Andrews-V.C., Books Set in the South, Coming of age, Family dynamics, Fiction, Finding Your Self, Romantic Fiction, Social Commentary

#533 Petals on the Wind by V.C. Andrews

Petals on the Wind by V.C. AndrewsPetals on the Wind by V.C. Andrews

When your parents are awful growing up you tend to blame a lot of things that go wrong in your life on them. You have a just cause in doing so, but should you really continue to blame them? At what point do you decide to move on with your life?

Cathy, Chris, and Carrie have escaped their awful mother in Foxworth Hall. Cory is already dead. It’s just the three of them left. It seems they have escaped just in time. Carrie is very sick. On the bus down to Florida Carrie seems to worsen as the hours go by. By luck, Cathy, Chris, and Carrie encounter a large black woman who is deaf. She can’t speak to them, but she writes them a note telling them that Carrie needs a doctor and her doctor-son happens to be one.

The doctor that Henny, the woman, speaks of is the man she cleans and keeps house for. He is in fact a doctor. He’s about forty years old. When he sees the condition the three children are in he takes pity upon them and takes them in right away. At first the children plan on staying just a little while, but Paul, the doctor, convinces them otherwise. He sends them to school. Cathy goes to dance class. Chris goes to college to become a doctor. Carrie also gets to go to school.

As the years go by and Cathy moves further away from her past, she can’t let it go. She wants revenge. Her mother doesn’t live too far away. Her new husband is from a nearby town. Cathy sees fit to write her notes to make her life miserable. Cathy doesn’t know what to do with her life. She becomes a wonderful ballerina. First she takes one older lover and then another jealous lover. All the while Chris, her brother, still loves her as if she were not his sister.

The years go on. Revenge still fills Cathy’s heart. The notes fly through the mail to Cathy’s mother even after Cathy seems to face one tragedy after another. Tragedy and death continue to follow Cathy, Chris, and Carrie. Life has never been easy since they were once locked away in an attic for over three years.

Cathy must decide if the revenge is worth it to her. She has an ultimate plan for revenge that takes years in the making. What will this plan do to the rest of her family and how will it affect her new life? Will she regret it?

What I liked

Flowers in the Attic was an especially chilling novel because a mother seemingly has no regard for her children. She locks them away in an attic. If your mother won’t protect you, who will? This is a continuation of that story. What happened to those children who survived this? Chris sought to be better and put the whole thing behind him, albeit with a very unbrotherly love for his sister. Cathy wanted revenge. She fixated on it. She did not understand why she had been treated this way and she wanted her mother to suffer. These are both possible reactions to the same situation. You may be the kind of person who can move forward, but you might be the kind of person who wants the other people to pay.

I do really like that V.C. made this story a story of psychology. How would different people react to the same traumatic situation? It’s very clever. One wants to push forward and the other wants blood.

What I didn’t like

Cathy is awful. She is our protagonist, but I don’t particularly like her. In a sense, she is both the protagonist and the antagonist. She pushes forward with her life. She’s our story-mover, but she’s also the bad guy. Sure, there are a couple of other not-so-nice people in this story, but Cathy is the main bad guy. She is the one seducing people who shouldn’t be seduced. She is the one stealing men from other women. She is the one pushing people further than she should. She is the one being petty and vengeful. She is the one plotting all manner of horrors. No one else does anything similar in this book, except in brief moments, except for Cathy.

In my opinion, Cathy needs to count her blessings. She got out alive. ALIVE! She got out of that terrible mess alive. She should be thanking her lucky star, praying to God, and tossing candy into the streets because she made it out. There are plenty of abused children who don’t make it out alive. Cathy made it. Sure, something like Cathy’s situation would be very difficult to put behind oneself. You would be angry. You would be upset. You would be so mad that someone else had enough power over your life to have done these terrible things to you year after year after year.

At some point, you’ve got to let it go. You have to say, “I can’t change it. I can’t do anything about it,” and you have to move on. We all have reasons to be ticked at our parents for our growing-up years in varying degrees. Should we continually think about those things and plan elaborate schemes for revenge? No.

Look, I am going to admit right now that there are things I was ticked off at my mom about during my growing-up years. These were things that should not have happened at all. Have I made some revenge scheme? No. My mom isn’t perfect; she makes mistakes. I still care for her. I still care for her enough to want her in my life. If I brought up all these terrible things from our past and was angry with her all the time about them, she probably wouldn’t be in my life. Her life would also be much harder than it already is. She doesn’t need me adding to her pile of misery. If anything, she has already realized that she should have done a lot of things differently.

In this story we do see that Corrine, the mother, knows she did some awful, awful, awful things. In all honesty, she didn’t need this crap from Cathy. Cathy was selfish in her revenge scheme and she hurt a lot of people along the way. In the end that doesn’t make her too different from her own awful mother.

Overall

I felt this was a very interesting story, but I kind of wanted to slap Cathy.

Weigh In

Forgive the parents or not? Why or why not?

If you had a situation where you had to choose to forgive your parents for something and just let them go on with their lives, what was the trigger? Why decide?

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