Book Review–Petals on the Wind by V.C. Andrews

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This is the 36th book from my 114 in 2014 Reading Challenge.

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Petals on the Wind by V.C. Andrews
Published 1980 by Pocket

 

They were such brave children to withstand such suffering. Such clever children to escape such terror!

For Carrie, Chris and Cathy, the attic was a dark horror that would not leave their minds, even while they built bright, promising new lives. Of course mother had to pretend they didn’t exist.

And Grandmother was convinced they had the devil in them.

But that wasn’t their fault. Was it? Cathy knew what to do.

She now had the powers she had learned from her beautiful mother. She knew it in the way her brother still yearned for her, in the way her guardian touched her, in the way all men looked at her.

She knew it was time to put what she knew to the test. To show her mother and grandmother that the pain and terror of the attic could not be forgotten… Show them.

Show them—once and for all.

 

 

——

***The below may contain spoilers. Please read at your own risk***

 

With Lifetime releasing the sequel to the Flowers in the Attic movie, I decided to re-read the book again.

Petals on the Wind has always been one of my favorites. I think no matter how much I change, I will still have a secure place for it in my heart. Is the book perfect? Far from it. Yet even after all this time, I am still drawn to it despite its flaws. It kind of hurt to not have the same feelings toward the book that I originally did, but I was young (14!) when I first read this. It’s been over ten years and I’ve become less naive and more mature.

In a way, I think the original is the best book of the series. Even at a young age, I found Cathy to be a tiring narrator. I especially got annoyed with her during this re-reading. While I admire her strength at times, for the majority of the book she lets others, particularly men, step all over her. She is also so hell bent on her revenge that it seems to be the only thing she can think of. Maybe that’s the point–to show Cathy becoming more like her mother.

I didn’t really care for any of the men in Cathy’s life. They are all abusive or controlling in one way or another. I know the book is set in the 60s/70s and feminism was just starting, but the rape/abuse apologetic kind of drove me crazy at times. For example, pretty much every man Cathy falls for (or vice versa) blames her for turning them on and making them do things they claim they normally wouldn’t. That just doesn’t sit well with me.

I wish there had been at least one romantic partner I could have totally rooted for. While I liked certain qualities in some of the romantic leads, they were all terrible overall. Rape and/or abuse isn’t something I take lightly, and since pretty much all the men commit either one or both, it’s hard to completely like any of them.

Carrie is probably my favorite character in the book and her outcome always makes me sad. The big climax at the end is always worth the read. I’m intrigued on how the movie will deal with some of these subjects present in the book. This book is like a really intense soap opera.

Out of pure girlhood nostalgia and because V.C. Andrews can write the most jaw-dropping of books, I will keep the 5 star rating. Despite all the flaws and uncomfortable feelings, it’s just a book I’ll never really be able to look badly on.

 

 

5stars

 

 

 

jncname

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