From the home of Stylist

FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC BY VIRGINIA ANDREWS

Why should you read this 1979 saga? We’ll give you four good reasons

• It’s all very soap opera. Flowers In The Attic is the first in five instalments of the Dollanganger series. It’s narrated by 12-year-old Cathy Dollanganger, who, when her father dies, is sent to live with her grandparents along with her brother, and their younger siblings. They are locked in the attic by their grandmother while their mother has seemingly abandoned them. Thus ensues years of abuse and tragedy.

• Reading it is a rite of passage. Every GCSE English lesson, our teacher would ask what we were reading. He became pretty despondent when week after week, every girl in the class was reading a Virginia Andrews novel. Flowers In The Attic isn’t clever reading but it has sold millions of copies worldwide.

• It’s origins are a mystery. Rumours abound that it’s based on a true story. One claim is that when Andrews was young, she developed a crush on a doctor who said he and his siblings had been locked away in an attic to preserve his family’s wealth.

• It was banned. Like many great books, Flowers has been banned at some point. Many American schools banned it because of its incest storyline and Andrews was never afraid of controversy – her first published work was a short story called I Slept With My Uncle On My Wedding Night.

Flowers In The Attic by Virginia Andrews (HarperCollins, £7.99)

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