Petals On The Wind

VC Andrews – the gift that keeps on giving. My obsession with Lifetime’s perverse need to bring to life the incest riddled, gothic crapfest that is the Dollanganger series brings me so much glee it could be considered unhealthy.

From our good friends at Entertainment Weekly comes the news that on May 26 for the first time ever Petals on the Wind the sequel to the titillating and yet terribly written Flowers in the Attic will be gracing our television screens. Oh the joy! This is great because come next Tuesday my  countdown to Dreams of Gods and Monsters (5 days y’all) will official be over and I can begin the countdown (52 days) to what’s bound to be the best weekend of my summer.

They’re even bringing Heather Graham back! I feel like this is the movie where she’ll really prove herself (heavy sarcasm folks. Heavy.)

I'm their mother FITA

Check out the article here: http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/03/27/petals-on-the-wind-photos/

Also on the book adaptation front (and from EW) DreamWorks has finagled the rights to Rainbow Rowell’s piece of YA perfection Eleanor & Park. Not too sure how to feel about this. Can such a beautifully simple story truly be adapted? Time will tell. On the plus side though it’s bound to have a kickass soundtrack – I mean they fall in love over their mutual love for The Smiths (among other things.) Aww, falling in love to the sweet, miserable yet dulcet tones of Morrissey – that just about sums up teenage love.

http://insidemovies.ew.com/2014/04/02/eleanor-park-dreamworks-picks-up-film-rights-to-rainbow-rowell-novel-exclusive/

EleanorPark_thumb

 

On Lies and Lia…

“Being a practiced liar doesn’t mean you have a powerful imagination. Many good liars have NorthernLightsno imagination at all; it’s that which gives their lies such wide-eyed conviction.”

– Philip Pullman, Northern Lights

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Favourite YA Books…at the moment

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish – I’ve been meaning to take part in it for quite some time now and it would appear today is the day for my first foray into the lovely land of weekly lists.

Picking my all time favourite anything book-wise is pretty difficult, picking my favourite YA books? Well that’s kind of a “Sophie’s Choice” for me. So I’ve decided to go with the books I keep going back to, some are relatively new reads, some not so much. But the top three are without a doubt my all time favourites. So, without further ado…

10. Graceling, Kristin Cashore 

Graceling_cover

The first in author Kristin Cashore’s sort of trilogy (more like a companion piece and a sequel) despite being first published in 2008 I first read, or rather heard it last month. (The audiobook – full cast! was my first and was awesome.) After finishing the audiobook I decided to buy a copy of the physical book and read it. Which basically solidified my love for this epic fantasy romance. Heroine Katsa is kind of everything I’d like to be.

9. The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand, Gregory Galloway

adamstrand

Galloway’s Adam Strand is an unusual kid – plagued with the constant need to commit suicide, he is constantly killing himself, only to feel utter disappointment when he comes back to life, some 39 times. Perfectly dry, perfectly macabre The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand is unlike anything else in the YA canon.

8. Hey Nostradamus, Douglas Coupland

Heynostadamas

Arguably Coupland’s best book, this is the story of a fictional school shooting in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1988. Told from multiple first person narratives it is the perfect blend of themes like religion, sex, grief and adolescence.

7. His Dark Materials, Phillip Pullman

materials compass

Many know these books as the series about two kids who set out in essence to kill god – but it’s so much more. An in depth and intelligent commentary on life, organized religion, the afterlife and science, the books though controversial are, well, epic.

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

perk1 perks

You can mark this as one of the first books to break my heart. Chbosky’s Charlie is painstakingly tragic and poignant as the titular “wallflower”, this coming of age story should be read with tissues in hand. Perks also happens to be one of those rare books to make a seamless transition to film. The movie adaptation starring Logan Lerman and Emma Watson is astounding, and totally worth watching.

5. The Outsiders, S.E. Hinton

outsiders1

Ponyboy. Darry. Sodapop. Greasers. Socs. Friendship. Family. Rivalry. This book has it all. Even more amazing despite originally being published in 1967 the book still holds up 47 years later.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee 

mockingbird

There are so many life lessons in Mockingbird – but what makes it so good is that it never feels preachy. Each lesson serves a purpose, and really when Atticus Finch is teaching you morals it’s hard not to listen.

3. The Spectacular Now, Tim Tharp  

“Life is spectacular. Forget the dark things. Take a drink and let time wash them away to where ever time washes away to.”

“Life is spectacular. Forget the dark things. Take a drink and let time wash them away to where ever time washes away to.”


I love this book. The story of loveable ne’er-do-well and teenage lush Sutter Keely pulls you in, takes you for a ride and blows your mind with its unconventional ending.

2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor 

DaughterOfSmokeAndBone

This series is my current obsession, and though I dearly love Days of Blood and Starlight (the second book in the trilogy) series opener DOSAB is a book I go back to time and time again. With a love story that spans not just lifetimes but worlds, the book unfolds so beautifully and yet so unexpectedly. It’s a real gem. (28 days until Dreams of Gods and Monsters!)

1. The Fault in Our Stars, John Green The Fault in Our Stars

There’s no denying I am definitely a JG fangirl – I have often wondered where he was when I was in high school and in desperate need of characters like Margot Roth Spiegelman, Quentin Jacobson, Lindsay Lee Wells, Alaska Young, Miles Halter and most importantly Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. Of his four books what makes TFIOS my favourite (and makes it top not only this list but the list of my favourite books) is the reality with which it is so deeply entrenched. Despite what some say, this is not an “issues” book, this is a love story. An honest, innocent, beautiful love story, one that doesn’t just draw you in but makes you invest in each character. Best of all you’ll laugh just as hard as you’ll cry.

Harry and Hermione?!

Harry and Hermione?!

So J.K. Rowling’s apparently acknowledged what I’ve been saying for years – Harry and Hermione were the better match.  And yeah, yeah, yeah opposites attract and whatever. I’m sorry the chemistry was always better between Harry and Hermione. And now Ms. Rowling has finally validated my thoughts! VINDICATION!

I know I care way too much about this. But watch the scene below and then tell me I’m wrong.

Worst. Literary. Parents. Ever.

Inspired by the resurgence of V.C. Andrews in my life thanks to Lifetime I’ve found myself dwelling on the theme of terrible parents in literature. Sprinkled throughout book history are evil, awful, questionable or simply giant failures of parental examples from Queen Jocasta from the three Theban plays to Christian-crazy Margaret White from Carrie.

So please sit back and enjoy this list of god-awful parents brought to you by the minds of your friendly, neighbourhood authors.

*This list is weighed on a scale of Bambi’s mum to a V.C. Andrews book parent*

Corrine Dollanganger -Foxworth, (Or any parent in the V.C. Andrews canon of borderline sociopathic parental units) Flowers in the Attic, V.C. Andrews
What’s worst than a girl-child mother? A girl-child, lazy, kind of slutty, definitely selfish, self-involved, obviously lazy because really she could have attempted to get a job or just marry rich for the sake of her children mother. Oh did I mention she shows shades of the crazy her psycho mom definitely called dibs on years earlier? Cause she totes does. There’s also that whole thing where she married her half-uncle/half-brother, agrees to lock up her four children in her crazy mother’s attic, then tries to poison them to death with arsenic laced doughnuts. Can you say evil?

I'm their mother FITA

Obviously a V.C. Andrews parent. The original to boot.

Awesome fan art from http://tumblr.penbitten.com/, obviously not her parents

Awesome fan art from http://tumblr.penbitten.com/, obviously not her parents

Eleanor’s ParentsEleanor and Park, Rainbow Rowell
Poor Eleanor, she gets dealt a pretty rough hand as a teen – quirky, with red hair and a bit of extra weight she stands out like the proverbial sore thumb of lore before. Lucky for her she has Park to act as her port in the storm (this post is just littered with lame sayings, let’s see how long I can keep it up.) With a mother more concerned about pleasing her abusive, alcoholic second husband, a father more concerned with being cool, reliving his youth and shucking all parental responsibility, oh and again that alcoholic, abusive stepfather, who kicked her out of her own home, let her come back and then haunts her with crude sexual messages and on occasion beats her mother is it any wonder they make it on this list?

Definitely leaning towards the V.C. standard of parents (but with far less cheese.)

Marisa Coulter – His Dark Materials, Phillip Pullman
In the words of Damien from Mean Girls “She’s fabulous but she’s evil.” Marisa Coulter, mother of Lyra, one of two children enlisted to *spoiler* basically kill God works for the Magesterium, and uses her position and influence to manipulate the church into giving her the money to fund her evil schemes. Her Daemon is nameless which suggests she may be lacking in the love gene. Yet she’s curiously kind to Lyra. A greater parental oxymoron has there never been.

"She's fabulous but she's evil."

“She’s fabulous but she’s evil.”

On a scale of Bambi’s mum to a V.C. Andrews adult, let’s place her in the middle beside Katniss’ mum from The Hunger Games.

Uncle Vernon & Aunt PetuniaHarry Potter, J.K. Rowling
The best worst guardians ever, Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were so concerned with keeping up appearances (another saying! Also a delightful British comedy from the 1990s FYI) that they locked poor Harry in a closet under the stairs, told him lies about his parents and pretended to send him to St Brutus’s Secure Centre for Incurably Criminal Boys (best fake school name of all time) all to save face. The brilliance of J.K. Rowling eventually reveals that at least for Aunt Petunia there was jealousy and envy on her part that led to her behaviour. Uncle Vernon however, is just a jerk.

Why this clip? I don’t know.

On the Bambi-V.C. Andrews Scale they’re a solid Uncle Vernon & Aunt Petunia.

Marcus EatonDivergent series, Veronica Roth Eaton
Allegiant controversy aside – one thing Veronica Roth did well was bad parents, especially in the form of Poppa Don’t Preach preaching poppa (seriously my verbosity knows no bounds) Marcus Eaton. Leader of the Abnegation, a group that is meant to be selfless, controlled and understanding, is instead manipulative, power hungry and abusive (a common theme on the bad parent scale.) Tobias “Four” Eaton got his nickname because his fear landscaped showed he only had four fears to master – the biggest, scariest of them all? You got it, Poppa Marcus.  Oh and Mama Evelyn? Well she ain’t no walk in the park either.

Not quite V.C.A but definitely a head above the Dursley’s.

Stepmothers the literary world over, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretl, Snow White
Lady Tremaine with her big bouffant and hideous daughters, the evil Queen with her desire for hearts ripped straight from the cavity (or in the original a meal of freshly procured virgin lungs), H&G’s mommy dearest with her super awful “the world revolves around me” mentality that leads her to demand her husband take his children to the woods and lose them. *Cough bitch cough* Is it any wonder that children with divorced parents fear remarriage? Thanks for that Hans Christian Andersen. Thanks a bunch.

Time for vicious practical jokes. Perhaps we can put it to better use. Now let me see... There's the large carpet in the main hall; clean it! And the windows, upstairs and down; wash them! Oh yes, and the tapestries and the draperies—-

Time for vicious practical jokes. Perhaps we can put it to better use. Now let me see… There’s the large carpet in the main hall; clean it! And the windows, upstairs and down; wash them! Oh yes, and the tapestries and the draperies—-

The Bambi-V.C.A. Scale goes something like Bambi, mediocre parents, Evil Stepmothers, V.C.A parents.

The WormwoodsMatilda, Roald Dahl
My personal favourite book in the Roald Dalh oeuvre, Matilda herself is strong, smart, a lover of art and books, all around a real classy kid. Her parents however are dimwitted, lowbrow trash who wouldn’t know their daughters worth if it bit them in the butt. As a child I remember being nothing but disgusted by these two, and feeling a sense of great satisfaction when Matilda went on to live with Miss Honey.

matilda gif

No doubt somewhere along the lines the Woormwoods and the Dursley’s share some genetic makeup.

What other fictional parents are out there I’ve no doubt overlooked?

5 Best Quotes from Watership Down

Why quotes from Watership Down? Three reasons:

It’s profound – way more profound than you realize as a child, or maybe as a kid you do realize it but because your’e a kid you don’t know how to describe it quite right.

Oh the drama! Who knew being a bunny was so hard?

Bunnies. Obviously.   WatershipDown

So without further ado!

5. “If you want to bless me you can bless my bottom, for it is sticking out of the hole.”

4. “We all have to meet our match sometime or other.”

3. “Human beings say, “It never rains but it pours.” This is not very apt, for it frequently does rain without pouring. The rabbits’ proverb is better expressed. They say, “One cloud feels lonely”: and indeed it is true that the sky will soon be overcast.”

2. “You know how you let yourself think that everything will be all right if you can only get to a certain place or do a certain thing. But when you get there you find it’s not that simple.”

1. “Animals don’t behave like men,’ he said. ‘If they have to fight, they fight; and if they have to kill they kill. But they don’t sit down and set their wits to work to devise ways of spoiling other creatures’ lives and hurting them. They have dignity and animality.”

Flowers in the Attic – TV Movie

Top cheese network Lifetime’s much anticipated adaptation of the salacious, incest riddled, cos-02-Flowers-in-the-Attic-book-cover-mdnmelodramatic V.C. Andrews classic Flowers in the Attic premiered last night and with it came the collective release of many a bated breath for all those who devoured the Dollanganger series under the covers, late at night, flashlight in hand. Or, if you were me, openly, in the family room while your multitude of brothers watched some sports related movie and your mother took it at face value when you told her the book was about a girl growing a garden in an attic. Regardless, it’s almost a right of passage for thirteen-year-olds the world over to get their hands on a copy and blush over its many indecencies.

So it comes as no surprise that many a person was looking forward to spending a cold Saturday night in January at home, on the couch, to watch Don Draper’s daughter (Kiernan Shipka) take the lead as Cathy Dollanganger as she stumbles into a world of child abuse and ugh, brother lovin’.

And that’s okay, I won’t lie, I was one of those people. I even had a reminder set up on the TV. I watched, I shuddered, I laughed at the terribly bad acting, I felt strange disappointment that it wasn’t as blatantly prurient as I expected. Which says a lot about where my mind was at. (This is obviously something one shouldn’t freely admit to but it’s done, and I’m obviously too lazy to hold down the delete key so the admission stays!)

According to People magazine (that triumph in journalism) Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic is “a gripping, psychologically coherent foray into American Gothic” I would say that was reaching. I don’t think people expect much from a Lifetime TV movie apart from excessive melodrama and questionable acting.  And really that’s the beauty of Lifetime. So Flowers in the Attic found its perfect home. And offered the chance for someone to finally answer the question: What does melodrama + melodrama =? Sadly it would seem the answer is not Uber-melodrama but rather a strange struggle between putting it all out there and maintaining some element of timidity.

So let’s set it up to knock it all down shall we?

The Acting

Oh Heather Graham, oh dear, dear, dear Heather Graham – she was kind of everything I wanted Corrine to be. Just vacuous. Vacuous with seedy undertones. A lot of people said her acting was awful. I agree, but I’d like to pretend that it was intentional. That the terrible acting was just an element of the character, who spent all of her life acting a certain way to get what she wants – that effusive happiness, all that child-like joyful innocence, none of it’s real. It’s all an act. Because deep down Corrine’s just as bat shit crazy as her bible thumping mother Olivia. It’s delightful.

The Dresden Dolls: Cathy, Christopher, Cory and Carrie

I’d like to thank the writer/writers for limiting the amount of lines given to the creepy Children of the Corn twins because every time they opened their mouths I couldn’t help but think “It’s quite possible I’d have locked them in the attic too.” Obviously I wouldn’t. But sometimes the thought is enough to satisfy.

I will give praise where praise is due, it can’t be easy for two young actors like Kiernan Shipka (Sally Draper guys. Sally freaking Draper) and Mason Dye (who let’s be honest is kind of dreamy in that whole clean cut, I’m on the row team and wear sweaters tied around my shoulders Yale graduate way) to take on roles that involve sibling lustin’, I mean I think if that were me I’d have spent all of my time giggling uncomfortably. But they did it, and I say this with a limited amount of irony, with class? If that’s possible.

And then there’s Ellen Burstyn – no one plays crazy old lady quite like her. Every time she uttered “Remember, God sees everything” I expected fire and brimstone. And though in the end it’s really awesomely ridiculous that a tiny hallway leading to the attic acts as her downfall, Burstyn plays it so beautifully you almost feel bad for dear ol’ granny. And then you remember that whole crazy abusing, locking her grandchildren in a room for years, calling them abominations and devil spawn thing and then you laugh because really Flowers in the Attic is amazing.

The Story

It’s so good guys. It’s just so bad it’s good. I love it. I’m obsessed. There’s so much crazy coming from all the adults and so much temperance from the kids, it’s like a weird Freaky Friday but with incest. Which isn’t cool but you know you read the books because of it. And watched the movie to see how it was done. And in the movie it just kind of happens. Like it was inevitable and so you know there you go. It was almost offensive in how seemingly accepting Cathy and Chris are about it. And okay there are many issues with how it happens in the book (that whole Cathy blaming herself for her brother raping her thing, definitely some sort of latent anti-rational thought on V.C. Andrews part) but the movie kind of made it seem romantic? I put a question mark there because ew.

As far as adaptations go though this one really did try to maintain the integrity of the original work, which I really appreciate. It’s definitely miles ahead of the dreadful 1987 film starring the original Buffy (Kristy Swanson) and Troy’s friend from The Goonies. It’s like cheesecake, you know it’s going to go straight to your thighs but you’re all “whatever” cause it’s delicious. But then after you’ve eaten the whole thing you can’t help but feel sick at how much you enjoyed it.

So in honour of the best piece of ridiculous, gothic horror, young adult melodrama out there let’s bask in this gem from the original book, and raise a glass to V.C. Andrews and her strange, twisted, over-the-top, theatrical stories of crazy, rich white people.

“There is no hate such as that born out of love betrayed- and my brain screamed out for revenge.” And cue Petals in the Wind. 

When you are real

rabbithors“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’ velveteen

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’