Reading for the "Altruism" theme at the Bookish club. (It makes perfect sense, shut up.) This is a deeply intimidating book - 500+ big pages full of b...moreReading for the "Altruism" theme at the Bookish club. (It makes perfect sense, shut up.) This is a deeply intimidating book - 500+ big pages full of big words - but it's been really interesting when I've had the gumption to focus on it.
I met a friend for drinks last night. She came up and took one glance at the back cover to this book and her eyes widened. "No," she breathed. "Seriou...moreI met a friend for drinks last night. She came up and took one glance at the back cover to this book and her eyes widened. "No," she breathed. "Seriously?" Of course she recognized it from the back. She read it around seventh grade. I read it around seventh grade. You read it around seventh grade. In an informal poll, most of Goodreads has this thing lurking in our collective adolescence.
So that's why I re-read it. (Okay, that and I thought it was hilarious just to hold it up on the subway.) I wanted to know just how creepy it is. To be honest, I couldn't really remember, nor could most other people I talked to. There's a vague sense of ickiness and illicitness, but that's about it.
Here's your answer: it is very, very creepy. Friends, there's like a whole page where VC Andrews describes a five-year-old's underwear in loving, lavish detail. Andrews is willing to eroticize anything. Here's a whipping:
"My eyes bulged at the site of those pitiful welts on the creamy tender flesh that our father had handled with so much love and gentleness. I floundered in a maelstrom of uncertainty." (91)
Floundered. In a maelstrom. Of uncertainty.
Not that that's what we're here to discuss, though. We're here to discuss brotherfucking. I'm not gonna do a spoiler alert, dude. If you didn't know Flowers in the Attic is about brotherfucking, you wouldn't be reading this. So let's get to it:
"And that is where he took me, and forced in that swollen, rigid male sex part of him that had to be satisfied. It drove into my tight and resisting flesh which tore and bled.
"Long strings of clouds blew across the face of the full moon, so it would duck and hide, then peek out again. And on the roof, on a night that was made for lovers, we cried in each other's arms.
"'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.'
"'I don't hate you, Chris...it was my fault, too.' Oh yes, my fault too...I shouldn't have worn skimpy little see-through garments around a brother who had all a man's strong physical needs.
"And all we could see in the murky-gray and cold, damp clouds was that single great eye of God - shining up there in the moon."
(357 - 359)
Ladies and gentlemen, this was your puberty. How our generation functions at all, with this in our pasts, is beyond me.
But we do, somehow, and some of you now have kids of your own. And you're worried about them being exposed to too much sex and creepiness on the internet. Listen, parents: your kids are lucky. They won't have to slink through library stacks looking for smut like this; they can just go check out bukkake videos on Youporn. There is nothing on the internet - nothing! - worse than this fuckin' book.
And they'll be spared the godawful writing, too.
I'm not gonna give this book stars. Flowers in the Attic transcends stars.
I hope you're happy, Jayme. -------------------------- Just because I feel like someone ought to make this list, here are the books Cathy reads: