Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bookish Marry, Fuck, Kill: V.C. Andrews

V.C. Andrews
The second round of Bookish Marry, Fuck, Kill belongs to V.C. Andrews.  The first smut I ever read was handed to me by a friend on the bus in middle school.  Not to blame this now-forgotten friend; I would have discovered Andrews on my own eventually. But the sharing of these scandalous books was a rite of passage. Before Andrews, reading was something good for you. But our parents wouldn't have approved of us reading V.C. Andrews, even if they didn't realize it. Flowers in the Attic felt like my tween version of The Anarchist's Cookbook. In hindsight, I realize that illustrates just how sheltered I was.

The Rules:
Marry means this will be a book you will own (and presumably read) for the rest of your life. Fuck means you get to read it once, in a literary one night stand, and never again. You're attracted to the book, but you don't want to wake up next to it every morning for the rest of your life. Kill means you eradicate the book from the world. You may even be reaching back in time and strangling the book before it was ever written.

The Candidates:
Flowers in the Attic
My Sweet Audrina
Dark Angel

My Choices:
Marry: I'm getting hitched to the least of these three evils, Dark Angel, which is part of the Casteel series. Most of what I remember about this book is the lengthy descriptions of the main character's new school wardrobe. There may well be a high creep factor that I'm forgetting, but in this literary marriage, I'm going to cling to that amnesia.

Fuck: I really don't even like thinking about this category in the context of V.C. Andrews' books. But I'm going to hold my nose and pick Flowers in the Attic. It was the first Andrews book I ever read. I wish I'd stopped there, but the lure of the forbidden led me to read what felt like dozens. Flowers in the Attic falls near the middle of the Andrews Wrong-O-Meter. The children imprisoned in the attic are victims, and their decisions are easier to understand in this book than in any of those that follow in the Dollanganger series. And by easier to understand, I mean less gruesome and illegal.

Kill: My Sweet Audrina. God, I rue the day I picked up this book. I can count on one hand the books I wish I'd never read, and this tops the list. It's an extremely creepy take on the sexual assault of a child. You thought nothing could be more I-have-to-take-a-shower inducing than the Dollanganger series? Think again, friends. I believe book burning is far worse than flag burning, or any other kind of object burning, but I'd be tempted to throw this one on the censorship pyre.

Has your sordid fascination with Andrews been reawakened? Check out The Complete Annotated V.C. Andrews Blog-O-Rama, a site devoted to the rereading and analysis of Andrews' body of work.

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