The boyfriend discusses what the African-American girls are reading at his high school from time to time. Of course, it’s often books by Zane and Karrine Steffans. When I was growing up, these authors weren’t available to me. As a matter of fact, in 6th grade a close friend of mine introduced me to V.C. Andrews and we devoured her Dollanganger series. These books had it all—sex, incest, betrayal, murder . . . This same friend later revealed a notice in the back pages of the book which told of Andrews death. After seeing this, I began to wonder how could somebody who was dead still continue to publish so many books? My 11 year old mind just couldn’t grasp this concept, but I soon figured out that her books were being written by a ghost writer. I just totally lost interest after that. It just wasn’t the same in my eyes. It wasn’t real any more. All that to say, I loved the original books in Andrews’ collection and wish that I still owned them today (actually the library always owned the books).
I know I usually talk about African-American literature on this website, but if you really love books, can you honestly discriminate? Here’s a little biographical information about Andrews that even I never knew. I’ve honestly never even seen a photo of this woman until now!
One of three children, Victoria Andrews was raised in Portsmouth and Rochester. When she was fifteen, she accidentally fell down some stairs, and though she had several surgeries, she remained wheelchair-bound for life. At the age of twenty, she lost her father, to whom she was very close. After her father’s death, the family moved to Manchester, Missouri. She had never married or had children. She regrettably died from cancer on December 19, 1986.
Her first manuscript “The God of the Green Mountain”(1972) was written when she was living in Arizona, but was never published. She patiently went on writing and had saved 9 long pieces and 20 short stories . . . V.C. Andrews had always kept an “idea” notebook for future novels. After her death, her family selected several ghost writers to continue her work, and these writers have produced the majority of the body of work published under the name “V.C. Andrews.” (Read the complete bio . . . )
Flowers in the Attic – The four Dollanganger children had such perfect lives — a beautiful mother, a doting father, a lovely home. Then Daddy was killed in a car accident, and Momma could no longer support the family. So she began writing letters to her parents, her millionaire parents, whom the children had never heard of before.
Momma tells the children all about their rich grandparents, and how Chris and Cathy and the twins will live like princes and princesses in their grandparents’ fancy mansion. The children are only too delighted by the prospect. But there are a few things that Momma hasn’t told them.
She hasn’t told them that their grandmother considers them “devil’s spawn” who should never have been born. She hasn’t told them that she has to hide them from their grandfather if she wants to inherit his fortune. She hasn’t told them that they are to be locked away in an abandoned wing of the house with only the dark, airless attic to play in. But, Momma promises, it’s only for a few days….
Then the days stretch into months, and the months into years. Desperately isolated, terrified of their grandmother, and increasingly convinced that their mother no longer cares about them, Chris and Cathy become all things to the twins and to each other. They cling to their love as their only hope, their only strength — a love that is almost stronger than death. (Read an excerpt . . .)
Heaven (Casteel series) – Of all the folks in the mountain shacks, the Casteels were the lowest — the scum of the hills.
Heaven Leigh Casteel was the prettiest, smartest girl in the backwoods, despite her ragged clothes and dirty face…despite a father meaner than ten vipers…despite her weary stepmother, who worked her like a mule. For her brother Tom and the little ones, Heaven clung to her pride and her hopes. Someday they’d get away and show the world that they were decent, fine and talented — worthy of love and respect.
Then Heaven’s stepmother ran off, and her wicked, greedy father had a scheme — a vicious scheme that threatened to destroy the precious dream of Heaven and the children forever! (Read an excerpt . . . )
Looking back over the summaries and excerpts forces me to wonder if I’d ever pick up these books as an adult. I’m really curious enough to re-read this stuff to see what I get out of it now. Maybe one day. What I do know is that V.C. Andrews is one of the authors that really made me love reading novels. I’m sure there are a list of other notable names (which I’ll probably do a post on one day), but Andrews is definitely up there.
Happy reading, ya’ll.