One of the perks of having been a precocious reader was getting book recs from my mom at an early age. I can thank my mother for introducing me to Anne Tyler, John Irving, Toni Morrison, and a slew of other authors that I still love today. So I’m going to give her a pass for that fateful day when she told me I might like the book she was reading. “It’s about a widow who moves in with her parents, but they don’t know about her kids so she has to hide them away…” And, here come years of being obsessed with the bizarre psychosexual mores of V.C. Andrews. (It’s ok, PB. I did like the book you were reading. Liked it a lot.)
I wasn’t the only one obsessively reading the Dollanganger saga when I was too young for it, I was just one of the few who didn’t have to hide it from anyone at home. I’ve never reread them as an adult, but if I did I’d probably be half enthralled, half mortified. I’m sure I would still love the camp Gothic horror of it all. I mean, the whippings? The tar in the hair? That grandmother was one badass villain.
But, as fascinating as it was at the time, I was probably a little young and impressionable for some of the seriously weird sex stuff in those books. Even if you set aside all the straight up rape and incest, (and that’s a big even if) I recall several instances of violence/abuse that turn into passionate lovemaking. I’m happy to report that, despite what V.C. Andrews (and Rhett Butler) led me to expect, it turns out that’s not really a thing in your basic, non-abusive relationships. And I don’t even want to think about what on earth was going on in My Sweet Audrina. That one was my favorite!
No regrets, I turned out fine, thanks for the book! (Inspired in part by this post.)