Allow me to take a moment from recapping the storyline of My Sweet Audrina and focus on one of my favorite VC Andrews characters: the one, the only, Vera Adare. NOTE: This Character Spotlight will contain spoilers for the rest of the book, not HUGE OMG PLOT POINT ones, but spoilers nonetheless. You’ve been warned.
As readers of other VCA novels will know, female villains of various series are usually older women: Grandmothers in the Dollanganger, Cutler, and Logan series, Kitty in Heaven, Daphne in Ruby, etc. A heroine’s peer “villains” tend towards simple-to-slightly-more-complex bitchery: stealing boyfriends, ruining party dresses, pulling the old “Take the fall for this one, and I’ll totally owe you!…Sucker!”, being slutty (hey, it tends to offend the heroine’s delicate sensibilities), ala Gisselle, Fanny, Clara Sue, etc.
Vera does all of these things, sure, but she gets elevated among her peers by her sheer weirdness. She’s creepy and slinks around the house with cardboard penises and clippings from men’s mags, she (SPOILER) masturbates in the parlor in front of her younger cousin, she (SPOILER) throws her miscarried fetus at her mother, she breaks a bone if she falls out of bed whilst wrapped in a down comforter and thusly has one shorter leg, and she enchanges in glorious mind fuckery with the already-pretty-addled Audrina. Vera is a soap opera bad girl of the Passions variety, she’s troubled, she’s evil, she’s misunderstood, she’s absolutely batshit and I love her.
I’m not one for “She had a bad childhood! Let’s forgive her all of her sins!” in most situations, but let’s look at Vera’s, really. I think we can all tell (even by now) that Vera is Damian and Elly’s child. For starters, it’s kind of spelled out for us in Damian and Elly’s constant animosity, which years of television have told me is always just a mask for intense sexual attraction. Secondly, it’s clear from Vera and Damian’s matching black eyes.
So, Elly sleeps with Damian, has Vera, and comes home to find out that Lucky stole her man. She’s forced to live as a glorified servant and to lie about her daughter’s father, all while witnessing her ex-lover and her sister’s marriage and adoration of their own daughters. Elly becomes the scary bitter shrew we know her as and she passes that vitriol onto her daughter. Vera has to grow up watching the man that she damn well knows is her real father play act as her “fake” father, watch her mother disrespected, and see her half-sisters held up as perfect. That’s pretty damn harsh.
So she responds with public masturbation! She is amazing. And there’s even more! More that I don’t want to spoil! So, here’s to Vera, probably VCA’s greatest peer-villain creation.
You’ll learn to love her too. Let’s all learn to love her together, shall we?