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The series I loved at 12 .. The first step in recovery is to admit you have a problem…

Stephen King Books

Hello my name is Kriss and I read… no.. not ready yet, yes I can admit  I have a problem, the problem is I am haunted by a series of books I loved when I was 12. (I will get there I promise) My mother let me read them, so I guess we can blame here right? Of course young adult horror books were obviously more healthy than those “…horrific psychologically damaging books that awful Stephen King writes! End of the world? Pigs Blood? Kristine Louise, NO! I will not buy The Shining! Here read this nice one by Judy Blume!” (swallowing back the bile)

Wait, before I tell you, I have to finish the tale. I need to work up to this because, frankly I am horrified I loved these and still feel the need to pick them back up when I see them in the pile at Value Village.. maybe, ohh they are only a quarter for each… *tapping toe*… *chewing fingernail* … no.. NO! I will resist. OK Here, is my long winded  tale of how the addiction began…

savers

My parents believed in force feeding us books as kids. Unfortunately my brother was horribly dyslexic. Since the Cosby show had not started airing its series on it yet, no one know that THESE people were not stupid, just had a problem with their brain translating letters. (Yes I am really that old but my boobs are still perky so stop giving me crap). I didn’t mind because I loved to read, but the pressure was on. There was a contingency attached to library visits and book store purchases. If I wanted to read my choices, I had to read a classic.

Well here in lies my problem, what is a classic? Certainly, and I did use this as an argument, Poe was a classic! But my mother said it was over my head. Granted, I was 8 so she was probably right. But the thing is  as I have mentioned before, my dad got me hooked on horror stories with Vampire novels. My grandmother fed it with late night sessions of Alfred Hitchcock movies and old Bela Lugosi films on my 13″ B&W TV.. with the lights off… in my basement bedroom. My mother insisted I read Treasure Island if I wanted to read The Shadow Over Innsmouth when I was 11.

I did it, because she asked for my father since she knew my brother would probably never be able to read it let alone read a classic unless he had to for school. And probably then my mother would end up having to buy him the cliff notes and write his paper herself.

So, I heaved my shoulders and sighed dramatically, I believe I even threw a pouty lip in for looks, but Mom wasn’t buying it since the lip only worked on Daddy.  But eventually I read the book. Honestly though Treasure Island, a pirate book, counted as a classic, SCORE! Heck,  I grew up with a beach in my backyard and we sailed boats, and one of our ancestors is Captain Morgan! I was bred to like pirates, but I didn’t let them know! I just rolled my eyes and dutifully read it because I just borrowed The Stand from a friends library! (of course I quietly said “ARRR” a lot that summer)

But that is not why you are reading this is it? You want to know what book series could I possibly be ashamed with reading? What could possibly make me go off and write this tangent? Well I put this post away for a few days and now I believe I have the guts to finally write it down… ready?

Original Cover

Yes Flowers in the Attic, which incidentally marked OK for YA BTW at my local book store and library. What you secretly thought it was going to be something else huh? No you knew it was going to be this because I bet you have read it too!

Flowers In The Attic was an incredibly vivid book, which left obvious scars on my psyche . When I read them I was moved, disturbed and oddly excited about the relationship between the older siblings. That is what has stuck with me. I feel dirty just thinking about it and how my young brain actually thought this was romantic! (The new cover makes me more freaked out about all of this and I am secretly glad non of my daughters like romance!)

I thought it was going to be a horror story about a family, the only thing that the person warned both my mother and I about was the abuse suffered by the kids at the hands of the grandfather, NOT what kind of abuse. I was not prepared for what lay within. It was a horror/romance/washmybrainoutwithbleach book.

I had read somewhere this was also labeled a Contemporary Gothic (which really makes no sense but he I will go with it) I’d read Gothic novels, in fact Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights  and me had a date every afternoon one week in order to get  read a collection of Vampire short stories and poems (which was probably more risqué then most books I had read yet!) I’d read a few romances with some very naughty bits, especially for my age. BUT NOTHING prepared me and disturbed me and sucked me into my own teenage naughty feeling hell before that these did. It fed my horror addiction, because let’s face it these are really scary books. The implications were mind blowing. The rumors that it was based in truth did not help my doubtfulness at all.

I was repelled by what I was reading — yet compelled to continue reading it. I couldn’t put it down and walk away from it… and as I mentioned before, I kept reading them as they came out! I could not wait, and had to buy multiple copies because I read them to death as I grew up. I never told my friends either.  I felt like there was something wrong with me, heck I still do.

 Why in the hell and just where was my head and how screwed up am I??? (and sympathize or overlook or even romanticized with incest and rape?) In fact why are they still OK to be labeled Young Adult, because that is where you will find them at my local Barnes and Noble, which is what brought about this diatribe!

I remember being so frustrated over the wait till V.C. Andrews churned out the next in the series. I have touch and feel memories associated with the pretty foiled peekaboo covers. *faceplant* SHEESH my mother wanted to send me a psychologist over my love for Stephen King?? Oh if she only knew! *wiping sweat from brow* OK I feel better admitting my problem I can pass up the section of V.C. Andrews at ValueVillage…wait their special right now is six books for a buck… well maybe just this once…

Do you have a series or a book growing up that you were obsessed over and today have a hard time admitting it? Or is it just me!? DO TELL!

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8 Comments

  1. I used to read my dad’s martyr books, and some of the more violent biblical historical type things…

  2. I have no problem in saying I grew up on Judy Blume and read the first two in the Flowers In The Attic series. My mother was great and let me read what I wanted and knew I was mature enough to handle it :) Thanks mother dearest for beating me with books and not hangers.
    Show me some love!

  3. I got you beat. I read 3 of the John Norman “Gor” books before I finally threw one against the wall in disgust. (To be fair to young me, I was trying to work my way through the SF&F bookcase alphabetically at our public library. John Norman ruin that particular goal for me.)
    Show me some love!

    • ROFLMAO OMG GOR!LOL ok secret? I have them all on my HD hidden from Geoff HAH. I went through this obsession with the world, but MAN oh man are they written just something AWFUL!

  4. I read these too, probably at the same age as you. The time frame sounds about right. I have to admit that I’m a bit ashamed that I too thought they were romantic back then. And yes, I feel a bit dirty now that I think of it. Ick! No wonder the film did not even touch on the incest. I wondered why back then, but now I understand. :) That being said, I am shocked that these are classified as young adult. I honestly don’t remember them being so back in the day. All I know is that my parents let me read what I wanted and I was way above my age in reading level. So when my mom got the Andrews books, I snapped them up and read them too. Just to give you an idea of how truly liberal my parents were…I was reading a book called The Entity at age 13. Probably not a book for a 13 year old to be reading. Stephen King and John Saul were regulars too. I think I read my first John Saul book when I was in 5th grade. I always did love the scary. However, despite all this book debauchery (lmfao), Little Women still remained one of my favorites. Go figure.
    Show me some love!

  5. Funny post! I never read VC Andrews; I don’t know why. I remember my friend carrying it around, and I thought it looked intriguing (in a forbidden sort of way). :)

    Thanks for the pingback on my last post. :)
    Show me some love!

  6. I had freedom to read, since my mother was a school librarian and I usually spend a lot of time on the library. It was easy to just pick a book and read.

    I think I read Flowers in the Attic at 15, and I couldn’t continue with the series. The brothers, the rape, the mother, the donuts! It was just very disturbing for me…But I admit it, I read the book fast and even when those things kept happening, I just couldn’t stop reading. (I still can’t stop thinking about it, I’m actually curious about the other books)

    Anyway, I don’t like the new cover with the ‘sweet couple’ :/
    Show me some love!

  7. OMG I used to have the book store owner where I lived keep back a copy of the newest VC Andrews novel so I could snatch up the newest one whenever I came in — they sold out fast, LOL!!! I think I started reading them like 6th grade, but then I was all into Stephen King & John Saul as well. I look back now & shudder… you’re not alone!
    Show me some love!

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