Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews (Reading Challenge Book Review)

Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger, #1)Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I clearly remembered seeing this ratty paperback being passed from one teenaged girl’s hand to the next when I was in high school but that can’t be right–I’d graduated six months before the book came out. So maybe I’m thinking of Carrie? Or Go Ask Alice? Something smutty and therefore taboo and enticing, but I dunno. ~shrug~

Anyway, I selected this as #21, a book published during my birth month (November), for my 2020 Reading Challenge. I started it in October, as Halloween was approaching, the weather was getting cooler and rainier and windier, and I was rattling around alone and anxious, cleaning out and packing up an entire household by myself after my stbx decided to torpedo our marriage and left, dumping literally everything on me. So, the timing and setting should have been ideal. Dismal weather, nerve-racking personal situation, spooky holiday–enter the gothic horror novel. Perfect!

Except, not so much.

I almost stopped reading at 33%, but virtually every other book I owned was packed. The characters are by turns flat and annoying, the writing style is that of a nursery story with endless details and egregious overuse of “golly” and the ! key, overwrought dialogue, the action and suspense were drawn out and lackluster. But I just wanted every sucky thing in my life to be behind me, including this book, and I didn’t have the spoons to deal with the library and having to pick something new. So I kept going.

The verdict: Worth it, I suppose. A lot of people loved it. I don’t regret reading it, but didn’t enjoy it enough to continue with the series, especially since I know that after her death, pre-Internet and therefore not splashed literally everywhere, “V.C. Andrews” books were ghostwritten with zero attribution to the actual ghostwriter. Cashing in and keeping her hidden is thematically on-brand, at least.

Bookshelves: creepy-horror-stuff, goth-lit, bad-dialogue, horror, ya, everybody-loved-it-but-me, reading-challenge

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (Book Review)

The Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryThe Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bookshelves: fantasy, quantum-stuff, cover-love

I’m waaaay late publishing this, but this was my first best read of 2020. You know, before everything went to shit.

This fantasy is a delightful cross between The Golden Compass and Narnia. The writing is rich and lyrical, and I fell in love with the characters.

The cover is stunning.

Highly recommended.

Go on a magic journey with me on Goodreads

The Two Mrs. Grenvilles by Dominick Dunne (Book Review)

The Two Mrs. GrenvillesThe Two Mrs. Grenvilles by Dominick Dunne

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bookshelves: lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous, trashiest-trash, high-society, roman-a-clef, in-the-news

Another fun roman à clef from Dominick Dunne, this is not* the not-even-thinly-disguised story of the real-life uber-wealthy Woodward family. Prep schools, country clubs, banking fortunes, golddiggers, sex, the New York Social Register, drugs, scandal–it’s all here, including the power the real rich can wield to literally get away with murder.

Put on your comfies, pour a big glass of wine, and settle in for a solidly entertaining trashy read.

*Except that it is. After I finished this book, I googled the real story, and then put aside my never-read-the-unfinished-last-work policy and read Truman Capote’s Answered Prayers, which purportedly inspired one of the real Mrs. Grenvilles to suicide.

Let’s discover more great trash on Goodreads!

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg (Book Review)

White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in AmericaWhite Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America by Nancy Isenberg

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

If there’s a message beyond “hey, everybody, there’s a class system in America” (as a card-carrying member of the The Poors, I’m well aware of that, thanks), I will never find it. This might have been excellent as a collection of essays with the padding cut out. I was not aware of much of what I did get through and I enjoy learning new things, but even though I agree with the author’s (probable) politics, I found this too repetitive and dry.

It might well be me. I’m presently struggling to navigate my third cratered marriage and divorce, so it’s difficult to keep my mind on anything but the fluffiest fluff. I’ll try to read this again and will update accordingly. If you’ve read this, please share your thoughts!

Bookshelves: american-history, current-social-issues, non-fiction

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