue nightie that was very short, though little matching panties were underneath.
A) Gross. B) WHY ARE YOU WEARING THAT TO GO STEALING? Girl! Don't you have a robe you can put on! Or maybe, I don't know, SOMETHING BLACK TO WEAR? That way if you get caught you can claim you're a new member of the help, or something. Girl, you are DUMB.
Momma - how could you? You should be ashamed! This man is younger than you - years younger!
Oh. Oh, yes. THIS is what your mother, who married her half-brother/half-uncle, acted like a child through most of her adult life, lied about the existence of her children to get some money and hid her kids away in an attic for several years, should be ashamed about. Marrying a younger man. Yep! Corrine, HOW COULD YOU? THE SCANDAL.
It came over me all of a sudden - the impulse to kiss him - just to see if the dark mustache tickled. Just to know also, what a kiss was like from a stranger who was no blood relation at all.
Not forbidden, this one.
UM. It's actually TOTALLY FORBIDDEN, Cathy. He's your STEPFATHER! He PUTS HIS PENIS IN YOUR MOTHER'S ORIFICES. She sits on his face occassionally! KEEP YOUR MOUTH AWAY FROM HIM.
Look at him, so young, so handsome. And though our mother was exceptionally beautiful, . . . he could have had somebody younger. A fresh virgin who'd never loved anyone else, nor slept with another man.
Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww. First of all, I never want to hear the words "fresh virgin" ever again, unless someone is talking about olive oil. Second, do people really turn down hot pieces of action because they've slept with someone else? "Oh, man! This chick is so hot! And she's rich! But, nope, her hymen was broken by another! I SHALL NOT PASS!"
No. They don't.
"You're mine, Cathy! Mine! You'll always be mine! No matter who comes into your future, you'll always belong to me! I'll make you mine . . . tonight . . . now!"
You know, I understand the prevalence of rape in romance novels of the 70s and early 80s. I really do. Women weren't supposed to want or crave sex, and rape? Well, rape was a convenient way for the author to have his/her character having sex without being blamed. HOWEVER.
A) That line of thinking makes me want to vomit and then brush all the vomit into a cup and then freeze the cup of vomit and then take it out of the freezer and then use it to throw vomit snowballs at society, and
B) since when is a rape victim blameless these days? Is she or he didn't want to be raped, she or he probably shouldn't have left the house. Ever.
C) Not only is Christopher a rapist asshole, he's one who can't even bother to be clever about it. "I'll make you mine tonight?" Christopher, the only thing it's acceptable to say that to is a cheeseburger or a piece of cake.
He hadn't meant to do it. And I had never meant to let him.
UGH. UGH UGH UGH UGH I CAN'T EVEN WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS MY FRUSTRATED RAGE SHUT UP I HATE YOU V.C. ANDREWS!!!!!!!!!
"Don't hate me, Cathy, please don't hate me. I didn't mean to rape you, I swear to God. There's been many a time when I've been tempted, and I was able to turn it off."
What the fuck kind of apology is that? "I didn't mean to rape you?" WHAT? NO. I didn't mean to step on my cat's tail this morning. I didn't mean to forget my friend's birthday a few months ago. I didn't mean to get drunk and light a cigarette with my boobs that one time, long after I'd graduated from college. RAPING SOMEONE ISN'T AN ACCIDENT, Christopher, YOU GIANT DOUCHECANOE.
" It was my fault too." Oh yes, my fault too. I should have known better than to kiss Momma's handsome young husband. I shouldn't have worn skimpy little see-through garments around a brother who had all a man's strong physical needs . . .
STOP! STOP VICTIM BLAMING YOUR OWN DAMN SELF, CATHY!! STOP IT PLEASE!!! And, while we're at it, can I please get a chorus of SHUT UP V.C. ANDREWS!!!!!
Chapter 20: Color All Days Blue, But Save One For Black
"Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts." - Jagger/Richards
Number of Drinks Taken: 12
Number of Drinks Chugged: 9
Number of Shots Taken: 6
Chapter Summary: Oh, fuck it, I give up. I can no longer pretend to be Cathy. Cory dies; everyone's real sad, except for, you know, the people that killed him.
The Creepy Award Goes To: Corrine, for MURDERING HER CHILD.
Notes from the Margin:
"But Cory so loves the doughnuts, and that's all I want to eat too. And he needs them more than I do."
NO! HE DOES NOT NEED TO EAT THE DOUGHNUTS! And no wonder it's all he wants to eat; he's addicted to the damn arsenic!!
Now that our time to depart was so near, I felt frightened. It was big out there. We'd be on our own. What would the world think of us now?
We weren't beautiful like we used to be . . .
Ah, yes. Previously, the fact that you four (well, now three) were weird, dumber than a box of hammers and had the worst parental upbringing in the world wasn't a problem at all! Cause you were pretty! But now you're not even that! You might as well just GIVE UP NOW.
. . . television had taught us much about violence, about greed, about imagination, but it had taught us hardly anything that was practical and useful in preparing us to face reality.
Sounds like it taught you pretty much everything you need to know, dumbass!
Chapter 21: Escape
"You can laugh, a spineless laugh." - Radiohead
Number of Drinks Taken: 15
Number of Drinks Chugged: 16
Number of Shots Taken: 5
Chapter Summary: Oh, LORD. You know the feeling you get when you're watching Lord of the Rings or Gone With the Wind on the big screen, and it's nearing the end, and you really have to pee cause you've had a large Coke, cause it's just a quarter more and you can get free refills, but you don't want to leave to go to the bathroom cause the Orcs are about to attack Tara and Ashley Wilkes is going to battle with Sauron, so you sit and you wait but you're sort of rocking back and forth and squirming in your seat and you just want it all to end?
Welcome to the end of this book. Chris goes on a final thieving mission, this time to steal ALL THE THINGS, but when he gets to his mom's room, NOTHING IS THERE! Corrine and Bart have cleaned out and left!! Undeterred, Chris decides to steal from the grandmother's room, but changes his mind when he sees her without her hair (it's a wig!), praying to God for forgiveness. So THEN he decides to go rob from the grandfather! But when he gets to the grandfather's room . . .. NO ONE IS THERE! THE GRANDFATHER IS DEAD!!!
So THEN he goes to the library and tries to rob the safe, but hears people come in! So he ducks behind a couch and eavesdrops on John (who in this book talks with a Jersey Shore accent but in the later books is all proper and uptight) and the maid getting it on. And he finds out that the grandfather's been dead for a year!! But that the will was read, and that if Corrine was EVER to be found to have kids - or has any kids at all - she'll disinherit everything!! So she was just going to keep them up there FOREVER!
WHAT COULD IT ALL MEAN?
The Creepy Award Goes To: John the Butler. He'll come back to be weirder and creepier later on, but he was plenty creepy in this one chapter. He's talking in a fake Jersey Shore accent! He's boinking the maid! He will one day tell Bart, Jr to burn the house down!
Notes from the Margin:
I held Carrie tight, tight against me, vowing that if I ever had a child . . . I'd be the best mother alive.
Welllll. Look, Cathy, when I was sixteen, I promised myself that I'd marry my high school boyfriend and have six kids. It's okay that we don't all live up to our 16 year old selves.
. . . there are original oil paintings, I know them when I see them . . .
So . . . they're like pornography?
"They undressed each other?" I asked. "She actually helped him off with his clothes?"
"It sounded to me that way," he said flatly.
"She didn't scream or protest?"
Yes, Cathy, I know this may be difficult for you to understand, but in MOST cases, what happens is that a girl and a guy or a girl and a girl or a guy and a guy or a girl and a guy and a few more girls and guys decide they want to have sex with each other, and then they BOTH have sex with enthusiasm and, more importantly, consent! I know! IT'S CRAZY TALK.
"All right, Chris, you've given me a breather. I'm prepared for anything. And thank you for saying all of that, and for loving me, for you haven't gone unloved, or unadmired, yourself."
JUST STOP PLEASE.
Chapter 22: Endings, Beginnings
"The aftermath of our affair is lying all around and I can't clear it away." - Pulp
Number of Drinks Taken: 28
Number of Drinks Chugged: 5
Number of Shots Taken: 16
Chapter Summary: Oh, Jesus. Christopher just won't stop mansplaining about what he heard. So he also heard John the creepy butler talk about how the grandmother was . . . WAIT FOR IT . . . bringing up arsenic-laced doughnuts to the attic to KILL THE MICE.
WHAT! The powdered doughnuts that the grandmother brought up every day, even though she doesn't believe in eating sweets, WERE POISONED??
!!! QUELLE SURPRISE!! Only then Chris figures out it was actually on Corrine's orders that the doughnuts were laced with arsenic, not the grandmother's. Because Corrine needed them to DIE so she could inherit!! Then he and Cathy feed some of the doughnut to Cory's poor mouse, and he dies.
Then, finally, FINALLY, they escape and hopa train out of town and the book is finally, FINALLY, over.
The Creepy Award Goes To: V.C. Andrews. Woman. WHAT. IS. THIS.
I really hope that when V.C. Andrews died, they cryogenically froze her head. Because there are some things going on in that woman's brain that I'm pretty sure we can develop into biochemical weapons, should we care to. INCEST BOMB!
Notes from the Margin:
"Arsenic is white, Cathy, white. When mixed with powdered sugar, you cannot taste its bitterness."
If this were Invisible Man and V.C. Andrews was even a hundredth of the writer that Ralph Ellison was, I'd think she was going somewhere with that.
"Think back to a certain old movie we saw on T.V. Remember that pretty woman who would keep house for older gentlemen - rich gentlemen, of course - and when she'd won their trust, and affection, and they had written her into their will, each day shed fed them just a little arsenic? When you ingest just a fraction of arsenic each day, it is slowly absorbed by your entire system . . ."
You mean . . . you mean to say that you guys SAW A MOVIE WHERE THIS HAPPENED? And you STILL didn't get it? You didn't see ANY correlation between your symptoms - which only started after you started eating the doughnuts - and the exact same thing on TV? JESUS CHRIST. You four are bone fucking stupid.
Also, I wonder if James Maybrick is looking out from the afterlife and is all, "Bitches, please. I made arsenic poisoning look good."
He didn't die, not right away. He grew slow, listless, apathetic. Later on he had small fits of pain that made him whimper.
I didn't quote any of the many (many) endless symptoms that Cory displayed before dying, because even I have a limit, and that limit is apparently the slow, torturous death of children. But this is basically what happened.
Where was that fragile, golden-fair Dresden doll I used to be? Gone. Gone like porcelain turned into steel . . .
You know. I can't decide if it's comforting or infuriating to me that this book was a bestseller. On the one hand, I'm like, "Man! If that book can get published, then I should be able to get a book published, no problem! Easy!" But, on the other hand, ARE YOU HIGH PEOPLE???
We lived in the attic,
Christopher, Cory, Carrie and me,
Now there are only three.
"Come, Carrie, walk faster! Cory's watching us - he wants us to escape! He's down on his knees, praying we'll get away before the grandmother sends someone to take us back and lock us up again!"
Why do I have this feeling that Cory is going to replace Santa Claus as the best way to guilt-trip Carrie? "Eat your vegetables, Carrie! Cory's looking down on you and he doesn't want you to die painfully like he did!" "Keep your room clean, Carrie! Corrie is looking down on you and he doesn't have a bed to make up anymore!"
"C'mon, Cathy," called Chris, stretching out his hand. "What's done is done."
AND THANK THE LORD FOR THAT.
That's IT, you guys! WE DID IT!!!! The road was tough; there were times I thought I might never be able to drink again because of the cognitive dissonance of reading about incest and drinking wine, BUT I SURVIVED! And so did you!!
Don't get too comfortable, though. Our review of Petals on the Wind, the next horrifying book in the series (Sexual relationships with guardians! Miscarriages! Spousal abuse! More rape!) is just around the corner! In the meantime, offer up some ways that this book could have been worse in the comments!