7 Mixed-Up Lessons You Learn About Family In Flowers In The Attic

Flowers in the Attic Lifetime Movie Kiernan Shipka


Flowers in the Attic premieres this Saturday on Lifetime at 8 PM. While I’m incredibly exciting to watch this family rom-com unfold right before my very eyes, I’m also a little depressed that the highlight of my entire year’s happening in January. Sure, sure, other good things will happen. But nothing that lets me talk about incest so openly. Then again, maybe I’m just being a pessimist. Who knows? Maybe this year will turn out to be all about incest. And attics. And arsenic and ooo boy I’m getting ahead of myself.

So let’s back up to today and talk about the book that inspired this film. Like the movie, it’s also called Flowers in the Attic. It’s written by the incredibly pro-incest VC Andrews — seriously all her books have incestual relationships — an author who gets as much respect in my preteen library as Judy Blume and RL Stine. Without those three gently guiding me through my impressionable tween years, I don’t think I’d be the insecure psychopath that I am today.

As much as I loved reading Flowers in the Attic in the fifth grade, sometimes I think I might’ve read it too young. Not only because I approached it like it was serious literature, but also because I got some pretty mixed up messages about families from it. It took me quite some time before I realized that I might want to rethink some of the things I learned. And seriously don’t worry, now I know that all these lessons are incorrect.

Lesson #1: The more genetically alike you are, the more beautiful your children will be

When we’re first introduced to the Dollangangers, it’s made clear that they’re the most perfect family to ever exist. They’re blonde and beautiful and everyone in town wants to capture them and display them in their curio cabinets. How did all four children turn out to be as wonderfully attractive as their parents? Well I could beat around the bush or I could just be honest with you. The secret is incest. I think expensive shampoo, well-tailored clothing and proper exfoliation don’t hurt. But incest’s the secret that the salons won’t tell you about.

Lesson #2: Everyone has secret family, somewhere.

Think you know everyone in your entire family? Uh, think again idiot. Everyone who’s anyone has a relative that no one talk about. Or in the case of the Dollangangers, an entire family that no one ever talks about. After Chris Dollanganger dies in a car accident, Corrine Dollanganger informs her four children — Chris Jr., Cathy, Carrie, Cory — that they will go live with their grandparents who’ve never been mentioned in their lives up until this point. [Insert all four kids doing a spit take here!]

Lesson #3: Sometimes moms make bad decisions during the grieving process

Everyone grieves differently. That’s a fact. Sometimes mothers cope with the loss of their husbands by paying more attention to their children. And other times they cope by locking their children away for the year because looking at them is like looking at their father and it’s just too much too bear. Honestly, you really can’t judge her choices until you’ve been in that position yourself.

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    • elle

      Why did I love this book so much as a child? I don’t know but I did, and I will definitely be watching the movie on Sunday. Sidenote: I have not eaten powder sugar donuts since I read this book. I was way too scared of them.

      • Jenni

        Oh I only eat powdered donuts now. It’s called living on the edge.

      • elle

        I just hope you have a mouse friend taste testing those for you….

      • Jenni

        It’s in my monthly budget. Mice don’t come cheap.

    • Katie

      wow. i dont think i ever realized that he raped her.

      • Jenni

        I never would’ve used that word until other people did, but then once i thought about it, he definitely did.

    • doriangirl

      I loved all VC Andrews books when I was young and this article was hysterical. I remember asking my dad when I would be old enough to have “feminine wiles” like the women in VC Andrews books and he just looked horrified at me and walked away. Later my mom told me not to ask my dad questions ever again.

      • Jenni

        I honestly thought incest was much more commonplace because I read so much VC Andrews. Also that all rich families are dominated by sexually-depressed old ladies.

      • doriangirl

        Personally, I just couldn’t wait to find out my super mean (as I thought when I was young) parents were just a ruse and soon I would find out that my REAL parents were super rich albeit also super dysfunctional and would whisk me away at any moment

    • Ourhy4104

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    • Fuzzy Coin Laundry

      What the WTF is up with the incest part????????

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      is it bad I’ve never read this books??
      would you guys recommend?
      I was stuck in my stephen king phase from about 10 onwards lol, then it was john steinbeck so I kinda spent all my time reading them!

      • Organizedchaos

        Yes, Flowers in the Attic is the first in a 5 book series. V.C Andrews wrote quite a few mini series and they all end up with interesting family secrets. Check out the “Dawn” series too… I don’t remember much about that one except she was kidnapped as a baby and ends up back with her biological family.

      • Organizedchaos

        Oh and by yes I meant I reccomend you read the books, not “yes, it’s bad you haven’t read the books.”