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The Aussie Zombie

Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.

Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger #1)

Flowers in the Attic  - V.C. Andrews

Somewhere in my adolescence, I appear to have missed the memo about V.C. Andrews. It was only after a discussion on Goodreads that two friends pointed me in the direction of Flowers in the Attic, and it was only then I realised it was a book read by many tween/teen girls in the 1980s, which should have (almost) included me. I was immediately intrigued - after all, how explicit and creepy could this book really be?

It was only after I finished reading that I realised what the attraction here actually was - all those taboo topics that were rarely spoken about during my teen years, along with one huge one that's rarely spoken about now culminate into a book that although it appears to have been written for readers of a certain age, is the reading equivalent of watching a car crash for hormone-ridden teenagers.

To be honest, the writing is, well, crap. The language and dialogue is cringe-worthy and extremely outdated - the word 'golly' is used a whopping nineteen times, and often combined with 'day'. The characters are either blindingly naive or so nasty I wanted to throw them down the stairs, there are generous lashings of innuendo and the story itself borders on the ridiculous. How a bunch of children can live in an attic for a long period of time without a household full of servants even guessing that something other than 'hundreds of mice' was living upstairs, how the mothers friends and family don't guess that she'd popped out four kids and how the grandmothers crackpot religiousness both discouraged and yet in a way encouraged the inevitable really pushes the limits of believably, but in the end it was so engrossing I really didn't care.

And yet, I found this incredibly readable simply because it was like watching that car crash. It's creepy and controversial yet appallingly written, but I went straight out and bought the next book, Petals on the Wind.

I can't with any integrity rate this book - on one hand I rolled my eyes so hard they hurt, on the other I was completely captivated.