Posted by: Megan | April 19, 2014

The Bus-Seat Children

Here we are at long last–it’s Petals on the Wind, y’all!

Our story picks up almost immediately after Cathy, Chris, and Carrie escaped from the attic and hopped a bus to Florida. It’s November of 1960, Cathy tells us, so somewhere out there I like to think a certain Miss Ruby Landry is just starting her own wacky adventures. Even though they’re free the kids can’t quite relax, they’re too scared and uncertain, and poor little Carrie just curls up on Cathy’s lap and gets sicker and sicker. Chris keeps trying to reassure Cathy that everything is going to work out but she’s too focused on getting her revenge one day. There’s that Catherine single-mindedness we all love! Just as they pass into South Carolina Carrie throws up all over herself. Oh cripes, Carrie. Cathy has some napkins in her bag so she cleans her sister up, then hands her to Chris so that Cathy can clean up the floor. When she’s done she tries to stuff the napkins into the seat crevice (nice, guys) since the window won’t open, but the bus driver sees her and yells at them. She ends up sticking them into one of her bags (ew) but Carrie is getting worse and Chris thinks she’s going into shock. One of the other passengers starts to bitch about the smell and it’s clear that the bus driver doesn’t know what to do. They still have a few hours to Sarasota and Cathy doesn’t want to lose the money that they paid for the tickets. Which…is fair, but also slightly cold? While they’re trying to figure out a plan, one of the other passengers, an older woman, gets up and comes back to check on Carrie. The woman (Henny) can’t speak, though she can hear, and she gives Cathy some rags to help with the clean up and writes them a note telling them that Carrie needs a doctor and, coincidentally! her “doctor-son”, who is an awesome doctor, will take care of her.

Can you feel it? That creeping feeling of creep? It’s Dr. Paul. He’s coming.

While this is going on some of the other riders are yelling at the bus driver to get Carrie off the bus and to a hospital, but he’s worried about going off of his route because he needs his job. Henny goes up to the front with a note threatening that Carrie’s family will sue him and the bus company if he doesn’t take Carrie to the doctor. He gives in eventually and is directed to the city of Clairmont and into a neighborhood of big fancy houses. The trio isn’t convinced that Henny’s led them to the right place, but she seems pretty positive so they get off of the bus and collect their things. They walk up to one fancy house in particular and see a man sleeping in a chair on the porch. Henny goes up to him and tries to wake him up, motioning to the kids as she does so. Cathy notices a “For Patients Only” sign on a set of doors and guesses that he’s a doctor who has offices in his house (way to go, Cathy) and she and Chris whisper back and forth about who gets to wake him up. Cathy gets the honor.

How different could things have been if Chris had decided to be the one who woke Paul up? Instead of him imprinting on Cathy like a creepy little duck maybe he just would’ve wanted to be BFFs with his new foster son? I’m just sayin’, is all.

So Paul wakes up and gives the trio a once-over (focusing waaaaay too much on Cathy) but leaps to doctorly attention when he sees the state Carrie’s in.

You're skipping something.

You’re skipping something.

Aw man. Okay, wait, he’s right, I am. So Paul doesn’t just give Cathy a once-over, he flat out checks her out. Face then legs then chest then face again then hair. It’s gross. THEN when Chris busts into the moment and demands to know if he’s the doctor, Paul snaps out of it and starts examining Carrie. So gross, this guy.

Chris explains that Carrie’s been unconscious for a few minutes and that Henny (who Paul notes is his housekeeper and cook) brought them to Paul’s house. Paul leads them to his offices and tells them to undress Carrie in one of the examination rooms. He gives her a quick physical then leaves her to sleep while he talks to her siblings. Cathy decides that the best immediate course of action is to take off the three outer layers of extra clothes she’s wearing until she’s down to one nice dress. Smooth. Paul is…shall we say, taken aback and asks if she always wears that many clothes or only on Sundays. “Only on the Sundays I run away” is her response, noting that they only have two suitcases and need the room for things that they could pawn. Cripes Cathy.

Paul naturally assumes that they’re running away for the usual kid reasons, like they were denied some treat or other, but all Chris will say is that it’s a long story (you THINK) and that Carrie’s the important thing now. Agreeing, Paul tells them that Carrie is very sick and if it wasn’t a Sunday he would already have her in the hospital for testing. I’m…99% sure that hospitals admit emergency patients on Sundays, even in 1960. It’s just this thing I think I know. He suggests that they call their parents. Chris tells him that they’re orphans but that they have money. Paul’s like yeah, you’ll need it because Carrie will likely need to be the hospital for several weeks in order to ascertain what’s wrong. C&C are rightfully terrified and Paul gets all snarky and asks if they’re still orphans. Oh bite me, Paul. Chris gives Cathy a “Don’t say a word” look and tells Paul that yeah, they’re still orphans, so just tell them about Carrie! Paul wants to ask them a few questions first, like what their last name is. Chris introduces them as Dollangangers and defensively says that while Carrie may be small for her age, she’s eight years old. Paul’s had enough of this though and lays it out: Carrie is really sick and if they want her to get help then they have to be honest with him. Chris and Cathy are too scared to tell him their back story though, so he gives in and asks innocuous questions about how frequently Carrie’s thrown up and what her last meal was. (breakfast of hotdogs with everything, chocolate milkshakes, and french fries, living large) Chris is vague about how long Carrie’s been sick and Cathy’s getting more angry by the second, realizing that Chris will still protect Corinne no matter what. Paul starts laying out a few truths about how sick they all look yet they’re wearing super expensive clothes and jewelry and he notices how angry Cathy is and turns the questioning to her. It’s the right move because Cathy lets it all go. Cathy gives a fairly good recounting of the trio’s adventures and tells Paul about the arsenic-covered donuts. She insists that he can’t’ call the police because then they’ll all be separated and they tell Paul about the plan to go to Florida and work in the circus. Paul does NOT laugh in their face but instead offers to let them live with him while they’re undergoing medical treatment. Mmmm HMMMMM He makes his voice get more Southern and Cathy buys it entirely, until, that is, he mentions that while Chris can earn his keep by working in the garden, Cathy can help Henny cook. Cathy gets pissed OFF and bursts out that she’s going to be a prima ballerina, not some man’s cook and baby-maker, and Paul’s like ooookay so you’re going to be a ballerina and Chris is going to be a doctor and you’re going to accomplish this by moving to Florida? Cathy and Chris are won over by this logic and the Dollangangers move in with this strange man they literally just met.

So about Paul. Now, obviously, there are DARK SECRETS about Paul that are going to be revealed over the course of the book and I don’t want to get TOO spoiler-y, but can we all agree that he’s starting off rough? He ogles a fifteen-year old girl and then invites her to live with him. I will grant that his desire to help them is genuine and he does develop legitimate fatherly feelings towards Chris and Carrie, but his entire relationship with Cathy is just inappropriate from the get. Plus, he’s always trying to give her “motherly” chores regarding Carrie, like telling an unhappy Carrie (when they go shopping and can’t find purple and red clothes for little girls) that Cathy will sew her some. Say what? I am perfectly willing, however, to acknowledge that my opinion of Dr. Paul is almost entirely predicated on what I know about him, so I’ll swallow that for now and move this along.

PS HE IS SO NOT A WIDOWER

Ahem.

They move in and Paul gives Cathy and Carrie a room to share with twin beds and the first night the older Cs have a hard time parting, since, to be fair, it’s the first time they’ve slept in separate rooms in almost four years. Chris is worried that Paul will suspect something but Cathy assures him (albeit maybe a little weakly) that there’s nothing to suspect because it’s over. Carrie can’t sleep alone in the twin bed, so Paul and Chris have to push the beds together to make one large bed before she can sleep. As time passes though, Cathy tells us, the space between the beds gets bigger and bigger. Aww Carrie. However, that first night, Cathy wakes up at midnight and goes down the hall to Chris’s room and gets into bed with him, asking him just to let her lie there for a minute or two until she feels better. Naturally they start making out. You guys. Chris, of course, blames Cathy for coming to his room in the first place (“What do you think I’m made of? Steel?” UGH) and she goes back and cries in her own bed. Oh boy. Dr. Paul buys Cathy some ballet art for her walls and gets Carrie a red vase with some plastic violets in it (let’s all assume that looked better in person than it sounds) and tells them that they can decorate however they want and that they can get the room repainted in the spring. Cathy is awkward about this, since they’re not planning to be there come spring, they’re planning on being healthier and getting out of there, but when she voices this Dr. Paul gives her a guilt trip and Carrie glares at her so boy oh boy this family has a lot going on.

Paul takes Carrie to the hospital and she makes up stories about the tests and whatnot to her siblings, who have to remind her that while they never lie to each other, they don’t tell outsiders about their life in the attic. Carrie admits that she told Paul about Cory, and he subsequently questions Chris and Cathy about Cory’s illness and death. He tells them he gave the hospital a cover story (about how the three took arsenic by accident, so they must think these kids are brilliant) and he tells the pair that while Carrie is going to be fine, she probably shouldn’t join the circus and he has to examine the two of them as well. What we get from the examination scene are the following two pieces of information:

1. Cathy notes that, in his professional capacity, Paul’s eyes don’t “follow her around”. Gross

2. Cathy hasn’t had her period in over two months, though she assures him that she’s never been regular. (This is important later, I promise)

The kids get more used to being at Paul’s house, putting on weight from Henny’s cooking, and Chris dealing with Paul taking his place as head of the household (ew, but also understandable). Moving along, it’s now Chris’s 18th birthday and Paul throws him a nice party that makes he and Cathy feel ever more guilty since they still plan to leave. Chris and Cathy sit together after the party and Cathy can tell that Chris doesn’t want to leave, namely because he won’t be able to become a doctor otherwise, but Chris has caught onto the whole “Paul stares at Cathy all the time” thing and is pretty much against that. Cathy finds it secretly “fascinating” that men Paul’s age are into younger women (YOU ARE FIFTEEN YEARS OLD STOP IT) and is like “Oh but doctors have tons of nurses around to bang, so he won’t bother with me”. That is…so faulty. and weird. Now, I get that with her brain trained on revenge, Cathy is likely to find things like “Oh I could control men like my mother does” interesting, but it’s just uncomfortable how naive she is versus how calculating she wants to be. Chris decides that they should test Paul: tell him that they’re leaving and see what he does to stop them and that way determine if he really wants them to stay there or if he’s just helping them because he thinks he should. They decide to do this the following evening as they’re sitting on the porch with Paul after dinner. Cathy asks Paul if Henny knitted the sweater he’s wearing and he explains that, no, the sweater was a birthday gift from his sister, Amanda, who mailed it to him from across town. She didn’t give it to him in person because she hasn’t spoken to him in 13 years, not since his wife and son died in an accident. RED. FLAG. KIDS.

Chris starts to tell Paul that while they’re grateful and will pay him back, but Paul cuts him off and says that he’s seen this coming and has been afraid every morning that they would be gone. He’s looked into becoming their legal guardian, which would involve proof that their father is dead AND the consent of their mother. This is not good news for them. However, he’s careful to note when he sees how upset Cathy is, the court will notify Corinne and give her three weeks to come to a hearing. If she doesn’t come, then Paul will get custody. Cathy’s all then you will definitely get custody because she’s not going to come, but will you really want that? Paul has a nice speech about how lonely he’s been since his family died and how maybe it was fate that Henny was on that bus, and while this wins Cathy over for the most part, Chris points out that Paul would probably have a hard time getting married again with three random kids attached to him. Paul doesn’t want to get married again (BIGAMY BEING A FELONY AND ALL SPOILER ALERT) and he mentions that his wife’s name was Julia and his son’s Scotty. Cathy asks if they died in a car accident like her dad and Paul says it was an accident, but not in a car. MMM HMMMMMMMMM. Paul points out how hard life will be for them if they leave and they think on it, but the decision is made by Carrie, who after all, is a little kid who doesn’t really care about education and dance classes but just wants to stay with this guy who has actually cared about her. And that’s totally fair. Of course, Paul ruins this lovely moment for the readers by assuring Carrie that he’s always wanted a little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes AND LOOKS AT CATHY OVER CARRIE’S HEAD.

Okay, that's pretty bad.

Okay, that’s pretty bad.

I told you.

Next we get what would be a great montage if the Petals movie wasn’t going to skip all of this not that I care or anything, of Paul taking the kids shopping at Christmas. Paul and Cathy take Carrie to get clothes while Chris goes to the men’s department, but he comes running back when Carrie lets out one of her signature screams. See, the girls’ department doesn’t have clothes in her favorite colors of purple and red, just in pastels, and she begs Cathy not to make her wear baby dresses. Paul tries some weak “Oh but I like pastels on little girls, you can wear those brighter colors when you’re older” but Carrie ain’t buyin’ it and is about to let another scream go when another customer suggests that Carrie could have her clothing custom-made. This is when Paul volunteers Cathy, like, dude, you’re a big rich doctor. Hire that shit out. Come on. Cathy is pretty appalled at that and so, hilariously, is Carrie, who notes that “Cathy don’t know how to make good clothes”. Chris points out that Carrie’s being unfair, as Cathy can do anything she sets her mind to, and Cathy keeps quiet as Paul buys a sewing machine (but no fabric or thread or patterns or buttons) and makes a crack about how Cathy can sew her own clothes too. Why is everyone suddenly giving Cathy such a hard time? Chris continues the trend when she buys makeup and high heels and I admire her restraint for not smacking either of those tools.

At home, Cathy puts on one of her new dresses for dinner and thinks about how much more these new clothes mean than the ones they used to get at Foxworth Hall. Those past clothes were always fancy and expensive, but were just symbols of Corinne’s guilt. This line of thought moves to thinking about Cory, and how Corinne’s greed killed him, and then suddenly Cathy remembers that Bart Winslow is from South Carolina. She runs downstairs to look at an atlas and learns that Bart’s hometown of Greenglenna is Clairmont’s sister city. Fate indeed. Cathy realizes that Corinne will likely be in Greenglenna at some point in the future and that, with Cathy’s new allowance, she can afford to get a subscription of the paper that covers the society doings near Foxworth Hall, giving her access to Corinne’s comings and goings. I really wish she’d set up one of those obsession walls that people always have on TV. You know?

Does this make Paul the Yellow King?

Does this make Paul the Yellow King?

Am I trying to figure out how to make one in MS Paint? Yes, yes I may be.

As the weeks till the hearing move on, Paul is tutoring Chris so that he can enter a special pre-med program and Paul decides to send Carrie to a private school where he’s on the board of trustees, so that they can be sure she’ll be taken care of and not harassed for being small and different.

Wait…Paul. You’re sending the little girl with attachment issues and trust issues and screaming issues to a private boarding school away from the only family she has, the family from whom she couldn’t bear to sleep in a separate bed? And you’re on the board of trustees for a girls’ boarding school? What, just because?

Paul is the Yellow King.

Surprising absolutely no one, Corinne doesn’t show at the hearing and Paul is granted custody. That night, Cathy cries into her pillow, having held back in the courtroom, crying for the days when Chris the Elder was alive and they were all so happy and loved. She cries for Cory, which makes her stop, hardened by thoughts of revenge. She decides that this year she’ll send Corinne a Christmas card and sign it “The three alive Dresden dolls you didn’t want, plus the dead one you carried away and never brought back”. Maybe streamline that one a bit, Cathy, just maybe a little? She gets up and goes out to the veranda, where she finds Chris. They hug and he tells her that he kept hoping that their mother would show up at the hearing with a “reasonable explanation”. Christopher. What??? Cathy speaks for us all with a “A reasonable excuse for murder? How could she dream up one clever enough? She’s not that smart.” HA. Then they make out again. YOU GUYS. Chris tries to get Cathy to come to his room and she tells him that they can’t make their parents’ mistakes and that they have to learn to love other people. Cathy realizes, though, that Chris can’t let himself love anyone else and that it’s up to her to end this, even if it hurts him. YES. Exactly this, good work, Cathy! Although she after she goes to bed that night she can hear him calling her (oh good they’re telepathic now) and goes back to his room where she gets in bed with him again. And once again she runs off after Chris insists that there will only ever be the two of them for each other, now and forever. Cathy wonders why she went to Chris’s room at all (and so do we) and tries to reassure herself that she’s not evil like Olivia always said. She’s not!

And on that pleasant note, so ends Part I. Coming up in Part II: Dancing! More dancing! Paul starts to wonder if maybe Chris and Cathy have a slightly weird relationship! Madame Marisha! And, because we needed more creeps: JULIAN.

See you then!

 

Oh, and just as a periodic reminder:

If you’d like, please like the blog’s page on Facebook! Over there I post more info about the Lifetime movies, other internet gems I find, and try to have fun conversations about these ridiculous books we all love.

https://www.facebook.com/InTheAtticVCA

I can also be found on Twitter at @Vera_Adare, where I live-tweet the movies and make too many comments about Reign. (It’s multi-faceted!)

True Detective picture from http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/true-detective-best-moments

 

 

Posted by: Megan | March 7, 2014

Petals on the Wind–Cover Post

You guys.

You guys.

You. Guys.

Look at it. Just…look at it.

Apologies for the quality, I made it bigger and therefore worse. But you had to see.

Did I resize this too big? CAN it be too big?

This is my favorite V.C. Andrews stepback picture. I mean, it has to be. It’s incredible. Like most of the Dollanganger stepbacks, it’s pretty straightforward, cast-wise: Carrie, Cathy, Christopher, with Olivia (!) in front. Like the later Landry stepbacks, it shows an actual scene from the novel, albeit an altered one, given who is there. SPOILER ALERT: It’s only Cathy who faces Olivia in this state, Chris isn’t there and Carrie is dead by then, but I think it works thematically, since this is the revenge book. And those are some folks out for revenge. Look at their faces! Look at their eyes. George Sanders should be building a brick wall in his mind just looking at them.

So, person by person, starting with poor little Carrie. Interestingly, I’d always wondered why the artist had drawn Carrie so young on this cover, even though she’s no longer with us by the time this scene happens she’d been an adult when she died. It wasn’t until recently (sometimes my mind gets caught up in other things, y’all, like embroidery or pizza or True Detective) that I realized that, sadly, Carrie probably looked like this AS an adult, though maybe a bit too short. She’s described as really short (though she wears like five-inch heels all the time to make up for it, get it Carrie), but I do think that this depiction would be a touch too far. I mean, Cathy’s probably what, like 5’5? Ballerinas are short, right? So if that’s the case, Carrie would be…hella short. (Look, Swamp Thing does the math and he’s not here right now) I think Cathy mentions Carrie’s actual height once or twice, I’ll make sure to get the right stats out to y’all then. The point is: I think maybe Carrie is a little too short on the cover here, unless she’s meant to still be more or less a child/teen. Her head does seem big (that’s so mean but it’s a LITERAL CHARACTER DETAIL), but her face is almost elven, which I enjoy. Makes her seem mischievous, in the best fairy “I’m gonna steal your babies for fun!” kind of way. She’s wearing full satin, which I can only approve of. I hope it’s a jumpsuit.

Moving on to our heroine, Cathy is wearing a pink satin ballet get-up, which seems only right. I wish this was all she ever wore, like Miss Havisham in a tutu, but unfortunately it’s not. I can only dream. Like Carrie, she’s got some great vengeance eyes, but her frown is getting to me, it just doesn’t seem to work? Carrie seems so malevolent but Cathy just looks…grumpy? Disapproving? Carrie’s like this little sprite all “LET’S SET HER HAIR ON FIRE! FOR LAUGHS!” whilst Cathy just doesn’t like that hair bow. I don’t know, I feel like she should look colder, maybe, since they’re giving the fire to Carrie.

EDIT: I’ve since compared/contrasted this image (which I found online) to my paperback’s cover and Cathy doesn’t look quite as frowny on my copy’s cover. So maybe that’s just a scan issue. Coldness achieved!

She’s holding a switch, which is important for this scene in the book, and her hair is pretty great, so while she’s not the worst part of this cover for me, I just wish her frown didn’t look so haughty. Plus, pink satin? Really? I don’t know, it just seems weird. It’s not like she has some aversion to pink that the artist ignored (don’t you hate when that happens? Like, a character has a whole thing about blue and then they draw ‘em in a blue coat or something?), she wears a pink dress to her birthday party and I’m sure there are numerous pink costumes, I just feel like white is more associated with her? At least in my mind? Maybe I’m just projecting my fondness for “Nights in White Satin”? Carrie’s favorite colors are already ignored here, but the color palette doesn’t work for them. Again though: not my favorite Cathy, but not the worst part.

The Worst Part: Christopher “Powder Blue Turtleneck” Dollanganger. Oh wait, I mean Christopher “Powder Blue All The Way Down” Dollanganger. For the love of… You know the one time a powder blue ensemble has worked?

james_bond_sean_connery_dr_no Or possibly

This is on Chris' Amazon wish list.

This is on Chris’ Amazon wish list.

Actually, that’s my head canon now. Chris is just really, really into Dr. No.

James Bond aside, Chris is just kinda here on this cover. He’s touchy-feely with Cathy, natch, and he’s sort of gazing at Olivia in a “Oh huh. Look at that.” way and his hair is ridiculous. So I think we can all agree that Chris is fairly meh right now.

Which leaves us with! Olivia. Oh man. Ohhhhhh man. This cover pulls no punches when it comes to Olivia, that’s for sure. (None of them do, not even the cover of her own prequel, which is truly cold. Even Lillian Cutler got to look pretty on the cover of her prequel) Olivia is a non-entity for most of this book. Cathy’s focus is on Corinne and the Grandmother is an afterthought, someone who will have to suffer once her daughter’s been exposed, which underlines how very much the main villain Corinne really is, despite Olivia seemingly calling the shots in FitA. By the scene in the novel shown here, Olivia’s had several (?) strokes and can no longer walk or speak. I won’t go too into the scene itself, since there’s a LOT going on in it, but this depiction of Olivia is pretty straight on: sickly, alone, with her remaining hair in a topknot with a bow. I’m not entirely sure where they’re supposed to be, since those don’t look like bed curtains and the effect is rather that of Olivia on a bed by a window, with the 3 Ds just popping up between her and the window, but whatever, it’s dramatic.

I am 100% not okay with how Olivia is staring! right! at! us! You didn’t notice that till I mentioned it, did you? Now you can’t stop.

She’s still looking.

ANYWAY. Yikes.

Coming up! A Greyhound bus ride from hell, the introduction of Creepy Paul, and probably also the introduction of Creepy Julian (I forget how far he comes into it)! Why so many creeps, is the question.

She’s still looking.

Posted by: Megan | February 16, 2014

We’re All Old as the Mountains Now

Here it is, y’all. The end of Flowers in the Attic. This is gonna be…something.

It’s spring now, and Chris has gotten sick (uh oh). He’s too sick to go out robbin’ bedrooms with his sister, so he tells Cathy that she needs to go by herself. She doesn’t want to leave him alone, which causes him to yell at her that she can’t depend on him all the time and that she needs to do things on her own. That’s what their mom thought, that she’d always have a man to help her, and look where that’s gotten them? Damn Chris, that’s some harsh stuff. True though, I must admit. He calms down when he sees that he scared Cathy, and assures her that he’s fine, but they really do need that money. We find out that they’ve been sick so often that Cathy is afraid that one of them is going to die. FORESHADOWING. They exchange I love yous and Cathy leaves.

She heads to their mother’s room, as Corinne told the kids that afternoon that she and Bart were going to a party. Always the #1 Mom, Corinne, and Cathy plans to take some jewelry this time around. When she gets to the room, however, she finds that Bart is in fact still there, seated facing the doorway. Cathy freezes (and makes sure to tell us that she’s wearing a shortie nightgown, thanks Cathy) and slowly realizes that Bart is asleep. He’s also wearing a pink ruffled tuxedo shirt with black lining on the ruffles, which is some Lazenby-Bond-level glam right there, good on ya Bart. Cathy takes the time to look him over and notes that he’s much younger than Corinne, which she thinks is terrible of her mother. Okay, wait. Corinne is what…36? 37? by now? She’s 33 when they get there and Olivia whips her. So what can Bart be, if he’s also a successful lawyer? 30? 28? Calm down, Cathy. This is like when Pearl was so impressed by Ruby’s good looks sticking around once she’d hit 35. So Cathy checks Bart out and decides she’d like to kiss him, especially given that he has a rocking mustache and she wants to know what it’s like to kiss someone who isn’t related to her. Oh boy. No really, she says that. I guess that’s fair enough, given her age as well as her circumstances, but oh boy all the same. So she kisses him and has an internal battle about whether or not to wake him up and tell him the truth. She decides against it, concluding that no one would choose four unwanted children over lots and lots of money and this part is really sad. She should have woken him up. I think Bart, though party to an incredibly questionable sex scene in a later book, is not shown to be a bad guy and I think he would have believed them. I don’t think his love for Corinne would have overpowered his reaction to learning what she’d done. Poor Cathy though, that’s not a decision I’d want to make on my own.

Cathy runs back and tells Chris that she didn’t find any money (she doesn’t tell him about Bart) and he teases her for being a bad thief. More time passes and it’s summer, coming up on their third year in the attic, and Chris has managed to steal more money, though they’re not getting much closer to their goal of $500. Cory is getting sicker and sicker and the kids have retreated more and more into numerous little rituals and beliefs that they’ve invented to keep them “safe”. In this case, C&C made white the safest color, leading the twins to refuse to sleep on anything but white sheets and to fear their mother because she wears black dresses. Oh boy. These kids. Cathy wonders why they can never get a pleasant breeze in the attic, why the wind only makes it through when it’s cold and awful. And then we skip to September.

We’ve arrived at the rape scene so let me sketch this out as briefly as I can: Cathy is in the attic when Chris returns from a thieving expedition and tells her that he was in their mother’s room looking at the “Needlework” book when Corinne and Bart came back unexpectedly and he had to hide. Bart is telling Corinne about his theory that the maids are stealing from them, as he’s been losing cash and his wallet is never in the same place twice. Corinne doesn’t get why five dollars here and there matters, but Bart is like um I WORK for my money, so I care. Corinne, who has become stronger-willed in her second marriage, tells Bart that there’s no way she can move out yet and when her husband suggests that they skip whatever event they’re headed to and stay in, she brings up the “last time” when he went upstairs “for a moment” and ended up falling asleep. Bart notes that he’d skip out and fall asleep more often if it meant that he could have a wonderful dream about a beautiful young blonde girl kissing him. Corinne has heard about enough regarding this dream (and really, Bart, why would you keep telling your wife about it??) and they leave still bickering.

Cathy hears all of this later, as during it all she’s up in the attic wishing she had her old music box back. Chris comes in and confronts her about kissing Bart and ruining everything–now they won’t leave money out any more, and then he slaps her, and tells her that she’s his, and then he rapes her. We’ve had some good conversation in the comments about this scene and its repercussions and so I don’t want to rehash it all a million times, but in my opinion and so the opinion of this blog, it’s not a consensual scene. Cathy says that she tried to fight him off, that he was stronger, and that she “wanted what he wanted” since she loved him so much, and that’s not the same thing as wanting something because you want it. He flat out calls it in the next scene–he apologizes for raping her, and Cathy, yes, does say that he didn’t, but it’s in a “I could have fought you off if I wanted to” way and she blames herself for kissing Bart and wearing short skirts, and that’s such a deep pool of victim-blaming and self-blaming and oh man. Let’s just go on, can we?

They have $396.44 and Chris decides that the next time he goes to steal things he’s going to go on a big sweep and take everything he can find. They’re both really worried about the twins so it’s time to get out of there and take them to a doctor. They make joking plans about going to Sarasota and joining the circus and the twins are very against that plan since they’re afraid their siblings would fall. Chris tells them that he and Cathy are an unbeatable team and Cathy remembers him telling her that he’ll never love anyone else. Awkward. It’s October now and Corinne has just left for the night, barely even looking at her children, and C&C are planning the big heist for that evening when Cory gets sick. He’s throwing up nonstop and he’s feverish and achy. Carrie, oh my god, asks politely if she can sleep in the same bed as her twin, promising that they won’t do anything evil, CRIPES CARRIE, MY HEART. Chris and Cathy try to figure out what could have caused this and they basically list everything BUT the donuts, which, come on guys. Olivia comes in with their food and while she doesn’t acknowledge it when they tell her that Cory needs a doctor, she returns shortly with Corinne. And then they go off into a corner and whisper together for a while, which is Cathy’s last straw. She screams at them to do something and Cathy does everyone’s favorite lines: “Have you forgotten you are his mother? If you haven’t, then, damn it, act like his mother!” Corinne shoots back with “You! Always it’s you!” and slaps Cathy. Who promptly slaps her back. BEST SCENE. This is the constant, the one in each adaptation, it’s just too good. Olivia is loving this, of course, and Chris pulls Cathy back, telling her that this isn’t helping Cory. Cathy lets Corinne have it then, damning her to hell if she doesn’t help Cory, swearing her revenge, telling that one day Bart and Malcolm and everyone will know exactly what she is and what she did. Corinne can only glare at her but Olivia speaks up at last, telling Corinne that Cathy’s right and that they need to take Cory for help.

Sadly, as we know, it’s too late, and Corinne returns the next day to tell them that Cory died of pneumonia and has already been buried, causing years of speculation and ghostly searches for my blog. The Great Cory Burial Debate will continue in Petals, don’t you worry. Corinne immediately peaces out, leaving her remaining children to grieve together. As the days pass, Carrie also starts to get worse and worse and C&C know that they need to get out of there. Chris has a new worry now, that they’ve spent so long in the attic that they’re now vulnerable to common germs and infections, but Cathy’s not hearing that–she’s not dying in that attic, so if it’s germs in the outside world, so be it. She wants them to go steal everything and leave tonight, but Chris wants to wait until they know that Corinne and Bart are out. And he doesn’t know if that’ll be soon since how can Corinne go party if she’s in mourning. Oh CHRISTOPHER. Come the fuck on, guy. Cathy does get one beam of happiness in all of this: she has a lovely dream one night where Chris the Elder appears and carries a healthy Cory off to Heaven (the place, not the Casteel) and that’s nice. She tells us that she got peace from that dream for a long time and lord knows the girl needs it.

November 10th! That’s the last day in the attic, Cathy tells us, as “God would not deliver us, we would deliver ourselves”. Okay, that’s pretty bad-ass. SPOILER ALERT: it is not actually their last day. Chris is preparing to go down to Corinne’s room, she having come by earlier and told them that she and Bart are going out. After Chris leaves, Cathy and Carrie try to sleep and wait for him to get back, but hours and hours go by without him returning. Cathy starts envisioning every nightmare scenario: Bart caught him, Olivia caught him, he’s been arrested, he’s been beaten, and when he finally returns after dawn with nothing in his pillowcases, she flips out, assuming that he couldn’t go through with robbing his precious Momma after all! Lifelessly, Chris tells her that all of the jewelry was gone and he starts to cry. She holds him for a while and gets him to tell her everything.

So Chris got to Corinne’s room to find that it was stripped: clothes, jewelry, pictures, books, everything was gone. They’d left, really left, not just to a party but for good. Chris went a little nutty, ripping the room up to try to find something, anything that Corinne could have left behind, but it was all gone, every trinket and ring and paperweight. Cathy tried to get him to take just one little thing so many times and he wouldn’t because he’d still believed in Corinne and now look. Cathy reassures him a little and gets him to go on. He finally looked in the last place, the bottom nightstand drawer, and there he finds Chris the Elder’s picture, his and Corinne’s marriage license, and Corinne’s wedding and engagement rings. Chris thinks that Corinne knew who was stealing from her and left that stuff on purpose, Cathy just thinks that Corinne no longer cares since she has Bart. Really, Cathy? You think the lesser cruelty? I’m with Chris: Corinne totally knew. Cathy knows that there’s more that Chris isn’t telling her, so he continues. Desperate now that he can’t steal from Corinne, Chris decides what the hell and decides to steal from Olivia. After all, she has all the jewelry that they saw her wearing at the Christmas party, as well as the brooches she’s always wearing (brooches for life, by the way) so he headed down the hall to the Grandmother’s room. Cathy immediately thinks that he saw Olivia naked which he and I are both like “Uh no Cathy, god”, but he DID see Olivia sans wig. She was awake, reading the Bible in bed, so he couldn’t steal from her, but he did hear her pray for forgiveness, noting in her prayer that she’s always done what she thought best. There’s a whole mess to unpack in THAT statement, Olivia.

Moving along, Chris headed down to the library, thanking his sister for her persistent questioning of Corinne, since that’s how he even knew the way. He sees the gaps in the shelves where Corinne had taken books up to them (and never took them back? Great cover up, Corinne) and sees six telephones on the Grandfather’s desk, all disconnected. Uh oh. Cathy is on edge, since she wants to hear all the details but she KNOWS that something awful is coming. And how. Chris went through the desk, finding all of the drawers unlocked and empty. Uh oh. He could see Malcolm’s room across the library and geared himself up to face him finally. Chris had a whole monologue prepared and everything but! when he went into the room it too was completely stripped. The hospital bed mattress was doubled up, the wheelchair was in a corner, and there was nothing on any surfaces, no hair brushes or anything. The whole room felt like it hadn’t been used in ages. Uh oh. Chris, thanks to Corinne’s stories, was able to locate the wall safe back in the library and went to try to crack it (thanks to television!) but was interrupted by footsteps. (Cathy, meanwhile: “The grandfather–why wasn’t he on the bed?” Uh, Cathy…) Chris hid behind a sofa but thought his time was up when he realized he’d left his flashlight in Malcolm’s room. The footsteps turned out to belong to a maid (Livvy) and good old John Amos the butler. Livvy is sure she heard something but John isn’t convinced so they glance around once and leave. Just as Chris was about to escape, however, they came back into the library and sit down right on the sofa Chris is hiding under.

Chris decides to try to take a nap through this but it’s a good thing he didn’t, he tells Cathy, since the pair has the most convenient conversation this side of an episode of Downton Abbey. Livvy insists that she did hear something and John reminds her that this very morning she was on about mice in the attic again, even though “that old bitch” has been taking tons of arsenic up there in picnic baskets to kill those mice. UH OH. Cathy is still not following, by the way. Livvy agrees that Olivia is the worst and that she’s seen Olivia in Malcolm’s old room just smiling oddly at his empty bed, seemingly gloating that he’s dead, and that she has all that money now. John points out that while Olivia has the money from her own family and is doing just fine, it’s Corinne that got all of the Foxworth millions from her father. Livvy notes that Malcolm did treat Corinne pretty badly before he died, but now she has all that money and her young hot husband, so she’s doing okay. John’s like well you’ve got me, don’t you? and then they totally fuck on the sofa poor Chris is hiding under. What the what. This is so damn random, AND really out of character for the John Amos that we meet in Garden of Shadows, I feel. (A lack of continuity? In a prequel? Why never, Megan, never.) Cathy is surprised that Livvy was actually into it and didn’t protest or anything (oh that’s healthy) and Chris describes it all a little over much, and then apparently JA and Livvy smoked some cigarettes and then did it again, which just blows Cathy’s mind.

Cathy is still not sure why exactly Chris is so upset and he’s like have you been listening to me. Well sure, Cathy says, jewels were gone, Momma and Bart skipped out, Grandmother wears a wig, we won’t have enough money in the outside but we’ll still be out, what am I missing here? Chris finally has to spell it out for her that Malcolm is dead and has been dead for almost a year.

UH OH

UH OH

For serious, dude. Cathy’s first reaction is happiness, they’re free now! Momma would inherit the money and they’d be free! But then reality sets in and she realizes that Corinne never told them, that she’d kept them up there anyway. Chris, making sure that Carrie (still asleep) can’t hear, reiterates what Cathy just figured out, that Corinne lied to them, that even after her father’s will was read nine months before she still left them up there. That Cory would be alive if they’d gotten out nine months ago. Cathy starts to cry but Chris tells her to hold it in since there’s still worse stuff to come. Good lord these kids. Cathy can’t hear anything worse, not yet, so Chris agrees that it can wait and promises her that they’re going to get out and get better and live amazing lives. Buoyed by this, Cathy thanks Chris for the breather and tells him to tell her the rest of it. She thinks that there’s nothing that he can say that will shock her any more than what he’s already said, but she is very wrong. The reason that Olivia gave the maids for not going into their room on those Fridays was because there were mice in the attic using the stairs to get down into the rest of the house. Olivia would subsequently leave picnic baskets of arsenic-laced food for the mice. Chris points out that arsenic is white and that if it was mixed with powdered sugar you’d never even taste it. Cathy doesn’t get why Olivia wouldn’t just poison them all at once and have done with it, Chris reminds her of some movie they’d watched where a woman slowly poisoned rich old men with arsenic because the symptoms were so hard to pin down and can look like food poisoning or PNEUMONIA. Cathy THEN comprehends that Cory died of arsenic poisoning. CATHERINE LEIGH DOLLANGANGER. You are disappointing me! Get with the program here!

Don't look at me like that, young lady.

Don’t look at me like that, young lady.

Chris is like well obviously Momma was lying about the pneumonia. And who knows if she ever even took Cory to the hospital? If she did they can’t have noticed anything suspicious or she’d be in jail. Cathy can’t believe that Corinne would just let Olivia poison them, so Chris determines that what they have to do is test a bit of remaining donut on Mickey. Cathy doesn’t want to since Mickey trusts them but Chris convinces her, reminding her that they’re dead if they don’t figure this out. So they do and yep, poor Mickey dies shortly thereafter. Chris thinks they should take Mickey and two of the donuts with them as evidence and Cathy agrees but can tell that Chris is STILL holding something back. Just get on with it, Christopher! You don’t have time for this! Chris can’t bear to tell her now, he wants to wait until they’re gone, and Cathy agrees so that they can all get some rest.

They lay around watching soap operas and Cathy notes that, much like themselves, people on soap operas never really go outside. They just sit around drinking martinis and just when they think that they’re going to be happy, the next big bad thing happens. Unbeknownst to the kids, Olivia has popped in and she tells Cathy that she’s exactly right about the real world: nothing ever works out the way you think it will. Then she leaves. Well okay, Olivia. I think she’s bored. After she leaves, Chris tries to comfort Cathy by telling that Olivia’s wrong, and just because nothing worked out for her, it doesn’t mean that it won’t for them. They shouldn’t leave trying to find perfection, but should settle for some small bit of happiness and therefore not be disappointed. Slap that one on a greeting card, Chris. Cathy isn’t hearing that, though, nope, she wants it all. She vows to herself that she’s in control of her life now, not God, not Chris, and she’s going to have everything she ever wanted and take what she wants when she wants it. Sounds like the perfect mindset for a bananas revenge epic, doesn’t it? Cathy thinks back on what a naive little kid she was when they arrived at Foxworth Hall and that now she’s “older than the mountains outside”. I like it. Let’s go with this.

Full of this new determination, Cathy gives Carrie a bath and forces her to drink some milk. She dresses her and they sit to wait until they’re going to make their escape. Cathy notes what belongings they’re taking with them: her and Chris’s fancy watches, the banjo and guitar, Corinne’s rings, Chris’s camera…she’s snapped out of this by the fear that if Olivia could sneak in and overhear Cathy’s comments from before, what’s to say that she hadn’t done that in the past and knows all about their escape plans? She asks Chris (though she almost doesn’t, afraid he’ll hesitate again) and he tells her that nothing’s stopping them this time. Still worried, Cathy goes up to the attic, caught up in nostalgia as she looks around at the flowers and swings, then she takes a piece of chalk and writes on the schoolroom’s blackboard:

“We lived in the attic,

Christopher, Cory, Carrie, and me,

Now there are only three.”

She signs her name and puts the date, then Chris calls up that it’s time to go. They use their wooden key and head out, planning to use any means necessary to get past John Amos and Olivia, if need be. Chris has the suitcases and Cathy has Carrie, who she notes only weighs a little more than she did that night they first arrived. The money is pinned inside their coats. They make it outside without any trouble and Cathy sets Carrie down so she can walk. Carrie, heartbreakingly, wants to know if they’re going to meet Cory, when Cathy reminds her that Cory is off in a beautiful garden, Carrie says that Cory won’t like it if she’s not there. Cathy pulls Carrie along, but not before Carrie looks back at the house and tells her sister that they need to hurry, since Cory is praying that they get away before Olivia sends someone to catch them. Thanks possible ghost-Cory? They make it to the train depot just in the nick of time and onto a train. As the train passes Foxworth Hall up on its hill, Cathy and Chris look up to see the far-off figure of Olivia as she stands in the window of their bedroom. Cathy wonders why she was up there so early and though Chris shrugs it off, Cathy wishes she could know Olivia’s thoughts as she searched the room and found no one there.

They arrive in Charlottesville and have a two-hour wait for the next bus to Sarasota. So as to keep on the move in case John Amos comes after them, they store the suitcases and instruments in a locker and walk around the city a bit. Cathy is heartened to find that people don’t stare at them the way she was afraid they would. They stop on a corner and Chris takes out the bag with Mickey and the donuts in it. Chris notes that if they go to the police then Cathy and Carrie won’t have to run since they’ll go into foster care, though he’s not sure what will happen to him. Cathy asks him to finally tell her his last bit of bad news and it turns out that Malcolm’s will had a codicil that he’d added in the days before he died, stating that if it was ever discovered that Corinne and Chris the Elder had any children, Corinne would lose the money and have to return everything purchased with said money. Not just that, but the same applied if Corinne had any children from her second marriage as well. Good god damn, Malcolm. Cathy realizes that this means it was Corinne, not Olivia who was poisoning them. Chris can’t be sure, but he heard Olivia praying and he doesn’t think that she’d do it herself. Oh, she’d carry the poison up to them and warn them not to eat it under the guise of “sugar is bad!” but she wouldn’t poison them herself. Cathy points out that Corinne was on her honeymoon when the donuts started coming, but Chris counters that nine months ago, when the will was read, Corinne was back. And only Corinne is affected by the will, Olivia has her own money.

Cathy wants to discuss a lot more, but with Carrie clinging to her she decides to wait. Chris hands Cathy the bag and tells her that it’s up to her. Time for some time in the mind of Cathy Dollanganger. Cathy wants revenge. She wants it more than anything, she wants to see Olivia and Corinne convicted of their crimes and locked away forever, she wants to see Corinne suffer the loss of her freedom and her money and Bart. She wonders if she should just let God deal with it all and thinks it’s unfair of Chris to put this on her shoulders. She wonders if it’s because he knows he’ll still forgive Corinne anything, that he’ll blame it on Malcolm and Olivia and forgive Corinne. Cathy wonders if there would ever be enough money in the world to make her kill her own children. She remembers how it was when Chris the Elder was alive, how happy they all were, how much Corinne loved them and she thinks that Malcolm and Olivia probably did know all the right ways to kill Corinne’s feelings. Cathy thinks about her mother, how Corinne once had four perfect children who thought that she was perfect too and now she had none and even if she never wanted Cathy back, she’d want Chris and Carrie and her future grandchildren and she’d have nothing. They can move forward from this and make their lives and when they see Corinne again they can ignore her. Decided now, Cathy throws the bag away. Chris tells her to say goodbye to the past (not gonna happen) and Cathy feels free enough to forget all about her revenge (DEFINITELY not gonna happen)  and they laugh and hug and promise Carrie that they’re going to see flowers soon.

The epilogue is short and Cathy is relieved to have told her story. Their lives were never easy, she tells us, (OH BOY NO) but she and Chris learned that they were survivors, even if it was different for poor Carrie, and “how we managed to survive–that’s another story.”

AND OH BOY IS IT. Thank y’all so much for sticking with me through this. We made it! Onward and upwards, I say, onto my absolute favorite Dollanganger book (and possibly my favorite V.C. Andrews book) the infinite wonder that is Petals on the Wind. Coming up: Creepy Dr. Paul! Ballet ballet ballet! Everyone tells Cathy to calm it down and she does! not! listen! Julian! More Bart and his mustache! The Great Cory Burial Debate returns! The other big mystery of the Dollangangers arrives! Dramatic dress recreations! All of this and more!

See y’all then!

Posted by: Megan | January 21, 2014

Flowers in the Attic: A Lifetime Movie Experience

Here. We. Go.

Here. We. Go.

There are too few opportunities in life to say, “I can’t believe they left out the blood-drinking!”.

Other than that, though, the Lifetime movie version of FitA was a pretty good time. They left in plenty of little moments that the ’80s version left out, and it was era-appropriate, and AND Christopher wasn’t the worst! (Although, having read the excerpt from Chris’s Diary on the Lifetime site, I can assure you that in the literary world he still is) So I took a bunch of notes and screen caps and I’m going to try to turn them into a cohesive recap for y’all right now.

I’m even using a cut because this is so very long

Posted by: Megan | January 19, 2014

Everybody’s SCREAMING

We return to our favorite kids just as Cory’s screaming bloody murder because why not? It’s Cory’s turn to scream (NOTE: I originally wrote “Cory’s urn to scream” which…TOO SOON) and Carrie immediately starts screaming too while Cathy tears up the stairs to him with their other siblings in tow. These kids are exhausting. Turns out that Cory is losing his mind because there’s a mouse caught in a mouse trap and he wants Cathy to save because he wants it as a pet. The mouse is trying to chew off its foot, Cory is weeping about how Chris and Cathy kill all the mice and all of his chances for love, and Carrie starts hitting Cathy and shrieking about how the older Cs don’t let Cory have ANYTHING EVER YOU’RE SO MEAN AND AWFUL I KNOW YOU GOT BEATEN IN OUR STEAD AND GAVE US ALL THAT FOOD AND BLOOD BUT CORY WANTS THIS DAMN MOUSE YOU HARPY

Okay, okay, I get that the twins are little kids, and as such won’t have the best grasp of the greater concepts of sacrifice and whatnot, but damn twins, that’s some overreacting. Chris silences everyone with a manly roar (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA) and picks up the mouse to try and help it. Much brattiness later (the mouse is still after Chris takes it out of the trap so Carrie hits him, Cory announces that he’s naming the mouse Mickey (what no C) and Chris points out that it might be a girl mouse and Cory is not having that) the mouse lives. I know you’re all super relieved. While this episode of “All Creatures Great and Small” is going on, the Grandmother walks in to bring them their rations. Oooops. A ton of rules are being broken: everyone’s in their PJs, the room’s trashed, Chris is helping Carrie get dressed in the other room, it’s a forbidden mess and everyone freezes. Chris chooses to ignore Olivia entirely and just unpacks the pic-a-nic basket like it’s no thing, while Olivia, rather than freak out on them, just watches. This doesn’t sit well with Cathy, who is rightfully suspicious of any change in Olivia’s behavior. Chris goes up to the attic to find a birdcage for Mickey and it’s only when he returns with it that Olivia speaks, asking what’s up with the mouse. Cathy informs her that Cory has a pet now and Olivia doesn’t even argue, just makes some comment about how a mouse suits them (…okay?) and leaves. It’s like she doesn’t care what they do anymore! It’s like she thinks they’re on their way out or something?

DONUT SPOILER.

Eventually Cory tames Mickey and they’re BFFs and I guess Mickey didn’t know those two mice that the kids almost ate that time, and having Mickey around even starts to give Cory the slightest bit of independence from Carrie, so it’s all turning out okay! Well we all know that can’t last.

OH MY GOD. The very next chapter begins with Cathy telling us that she and Chris never talk about that night they made out, but that they’re both growing and changing all the more and this one time she totally caught Chris measuring his dick. CHRISTOPHER DOLLANGANGER. CHILDREN LIVE WITH YOU. THEY LIVE WITH YOU IN THE SAME ROOM. THEY ARE NEVER MORE THAN 20 FEET AWAY FROM YOU. LOCK SOME GODDAMN DOORS BEFORE YOU MEASURE YOUR FRAKKING DICK. I want to die. I really do. PLUS he tells Cathy that he’s measuring his penis because he once saw their dad’s and felt inadequate.

I can’t. I CANNOT. Guys. YOU GUYS. Why. No one in this family has boundaries. No one. Look, I don’t know what boys go through with this sort of thing, I freely acknowledge that. But how long has Chris the Elder been dead? Three years, maybe? And when did this comparison happen? Chris has been going around with this penis envy for years and years and feels the need STILL to try and measure up? There is so much to unpack there. He can’t just want to be tall like his dad or something? It has to be penis size? Is he using a ruler? Burn that ruler.

ANY. WAY. This all leads to Cathy realizing how much the twins have failed to grow and she and Chris try to sneak them out onto the rooftop for some sun while the twins are napping. This does not go well. More screaming. When they’re all back indoors Cathy manages to measure the twins’ heights (PLEASE GOD BE USING A DIFFERENT MEASURING TAPE) and to her horror, they’ve only grown two inches in the years since they’ve been there. Now everyone’s in a bad mood, the twins for the whole rooftop thing, Chris and Cathy because the twins are obviously not okay and they all wander downstairs to watch soap operas and eat lukewarm soup.

And then Corinne walks in.

And not just walks in, of course, swans in all Vera Adare, with more exclamation points than me and a fox-fur coat, trilling about how much she MISSED them and how she DREAMED about them and all the PRESENTS she’s brought them and aren’t they so happy to see her?? She even makes extra sure to note that she had to be so so careful buying their presents since it’s so suspicious for her to be buying kids’ presents, right? Right?? Chris is the one who stands up first and tells her that of course they missed her, but she shouldn’t have been gone so long, no matter what was going on with her. Since he’s not fawning over her every word, Corinne immediately knows something’s up and asks if anything went wrong while she was gone. UMMMMM. Chris has had enough of this for ONCE, so he lets her have it. Of course stuff went wrong. They all live in one room! He and Cathy aren’t little kids anymore to be placated with presents! Look how tiny the twins are! On and on until Corinne’s like “But you haven’t stopped loving me, right??” and Chris admits that no, he hasn’t, but come on! He doesn’t want out tomorrow or next month or next year: they all want out TODAY, money or not. Corinne’s reaction is, naturally, to glare at Cathy since everything is a weird competition with these people, and to tell Chris to be quiet since he’s obviously not himself. Cathy starts up then, telling her mother to really look at all of them and see how sick they are. Corinne isn’t here for reality, though, so she lets loose a bit herself, telling them that she’s trying her BEST and giving them EVERYTHING and her dad is literally about to die any SECOND and can’t they all just think about how nice all that money would be??

Cathy wants to give her some more hell and tell her about what Olivia did to them, but Chris glares at her (god damn it) and she stops. Corinne starts crying and laying on the “Ohhh you awful kids” and Chris and Cathy give in and try to console and and hug her, but she pushes them away and tells them all ice queen to open their presents and THEN tell her that she doesn’t love them. Oh shut UP, Corinne. She bought Chris some encyclopedias and while Cathy’s first thought is how much money that cost that they could have been saving to escape, it’s clear that Chris is won over. Corinne doesn’t tell Cathy what her gifts are, nor does she stay to watch them open the stuff up, she marches out with some crap about how she’ll come back when they’re nice to her. She never even touches the twins. Those poor babies immediately come to Cathy, worried that they’re weird and unlovable and to calm them down Cathy pretends to be happy and excited over their presents. They open everything up and at first it’s great: books and puzzles and games and maple-sugar candy, but as things settle down Cathy starts to see the truth of it all. The books are all ones they’ve read already. Chris needs to shave and Cathy needs a bra and there’s nothing like that in there. None of the clothes for the older Cs fit. Cathy loves maple-sugar candy, but she can’t bring herself to eat any. And that’s when Chris starts to make fun of her.

Yeah. He mocks her for being a grump and denying herself the candy, telling her that no matter how upset she gets, they’ll be here till Malcolm dies anyway, and she won’t have had any candy. Eat shit, Christopher. When Cathy tries on all her new dresses and finds that they don’t fit, Chris laughs at her and tells her that she should get a bra and a girdle. SET HIM ON FIRE. Cathy loses it then and screams at him about how sometimes she hates Corinne (only sometimes?) and that she thinks they’d be better off DEAD and then she runs off into the attic and dances some angry ballet. Whatever works, I guess. When the music ends she considers throwing herself out of the window and then they’d all be SORRY, but then she reconsiders that maybe they wouldn’t be, so she scraps that plan. She lays out on the roof for a while (in a tutu, no less) and eventually Chris comes out and lays down with her and tells her to never talk that way again. He has doubts too, he tells her, but they have to keep it together. And that’s when the big realization hits, folks:

“And that’s when it came over me in a cataclysmic flood—I loved Chris, and he was my brother.”

Yup. There it is. She is majorly, totally, butt-crazy in love with Chris*. She wisely doesn’t bring this up, just tells him that maybe it’s time they take a little initiative about their situation. Ten days go by before Corinne comes back and when she does C&C are appropriately apologetic, having realized that they have to keep sweet if they have any real chance of getting out of there. Corinne naturally sweeps it all away once she has her way again and wants them to guess what her super awesome sparkly news is. Malcolm’s dead? Nope. Malcolm’s in the hospital? Nope. And don’t talk like that because Corinne sort of likes him again now. WHAT. Corinne you are bananas crazy. Cathy’s like just tell us then we don’t care. So she tells them and guess what it is! She got married. She married that guy with the sweet ‘stache from the Christmas party (Bart) and omg he’s so AMAZING and we went to EUROPE and I’m sure you’ll all love him and he’ll love you too!

He'll love at least one of them, all right.

He’ll love at least one of them, all right.

HA!

Corinne seems to realize that they’re less than thrilled and she hastens to explain that she still loves their dad, but she was lonely and stuff. Cathy fakes some congrats, which encourages Corinne to tell them all about how Bart never wanted to get married and Malcolm was going to forbid it anyway, but he likes Bart and it all worked out and blah blah blah. Cathy points out that while most of the gifts Corinne brought them were from Europe, the candy was from Vermont, so is Bart from Vermont? Corinne laughs at that (oh that hilarious Vermont?) and says no, but one of his sisters lives there and they visited her, and that he has two other sisters living in the South. In fact, Bart’s from the South, he’s from some little town in South Carolina. Even though she makes sure to mention that he sounds like a Yankee. Whatever, Corinne. She attempts to talk to the twins about their presents, but they don’t know her any more and barely speak. Cathy asks if Bart knows about them. Well obviously not, though she’s totally going to tell him when her father dies, really! Cathy does not think so.

UGH now for the stupidest scene. So Chris and Cathy are in the attic reading some 19th-century romance novel together and it has some symbolic unhappy ending, which Cathy hates. She also hates how idealistic and mushy the characters were and that Chris assumes that a woman wrote it because men think women only write romantic garbage. Chris gets all don’t ask me about how men act! I am alone with my feelings! How do I become a man? And who cares. Then they check each other out a bit and then Cathy decides that what Chris needs to feel like a man is…a haircut! Kay. And so she gives him a haircut (THRILLING) and it’s a Prince Valiant bowl cut, for the love of god. After she’s done Chris starts teasing her about cutting off all of HER hair and starts chasing her around with scissors (SMART LIKE A DOCTOR) and surprise! they trip and fall and he cuts her with them. Luckily it’s not a puncture, and Chris cleans it up and bandages it. Okay good. So now go downstairs, you two. Chris feels guilty and starts to cry, so Cathy holds his face to her chest. Go. Downstairs. They decide to lay on the attic floor in some sunbeams instead. Argh. Some inappropriate touching happens, but when Cathy starts babbling about the book they read and sex and stuff Chris comes to his senses and tells her that brothers don’t think of their sisters as girls, pretty or not. YES GOOD. They go downstairs, thank god.

FINALLY these children decide they need an escape plan that doesn’t involve the roof. What they need is a copy of their room key, and they determine that stealing Corinne’s will be easiest since she doesn’t like pockets on her clothes and leaves the key all over. Corinne is coming by two or three times a month now, still basically ignoring the twins and bringing everyone clothes that don’t fit. When Cathy mentions that they’ve all been getting sick lately, headaches and stomach cramps, she tells them to keep the food in the attic where it’ll stay cold and suck it up. She tells them about cruises and shopping trips to New York City because she is the worst character in fiction and while Cathy keeps her babbling along Chris steals her key and makes a mold of it in a bar of soap. YES. Forward momentum! He later makes a wooden replica of the key and there is much rejoicing. Though they don’t leave immediately because Chris knows that they’re going to need money to get anywhere, so what they need to do is start stealing it from their mother since she’s terrible with money. He starts sneaking into the swan room and finding all manner of tens and twenties all over the place because Corinne is just terrible. It’s taking a toll on what faith in Corinne he has left though, since sneaking into her room means seeing all of the expensive clothing and jewelry she has. Chris tells Cathy to come with him the next time and she realizes that she can since the twins sleep all the time now and won’t wake up and freak out that the older kids are gone. That’s so sad. So sneak down to Corinne’s room they do.

Naturally once they’re there Cathy can’t help but go through Corinne’s closets and she realizes how much Chris kept back from his descriptions after the Christmas party. Cathy decides to have a little fun with the whole experience and puts on some of Corinne’s stockings and a bra and a fancy black dress, then she goes to town with makeup and perfume. She comes out to show Chris, making a real reveal of it and he tells her she looks like a prostitute. Fun times. Cathy’s like “whatever” and goes to take it all off and we find out she’s wearing seventeen bracelets, twenty-six rings, a tiara, three necklaces, and giant dangling diamond earrings. What kind of prostitutes has Chris seen? She puts everything back, though she does steal a plain bra for herself. Throughout all of this, Chris has been looking for money, and figuring that he’s done this enough to not need help, Cathy turns her attention to the bedside table drawers. It’s all night cream and paperback books at first, then she finds a big hardcover called How to Create Your Own Needlework Designs. Cathy is interested in this so she flips it open and welp, it’s a sex book. Full-page pictures, nice instructive text, the whole deal. Cathy just pages through it in shock until Chris comes up to see what her deal is and then he has to flip through it page by page too. What a bonding moment. Eventually they realize they need to get out of there, so they put the book away and sneak their way back to their room, where they get ready for bed in an awkward silence and eventually manage to go to sleep.

Well that was wordy, huh? Coming up: The END we have reached the END! That just brings me closer to Petals, which I love so dear. But before then a whole lot of sad unfortunate stuff happens, because this book has one hell of a conclusion.

The new movie is on TV tonight! I’m hoping that it’s available online shortly thereafter so that I can make screencaps and have a recap up with a quickness, so fingers crossed that Lifetime has my back in this. Why wouldn’t they, right? So look for that and the final FitA recap here soon!

*oh my god I’m so sorry Cher 

Posted by: Megan | December 24, 2013

Enter the Weirdness

Part II starts with a time jump. Yes really. Another year goes by, ostensibly full of barre exercises, reading lessons, and awkward gazing. As do all of our years, right? Chris and Cathy have started laying out on the attic roof between the corner where two wings meets and they can’t be seen (though they’re careful only to do it when the servants are off) in order to get sunshine and air, but the twins freak right the hey out when their siblings try to take them out too, so no Vitamin D for them. Oh and they’re likely doing this naked because Cathy telling us about the roof visits is immediately followed by the admission that they’re not being as careful about modesty and the rules as they should be. Cathy realizes that she’s a teenager and has no idea what a naked woman looks like, so one day while Chris and the twins are in the attic she strips and starts to do ballet positions in front of the mirror. Sure, okay.

Naturally she feels the prickly sense of creep on the back of her neck and there’s Chris in the shadows watching her. Oh boy. Part II just goes right for it, huh? There’s a lot of super inappropriate once-overs and Cathy’s not sure how to react because she doesn’t want to seem like a prude and have Chris make fun of her. BOUNDARIES. BOUND. A. RIES. You’re allowed to grab a towel! You’re allowed to yell at him! I just…I…okay. I know I’ve talked about this before and I honestly don’t want this to become the “Megan preaches about power dynamics” blog, but this is the shit that makes me wince when I read someone’s search query about when Chris and Cathy “make love” in this book. I will grant that in later books their relationship changes a bit (though it’s never really any healthier, even setting aside the whole SIBLINGS aspect) but in this first book it is all Chris-is-a-creeper, all the time. Cathy thinks that it’d be depriving Chris of something if she covers herself up! Yes, she gets into it eventually (argh what a sentence) but she’s still scared of the grandmother, scared of what’s happening, and even scared of Chris a little and yet she STILL feels like she’s the bad guy for shutting this down. You’re not, Cathy.

OKAY SORRY MOVING ALONG

Cathy holds her dress up in front of herself, Chris wonders aloud how she’s gotten so pretty, and then OF COURSE the Grandmother walks in. This won’t be good. Olivia starts hissing about sinners and hellfire and asks Cathy how many times she’s let Chris “use” her body GAH and naturally Cathy has no idea what that means (though it’s clear from his blushing that Chris does). Olivia starts fixating on Cathy’s pretty hair (uh oh) and Chris stands up for them, denying that they’ve done anything wrong and calling Olivia the wicked one for always assuming the worst, grossest things. Olivia storms out then, but both of the big kids know that it’s not over. The twins come downstairs to watch TV while their siblings wait for the door to open again. Sure enough, Olivia comes back, but not with the whip that Cathy was expecting–with a giant pair of scissors.

UH OH.

Olivia orders Cathy to come to her, saying that she’s going to cut off all of Cathy’s hair as punishment for her pride. Cathy is horrified, both because she loves her hair and has been growing it since her father said that he liked it, and because she’s had numerous nightmares about this very thing. And because her crazy grandmother is wielding giant scissors, that must be pretty scary too. Chris threatens Olivia with one of the chairs, telling her that she’s not touching a hair on Cathy’s head. Olivia is less than impressed and gives them an ulitimatum: Cathy loses the hair or else no food or milk for a week. Cathy tries to plead that the twins haven’t done anything wrong and that Chris didn’t walk in on her on purpose (HA) so Cathy alone should be punished without food. Besides, there’s no way that Corinne will let this happen anyway, right? Cathy doesn’t have a lot of faith in her mother, though, since Corinne hasn’t visited in ages AND her visits have been further and further apart anyway. Mother of the Century.

Olivia isn’t here for Cathy’s arguments and just repeats her terms: Chris cuts off Cathy’s hair or else none of them eat for a week. Chris refuses and Olivia leaves, putting the scissors up on the dresser. Chris tries to cheer his sister up, reminding her that they have some food squirreled away in the attic and that they can save what they’d already been given for today. That night Cathy has a succession of awful nightmares and she wakes up to discover that her head has been covered in tar. Yeah. You read that right. Her HEAD has been COVERED in HOT TAR. Good lord, Olivia. Once Chris has calmed Cathy down from her justified freak out they put the pieces together: Olivia’d snuck in while they were sleeping, stuck Cathy with a needle full of something to knock her out, then gathered all of her hair on top of her head and poured the tar over it. Who the hell just has tar?? This is some fucked up stuff, I’m sorry. I mean…damn. C & C calm lil’ C & C down and send them off to watch TV while Chris attempts to do something about this whole mess. Cathy sits in the tub all day while Chris pours various things into the water (at one point encouraging her to pee in it since the ammonia might help oh my GOD) while the twins whisper twinly in a corner and eventually he’s able to get the tar out, though it takes lots of Cathy’s hair with it and what’s left is brittle and almost-white.

The grandmother doesn’t come back, though. To try and trick her in case she checks on them, Chris cuts off the front of Cathy’s hair and they hide the rest in a scarf, hoping that Olivia will just assume that Cathy’s embarrassed, but she never comes and their food starts to run out. Not only is there no food incoming, Olivia also stops bringing soap and clean linens and toilet paper, leading the kids to resort to using pages torn from books. Naturally then the toilet backs up, though they do manage to fix it. These poor kids, man. They drink water from the sink and sleep most of the days in order to stave off the hunger, but eventually Chris is forced to feed the twins his own blood. I MEAN COME ON. That’s intense. I don’t care for Christopher, I don’t think that’s a secret, but damn, that’s love right there. I still don’t want to read a book from his POV though. Cathy refuses to drink the blood and the two of them decide that when the moment’s right, they’ll each tie a twin to themselves and try to make it out of the windows. In order to gain strength for this, Chris skins the mice that they’ve caught in their traps and leaves to get salt and pepper, with Cathy remaining with the twins. But! When Chris comes back to the attic, he’s got food! Lots of food too, milk and soup and sandwiches, AND, surprise surprise, four powdered sugar donuts. Cathy is amazed that Olivia would give them sweets, but wonders if it’s her way of making amends. Yeah… not so much with that.

As they’re feeding the twins, Cathy comes to the realization that while she and Chris were just playing house with the twins before this ordeal, that’s all changed now. She and Chris are the twins’ parents, in every way that matters, especially since it now seems clear that Corinne doesn’t care about them. It appears that Chris knows this too, having even put away the picture of Corinne that he’d kept beside his bed. (UGH CHRIS) When they head back downstairs they discover that Olivia has smashed all of their mirrors. Such dramatics, Olivia. Days go by and their food, including donuts, comes regularly again. The twins are obviously not ever going to be the same, but Cathy tries to keep everyone’s spirits up. One night after the twins are asleep, Chris suggests to Cathy that the two of them try to sneak out and go swimming in the nearby lake that Corinne had once mentioned.

Guys.

Guys.

GUYS.

If you can leave the attic, THEN GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE. I know the twins flip out when you try to take them on the roof, but come ON. Going swimming, I swear to god. (although, from the trailers, it seems like this scene is going to be in the new movie, so that’s cool. Details!)

ANYHOW. So they make it down and go swimming in their underwear (Chris is maybe ever so slightly disappointed that they’re not skinny-dipping), then they have a long talk about fireflies and their parents and love at first sight and Cathy checks out Chris’s legs (STOP THAT) and eventually the conversation turns to where Chris thinks their mother might be. He obviously doesn’t want to talk about it and gets irritated when Cathy wants to know if he still loves Corinne. He says that he does, and that he still has faith that she’s coming back. Oh Chris. Cathy’s unimpressed and decides they should go back. On the way back they realize that this little jaunt has given them back some hope and Cathy points out that this means that they don’t have to wait for their mother and can leave at any time. THANK you. Chris doesn’t want to talk about that. Of course. So they head back up their rope of sheets and because they were just talking about hope and escaping, that’s Cathys’ cue to slip and lose her footing as she’s making her way back up, and though she makes it up in the end, she’s (understandably) shaken. Lord know we can’t have too much hope.

One day a bit later Chris and Cathy are hanging out in their bedroom while it’s rainy and gross outside. Chris is looking out of the window, which isn’t allowed, and Cathy is daydreaming about her perfect future, which involves a lot of emerald bathtubs and ballet dancing. Cool cool. Cathy wants to know why, since they’re stronger now, they don’t try to leave, but Chris doesn’t want to hear it. We find out that Corinne has been MIA for two months. Chris asks Cathy where she’d most like to go and then rants a little about all of the rules they have to live under, and how the only thing that keeps him going sometimes is thinking about the money. Cathy’s like “There is no amount of money worth all of this” and Chris bitches at her that while she might be able to get by on her talent, HE has to go to med school and that costs MONEY, which, your little brother and sister were drinking your BLOOD two weeks ago, maybe money isn’t everything? He wants to know how exactly he’s supposed to support all of them if they run away and Cathy insists she’ll help, and Chris gets in a nasty bit of “What can you do, worthless girl” before Olivia walks in and demands that he get away from the window. He yells at her and they have some words, where she tells him that she hates his name because it was the name of the man who stole her daughter and Chris the Elder and Corinne’s actions were what caused Malcolm’s heart problems; Chris doesn’t care and calls her a hypocrite, then she leaves. Cathy rightfully notes that this can’t possibly end well and Chris points out that since Olivia is scared of the attic, they’ll just hide there. Oh but she’s back already, with a switch, and tells him that if they hide in the attic she’ll starve them again, then whip them all.

Chris allows her to whip him so that she’ll leave the others alone, but when Cathy can’t stop screaming Olivia comes over and demands that she strip and get whipped too. Cathy does so, but not before warning her grandmother that a time will come when she is just as helpless as Cathy is now, and Cathy will have the power.

FORESHADOWING

FORESHADOWING

Oh hey, there you are. So Olivia beats Cathy and it’s terrible and she passes out, and when she wakes up Chris has sent the twins up to the attic to play and he and Cathy take care of each other’s injuries. And then they make out a little. Yeah. Cathy stops it before anything really unfortunate can happen and swears that nothing ever will, though she’s not 100% confident about that. Noooo Cathy, you can do it! That night she dreams about Sleeping Beauty and finding her prince and thinks that there has to be some other prince for her.

One that’s not her brother.

Oh boy.

Thank y’all again for 2013! Have a very Merry Christmas if that’s your thing, and a very Happy Holidays if it’s not.

OMG YOU GUYS IT’S ALMOST TIME FOR THE NEW MOVIE. As a bonus, here’s a screencap I took of the ’80s version, which I apparently titled “holyshitahouse”. Oh me.

Will the new version include such staring?

Will the new version include such staring?

Coming up: Cory gets a pet! Chris finally sasses Corinne! Chris hates makeup! Carrie…is around! AND GUYS SALLY DRAPER IS CATHY DOLLANGANGER

See you then!

Posted by: Megan | December 19, 2013

Five Years! Five Years!

I just wanted to take a moment on this, the FIFTH ANNIVERSARY of my very first recap post* to say a huge, giant, incredible THANK YOU to each and every one of y’all. When I started writing this blog, I had no idea if anyone past the friends I needled would ever read this, and every single comment and view and like and link is an absolute surprise for which I am so very grateful. You guys have put up with absences and lost books and stress and my run-on sentences and penchant for CAPS, and it’s just so awesome that you do!

So here’s to FIVE (FIVE!!!) years of bad parenting, inappropriate sibling-ing, secret pregnancies, and Swamp Thing.

Y’all are the very best!

*the technical first post was earlier, but I decided to go with this one. Plus, I like 19s.

Posted by: Megan | November 19, 2013

It’s Only Been a Year?

Cathy has drifted off to sleep after Chris went off exploring in his Charlie McCarthy cosplay (I use only topical references) and she gets woken up in possibly the most frightening way–shaken and yelled at by an angry (and probably drunk? I mean, it’s a Christmas party) Corinne.  Cathy tells her mother where Chris has gone since they never lie to Momma, and, really, how much of a lie could she tell? There’s a finite number of places where Christopher could be hiding. I mean, he’s not Cory.

TOO SOON

TOO SOON

Too soon for you to show up, you mean. So Cathy tells Corinne that Chris is out wandering the halls and Corinne is less than thrilled with this information. She starts cursing under her breath and lays some guilt on her daughter, all “Oh I thought you two loved me, but you betrayed me and now I’m never going to let you out again!” which is…harsh stuff. Cathy points out that she and Chris did exactly what their mom asked–they were super quiet in the chest after all, and Momma can’t say that she’ll never let them out because she has to let them out eventually, right? About that. This awkward moment is interrupted by Chris’s return as he tries to sneak in all quiet-like and is alarmed to see their mom there waiting for him. Fun fact–this happened to me once in high school. Sat on my bed to take off my shoes all proud of myself for sneaking in and then in walked my mother. Secret agent I am not. ANYHOW, Corinne greets her son with a couple of rousing slaps to the face and threatens to whip him AND Cathy if he ever does this again (are the twins just sleeping right through all of this?) and Cathy is mightily freaked out by this side of her mother. Cathy starts to realize that her mom has been changing this whole time–she doesn’t come to visit as often anymore, she’s yelling and hitting them, she’s locked her children in an attic–but the situation defuses/gets weirder when Corinne comes back to herself and starts kissing all over Chris’s face and snuggling him against her bosom, apologizing all the while. Cathy makes sure to note that even at Chris’s age he must kinda like it a little and GOD CATHY STOP THAT.

Corinne tells them that she’s so so sorry and will never do it again, but that they can’t ruin everything now because things are starting to go their way again. The kids forgive her and try to find out what exactly’s going their way, but Corinne has to get back to the party and off she goes. What a night, man. After she leaves Chris and Cathy spoon for a while on one of the beds (these kids) and Cathy lets loose with a lot of her suspicions. Like how Corinne is always talking about how they need money to leave, but she’s always wearing fancy new clothes and tons of jewelry and how she waited until her father had bought her a TV so that she could pass it along, rather than buying one for the kids earlier, and while I think the TV thing is a little shaky, I tend to agree with Cathy on this one. Chris, naturally, defends Corinne, pointing out that if she’d bought them a TV right away they would have just mouldered away in front of it rather than making paper flowers in the attic and using their imaginations. I’m so sure that was your mom’s intention, Christopher. He notes that they’ve all changed since living there, but won’t explain when Cathy presses. She puts that aside for the time being and asks him to describe what he saw on his adventure, not leaving out a thing. So:

The house is huge, “like a hotel”, with fourteen rooms on their floor alone, and all of them are super decorated and full of expensive things. Chris watched the party from one of the landings for a while and saw their grandparents leaving, then had to hide behind a suit of armor (which large Virginia estates love) when he heard their mother and her date (Bart, it’s Bart, I’m calling him Bart, the kids keep acting like they don’t know that but they do) coming up the stairs. Bart wanted to see the fancy bed that Corinne has in her room (I’m so sure, Bart) and Chris glosses over what happened next, but Cathy can tell he’s doing that and makes him tell her that he saw Bart and Corinne making out. Cathy needs clarification that Bart got to second base like she saw their Dad do one time (CATHY) and Chris admits that he did. Ew, guys. So anyway Corinne told Bart about how her bedroom set used to be her grandmother’s, who was not the best woman, and that when Corinne moved back to the house her parents figured she was bad enough already, so she could just have her slutty grandma’s bed. THIS FAMILY.

ASIDE: I kind of like that we never get Original Corinne’s back story. There’s no tragic childhood, no sad marriage, nothing like that. Just: she married Garland, they had Malcolm, she had an affair, she left. Sucks, but it happens, and that is that. It’s no excuse for Malcolm’s weird obsession with her, but I honestly enjoy the relief of just your garden-variety “bad mom”. Now watch me have forgotten some factoid from Seeds of Yesterday or something.

And we’re back: Corinne and Bart moved on and Christopher continued exploring, eventually finding Corinne’s room (I guess she and Bart were gone already) and it’s 110 degrees of opulent bananas. The carpet is mauve and it’s so thick you sink to your ankles! There are 4-foot tall crystal lamps with black shades! An ivory chaise lounge (Noooo not another chaise lounge!) covered in rose velvet, “like something you’d see in a Roman orgy” like how do you know that Christopher, and, of course: the swan bed. Lemme let Chris take this one.

“In the center of the room, on a dais, was the fabulous swan bed! Oh! What a bed! [thanks for the commentary Little Nemo] …It has a sleek ivory head, turned in profile, and appears ready to plunge its head under the ruffled underside of a lifted wing….The designers arranged for the wingtip feathers to act as fingers, and they hold back the delicate, transparent draperies that are in all shades of pink and rose, and violet, and purple.”

That’s one hell of a bed, there, Corinne. The swan bed in the movie was SO disappointing, I am eagerly looking forward to the Lifetime one, if only to get a better swan bed. Cathy knows that Chris saw more than he’s telling her, but she lets it go and they say good night.

The next few months they basically watch TV all the time. No, really. It’s too cold to go in the attic so they sit around and watch TV all day. The twins love it and Cory is even happen to watch the static that comes on after the stations sign off, which is just the saddest thing. The television starts to give the kids a whole passel of issues: they’re paranoid about cleaning the room, about never having dandruff, things like that; and Cathy, about to turn 13, is terrified she’s going to wake up covered in acne. She also starts tweezing all of her underarm hair which, ouch, and Chris calls her out on it one day, noting in his know-it-all style that she can’t keep the hairs from coming. He also says they’re sexy, which CHRIS STOP. Cathy thinks that’s nuts, since hair isn’t sexy, boobs are, and y’know what? There’s a lot of awkward puberty stuff and gazing and Cathy not getting why Chris is wetting the bed (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH) so we all know it’s happening and we’re moving along.

The twins just want to watch TV and complain a lot that they can’t have the snacks that kids on TV have, and they want to know why Corinne doesn’t visit much anymore. Cathy doesn’t know what to tell them and it hurts her. She and Chris watch a lot of soap operas and decide that’s what growing up must be like. Cathy also notices that the twins aren’t comfortable with their mother when she does visit, instead they run to Cathy’s arms and sit with her whilst Corinne fusses over Christopher. The dynamics are definitely just getting weirder and weirder, huh? Cathy’s birthday comes and Corinne teaches her how to do crewel embroidery and I love embroidery y’all, but not READING ABOUT IT, so I wish some of that fabled FitA drama would hurry along and get here. (For all that this is an infamous book about scandalous things, there is a LOT of downtime in it) The twins’ birthday is next and we get a few bits of Corinne’s back story when she notices Cory’s musical talent. See, both of her brothers were musicians, which her father despised and considered weak, so her oldest brother Mal built himself a cabin in the mountains where he’d go to compose. And then one day he took a curve too fast on his motorcycle and died. Oh. That left second brother Joel, who was close to Mal (but not like the rest of this family) and left after his brother’s funeral, going off to Europe. Joel got a job with an orchestra, but then he died in a skiing accident, though his body was never found (DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNN).

Cathy’s like, wow this family sucks, and once Corinne leaves the kids all head upstairs immediately to get away from that cheerful cloud of family nonsense. She and Chris decide that they’re going to teach the twins to read, which results in some predictable screaming, and oh my god then it’s summer. This needs a montage, for serious. Corinne just brings up whatever books she can find in the library without regard for reading levels, so Cathy and Chris end up reading all sorts of stuff, namely a historical novel that gets them talking about whether nudity was sinful in the past too, and there’s some low-level weirdness about turning into men and women before Cathy broaches the subject of whether or not their mom sucks. The answer is yes, obviously, but Chris refuses to see that and defends her, claiming that she’s doing her best. Cathy realizes that Corinne is still all perfection in Chris’s eyes, even though at one point a whole week goes by before she comes up to see them. This visit she comes with the news that her father is very sick (though she doesn’t seem as glad about it as Cathy is) and tells them that he’ll be dead soon. Cathy is pretty ecstatic and goes around singing hymns of glee before Corinne reappears to say nope, he pulled through, sorry. And then she’s gone again. That’s a lot of stairs to hang out for a minute, Corinne. I would’ve thought you’d be too lazy. Cathy puts the twins to bed, since Corinne is never there to do it anymore, and marks another day off on their calendar. They’ve been in the attic for a year.

That’s the end of Part I of the book, so I’m gonna close this recap up there too. AND immediately start working on the next one because y’all deserve better, honestly. And the new movie! The new movie, guys!! I posted the trailer over on the Facebook page, but it looks like we lost that version, so here’s another one:

I’m pretty psyched about it, I won’t lie.

Coming up next time: Another time jump (seriously), and the REAL drama starts. You know what I’m talking about. Tar! Blood-drinking! Ballet! Oh this book. Here we go.

 

Posted by: Megan | August 5, 2013

Chapters like Hours

I’m sorry, but was it not just April? JFC.

The chapter that starts this next section (I section off the books in highly optimistic chunks when I reread them) is called “Minutes Like Hours” and the text bears that out, that’s for damn sure. So the kids are bored. They wake up and eat their cold gross eggs, they play board games or read chapters of the Bible (they’re supposed to memorize verses and get quizzed by Olivia, but of course they memorize whole chapters to sass at her because they’re sassy), they clean their room, they take a lot of baths. Rinse and repeat. In the evenings Corrine comes by with presents and to evade the nagging of her older children. Well, of Cathy, anyway. They play up in the attic and listen to records and the twins throw some tantrums and we learn about everyone’s underwear and OH MY GOD it’s like we’re there. Oh, and apparently all non-citrus fruit causes Carrie to have tummy troubles and it’s Cathy who has to hand wash all of the aforementioned underwear when this happens, unless she can run Carrie to the bathroom in time, and while this happens Chris LAUGHS. He LAUGHS. So that’s one of the reasons why Cathy is a touch on edge when Corrine shows up all windswept and “Oh I’ve been saaaaaaaaaaailing”. Cathy is understandable angry with their mother (this will be a running theme. I should just copy/paste that phrase) and Chris is just the worst thing and just loooooves their mom’s outfit and doesn’t she look greaaaaaaat and ugh Christopher. No. Well, turns out that Corrine wasn’t entirely honest with her oldest kids–there was a note from the Grandfather on the bottom of Olivia’s letter, and it said simply that the ONLY good thing about Corrine and Chris-the-Elder’s marriage was that it didn’t produce any “Devil’s issue”. Oooops. Corrine was just SO SURE that once her dad saw how peachy her kids were that he’d be totally fine with the whole thing, but that’s seeming less and less likely what with the whole Devil thing. They’re there ’till he dies, in short. Unless she can convince him! Because maybe she still can!

Sure thing, Corrine. Sure thing.

So now the older kids know that they’re going to be there a while so the effort to make the attic a super fancy funland begin in earnest. Dress up! They scrub everything! They get plants! Corrine can’t hang out even though she wants to because people get suspicious (I’m so sure)! Corrine brings them craft supplies and the kids make flowers and mushrooms and other colorful decorations for the attic, including Carrie’s red and purple worm and Cory’s big orange snail. Aw, the cuties. Cathy quizzes Corrine about everything she’s ostensibly learning in her secretarial classes, but their mom is not super forthcoming about that. Hmmmmmm I wonder why that could be? God Corrine, why are you so awful? More days go by. The kids prefer to stay up in the attic since Olivia never spies on them up there, because, we learn from Corrine, Olivia used to be locked in a closet by her parents as a punishment, leaving her with claustrophobia. Yikes. The grandmother seems to be softening sometimes, even giving them some chrysanthemums for their “garden”, but these moments are short-lived.

Cathy has a little breakdown one day since she, rather rightfully, thinks that her life is passing her by, but Chris convinces her to work for the day that they get out of the attic and gets their mom to buy Cathy some ballet costumes and music so that she can keep practicing. Okay, that’s pretty nice. Oh and this song gets quoted, so let’s share this moment with Cathy.

 

Well okay.

SO. More time goes by! They change the attic decorations to fall, they sunbathe naked on some old mattresses (wait what), and Chris and Cathy have some awkward conversation about the differences between boys and girls. Uh oh. The first big DRAMA occurs around now–during a game of hide and seek Cory hides inside and old trunk and gets trapped. Luckily they find him in time, but it’s a close, close call.

FORESHADOWING

FORESHADOWING

Oh not cool, dude. Wow.

So now it’s Thanksgiving. Corrine brings them some decorations and promises to bring them up some of the feast the next day. (The turkey won’t be ready when the grandmother brings up their basket) The next day Cathy decorates and sets their table and they wait. And wait. So…did Olivia not bring them anything? Because it’s getting later and later and there’s no sign of Corrine and they’re talking about how they’re starving–oh here’s Corrine. Turns out that her dad decided at the last minute to eat at the table with the guests, so Corrine wasn’t able to just put another tray together when she prepped her dad’s. But she brought them food WITHOUT PUMPKIN PIE and now she has to dash. WTF Corrine. No pumpkin pie?? Yes, I KNOW that John Amos already had it sliced and he would’ve gotten suspicious if four pieces disappeared but it is THANKSGIVING and your children live IN AN ATTIC.

GIVE THEM SOME PUMPKIN PIE.

Whew. I’m sorry, y’all, I just…had to get that out.

Of course the twins hate all the food and eat PB&Js. UGH. I wish it was Thanksgiving.

And then the twins get sick. Really sick. Temperature of 103.5 sick. Corrine is all worried for once and wants to take them to the doctor, but Olivia says no. Corrine acquiesces and the older two have to nurse the twins back to health. IT TAKES 19 DAYS. OMG. Corrine’s solution for future sickness is vitamins, so yeah that’ll help. Cathy points out that Corrine can use some of her time away from the house to buy the twins fresh fruit and Corrine naturally acts like Cathy is just making the WORST demands and Chris leaps into defense of Corrine and IT IS EXHAUSTING. Along we go to Christmas and Corrine brings them all lots of gifts and candy. The kids have even decided to make a gift for Olivia–an embroidered picture of a garden–and it goes over about as well as you’d expect. After Olivia rejects it, Cathy loses it (rightly so) and trashes the piece. Corinne comes back then and gives them more presents AND tells them what might be good news: Her dad is going to write her back into his will, and he’s leaving her everything. AND NOT JUST THAT but something else too: the Foxworths are throwing a big party that evening, to reintroduce Corrine to society, and after much pleading Corrine agrees to let Cathy and Chris hide upstairs where they can watch the party.

Corrine comes to get them in her party dress, and it is a dress that we will see again, my friends. It’s green chiffon and velvet with lots of sparkle and fluttering panels and Cathy is just overwhelmed and hopes to someday look like her mother. FORESHADOWING. The pair hides inside a big table where they can see out of a screened back and watch all of the fancy people as they dance and mill about. They notice that Corrine seems to dance with one man the most, and that from time to time they leave the main room together. Scandal! Olivia is there, in a RED dress (wooooo hoooo) and, at long last, they catch a glimpse of their grandfather. They overhear a bickering couple talk about their mother and Bart Winslow and once they’re back in the room, Cathy and Chris wonder if Corinne is in love with said Bart. Chris, being brilliant, decides that he wants to sneak around and explore a little more, so he gets a suit and wig from the attic and gets ready to leave. He and Cathy have another weird moment–she’s all “princess-like” in a new nightgown and he’s dazzled by her, and then he heads out. Cathy goes to bed and remembers their father, wishing him a Merry Christmas.

All right! Okay, back in the saddle. Coming up: OBVIOUSLY Chris’s little adventure doesn’t end well, Corinne gives Cathy “the talk”, and omfg THE SWAN BED. See you then!

Posted by: Megan | March 30, 2013

Just some silliness

Just some silliness

Shannon of Shannon’s Sweet Valley High Blog made some of these for SV characters, so I had to do one too. There may be some more to come!

Oh and a SPOILER note: Carrie’s icon is based more off of Petals on the Wind, where she becomes an amazing cook and homemaker. For a while. More on that later.

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers