Warning: This article contains mention of rape, incest, child abuse and spoilers for the "Flowers in the Attic" series"
V.C. Andrews is one of the most iconic names in Gothic Literature. If you aren't familiar with the name, you might recognize Andrews from her "Flowers in the Attic" book series. The books tackled uncomfortable topics, such as child abuse, murder, rape and even incest. This garnered national attention back in 1979 upon the first book's release, thus jump starting Andrew's very successful writing career. Despite owning several of them, I do not think V.C. Andrew's books are very well-written. In TFIA series specifically, I feel the character's are not accurate representations of how actual people interact. They all seem as if they're aliens disguised as humans trying to fit on Earth but did absolutely zero research on humans whatsoever before visiting Earth. Not to mention that the main protagonist, Cathy, is weirdly obsessed with talking about her own breasts. Andrews was also very clearly.. old school. She goes as far to write about how Cathy blames herself for her brother raping her because she had the audacity to exist in the same space as him, and no one ever seems to disagree with this (yikes).
However, even with it's many, many faults, I could not put the books down. You don't stay for well-developed characters or decent plot, but rather, the drama of it all. I like to describe Andrew's books as the pimple popping videos of the literature world; they're disgusting, and you have absolutely no idea why you keep looking, but for whatever reason you just cannot turn away. It got me thinking about Andrew's herself. What would a person have to be like to write such disturbing material? I decided to see if I could dig up some interesting facts about V.C. Andrews. There were many, but I was able to narrow it down to the top five that I found the most interesting. Seeing as how reviewing the books could make up an entirely different article, I won't be going into much more detail about the books themselves. So, if you want to know more about TFIA plot but aren't really interested in reading the books, I would suggest this hilarious review/drinking game by foreveryoungadult.com.
5. She Claimed she Could Tell the Future
This one is the the most fascinating to me. As a natural skeptic, when I read this my reaction was "Yeah, okay. Sure lady." However, upon reading further about Andrews I learned that she evidently predicted her wealth, her heart attack, and her father's death accurately. Of course I didn't know Andrews, so I have no way of knowing how much truth there are in these claims. Regardless, it is pretty interesting.
4. She Also Allegedly Claimed that "The Flowers in The Attic" series was Based off a True Story
Although she adamantly stated that the acts of abuse in her books were not based off of her childhood, she did admit that some aspects were autobiographical or based off her friends and family. She would never say who's experiences belonged to who, but she did say that the overall idea for the story was based off of a story a handsome doctor told her while she was staying at a hospital. He reportedly told her that he and his siblings had been locked away for six years to save their family wealth. While Andrews herself never confirmed this to the public, a relative of hers and a pitch letter written by Virginia (see below) seem to collaborate with the story. While it's possible that the books are based off a true event, the more scandalous parts were mostly likely added by Andrews to spice up the tragic tale.
3. She Wanted to Be a Star
It's no coincidence that the characters in V.C. Andrews books often pursue a stage performing career. This is partly because she always dreamed of being an actress but was unable due to her crippling arthritis. But she did get a taste of the limelight in the 1987 film adaptation of TFIA, where she had a small cameo as a maid.
2. She Was An Expert Artist
Before she was a best-selling author, Andrews worked as a fashion illustrator, commercial artist, and portrait painter in order to make money for her family. Here are just a few of her pieces:
1. Books Continue to be Published in Her Name
Although she died in 1986, her latest book "Whitefern" was Just Recently published in July. How could this be? It turns out the Andrews family hired a ghostwriter to continuously write and publish books under Virginia's name, even after her death. Although his identity had been concealed for many years, the ghostwriter has now been revealed to be Andrew Neiderman. Neiderman boasts an impresseive resume, with around 40 novels published under his name and five under V.C. Andrew's name.
So there you have it! Five facts about V.C. Andrews that I personally found the most interesting. There were many more to pick from, however, and if you're interested in learning even more about the mysterious author, or maybe the other books she has published, you can visit her website. This is where I found all information and pictures in this article.
Despite her strange writing style and graphic material, V.C. Andrews found a way to captivate America with tale about four siblings in an impossible situation. Regardless of how you feel about her or her books, you can still appreciate her for the odd and talented woman that she was.