About the Book

Title: Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger #1)
Published: 1979
Series: Dollanganger

Dear FYA readers,

Hi! It’s your friend Erin here, who probably owes you five or ten dollars and forgot your birthday last week, but this week she made you cupcakes, and also bought you a drink, so you grudgingly forgive her as you lick chocolate buttercream icing off your fingertips.


If you guessed that it’s time for talking about incest, well, DING DING DING! Give yourself a prize!! (a virtual one, please. Our budget here at FYA is strictly directed towards advanced cocktails research.)

That’s right, folks! It’s time to start our review of that seminal Young Adult classic – Flowers in the Attic.


A little background on FITA, as I call it (not to be confused with that organization where people run around shirtless kicking a ball back and forth for no reason at all that I can see):

When I was eight, I went rooting through a grocery sack of used paperbacks that someone had given my mom. Most of it was stuff that I’d end up reading eventually, but one book stood out from the rest. It looked mysterious, with a tortured, trapped figure on the front and a brief description on the back that promised intrigue and horror. This seemed right up my already-slightly-deranged, little-kid alley.

The book?

At eight, I didn’t really know much about characterization or plot or prose. If I had, I would have put the book down after the first terrible chapter. But what I did know was that it was super-fun to try to get away with doing things my parents didn’t want me to do, and since at the time I was grounded from reading (the only punishment that ever worked for me as a child), it seemed only right and just that I hide that book away under my bed and take it out at night and read it under the covers.

A whole new world was opened to me with that book; a world that seemed so totally implausible as to be considered endlessly fascinating. And when it got to the incest! Well, hot damn! Here was something I knew my parents didn’t want me reading! So, of course, I wanted to read it all the more. And from there, my obsession grew – I wanted to read every seedy, trashy word that V.C. Andrews had ever written, and I think I continued to read her books for about six more years, until I of course finally realized that there was way more prurient stuff out there with which to offend my parents’ sensibilities. Like The Boy Who Could Fly (inside joke for my mom, if she’s reading).

Recently, I decided to reread Flowers in the Attic to see if it was still as awesomely trashy as I remembered it to be. And, well . . . it’s not. It’s actually just pretty bad. I mean, really, incredibly, “fifteen weeks on the NYT bestseller list, SERIOUSLY?”-type bad.

Flowers in the Attic clocks in at exactly 411 pages, and I can tell you right now that nothing happens on 395 of them. For a book which is a bit of a pop-culture phenomenon, I find this strange. Surely the incest and the whippings and the tarring and, well, the incest deserve whole chapters extolling their virtues, but the actually scandalous/mildly interesting parts are glossed over fairly quickly.

Actually, the VERY GREATEST “OH NO SHE DIDN’T!” part of this ENTIRE BOOK is the dedication page. Now, I don’t know how many of you guys have read Flowers in the Attic. Perhaps, like me, you loved it as a child. Perhaps you’ve never heard of it before, and you are going to come along on this journey with your mind open and prepared to be blown. If so, let me sum up, very quickly, what this book is about: Four kids have the perfect life. Then their dad dies and their mom takes them to live with her in her parents’ grand estate. Cool, right? Except, not really, because her parents disowned her, due to a small, tiny little fall-out when she maybe happened to, uh, marry her half-brother/half-uncle. Whoops! Man! Parents are so uptight, am I right? Anyway, so to win back her father’s millions love, the mom locks her four kids in the attic. For years. And there are a whole host of other terrible things that she does, which I won’t talk about now, in order not to spoil you for the Machiavellian brilliance that is Corrine Dollanganger. BUT! So! Evil, evil, buttfucking evil lady, right??


This book is dedicated to my mother.

WHAT?! V.C. Andrews, you are HARD CORE COLD, lady! I mean, when I want to get back at my mom for perceived slights, I date people with facial piercings. NOT WRITE A BOOK ABOUT PSYCHOTIC MOTHERS WHO IMPRISON AND KILL THEIR INBRED CHILDREN.

Ahem. Anyway. It really doesn’t get crazier than that.

Alas, I shall do my duty to my country this blog and review this book chapter by chapter. Because I am me, and this is FYA, of course I have structured a drinking game to play during these reviews! Check it:

The Official FYA Flowers in the Attic Drinking Game

Take one drink when:

  • Someone mentions how rich Corrine’s parents are.
  • Cathy says “golly-lolly.”
  • Christopher is a pompous jerkface.
  • Christopher talks about being a doctor.
  • Cathy dances, talks about dancing, thinks about dancing, or shows completely inappropriate levels of dance ability considering she’s had no formal training and she’s suffered from malnutrition for years and anyway, her body is all wrong for ballet so how the hell does she end up being a prima ballerina for a company in New York, GOD!
  • Cory or Carrie complain.
  • The words “creamy,” “mansion,” “flowers,” or “grandmother” are mentioned.

Chug when:

  • Corrine holds any of her children’s hands to her bosom.
  • Grandmother lays down a rule.
  • Corrine evades the truth.
  • The kids eat a powdered donut.
  • Cathy and Chris make Carrie and Cory do something they don’t want to do.
  • You want to punch Cathy in the face. Just a little bit, not enough to do any damage, or anything.

Take a shot when:

  • Anyone walks in on anyone else in a state of undress.
  • Chris, Cathy, Cory or Carrie sneak out of their room.
  • Chris, Cathy, Cory or Carrie are punished.
  • The Dollangangers’ Hitler Youth Army looks are mentioned (i.e. blond hair, ice-blue eyes, tall, pale, thin).

FYA DISCLAIMER 1: Not responsible for alcohol poisoning.

FYA DISCLAIMER 2: For our underage readers, please substitute alcohol with sparkling cider or OJ. (P.S. Sparkling cider is deliciouso, so also share some with me!)

And now, the start of our review! I’ve structured these slightly differently than the SVH reviews. These reviews include!

Number of drinks/chugs/shots taken: Science!

Chapter Summary: (written from Cathy’s perspective)

The Creepy Award Goes To: Obvs this will be a difficult choice.

Notes from the Margin: (in which I type up the notes I have written in the margin, like a true YA and/or that creep Robbie from Dirty Dancing.) 

Let’s get started, home fries!!!

Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink.