Posted by: Megan | November 9, 2015

New York New York

Cathy’s in New York! And it’s freezing! She made Julian a scarf! He is actually pretty touched about it, so let’s all take this moment to like Julian.

Moment’s over.

They go immediately to Madame’s Zolta’s office, where she’s rude to Julian about his comings and goings and dubious about Cathy’s talents. She interrogates Cathy about her skills and ignores Julian’s incessant praise. Zolta wants to know when Cathy intends to marry, and Cathy answers that the plan is when she’s near 30, or never, but certainly not before she’s rich and famous and the best ballerina in the world. Madame Z is unimpressed by Cathy’s opinions of herself, and notes that beauty and talent rarely go together in the best dancers. Beauty dies, after all, just look at Zolta herself! She shows Cathy a wall of old photos from Zolta’s dancing career, and Cathy is astonished that Zolta was once young and pretty. Yikes, Cathy. Cathy names the teacher she had before the years in the attic, and Zolta is impressed since the teacher (Denise Danielle) was a talented dancer, but! She made Zolta’s cardinal mistake and fell in “luv” (Zolta’s pronunciation). She asks if Cathy drinks (no) and why she’s so pale (um, sunburn is bad?) and agrees to give Cathy a shot and see if she can dance. She refers to Julian as Cathy’s lover–when Cathy angrily insists that he is no such thing, Julian admits that while he’s nuts about Cathy, she doesn’t feel the same. Yet. Zolta likes this even better, since their relationship will make for great dancing and even better ticket sales.

Cathy is accepted to the company, though she knows that it’s really because Zolta loves her and Julian’s dynamic–he being obsessed with her, her not interested off-stage, and Cathy admits that if they could’ve just danced all the time then their relationship would have been pretty great. But since they can’t dance ALL the time, she spends most off-stage time avoiding Julian and his gross ways. We get introduced now to some of the fellow dancers (they all live in the same apartment building as well): Julian’s roommates Michael and Alexis, who are ranked higher than Julian by Madame Z (mainly because Julian won’t listen to her); and Cathy’s roommates, April Summers (for real), a sweet nobody who becomes friends with Cathy, and Yolanda Lange, the daughter of a British diplomat and a belly dancer, who likes to walk around naked and who is loud and rude, and, we soon learn, is very popular among the male members of the company because she “gives out”. Yolanda is also specifically described as 5’8–the same height as Corrine, AND AND AND:

“soon I found out her breasts mirrored her personality–small, hard and mean”

CAN WE LOOK AT THAT QUOTE FOR A SECOND. Wow, Catherine. Wow. That’s amazing.

April is of very little consequence to the story, but remember Yolanda. Maybe you remember her from the movie a little?

This does not happen in the book.

This does not happen in the book.

So Julian, being Julian, has told everyone that he and Cathy are an item and that she wants it kept secret because she’s a demure Southern belle or some such nonsense. Cathy denies that they’re a thing, but is resigned to the fact that no one believes her since Julian’s version of events is so much juicier. She doesn’t really care, though, because she’s in New York and she’s dancing and that’s taking up all of her time. She is mildly annoyed when Julian is always around, but other times she’s grateful to see someone who she knows. I get it. Julian IS her only link to home, and she knows that his gossip is just that, and it’s a relief to see Cathy being focused on something other than revenge (although this is all in her long game, she does genuinely love to dance). Madame Z wants Cathy to change her stage name (Catherine Doll) which C refuses to do as it’s the name she chose as a child and that her father loved, and she compromises by changing the spelling to “Dahl”. She also refuses to cut her hair when Madame tells her to, and we hear all about how negative and terrible Madame is, and how if she wasn’t such an amazing instructor none of them would put up with her.

One day after rehearsal, Cathy fools around dancing to the radio and gets scolded by Madame Zolta, who says that they dance CLASSICAL, not MODERN and wants Cathy to explain the difference for everyone. Cathy, with what she calls her mother’s poise, snips that modern ballet is mostly “groveling about on the floor” whilst classical “stands up on its toes”. Z isn’t her for Cathy’s sass and tells her to go home and grovel in bed and never let her catch Cathy dancing like that again. The closemindedness gets to Cathy and she loses it, yelling that she hates Madame Zolta and she’s leaving and never wants to see her again. Cathy goes to change and is confronted by Madame, who tells her that if she leaves she doesn’t come back. Cathy yells that she’ll be fine without dancing, but Zolta thinks she’ll “whither away and die”, Cathy tells her to go to hell. Madame smiles at that, since she’s glad to finally see that Cathy has spirit, and praises Cathy’s dancing, telling her that she’s so talented, but also too impulsive, and that Madame is only trying to teach Cathy. She calls Cathy her delight, telling her that she’s the daughter she never had, that she makes Madame remember how idealistic she was when she was young, and that she worries that Cathy will lose the “look of enchantment” that she has while dancing. (Cathy’s “attic face”, she thinks, the one that Chris always loved) Cathy apologizes, but points out that Madame does kind of pick on her a lot and that she’s tired and homesick. Madame embraces her and tells her that she understands, and that “a dancer with no fire is no dancer at all”.

Seven months go by before Cathy and Julian are given their first lead roles. Madame alternates leads, so that she doesn’t get any stars, but Cathy is chosen to play Clara in The Nutcracker, AND it’s going to be televised. Cathy calls Paul to tell him and he’s happy for her, though disappointed that this means she won’t be coming home that summer. Carrie and Chris are doing well, and they make plans for the family to visit her. The ballet is taped in August so that it can air at Christmas, and Julian and Cathy watch the recording together, and Julian tells Cathy that he loves her. We don’t hear her response, but instead skip ahead to the fall, where, Yolanda having sprained her ankle, and April being away, Cathy gets another lead role—this time in her precious Sleeping Beauty. Instead of swapping roles and letting Alexis or Michael partner Cathy, Madame gives Julian this male lead as well, since his chemistry with Cathy is so amazing. Paul, Chris, Carrie, and Henny come to visit and to see the performance. It’s magical, of course, and afterwards Cathy receives a buttercup on stage and knows that it’s from Chris–meant to represent the four Dollangangers. Awww. That’s sweet, actually, Chris. Julian kisses Cathy during their curtain calls and she curses at him for it, he responds by damning her for not wanting him and promises, yet again, that she WILL be his. So dramatic, Julian.

Just for fun, here’s Cathy’s favorite number: The Rose Adagio.

At the afterparty, the family gathers around to applaud Cathy (she notes that while Chris is a little taller, Carrie is not) and she and Paul try to play it cool. She dances with Chris and teases him for his lack of talent, and he teases back (maybe JUST a little meaner) that he doesn’t need to dance for attention, since Yolanda has been giving him the eye all night. Cathy points out that that’s hardly rare for Yolanda and that she’ll probably sleep with Chris if he wants, and then someone else the next night, which Chris uses as the most awkward segue into asking if Cathy sleeps around too. CHRISTOPHER. You were doing so well! Cathy smiles at him and winks to Paul, who comes over and cuts in. Chris goes to talk to Yolanda and leaves with her.

They drop Carrie and Henny off at their hotel and go to get coffee (we learn Paul is still rocking a mustache) and they ask each other if they’ve found other people. They have not, and so they run off to a hotel, where Paul registers them as “Mr. and Mrs. Paul Sheffield”. Afterwards, Paul tells Cathy that he meant what he put in the register, and that since she’s been away he’s realized how much he needs her and wants to marry her. Cathy is overjoyed and says yes and they stay up all night planning out their marriage and worrying how they’ll tell Chris. Well, that’s normal. They decide to wait to tell anyone until Christmas, when Cathy will be back in Clairmont.

I’m sure there’s no way this can go anyway but well.

Coming up: Julian is terrible! Yolanda is terrible! Chris is terrible! Corrine shows up and is terrible! TERRIBLE!

Posted by: Megan | October 23, 2015

Birthdays and Visits

Well, hey there everybody!

A quick note about upcoming posts:

Finishing up the Petals recaps is taking top priority. I will not be doing the Christopher’s Diary stuff until after Petals is through.
SO. It’s Paul’s birthday, which means that Cathy is overexerting herself trying to make it perfect, since our girl never met a situation that she couldn’t absolutely fill with nervous energy. She skips ballet in order to get home and start helping Henny (read: getting in the way in the kitchen) with Paul’s Very Fancy Birthday Dinner, featuring a complicated jambalaya recipe and two cakes. Well, it’s one cake, but she has to make two since the first one is a disaster. Henny seems less than impressed by Cathy’s cooking skills. Chris comes in but has a strict timetable as he has to be back at school before curfew, and Cathy leaves him in charge of setting the table (making sure to note that it’s “beneath his dignity” while she goes upstairs to get pretty. I don’t like Chris, but man, Cathy sure doesn’t seem to like him much either, sometimes.

Cathy, being Cathy, goes all out in beauty prep for the party and notes that after she’s done with hair and makeup no one would have known she was seventeen. CATHERINE, NO.


Spoilers, I guess? Ew.

They fuss around with the decorations some more and then settle in to wait for Paul to arrive for his surprise party. Why would these kids ever throw a surprise party?! Paul never shows up and eventually Chris has to leave and Carrie (who now has her own purple and red room!) goes to bed. Cathy sits up with Henny for a while until the housekeeper too turns in. The food is apparently just drying out in the oven this whole time, like…just eat it, guys. Paul doesn’t show up until ten and ohhhh brother, does he walk into the perfect Catherine storm. Now, a couple things first. To be fair to Paul



to be FAIR TO PAUL, he’s been in Chicago at a conference and had no idea that the kids were planning anything. Also, it’s not like he really could have easily called since it’s what, 1965 or something and he’s probably been on a plane this whole time, AND he does seem genuinely upset that he’s ruined a surprise. That’s all the fairness Paul gets.

Oh and he’s only three hours late? It’s 10 pm. Everyone had to go to bed by 10 pm? I mean, Carrie yeah, but everyone else? How long was dinner going to be? Exactly one hour?

Cathy lights into him for being late and for going to the conference at all, noting that she’s covering up how much she loves him and how worried she was by being angry. Oh ew, no, Cathy. Turns out his flight was delayed, but he’s really sorry, and can’t they just enjoy dinner together anyway? So they sit down to eat and there’s champagne and Cathy’s put 26 candles on the cake instead of 42 because she wants Paul to be 26, and Paul’s grown a mustache just because Cathy has been hinting that it might look nice, and then I faint dead away because it’s all so inappropriate and this is a book that ends with siblings getting married. Cathy is faltering just a little in her seductress role and brings up a nurse (Thelma Murkel, the world’s least sexy name) with whom local gossip links Paul. Good ol’Cathy went down to the hospital and lurked around Thelma’s floor for a couple hours staring at her and doesn’t think she’s so great. Cathy…no. You’re industrious, I’ll give you that, but no. Paul laughs at Cathy’s story and she gets emboldened by his reaction (and all the champagne) and thinks smugly that poor old 29-year old Thelma doesn’t stand a chance. Yeah, she’s basically a mummy.

Paul opens his gifts and Cathy, with help from Chris, has made a crewel piece depicting Paul’s house; Paul loves it and raves over it, and Cathy can’t help but remember The Grandmother’s reaction to the piece that they had made for her. She starts to cry a little but hastily covers it up so that Paul won’t realize how much work she put into her appearance. Learned from the best, huh, Cathy? Paul decides that it’s too nice to go to bed yet, so does Cathy want to take a walk in the garden? NO. But of course she does. Paul calls her Cath-er-ine, like Chris does, and asks when Julian is next in town. Next week, is the answer, and Paul pretends that he’s not jealous of how handsome and talented Julian is. Cathy tells him that the time she spends with Julian depends, since sometimes she wants him and sometimes she doesn’t. Paul teases her a little but Cathy goes cold and tells him that she doesn’t want to depend on love or romance; she wants skills that will see her through so that she never has to depend on a man or lock her children away in order to inherit money. Such specific goals.

This is what I do admire about Cathy, though. I don’t always approve of her drama or of her many, many schemes (sitting in a hospital wing for hours? HOURS?) but she works hard at her dancing. I like that the world of ballet isn’t but so romanticized–it’s long, long hours, painful practices, and all with the knowledge that it’s not going to last that long. She is so determined not to end up at all like Corrine, and while she is more like her mother than she wants to admit (or possibly even realizes, at this point in her life), it’s pretty realistic that she’s both eager to experience love and yet extremely wary of the very idea.

But it’s nevertheless completely wrong that she and Paul sleep together. Which is what happens, eventually, here. Paul tells her not to let her feelings towards Corrine make her hard; that women should be soft and caring and let men protect them (I haaaate Paaaaaul) and then she goes off and swings on the swing wildly until she falls off, because it’s Cathy and of course she does. They go inside and Cathy tells Paul that she wanted to get him a Cadillac for his birthday but she couldn’t afford it, so instead he can have her. I got nothing, guys. She’s so confused. She’s so young. Paul is a monster for letting things continue, but he does and suffice it to say that she’s disappointed that it’s not all bells ringing and that she considers it an act of freeing Christopher, which is one of the saddest moments in the book, to me. They never have a chance to disengage from each other, not really, and all they do is hurt themselves trying.

They continue in secret, and Cathy is afraid to even look at Paul when Chris is around since she’s sure he’ll know and she’s worried what he’ll think of her, even though she hates to admit it. Thanksgiving comes, and during one family discussion, Paul asks the trip what they want for Christmas. Cathy already has her wish list all ready: she wants to go to Foxworth Hall. Carrie starts to cry and Chris refuses to “open old wounds”, but Cathy tells him that her wounds are not healed, and won’t be “until justice is done”.

Cathy wants to go and see if there’s any evidence at all of Cory’s death. She’s tired of Chris pretending that Cory died of pneumonia and not arsenic poisoning even though he’s the one who told her that Corrine was poisoning them. Paul points out that if Corrine checked Cory in under a false name that they might not be able to locate the records, but Cathy thinks that Corrine would have used the same name on both the hospital records and the burial records, so they just have to look for a child of the right age. Come on, guys, we all know Corrine never took Cory to the hospital. Paul can probably get access to the records, being a doctor and all, but is Cathy really sure she wants to do this? Of course she is, because it’s a likely terrible idea that she thinks will ultimately help Carrie, so sure she wants to do it. So to Virginia they go, and scour the hospitals, but of course there’s no record of any 8-year old boy dying in that time frame. Chris tries to end the trip without actually seeing Foxworth, but there’s no dissuading Cathy.

They arrive within view of the Hall and Cathy points out all the various landmarks to Paul and is bitterly disappointed that none of their paper flowers caught fire and burned down the house after they escaped (wait for it). Carrie begins to scream and crying, wanting their mother since that’s where they used to live with Momma and Cory, and they’re forced to leave since she’s so upset. Good idea, Cathy, great stuff. Back home, Cathy worries that her relationship with Paul is sinful and wonders why human beings are forced to stifle so much of themselves in the name of sin, but Paul assures her that it’s not; and I respect him reassuring her since she’s been given so many negative connotations to sex, but at the end of the day YOU ARE HER FOSTER DAD and ugh, Paul. Cathy hopes that there can be hope for she and her siblings to heal and grow and find love.

One evening, Cathy is practicing at the studio when Julian shows up and is his usual gropey self before telling her that he’s told Madame Marisha that Cathy is ready to move on to New York and he’s ready to take her there–no strings attached (unless she wants them). Ugh. Cathy gets the leads (Clara and Cinderella) in both of the company’s winter performances and she debuts as Cinderella and is of course amazing. AND, important note, is amazing partnered with Julian. At the after-party Julian raves about their work together and tells her again that she’s ready to come to New York and join his company up there, under the leadership of Madame Zolta. Cathy’s hesitant, since she wants to finish high school first, and asks what Zolta is like. Julian talks her up as a sweet and considerate little old lady, which is, shall we say, not entirely true. Julian asks Cathy what all her hard work has been for, if she’s just going to stay here in this small town. She has to admit that it’s a good question. Cathy agrees to join Julian in New York after she’s graduated.

She graduates in January of 1963 (I do love an actual stated year) and I have no idea why January, but there it is. Cathy asks Paul why he doesn’t mind spending his money on them and he says it’ll be worth it when Chris is a great doctor and Cathy is a famous ballerina. And Carrie…will hopefully marry a nice local man and Paul can see her all the time. Ooof. Poor Carrie. Cathy asks if Paul will go back to Thelma when she’s gone and he’s like “Maybe” which is kind of hilarious but at least he’s honest? He assures Cathy that he’ll never love anyone like he loves her. Carrie responds less than positively, screaming at Cathy that she’d promised they’d all stay together and demanding that Cathy take Carrie with her. She’s only calmed when Paul assures her that he and Henny aren’t going anywhere. At the airport Paul tells Cathy not to have any regrets, but to concentrate on her dancing and, when she does move on, to do so with someone her own age. I concur.

And then it’s time to say goodbye to Chris. They hug and Cathy thinks at him to let her go, that it’s all over now and they’re just siblings to each other, that the world is full of other, non-sister women for him. She knows he gets all that even though she doesn’t say it, and he tells her not to be her usual impulsive self and to concentrate on her dancing. So don’t like, marry anyone in a rush or anything like that. Nothing like that. She gets on the plane with Julian and he chooses that moment to admit that maybe Madame Zolta isn’t the motherly character he painted her as, but that they’re going to be fine and they’ll be the most famous dancers ever in no time. I’m sure it’ll all go swimmingly.

Up next: New York! Dancing, dancing, dancing! Paul’s sister! Cathy is possibly impulsive!

Posted by: Megan | April 8, 2015

If There Be Thorns: A Lifetime Movie Easter Event

You guys. Did you see this? Did you SEE this movie? What a wacky ride this one was.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it much on the blog as of yet, but If There Be Thorns is my least favorite of the Dollanganger series. It’s just so…hard? Much like with My Sweet Audrina, it’s tough to read about drama and mind games when they’re happening to children, and unlike FitA, Bart and Jory don’t even have a support system of each other, much less a makeshift family. Plus, and I’ll be honest here, I just don’t really care that much about Jory and Bart until they’re adults. Neither of them gets a chance to be a real character in PotW, and I’m still much more interested in what Cathy is up to at this point in the series. I mean (SPOILER ALERT) Petals ends with Cathy and Chris deciding to get married and move to California to live a new life, and that’s…well that’s something I am interested in reading about (sorta). How does that mindset work? How much, day to day, do you let yourself remember about the fact that you have a lifetime of history with your husband BECAUSE HE IS YOUR BROTHER?! Like, do you ever mention it? Do you pretend it isn’t so? You have to build up a web of lies to tell everyone outside of your relationship and how much do you let yourself believe too? We get to see some of that—-how the attic is still with them, how very NOT over the trauma and the rage Cathy is, but we see it all filtered through her sons rather than from her point of view and when I first read ITBT, I was disappointed by that. I have to give the book another try, that much is clear.

HOWEVER. This isn’t a recap of ITBT the book, that’s for another day, this is about ITBT the MOVIE, so let’s get into that, shall we? I’m going to focus mainly on the movie, and not but SO much on what the differences are from the book. There are a lot of them, and I feel like summarizing them would just end up recapping the book?  I will say that this movie is primarily Bart’s story, while the book switches from brother to brother (Jory really doesn’t get a whole ton of story in this) and the movie also lacks two things that I bitterly miss from the book. Those precious things are:

1. Corrine’s back-cover-of-the-book wimple (and her swaths of black veiling that she wraps around her face) and

2. The number of times in the book that she stands on a ladder by the fence separating the two properties and JUST STARES AT CATHY FOR HOURS. This is literally a thing that happens. And all Cathy does is go “Um, the neighbor lady is weird”. She’s staring at you from a ladder!!


Hey, people have their hobbies.

You are most assuredly NOT in this movie.

Here we go!

Here we go!

Read More…

Posted by: Megan | October 27, 2014

Thoughts from the Christophers

Hey everyone! I promise that Petals coverage will begin again shortly, but first, here’s a look at some of the preview material for the new Dollanganger book being released tomorrow. That’s right! No one asked for this, but here it is: Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of Foxworth (hereafter SoF)  is coming at us shortly (my copy is on its way!). Oh brother.

Now, there are two pieces of preview material that I’ll be discussing here. One is the excerpt from the book that’s up on Amazon ( and the other is the “Unsent letter” from Christopher Sr. to Corrine that I got when I preordered SoF. I’m starting with the excerpt since it’s shorter, and because I’ve got FEELINGS about this letter.

I don’t want to get TOO far into the excerpt since it’s just that, and there isn’t enough context for me to get but so snarky, but I just…huh. I’m wary about sequels like this as it is. I think there’s interesting information to be gleaned from “the other side of the story” narratives–I even read that Twilight one, guys–but overall I don’t have a lot of use for them. I am biased, I admit it. I have issues with much of what Cathy does but ultimately I like her. I like her cockamamie plans and her melodrama; I have less interest in what Christopher has to say. (This was also my exact reaction to that Gone with the Wind sequel about Rhett) I’ve been working on a piece about Chris for a while, I guess I’ll have to see what SoF brings to my understanding of the character. I just can’t help but feel that it’s going to turn into a sort of Cathy bashfest. Like I said, I don’t want to over-read yet, there’s barely any of the actual diary in the released excerpt.

The new book is from the POV of Kristin Masterwood, who is (through her mother) a distant cousin of Malcolm Foxworth’s, and thusly related to the Four Cs. The book takes place years after the events of Seeds of Yesterday, and the events of the first series have apparently become local legend. People know that there were four Foxworth children locked in the attic, and that one of them died (poor Cory is now a sad local ghost story). The exact circumstances behind the children’s imprisonment isn’t known, nor does anyone seem to know that Chris and Cathy lived in the rebuilt Foxworth Hall with their son Bart later on. Kristin has to deal with jokes at her expense related to the supposed madness of the Foxworth family, exacerbated by her physical resemblance to the family (of COURSE). God forbid a Foxworth is a brunette. She’s fascinated with the story and while accompanying her father on a trip to the remains of Foxworth Hall, they find a metal box containing Chris’ diary. How convenient. The excerpt ends with Kristin realizing what she’s found, so we get very little of Chris’ voice. What we do get…doesn’t thrill me. I DO wish the excerpt differentiated between Kristin’s POV and Chris’ a little better, hopefully the book itself will have better formatting. I had to go back a couple times just to realize who was talking. The diary is apparently more of a memoir like Cathy’s, written after the fact, so I wonder what events will get covered. Do you think it’ll be a straight rehash, with all of the big moments or will there be mainly new stuff (that, somehow, Cathy never knew about despite being trapped in one room)? What insight can we get from someone who was never far from the action in the first book and really far away from it in the second?

I’m not super enthusiastic about the whole Kristin/Foxworth connection. It’s just so obvious. Of course she can’t just be an unrelated outsider, she has to be a distant cousin. And blonde and blue-eyed. Hell, her name starts with a K but it’s still alliterative! It’s all a little much. The bit that I’ve read so far, I’m not dying to spend more time with Kristin, but I guess I am in this now, so here we go.

And now…the letter. Oh god you guys. This letter. You think finding the diary is super convenient? This letter. We learn from the addendum that it was passed along by the most convoluted game of telephone since Coolio’s “Too Hot”.  Chris Sr. wrote this letter shortly before he died, and it was found amongst his papers in their foreclosed house. (Wow, Corrine really didn’t concern herself with stuff, did she?) So…not in a safe. Not under a floorboard. Like, probably on his desk, between the gas bill and a reimbursement form from work. So the bank clerk who finds the letter is soooo shocked by what it says that he leaves it in a bag, that’s left in a warehouse owned by the bank that’s filled with stuff from other foreclosed houses. You still with me? Okay. Four years later, one Steven Clarkson does an inventory of said warehouse and finds the letter and is ALSO sooooo shocked by it, so much so that he brings it home to his mother-in-law (Tamatha Williams) to read. Nice. Tamatha (presumably also sooooo shocked) brings the letter to her friend Bernice Wheeler because Bernice used to be the neighbor of a family named Dollanganger. (These people need hobbies) Bernice is, you guessed it!, sooooo shocked, and is the FIRST PERSON to suggest that maybe they should just destroy the letter, but she and Tamatha decide that maybe the Dollanganger kids will need to read it someday, so they pop it into Bernice’s safe deposit box. How does that help them read it??? What?

So then one day, Bernice dies. (I have NOT EVEN GOTTEN TO THE LETTER YET) Her sister, Christina Brooks, (will these names mean anything? Doubtful) finds the letter in the safe deposit box and reads it and, instead of being sooooo shocked, sends the letter to a friend (Tad Jenkins) who works at the Charlottesville paper. DAMN CHRISTINA. THAT’S SOMEONE’S PERSONAL BUSINESS. Tad delivers the letter to “our source, who must at this time remain nameless”.





We’re told that we’ll get the source’s name in a “subsequent publication”. I tell y’all now, and I tell it true: If we get Surprise! Not dead! Cory! in a later book you will hear my screams from wherever you are. And yes, I know some of you are on other continents. You’ll hear it.

There is another theory though, one that Flowers in the Attic 2.0 puts forth in her discussion of the letter, and I think that’s probably the likely one. (fingers crossed) More on that in a moment.


This. Letter. Guys. Firstly, this family doesn’t shy away from flowery language that’s for darn sure.


I have begun and stopped writing this letter many times. We live in a dangerous world, as you know all too well with the loss of your brothers and I always fear that someday I might lose you or you might lose me. If something happened to me tomorrow, for example, there would be so many, many things I would wish I had said.”

 Calm down dude, calm. down. But I guess he has some reason to be a tad emotional about all of this, given the big reveal.

 Let me throw out the biggest gem right away:

 Chris Sr. knew he was Corrine’s brother.

One more time.

 Chris Sr. knew he was Corrine’s brother.

 I am not your half-uncle, my love. I am, in fact, your half-brother and not your half-uncle. Your father impregnated my mother. Actually, he forced himself upon her when she was living in your house. I stumbled upon a letter my mother had written to Olivia, a letter in which my mother was thanking her for bringing you up as she would her own daughter. Yes, my dearest, you and I had the same mother.”

 What is with this family and these letters? I don’t necessarily expect a lot from poor Alicia, but dang girl. Now, we don’t get an exact time for when he learns this information, but it’s at least before the birth of the kids because he TELLS HER HOW AFRAID HE WAS EACH TIME SINCE THERE MIGHT BE SOMETHING WRONG. Dude. DUDE. What???

 You never saw the abject terror and fear in my eyes every time one of our children was born. I knew what Olivia and your father meant when they talked about our children being born with horns and hooves and who knows what. I anticipated something terrible like two-headed babies, and then the doctor looking at us and wondering who and what we really were to each other.”

 Sooo…what you’re telling us is….you felt like you had a solid reason to be fearful for the health and well-being of your children (and wife!), yet you kept your mouth shut because the doctors might look at you funny?! CHRISTOPHER. I know, he’s also concerned about the effect that this knowledge would have on Corrine, but it really comes across as “I was afraid you would leave me and also that people would judge us”.

 In fact

 “Perhaps, I didn’t tell you because I was so afraid you would leave me.”

 Chris has got a lot of, shall we say, interesting interpretations of character, though.

 Olivia always knew all this. She knew what your father had done, but she had a way of willing the truth out of this world. Perhaps she did what she did to keep the peace and make all our lives possible after such a sin had been committed, a sin that could have doomed us all.”

 I’m gonna go with “probably not”.

 “Your father was your father and as any father who loved his daughter well, he lavished so much attention on you. However, every time he set eyes on you, especially in Olivia’s presence, he must have felt pangs of guilt. I think he was always trying to make it up to Olivia, thinking that every time she looked at you, she saw the child her husband had created with his sister-in-law.”

 Yeah, also no. Oh, and Alicia was Malcolm’s STEPMOTHER not his sister-in-law. Come on, Christopher, draw a family tree, dude.

 The rest of the letter is a lot of apologies and the talk about guilt and sin that we’ve come to expect from these folks. Oh and some stuff about the kids that just sticks in my craw:

 “Does this make everything worse for us, and more important, for our children? I don’t know. When I look at Cathy, at how beautiful she is, how intelligent Christopher Jr. is and how like precious jewels our twins are, I feel confident that we have somehow escaped the curse of incestuous love. Perhaps our love for each other was and has been too strong for it to matter. Is that a romantic idealism? Maybe.”

 Thank god Cathy is pretty, I mean good LORD can you imagine the world for a girl who isn’t?? The twins are…non-entities and OH THANK HEAVENS OUR SON IS SMART. Boys SHOULD be smart, you know, they have to do all the work!

 “You knew how much I had wanted to be a doctor and how pleased I am that Christopher not only has the intelligence to become one but sees it as his true destiny, his purpose in life. I will live my dream through my son. I was willing to make that sacrifice for you and I’m willing to keep making it.

You must promise me, however, especially if you’re reading this letter after I have been taken away from you and our children, that you will do everything you possibly can to see that Christopher lives his dream, his and my dream. I know it would be an unfair burden placed on your shoulders for I have not yet become the provider I dreamed I would be, but you surely will feel the same need to make this happen and somehow find the way.”


 I will live my dream through my son.”

 That’s not–

 “his dream, his and my dream.”

 Maybe don’t–

 “I was willing to make that sacrifice for you and I’m willing to keep making it.”

 Ooof, pal, get down off the cross, we need the wood.

 “We both feel that our Cathy will do something wonderful with her fascination with dance. She is so graceful, even now, so young. It’s easy to see she has inherited your beauty, your lithe, angelic movements. She must be encouraged, but more important, supported. Artists, musicians, anyone in entertainment have a special temperament, just like we can see Cathy has. Nurture it and like a candle that flickers to drive away the darkness in our lives, keep her flame burning.”

 “Cathy is so pretty and graceful but also a big old drama queen, we should probably just give in to that”. (I love Cathy but…yeah)

 There are a couple of tidbits that may (in the case of the first) or may not (the second) mean anything in the long run. The first is actually the confession that starts the letter, I guess Chris wanted to start off small.

 “Sometimes, however, love can be a very selfish thing. I wonder often if I didn’t take advantage of you. I know you will never say I did, but you were so young, and, although I never told you and indeed pretended the otherwise, I was not a virgin when I returned home from college and we first made love in your grandmother’s Swan room. I pretended to be because I thought it made you more comfortable, although it was clear that neither of us could keep away from the other much longer.”

 Now, we know from Corrine’s side of the story that she was setting her cap for Chris for a while, but without my books immediately to hand I don’t want to try to figure out who made what move first. The point of this quote was the comment about not being a virgin, which has to mean something later, right? Like I mentioned above, Flowers in the Attic 2.0’s theory is that said sexual encounter led to a child, who will turn out to be the ~*secret brother*~ of upcoming book fame, rather than a grown-up Cory/descendent of Cory. This is my going theory too.  I don’t want any secret brothers of any stripe, frankly, but I would MUCH rather have Chris Sr’s College Lovechild than Amnesiac Cory in an Orphanage any day.

 And for the second little something

 “John Amos was always preaching to us, telling us things like the sins of the father will rest on the heads of his children. I saw the way he looked at you whenever he said something like that. At first I had no idea why and then, when I knew, I understood. He always knew the truth. He was a hateful man. It was more him than anyone who turned Olivia and Malcolm against us.”

 John Amos is just the weirdest character of all. He’s banging maids in FitA, LET’S NOT EVEN DISCUSS ITBT RIGHT NOW,  he’s basically what Joel became in SoY, preaching into Olivia’s ear in GoS…and now I guess he’s the villain of the whole series? He’s definitely pouring poison into Olivia’s ear in GoS, that’s true, but I don’t think he engineered her entire personality all on his own. Ugh, I don’t like even talking about John Amos yet, let’s deal with him when we have to.

 “I will put this letter in an envelope now, but I will not write your name on the outside until I find the courage.

Something I might never find.”

 Obviously (see above paper trail)

 Oh man. I don’t think I like this letter, you guys. I’ve never thought a lot about Chris Sr. He lived, he died, he’s set up as a good man who loved his family. And that’s fine, for the most part. He’s a little too revered, maybe, but I don’t think that’s uncommon for people who have lost a loved one, especially children who lose a parent. Now all of this…I can’t get over the fact that he just stood by through three pregnancies and what, crossed his fingers? What was he going to do if something WAS wrong? What if something was wrong that had nothing to do with his and Corrine’s relationship? Would he just assume the worst and lose it? Was he going to hide the baby? Pretend it died? Cover–

Oh god you guys you don’t think.



The letter’s existence seems to hinge on the virginity revelation, and possibly the John Amos stuff, and I don’t know if that’s worth it? It was a fun feature to promote a book release, I will say that.

This has become a ramble, so I’m going to close it up. Please discuss in the comments! Did you like the letter? Did you think it was necessary? Do we all agree to form a We Hate John Amos club?  And what are we thinking about SoF? So much is happening!! 

Posted by: Megan | July 23, 2014

How’s Boarding School, Carrie?

Hey first of all, sorry for the delay y’all, life and stuff happened (nothing bad, just stuff, y’know? The computer died. Then my laptop decided that it didn’t really want to help out. Then I was sick. Blah blah blah) but I am back!


La di da

La di da

WHAT. AbsoLUTely not.



MOVING ALONG. This installment is going to be all downer, I’m afraid, since we’re at the part of the story that Cathy gives over to Carrie, regarding What Happens At Boarding School. I would continue from there, but it almost immediately moves to Cathy And Paul Move Beyond Inappropriate and that seemed weird to condense into one recap.

So Carrie, poor sad traumatized lonely needy will-never-really-be-okay Carrie, has been sent off to boarding school. Now, I will admit that I’m not sure that Carrie staying home would’ve been ideal either. Chris is also away at school, Cathy has school and ballet, Paul has his medical practice, so it’s not like there’s an abundance of caregivers for her; but I reserve the right to think pretty harshly of Paul for it since it reeks to me of “And now Cathy is mine! ALL MINE whaahahahhahahahahaa”


Yeah, I don’t like Paul.


Cathy leads us in, reminding us that this is Chris and Carrie’s story too (could’ve surprised me, Cathy) and so she’s going to share what happened as she thinks it has a lot to do with what Carrie thought of herself in the future. Cathy pieced the story together from her sister and the headmistress. Man, don’t you wish we could be getting CARRIE’S story instead of Chris’s, if we have to get another book at all? Or at least a chapter or something?

Carrie attends Miss Emily Dean Calhoun’s School for Properly Bred Young Ladies (ew) but comes home on the weekends. Cathy and Chris notice that she’s becoming more and more introverted again but she won’t anything negative about the teachers or her classmates. All she’ll say is that she isn’t unhappy and that she likes the carpet at school because “it’s colored like grass”. OH MY GOD CARRIE. My heart. Paul brings Chris and Carrie home every weekend but nothing seems to make her smile. Carrie no longer confides in her older sister, focusing her wordless attention on Paul—who is focused on Cathy. That reminds me of the scene in the movie where she asks if Chris thinks she’s pretty–she just wants ONE of the men in her life to pay attention to her instead of Cathy. It would be hard enough being the little kid in that household of busy adults, but when your older sister is gorgeous and talented and the epicenter of everyone else’s life? No wonder Carrie both hates and loves going away to school. I can’t help but think that some little part of her wants to get away from Cathy.



Cathy assures us that the school is beautiful and that she would have loved to have gone there. Thanks? (I’m not thinking very highly of Catherine today) The girls are allowed to decorate their side of their rooms as they want (as long as it’s suitably feminine!!!!! Ai yi yi) so Carrie’s, naturally, is purple and red. I missed Carrie’s colors in the movie, purple is my favorite color too, so I think I was always a little jealous of Carrie’s room. Carrie’s roommate is the “next smallest girl” in the school, a redheaded bully named Sissy Towers. They assign rooms by size? Carrie’s nine now, and the uniform for her grade is a yellow dress and white pinafore. Carrie hates yellow. In her mind, yellow represents everything that they were denied in the attic–sunshine and happiness and fresh air–Cory died wanting these yellow things and Carrie can’t stand it. Sissy, naturally, loves yellow. Her side of the room is all yellow. I can no longer tell if yellow is spelled correctly.

Sissy is also a nasty piece of work who calls Carrie a dwarf and a freak and literally climbs on her desk to make carnival barker announcements about Carrie’s size until all of the girls on their floor come to stare at her. Sissy is a monster. She demands that Carrie take her clothes off (!!!) so that everyone can gawk at her; when Carrie just curls into a ball and won’t react, Sissy continues to harass her. Only one girl, Lacy St. John, stands up for Carrie, and for her decency she gets punched in the nose by Sissy. God damn, this child. Carrie sees this and lets loose with one of her patented Carrie-Screams. This FINALLY alerts the headmistress, who gets upstairs at long last (along with the rest of the teachers) and discovers a full-on brawl happening in Carrie and Sissy’s room. All the while, Carrie screams. The fight is broken up and Sissy blames it on Carrie–saying she can’t stand to have a roommate so “unnaturally small”. Miss Dewhurst isn’t having it and tells Sissy she’ll now be rooming on the first floor next to Miss Dewhurst’s office. All of the other girls have their weekend leave cancelled and receive demerits. The room finally clear, Miss Dewhurst goes over to talk to Carrie, who has stopped screaming but is still having a terrible flashback (seeing Lacy’s blood made her remember the day that Chris fed them his blood) and when Miss Dewhurst demands to know what happened, Carrie can’t respond. The charmingly sensitive Miss Dewhurst warns Carrie that until she speaks up she won’t be getting weekend visits either. unfortunately, Miss Dewhurst is a tall, grey-haired lady, so the sight of her looming over Carrie sends Carrie into a screaming fit, yelling “I hate you!!” at Miss Dewhurst until she leaves the room and the nurse sedates Carrie. Cathy receives a call later telling them that Carrie has lost her privileges for the weekend.

Cathy insists to Paul at dinner that night that it’s a really, really bad idea to leave Carrie at the school all weekend. Paul’s like “Calm down, if she broke rules she has to be punished” and CHRIS AGREES WITH HIM SINCE HAHA CARRIE CAN BE KIND OF A BRAT AM I RIGHT. Cathy, reasonably, is super pissed at them and can’t shake the feeling all weekend that something is terribly wrong and that Carrie is scared and alone and needs her.

Back at school, poor Carrie, now sans roommate, is alone for the first time in her life and only has her porcelain dolls from the attic for company. The other students have turned against her because of what happened, so she’s all alone, talking to her dolls. She thinks (she tells Cathy later) that maybe Corrine is up in Heaven with Cory and Chris Sr. and she hates Cathy and Chris and Paul for making her go away to school when she just wants to be home with them. YEAH WHAT A GREAT IDEA THIS WAS. She can hear the students in the halls whispering as she walks by, so she decides to be brave like Cathy, Chris, & Paul want. One night, she looks for the dolls where she always carefully puts them away and finds sticks that have been put in their places. She tells Cathy that she cried then, since God would never answer her prayers and make her taller since He had turned to her dolls to sticks.




I need a moment.


Carrie refuses to tell Cathy anything that happens after that, but Cathy learns the whole story from Lacy. The girls who were denied weekend privileges come into Carrie’s room that night, in their nightgowns and carrying candles, chanting about how they have to protect themselves from her “unnatural smallness” and basically trying to scare her. OH and they all put pillowcase hoods on over their faces. These kids. One of them (obviously Sissy) tells Carrie that if she can survive their initiation, then she can join their secret club and join in all their fun. Carrie is…not interested and just wants them to go away. I agree! Sissy says that Carrie has to sacrifice her most precious possessions (the dolls) in order to join up sans initiation; when Carrie tries to explain that the dolls are gone, she’s told that she has to go through their “ritual” or die. OH WELL IN THAT CASE. Carrie agrees then, so the girls blindfold and gag her, then leave her on the roof. I mean, JFC. What sadistic little monsters. Now, obviously they’d have no idea that Carrie is horribly afraid of being out on a roof, but COME ON. That’s disgusting. It starts to rain, Carrie screams to herself for help, wondering why her family abandoned her and nobody wants her. Through the storm Carrie can hear Cory singing to her (she later tells Cathy) and she’s led by his voice to a trapdoor. She manages to open it and get inside, but she falls quite a ways and breaks her leg.

The next morning, Cathy, Chris, and Paul are sitting down to brunch when the phone rings and they’re all super annoyed because brunch. Cathy answers and it’s Miss Dewhurst, who, in the most round about way possible, tells her that Carrie wasn’t in church that morning and no one can find her. The other girls clearly know something, but none of them will talk. Um, make them? You’re their authority figure? Cathy is just a LITTLE peeved by this and Miss Dewhurst is all “No one’s seen her since last night, if she’d tried to walk home she’d be there? So we don’t know?” ACT LIKE YOU GIVE A SHIT A LITTLE GIRL IS MISSING. So the three of them take off to the school and Chris tries to comfort Cathy by reminding her how afraid of the dark Carrie is, so she wouldn’t have run away in the middle of the night, she’s probably just punishing someone with her BRATTY DRAMATICS. Why is Chris being such an ass about this? I’m honestly at a loss. I know he and Paul think that Cathy is overprotective but your LITTLE SISTER IS MISSING. At the school they meet with Miss Dewhurst, who is mostly annoyed because nothing like this has ever happened before AND it’s totally all Carrie’s fault since this all started with that fight.


Paul wants to know why he wasn’t notified immediately but Cathy interrupts to ask to see Carrie’s room. They go up and some of the other students follow them and blatantly whisper about how much Chris and Cathy look like Carrie, except how they’re not “freakishly small”. Chris calls them out for those remarks and threatens to torture them until they talk. FINALLY CHRIS IS ON BOARD HERE*. Cathy goes through Carrie’s stuff (she finds the sticks, although she doesn’t understand what’s going on there) and tells Paul that Carrie has to still be on school grounds because all of her clothes are accounted for. Miss Dewhurst is still shrieking about how they’ve looked EVERYWHERE but Cathy ignores her and catches a shifty look on Sissy’s face. She looks closer and realizes that Sissy won’t meet her eyes and keeps messing with something in her pocket. Cathy demands to know what it is and, finally forced by Miss Dewhurst, Sissy reveals that she has the dolls. Sissy keeps insisting that they’re hers and won’t answer any questions about Carrie, so it’s here that Lacy speaks up and Cathy demands to be taken up to the attic to look. Miss Dewhurst AGAIN is like “But I did that!” and Cathy just insists, knowing that Carrie can just go inside her head and block out the world. They go up and Cathy calls to her sister, begging her not to keep silent, apologizing for sending her away and promising that they’ve come to take her home for good. Cathy gets Paul to call all of that out too, and Cathy finally hears a little whimper, leading them to Carrie. The poor thing is still gagged and blindfolded, and is wedged amongst some precarious stacks of crates. Cathy calls out to Carrie to lay on her stomach and keep still, and Cathy is able to crawl forward and get her, with Paul pulling them out just as the crates fall down.

Cathy blames all og this on Corrine, naturally, angrily clipping the society columns about their mother’s adventures that summer (she’s on the French Rivera) while they’re at home as Carrie recuperates. Cathy shows Chris the clipping about the Rivera, but doesn’t tell him that she’s subscribed to the Virginia paper. She tells him it was from the Greenglenna paper and Chris tells her that he’s trying to forget, unlike her. They have it good now, with Paul, and Carrie’s leg will get better, and they can go to New England (a trip they had to postpone) another time. Cathy’s dubious about that, as “Nothing ever was offered twice” (ooooh boy, Catherine, oooooh boy, issues) and she asks him if Carrie’s leg will really be all right or if it’ll heal shorter than the other one. Chris is forced to admit that if Carrie grew like normal children there’d be that risk, but since she doesn’t it probably won’t matter. Cathy’s like hey, remember WHY SHE’S LIKE THAT? BECAUSE OUR MOM LOCKED US IN AN ATTIC and tells him to go away.

She’s spending all of her pocket-money on these society pages and pictures and while she hates the sight of Corrine, she finds herself admiring Bart more and more. Uh oh. When she sees a picture of Bart toasting Corrine on their second anniversary, she writes Corrine a note congratulating her and reminding her of that summer she was married and her kids starved in an attic. She signs it

Not yours anymore,

The doctor doll,

The ballerina doll,

The praying-to-grow-taller doll,

and The dead doll“.






Tell me about it. Cathy mails the letter, regretting it almost immediately since she knows that Chris would hate it. That night she looks out on the veranda and finds Chris standing in the rain. These kids. He sees her and goes to her room, where she starts to cry in his arms. She asks him if he still loves Corrine. When he hesitates, she kinda flips out, yelling that he DOES still love her, even after what she did to them and to Cory and Carrie. She wants to know how he can still love her when he knows he should hate Corrine like Cathy does. He stays quiet and Cathy realizes that, if Chris were to stop loving Corrine, he would have to stop loving Cathy too, since he sees their mother whenever he looks at Cathy. Oh brother. Cathy thinks that her brother is just like their father, weak for beautiful women, and she bitterly argues with herself that it’s just a superficial resemblance, she’s NOT like Corrine, she’s strong and would’ve done a thousand things before locking her children away. Cathy is pulled from her vengeful thoughts by the realization that Chris is kissing her. She pulls away and yells at him to leave, since he only loves her because seh looks like Corrine, not for herself, and that sometimes she hates her face. Chris leaves, but not before telling Cathy that he was trying to comfort her and not to make everything ugly.

As anti-Chris as I can be sometimes, I have to admit that dealing with Cathy must be exhausting.

Carrie’s leg heals and she starts attending a local school, but she fares no better on the friend front. Cathy tells her not to care what the other students think, but she knows that Carrie does. Every night she hears Carrie praying that she’ll find her real mother someday, and to grow taller. She compares herself to Cathy, and despite having a beautiful face and hair, Carrie is still made fun of for her stature and the size of her head. Cathy prays too that something can be done for Carrie, and her anger for Corrine just keeps building.

Soon, it’s been a year and a half since the kids came to live with Paul. Cathy had imagined that once they were free of Foxworth Hall that everything would be perfect, but it isn’t. She spends most of her time in dance class, and Chris gets a summer job, leaving poor Carrie to play at home alone with her dolls. Cathy continues collecting the society clippings and spends hours researching Bart’s family history. One afternoon as she shops in Greenglenna, she sees Corrine and Bart walking ahead of her. She follows them for a long time, but never dares to say anything, though she’s dreamed about this moment. She eavesdrops on their conversation and (naturally) spends some time checking out Bart. When Cathy goes home that afternoon she’s furious with herself for doing nothing and throws a paperweight at her mirror, breaking it. Classic Cathy. She calls for a workman to come fix the mirror and chides herself for now having to use some of the money she’s saving for Paul’s birthday on it. She promises herself that she’ll get her revenge one day, and it’ll be worse than a broken mirror.

Coming up: I think we all know what Cathy gives Paul for his birthday. Ewwwwww. Also! The family goes on a creepy visit and Cathy makes some questionable professional decisions. See you then!



*Obviously I do not advocate torturing children. I’m just glad he finally seemed to care.

Posted by: Megan | May 28, 2014

Petals on the Wind: A Lifetime Movie Extravaganza

Remember last time how upset I was that I didn’t get to write about blood drinking? Well, this time I get to write about angry handjobs, so I think it all works out.

Yeah. That’s what I said. We’ll get there.

Petals on the Wind! I had pretty high expectations for this one, Petals is probably my second-favorite Andrews book (after My Sweet Audrina, of course) and while I wish some things had stuck closer to the source material, for a two-hour distillation of a 400+ page book, it does a pretty good job. Whole chunks of story have been eliminated (bye bye Creepy Paul!) and new ones have been written in (I guess we needed a redhead?); we jump ten years ahead and then cram everything else into one year; and the series’ two big mysteries are blown wide open, but all in all, it’s a good damn time. Usual warnings apply: There are some, but not a ton, of spoilers for the end of Petals on the Wind (the book) and for the series as a whole; there are SO MANY screencaps because there were so many to be had.


Let’s do this!

Let’s do this!

Read More…

Posted by: Megan | May 23, 2014

It’s the Dark Backstory Hour

Cathy’s date with Julian is on a Saturday, one of the weekends that Chris and Carrie are home. Cathy’s disappointed that Paul doesn’t put up a fuss when she tells him about her date, which I think is about 1/4 good old Cathy manipulation (See Paul? I DON’T need you!) and 3/4 hope that he’ll say no because she’s nervous about the date and she could use his objection as an out. She wears a low-cut dress that she knows is too old for her, but she wants to seem sophisticated.

Little moments like that are great because they remind us that, despite her anger and her circumstances and her thirst for revenge, Cathy is a 15-year old girl who is perpetually in over her head. She’s attracted to men sexually but it’s scary because of her inexperience and her fear of sin and, in my opinion, because of what happened between her and Chris in the attic, for which she blames herself (and also Corrine). She wants love and romance but worries that getting close to a man will make her soft and weak like she perceives Corrine to be. She knows that Paul is attracted to her, and she likes the powerful way that makes her feel, but she also cares about him and thinks that sex is the number one way to make him care back. It’s all very…15. Cathy’s 15-year old adventures are on such a different level from those of Ruby or Dawn, who have adult antagonists but spend the bulk of their perspective teen years dealing with other teenagers; I think that’s a big difference between VCA and the Ghostwriter. Cathy and Heaven have to deal with adults, they have to be young girls maneuvering in a grown-up world, their enemies are not mainly their peers.

Ooops, tangent, sorry.

Julian shows up all besuited and slicked up, shaking Paul’s hand and being nice to Carrie. Chris, naturally, stands out glaring disapprovingly, but for once I think it’s mainly that he doesn’t like Julian and not just that he’s jealous (though I’m sure there’s plenty of that too).

Julian and Cathy go to a fancy French restaurant and he orders for them, all very smooth, and he tells her about New York. He confesses that he’s not actually a lead dancer like he’s been telling her, he’s second string in the corps. But! He’s sure that if Cathy moved to NYC with him and became his dance partner, then they’d be an amazing team and would make it big. Dude, she’s 15. Julian goes on in this vein for a bit, and Cathy is sorely tempted by the idea, but she can’t conceive of not seeing her family. Also, she’s 15. So they drink wine (15!) and dance and Cathy’s having a fine old time until they’re on the way home and Julian pulls off into a lovers’ lane and starts coming on too strong. He gets pissy that’s she’s acting “childish” (15) and is leading him on when he came all! the! way! from New York to see her (shut up Julian) and he starts the car to leave. Cathy, who is pretty dazzled by Julian all things considered (I know, I know, 15) distracts him from leaving by asking why he uses a different last name from his parents. Since Julian is clearly Julian’s favorite subject, he explains that he’s been training as a dancer his entire life, never able to play sports (also Georges wouldn’t let Julian call him Father, which is cold) and that Georges only sees him as an extension of his own talent and not as a son. So, to get back at his father, Julian took a stage name so that Georges would get none of the credit (he also refuses to dance if Georges so much as mentions that he has a son). I think this explains a lot about Cathy’s shifting feelings towards him, since she knows from shitty parents. Julian is the thirteenth in a line of male dancers who married ballerinas, but he’s been in NYC for two years and still isn’t a star. He also, and this is his big secret, hurt his back working on his car when he was younger, and he’s been dancing through the pain ever since. That’s a big part of why he wants Cathy to come and be his dance partner, she doesn’t hurt his back during lifts.


Oh, and that two years thing? He moved to NYC when he was 18. Yeah. He’s 20, just BTdubs.


Just in case you forgot that Cathy is 15.


You're harping on this.

You’re harping on this.

How do you get in here?

Julian asks Cathy again to come to New York with him, promising that he’d take care (and not advantage!) of her. Cathy points out that she doesn’t want to leave her family and Julian tells her that she has to grow up (SHE IS Swamp Thing: DON’T) and learn to be her own person, saying (definitely from his own experience) that you can’t ever be your own person as long as you stay home.

Chris is waiting up on the veranda when she gets back and tells her that he doesn’t like Julian. According to her dance classmates, Julian has staked a claim on Cathy and no one else will ask her out, also Julian is from NEW YORK CITY where the men move fast and Cathy is only 15!! (thanks Chris!) Cathy wants to know about any girls that Chris is seeing, but he claims to be too busy with his schoolwork. She asks about that, which distracts him for a couple minutes but he soon admits that he’s always thinking about her and lives for when he gets to be with her and Carrie. Cathy’s like we talked about this, you have got to get over me, but she can tell from the look in his eyes that it will never be that easy. This just reemphasizes to Cathy that she has to find someone else too, so that Chris can see that it’s finally over. She thinks about Julian, always trying to be better than his father, and sympathizes with him, as she is always trying to be better than her mother.

Now, obviously Julian is not a fantastic person, and I’m not a fan of their relationship, but man oh man, imagine if she’d told him just enough to share that she’s also on a vengeance kick? I think he’d have been into that. They could’ve badmouthed their parents together, that would’ve really motivated their dancing.

I’m just sayin’.

Now, do I think Cathy has feelings for Julian? I do, to an extent, just maybe not right now. She says before their next date that it “might as well be him” since they have the same goals in life (as far as dancing goes, anyway) and she definitely thinks he’s easy on the eyes. I think a large part of their relationship is built on escape–Cathy escaping her stuff with Chris and Paul, Julian escaping from his father’s shadow, and on what a fantastic dancing pair they are. I think right now (since I don’t want to leap way ahead and there’s a lot to cover) Cathy is intrigued by Julian, and frightened of what he represents.

They go on another date and Julian gets handsy again, leading Cathy to fend him off with her purse. Charming, Julian. Oh and he calls her a tease, because he’s decided to really try my patience. AND THEN HE TWISTS HER ARM SO HARD SHE THINKS HE’LL BREAK IT AND THEN SAYS HE’S IN LOVE WITH HER. J.F.C. Forget what I said about understandable anything. Julian is a scumbag.

And what upsets Cathy the most? That he says he doesn’t need her since lots of girls will put out, and she’s sad that no one needs her but Chris and Carrie, and the way Chris needs her is wrong. This poor messed up little girl. That night she can’t sleep, brain all filled with revenge and whatnot, so she goes to check on Paul, only to find that his bed’s not slept in. She panics, imagining a car accident, and runs downstairs to find him smoking a cigarette in the dark. Oooookay, Paul. He asks if something’s wrong and she really doesn’t even know where to start with that. We find out that, thanks to the papers she’s been getting, Cathy’s learned that Corinne will be making her winter home in Greenglenna, so is fixing up Bart’s family home. Angry, Cathy lights into Paul about not coming home and how she sat up for him and worried and he’s like “Um, I’m a doctor? I have stuff to do?” Cathy’s upset that she can’t depend on anyone but Chris and then freaks out that she’s behaving selfishly like Corinne. She apologizes to Paul and he suggests she ease up on the dancing since it’s obviously making her over tired. UGH. Cathy can’t let up, because she has to be the best.

They talk some more and Paul tells Cathy that she calls out for her momma in her sleep, which stuns her. Paul wants to know why she needs revenge so badly (ummmm Paul have you heard the backstory?) and Cathy says he doesn’t know what it means to really hate someone. Paul pulls a “Oh DON’T I” and we get the Story of Paul’s Marriage. And it’s terrible so I will be as succinct as possible with it.

Paul and his wife Julia were childhood sweethearts and never had other relationships, something Paul now sees as a mistake. They got married when she was 19 and Paul 20. Julia was terrified on their wedding night (they’d only ever kissed and held hands, and Paul admits Julia thought he was a virgin too, though he wasn’t. Nice, Paul.) For the next few nights she was too afraid to sleep with Paul, and after a time, he raped her. For the next years of their marriage, though he tried to help her enjoy sex, she couldn’t and he admits that he’d force her from time to time. Eventually Julia found out she was pregnant and after the birth of their son Scotty she told Paul that she’d done her duty and he was never to touch her again. Paul would later find out from her mother that Julia had been abused by a relative as a child. Paul had an affair with a coworker who told Julia after Paul ended it, and Julia blew up about him humiliating her and promised to make him pay. On Scotty’s third birthday she took him on a walk to the store, ostensibly to buy more candy for his party, and when Paul went looking for them hours later he found that Julia had taken Scotty to the river and drowned him and then herself. Paul managed to revive Julia somewhat, but she didn’t make it. (UNTRUE BTW) So, he tells Cathy, he knows about guilt and hatred and wanting revenge. I…somehow feel the worst for Scotty in all of this, Paul.

Cathy is horrified and wonders about women like her mother (who killed for money) and Julia (who killed for revenge) and wonders if she’ll have to do the same. Then she tells Paul to forget about Julia and marry her and have more kids! She asks him to tell her what a bride needs to know on her wedding night. Catherine. Cath. Er. Ine. INAPPROPRIATE. Come on Cathy, I’m on your side but you’ve gotta show some restraint over here. That’s fairly heartless stuff. Although, in the name of fairness, Paul doesn’t really dwell much either. Guilt? Anger? Whatever! They kiss for a while and Paul carries Cathy to her room. She’s excited and scared and eventually spoils the mood a bit by asking if, maybe, she and her siblings really are the devil’s spawn? Just a little? Paul’s opinion is that Chris the Elder and Corinne were young and didn’t consider the consequences of their feelings for each other. Our Lady of Drama takes that as agreement that the D sibs are evil and Paul shuts that down, telling her not to twist what he says to suit her revenge. Oh, that’s her lifestyle, kinda. Just learn to live with it. Paul leaves and Cathy decides that, having tried twice and been rejected twice, she’s free to do what she has to do and not worry about what Paul thinks. I..guess?

Oh! And we find out why it’s so important the kids escape the attic with at least one piece of luggage: Corinne the mastermind had her children’s birth certificates sewn into the lining of a suitcase, so Cathy has that pretty vital evidence alllll to herself. That’s fantastic, Corinne, just really great.

Hey! Cathy’s 16 now! And she’s super gorgeous, guys, buses and cars slow down so the drivers can stare at her even. (Somewhere Ruby glowers “But has she cured anyone’s blindness???”) They’re having a party and Chris and Carrie come home for it. Cathy almost tells Chris about Corrine moving to Greenglenna but holds off so that he can’t try to stop her plans. Chris and Cathy have a moment before they leave for her birthday dinner and she worries that he’s become cynical like her, but he pulls it together. They head downstairs and yay! it’s a surprise party. Everyone is having a great time and Cathy wishes as she blows out her candles that she will always succeed at what she tries to do and that she will gain on Corrine, every day. Julian is acting like an ass, talking dirty to Cathy all night, so she dances with some of the guests and tries to ignore him. This proves harder to do when he and Chris end up having a fight about Cathy going to New York. Chris has some sensible arguments like Cathy needs to finish high school and Cathy is underage, while Julian’s rebuttals are things like you don’t even know how to dance! Nice, Julian. Burn? Chris asks Cathy directly if she feels ready to go to New York and she admits that she doesn’t. Julian storms out with a “May all your birthdays be hell on earth!” and that successfully kills the party. When Cathy goes up to bed Chris confronts her and wants to know what the deal is with her and Julian. Cathy tells him to mind his own and that no one, especially no man, is going to tell her what to do and get in the way of her goals. Chris immediately assumes that means she’ll sleep with any man she has to and Cathy’s like maybe I WILL. Oh you kids. Go to bed. They calm down and Cathy apologizes and Chris asks her to wait at least another year before making any rash decisions like moving to NYC with Julian. Cathy worries again that she’s becoming more and more like Corinne, but she fights it.

She finds a clipping in a newspaper that has some news about Corrine and Bart and brings it home to show Chris, lying that it’s from a Virginia paper (she’s still trying to hide the fact that Corrine will be local). Chris wonders why Corrine’s always going to Europe and dreamily asks Cathy if she remembers the summer Corrine went on her honeymoon. Cathy, much as we all do, is like “the summer we almost starved to death and you fed your blood to our little siblings?” I think she remembers, Chris. We ALL remember.


Well, this was a lot of unpleasantness, huh? And it’s not over. Coming up! A sad Carrie chapter, Cathy writes some dramatic letters, and OMG Corrine sighting!

But before that…PETALS ON THE WIND THE MOVIE YOU GUYS!! It’s this Monday! I will probably be commenting in real time on Twitter and also taking notes, and FINGERS CROSSED, I’ll have a recap up shortly thereafter. I have to take screencaps and stuff, so that’s time-consuming. I still wish they’d shown it on Saturday or Sunday so I’d have the next day off, but I’m so excited!!

See you then!

Posted by: Megan | May 16, 2014

Finally, Some Dancing!

Part II. Cathy’s so dramatic, all these “Parts” and “Books”, it’s the most flowery memoir ever.




Go away.


So guys, when you were reading the first recap, were you like, “Wow Megan, but I wish there was more ballet?” I bet you were! Worry no longer! Because here comes so much ballet.

We start at Christmas, where the kids are actually getting presents that they want for a change. Paul has gotten the family tickets to see the Rosencoff School of Ballet perform The Nutcracker. He’s heard that it’s a great company and ballet school (what, you’re not on that board of trustees too?) and asks what level dancer Cathy is. Chris pipes up to say that she’s advanced, which, if she taught herself to dance en pointe then I agree. The ballet is amazing and Cathy is dazzled, particularly by a certain lead dancer named Julian Marquet.




I can't say with certainty that this is an accident, Cathy.  RUN.

I can’t say with certainty that this is an accident, Cathy. RUN.


Paul takes everyone backstage at intermission and introduces them to the heads of the company, Madame and Georges. They’re disappointed to learn that Chris isn’t a dancer too and, naturally, utterly dismiss poor Carrie. She asks Cathy about her dancing history, excited to learn that she started at 4 and is now 16 (assuming that she’s had professional training the whole time), but is prepared to dismiss her when she learns that no one’s ever told Cathy if she’s excellent or mediocre. See, in Madame’s world, if no one’s ever told you that you’re excellent, then there’s only one other option. The couple is going to leave when Chris stands up for his sister again and tells Madame that while he might not be an expert on ballet, he knows how Cathy’s dancing makes him feel, and he knows that she’s better than any dancer on that stage. It’s sweet, really. I’m serious! It works too, because Madame tells Cathy that her audition is the next day at 1pm sharp–they’ll supply all of the equipment, but she better not be late. Julian, it turns out, has been listening the whole time, and tells Cathy that she’s lucky–people can wait for years to even get an audition for Madame and Georges.

Cathy is a wee bit overwhelmed by this turn of events (and understandably so) and cries to Chris that she’s out of practice and is going to fail. Chris brushes that aside and tells her that she’s going to be wonderful, then goes to bed. Cathy tries to go to bed too, but she has nightmares of her mother and ends up waking up and going back downstairs to lie underneath the Christmas tree and look up at the lights. It’s a thing she and Chris used to do as kids, so she’s not surprised to find he’s there too. She joins him and he ends up kissing her neck. YOU GUYS WERE DOING SO WELL. Cathy asks him not to do it again, and Chris tells her that he loves her and always will, and that there won’t ever be anyone else for him. She asks why he has to go away and be a doctor and starts to cry. Chris is like, it is literally my one ambition, you KNOW that, but he holds her as she cries and asks, pretty poetically (and accurately) how he can ever find somebody else when Cathy is a part of him, when “you’ve been bred into my bones!”. They start making out and things are about to go to the next level when Cathy protests that it’s sinful and they have to stop. Chris is all for sinning then and Cathy begs him not to leave her, that she’ll go along with it if he stays with her, since she does crazy things without him. Chris points out that she would never give up dancing, so why is she asking him to give up the one thing he has to do?

And you know what? He’s right. Now, I don’t think it’s any big secret that I’m not a Christopher fan, generally. I do, however, think he’s a good big brother to the twins, and likely a good doctor, and he’s definitely usually the sensible one (except where Corinne is concerned) and he’s right here–Cathy wants him to give up his dreams to stay with her, and he knows that she wouldn’t give up her dreams (be they dancing or revenge) for him. Cathy’s story is largely a series of people saying “Stop that!”
or “Think about this!” and Cathy saying no. She’s the Daenerys Targaryen of Clairmont.

Speaking of Targaryens, Chris and Cathy continue to make out until he wants to take it to his room. Cathy protests that A. she’s his sister and B. his room is too close to Paul’s, so Chris decides that they’ll go to her room since Carrie can sleep through anything.


Moving on, they almost have sex until Cathy pushes Chris off of her, thinking that she can’t let it happen again. They end up on the floor, where Chris discovers that Cathy has been stealing Paul’s food and silverware and is keeping a box of same under her bed, just in case. Chris immediately understands–she’s hoarding in case they get punished and locked up again, and he points out (again, not entirely incorrectly) that he gets it and is likely the only one who ever really will. He still wants to sleep with Cathy, just one more time, but she makes him leave and says again that as long as he’s going to leave, then the answer is no. Catherine, that is some manipulative bullshit and you know it. She realizes it, thank god, and cries in Chris’ arms, not understanding why she’s acting the way that she is, since she can’t ask Chris to give up his dreams for her. More realizations, Cathy! They’re good for you.

The next day is Cathy’s audition, the scene of maybe the second most debated plot point in the series. Madame (who Cathy can call Madame Marisha if she gets in and never speak to again if she does not) rolls her eyes at Cathy’s choice of music (Sleeping Beauty) and gets her some pointe shoes. When she’s called out for her turn, Cathy is about to panic until she catches Chris’ eyes, which calms her down. She avoids looking at Paul, since she worries that if she disappoints him today he won’t care about her anymore. Julian comes up and wishes Cathy good luck and they have some mild flirting before her music starts and she begins dancing. As soon as she starts she’s transported back to the attic, paper flowers and all, and she’s pleasantly surprised when she realizes that Julian has joined her. She’s beginning to leap into his arms when she suddenly gets a terrible pain and realizes that she’s bleeding everywhere. She passes out as she hears Carrie screaming and wakes up in the hospital with Christopher. Chris tells her that she had to have a D & C because her missed periods had clotted and broken free. They exchange some loaded glances and he assures her that’s all it was. Cathy, our sweet dramatic soul, wonders why life is always so cruel to her and Chris tells her to look around at all of the flowers she’s been sent. One of the bouquets is from Madame, who signs it Madame Marisha, meaning Cathy is in! There’s also flowers from Julian, along with a note that he’ll be seeing her soon. (RUN) Chris and Cathy hug but quickly break it up when Paul comes in, frowning at them. Uh oh.

SPOILERS AHEAD: There’s a persistent question about what exactly happened to Cathy at her audition. Chris tells her that it was her periods, and Cathy believes him for years until she hears from Amanda (Paul’s sister) that she in fact miscarried a deformed fetus. Cathy confronts Paul with this, which leads to the confirmation of his suspicions regarding her relationship with Chris, but also his reassurances that she didn’t have a miscarriage. I tend to believe that, honestly. There are so many health issues that these poor kids have, even if there’s not a lot of medical basis for what happened*, it doesn’t seem like the MOST far-fetched thing? I do think that while Chris would lie to her to spare her feelings at that particular moment, Paul would’ve told her the truth later on. So that’s my take on this FitA mystery. Jury’s still out on poor Cory though.

The school year starts up again that January and Cathy is put in the tenth grade, Chris in a college prep school, and Carrie in boarding school. (Still a bad idea) Carrie is understandably upset by this news and so is Cathy, especially since Chris is leaving the day after her sister. I still think it seems really cruel to split Carrie off from them. Cathy tries to convince Carrie that she’s going to have so much fun with all of her new friends and roommates, but she doesn’t really believe it herself. Paul gets her some sweet red luggage though, that helps. Cathy also gives her the porcelain dolls from the attic doll house, which causes Carrie to ask where Corrine is. Awkward. They drop Carrie off at school and then Chris and Cathy have to say goodbye to each other. Chris promises that he’ll love her forever and will throw himself into his studies so as not to obsess about her all the time. Cathy tells him that they have to lock their love away and not repeat their parents’ sins. Chris warns her not to throw herself into anything (like say Paul’s bed) just to try to escape what they feel. This is solid advice, Chris, I must say. Ain’t gonna work though. Cathy assures her brother that she doesn’t think about Paul that way and vice versa and they say goodbye. Cathy and Paul leave and head back to their first night in the house all alone.

Uh oh.
Cathy can’t sleep that night, so she goes downstairs to get some warm milk and finds Paul sitting in the living room. She goes in and touches his face (though she can’t really understand why) and he snaps at her about wandering around the house at night in her nightgown and touching people. He calls her a witch, being a naive girl one minute and a seductive woman the next. Bite me Paul, you’re the goddamned adult in this situation. Go to bed. Tell her to go away. Send HER to boarding school. Don’t blame your shit on the 16-year old who just got free from an attic. He wants to know what’s going on between her and Chris. She starts to tell him about the bond that they developed during the time in the attic and then Paul PULLS HER ON HIS LAP to finish her story. I’m going to set him on fire. Paul gets that, absent of other people, she and Chris loved each other, but he wants to know if it’s sisterly or motherly or what. Cathy’s had about enough, so she launches into him about all the things he’s doing for her, with the implication that he’s going to want payment eventually. And what payment, you might ask? Well Cathy will tell you. And by “tell you”, I mean she’ll rip open her peignoir to show off her nightgown and yell at him about giving her creepy presents. And Paul laughs, because he is a creep. Some inappropriate stuff takes place and he realizes what he’s doing and stops and starts blaming himself, and Cathy forgives him (all while blaming herself  because oh my god this poor child has had to internalize so much guilt) and she tells him that she loves him and he can use her if he needs to.


Oh this whole relationship is so screwed up. Cathy is so eager for love and affection and to break away from Chris and she so honestly thinks that she owes this to Paul and it’s tragic so I’m going to rush. BASICALLY Paul comes to his senses a bit and says that she’s a child and he’s an adult and if he tries to touch her again she should hit him over the head with something. He also notes that he doesn’t have the best reputation in town, so people are already talking about him and Cathy. He tells her that she lives in fairyland and not reality and to wait for a man that she really loves. Cathy runs back to her room and wonders if Paul is really the sort of man she wants at all.


Cathy starts going to school where she can tell that she’s different from the other students and she worries about her brother and sister at their schools, blaming Corinne more and more everyday. Julian keeps coming back to Clairmont (he lives in New York) and she learns that Madame and Georges are his parents. Cathy doesn’t think too highly of Julian, considering his trips home to be ego-based so he can dance for all of the impressed students, and he asks her rude questions about personal stuff. Cathy spends most of her free time with Paul, getting up early to eat breakfast with him, going to the movies, and feeling proud that she has him bewitched like Corinne would. Well this is ominous. Julian comes to visit again and makes it clear he’s there to see Cathy, which wins her over a bit. They go driving and he tries to get her to come to New York and join his dance company (and, it’s heavily implied, be his lover) but Cathy isn’t here for that, pointing out that they don’t even know each other. Julian agrees to tell her all about himself if she’ll go out with him that night and she agrees, wondering if Chris would approve of Julian at all. No. No, he would not, and that’s the correct way to be.
Coming up! Julian’s a creep. Paul’s a creep. Paul confesses his dark gross secrets. Cathy has a birthday party.

I am chopping the book up into smaller sections so that I can write faster, which means that I won’t be done by the time the movie (!!!) airs, so it’ll be like last time, spoilers galore! I will say it now: Recap next Friday, and you can yell at me on Facebook about it. 😉

See y’all next time!



*I haven’t really researched this though, please tell me if there is!



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 Corrine 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.



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 Corrine 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 Corrine’s guilt. This line of thought moves to thinking about Cory, and how Corrine’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 Corrine 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 Corrine’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, Corrine 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 Corrine 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:

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True Detective picture from



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 Corrine 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 Corrine 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.

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