Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Blog Hop

This contest is now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered, and especially to everyone who commented on the banned books. It's nice to know so many people believe completely banning books is wrong. All of those who commented will be entered in the constest for a second entry. I will then post the winner on my blog. Good luck to all!! And happy reading.

In celebration of Banned Books Week I'm joining several other blogs to giveaway a book that has been banned at some point or another, or to bring awareness to these books, as there are some missed gems among them. Enter below to win a copy of Flowers in the Attic. The contest runs until midnight, Oct. 1, 2011.

My Banned Book of Choice: Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews
Synopsis: After the death of her loving husband and doting father of her children, Corinne Dollanganger takes her four children home to live with her parents. Unfortunately, one of the conditions of their living there is that the children must be hidden from Corinne’s father who doesn’t know of their existence. Corrine stands to inherit her father’s vast fortune but only if there are no children from her first marriage. Why? Because her husband was her half-uncle, half-brother to her father. Her extremely religious parents believe she is a sinner as she lived in incest.

The children, Chris, 14, Cathy, 12, and the twins Cory and Carrie, 5, are unaware of this. They are locked in the attic where they are sadistically treated by their grandmother: constantly called “the devil’s spawn” and “abominations”, whipped, starved, Cathy’s hair coated in tar, and poisoned, among other cruelties. Their mother, who at first visits with gifts and promises to get them out of there at the first chance possible, soon stops coming to visit at all. Not long after, the twins get ill, and it’s discovered by Chris that their mother has been poisoning them. She has remarried, and needs the children to disappear so as to not interrupt her idyllic new life.

As they are locked up with no one else to interact with, they soon make up their own family unit, with Chris and Cathy acting as parents to the twins. As Chris and Cathy go through puberty in their three-and-a-half year confinement, Chris and Cathy become attracted to one another. After the death of Cory due to the poisoning, they decide they must escape to save their lives and the life of Carrie.

Why I chose this book: I remember reading this book as a young teen. It really struck me, how unfair and cruelly these kids were treated. I wanted to jump into the pages of the book and rescue them. It’s one of VC Andrews’ best works, when it was really VC Andrews writing and not a ghost writer as writes under her name now. She touches on so many deep issues in this single book.
As an adult I can understand things I couldn’t as a child. Back then I was shocked by the incest between Chris and Cathy; as an adult—not that I approve or think it’s okay in any way—I can’t help but think if you put two adolescents who are going through puberty while being locked up for years on end with nothing to look forward to but abuse, who have formed a sort of family unit to retain a sense of normalcy, it stands to reason that without any guidance they would naturally turn to one another.

It also delves into the deep greed of one woman, who would rather keep her wealthy, fantasy life with her trophy husband and pseudo happiness than keep her children alive, let alone healthy and free. As much as we’d like to believe that couldn’t really happen, that would be deluding ourselves. Abuse is nothing new and is perpetrated by selfish people.
It also opens the debate as to whether a person can call themselves Christian when they use it as an excuse for brutality and vindictiveness. I personally feel that God is about love, and would not condone such behavior.

Why this book was banned: It seems pretty obvious. Not only does it deal with abuse and incest, there is a rape scene between the siblings—pretty heavy, blatant, graphic material. The book has been banned at various times from various places, and I don’t know that you’d be able to find it in any school library due to the graphic rape scene and incestuous passages.
Do I think it should be banned? I don’t think any book should be banned, per se. I think every parent has the responsibility to make sure that what their children are reading is appropriate. I also think that each individual librarian has the right to choose whether they think a book is appropriate to be carried in their schools library. That being said, if a student wishes to bring the book from home to read in school, or to write a book report on, I don’t think the school has a right to tell them no if their parent(s) has already said yes. Personally, I think Andrews could have written the same book without being so graphic, and it would have the same impact. Still, she chose to write it her way, and I respect that. And I’m a fan of the book. It ranks up there in probably my top 20 or so of all-time favorite books.

The giveaway: Now, for the good stuff! I’m going to send the winner of the contest a copy of the controversial Flowers in the Attic, your choice of paperback or Kindle edition. All you have to do is fill out the form below with your email (so I can contact you if you’re the winner). That’s the only requirement to enter. Want an extra entry? Leave a comment below telling me if you’ve read the book and what you think of it, why you’d like to read it if you haven’t, if you think it should be banned, or what your favorite banned book is—anything that has to do with this or any banned book, really.
Good luck!

Use the links below to hop on over to the next blog.


  1. Flowers in the Attic was one of the first books I read as a teenager that I thought was shocking. Of course I had to read the rest of them! LOL

  2. grapes of wrath

    wow when i went to school they were on the required list to read, thanks for having this tour.
    jbarrett5 at

  3. I love V.C. Andrews' books. I read Flowers in the Attic when I was a teen and thought it was disturbing and all too entertaining. I think this is one of the books that began my love of darker fiction. I loved the Casteel series too. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Donna @ The Happy Booker
    ahappybooker at gmail dot com

  4. Not entering giveaway but wanted to thank you for your post.

    The American Library Association website for banned/challenged books--short list for classics only--includes To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; 1984, by George Orwell; A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway; Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell; and Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron. The first four were required reading in my school days.

    A commenter on Murder She Writes, however, took me aback by mentioning the Bible, which of course is banned in some places.

  5. Jaeven, J., and Happy -
    Isn't it strange that you can read a book like this as a teen, and while it was shocking (and let's face it, enthralling) I somehow doubt a single person who ever read it went, hmm, I think I should have an affair with my sibling. So, seriously, why ban books that kids and their parents think they are mature enough to read?
    Liz - I was stunned when I went to the site and saw some of the books on the list. Can we say "book burning" anyone? (Really...the Bible?)
    Thanks to you, Liz, for educating us all and for helping to host!

  6. Thanks for the giveaway! I remember there being a big uproar about Flowers in the Attic when I was in school lol Come to think of it, I think it DID end up banned there.

    romanceaholic at gmail dot com

  7. I remember reading this book in late middle/early high school and loved it!

  8. I love V.C. Andrews books. I remember reading Flowers in the attic when I was in the 4th grade I always had a love for books! I remember my Mom had to go to school about it because I did a book report on it and the teacher told my Mom she shouldn't have allowed me to read this book I still remember Mom's reaction if she could handle and she will read what difference does it make she will talk to me if it bothers her. Which I still do :)

  9. A Clockwork Orange (1962) Anthony Burgess

    I remember reading a few V.C. Andrews books growing up middle/high school. They were always controversial and shocking. But the writing always captured and stunned me simultaniously. I never think that any book should be banned, I've had a pretty rough going starting at a young age which actually brought me to your book Heart on a Chain. Reading books was my solace, my safe place to go and finding stories I could relate to where no matter how bad it got the character comes out on top. That helped me so much. Many books with such graphic detail that bring tears to my eyes, they just remind me that I'm lucky to be where I am. That it could have been worse. That forgiveness is possible. Against all odds there is always reason to hope. I couldn't count the number of times a simple passage in a book has made my day. Banning books should be illegal! :)

  10. Jess - I remember the uproar, also, and couldn't figure out why! lol. I understand better now, though I still don't think it's right.

    Leigh Ann - I think that's about the age I was when I first read it.

    BB - Good for your mom. I agree that it's a parent's job to police what your kids are reading, and not someone elses.

    Dana - It always makes me so sad to know what some children are forced to live with. I'm glad you found books, because they can completely take you away from whatever you need to escape, at least for a little while. People like you are an absolute inspiration to me, so thank you!

  11. I read it ages ago and I can remember being totally horrified, both by the incest (don't think I even knew what it meant till this book) and by the evil grandmother.

  12. I have always wanted to read this book, so thank you for the opportunity.

  13. This is a classic! One of the first "adult" books I read as a kid!

  14. thanks for the giveaway. interesting book :)

  15. Thank you for the giveaway: Flowers in the Attic was the first in a very long series. I remember reading it when I was a teen.

    books4me67 at

  16. I spent my teen years reading VC Andrews books. I was lucky that my parents felt that as a teen, I had the right to choose my own books.
    manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

  17. Lisa - that's probably a huge reason it's been banned in so many places - too many parents having to explain incest. :o)

    Ryan - you are welcome!

    nfmgirl - I think it was one of mine also.

    Crazy Kitty - you are also welcome. It really is an interesting premise (I mean what would happen with kids locked up by a crazy grandma, not the incest thing).

    books4me - It was a long series. I seem to remember a break-off series from it? Or maybe they just all began to feel the same. lol.

    June - ditto on that with my mom. I don't think my dad had any clue what I was reading. :o)

  18. I have not read it yet. Would like to read it... I do not agree with banning books... I can make my own decisions on what I and my family needs to read...

  19. Thanks for the giveaway :) I think I have books two and three but I haven't read the first one. I've heard lots of good things about it!

  20. I read this book when I was in the eighth grade and all the girls I knew were reading it. I dont think it should be banned, if only because I have seen some non readers pick it up and that can start a wonderful trend.


  21. I read this book many years ago and would love to read it again. I really don't think it should be on the banned list but there are a lot of books on there that I don't think should be.


  22. I haven't read this book before but I've heard about it. I'm actually curious to read it, but I never got around to it! Whether or not I win this giveaway, I plan to check this book out the next time I go to the library!

  23. I read this series back in high school, and I loved it. Yes, the incest is a little creepy, but it would never have happened if they were not put into the situation that they were in because of their grandmother!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. No book should be banned, ever, for any reason. End of discussion. Freedom of information and ideas is paramount for us to maintain any freedom at all.

    This was a great book, and I read it when I was in middle school.

    alicia.ebaugh at gmail dot com

  25. April - Agreed!

    April X - It's been a while since I've read 2 & 3 but I kind of think you need to read 1 first for them to make much sense. You should definitely read it.

    nayjf - I agree. If it weren't for another banned book (Twilight), my daughter would not be the reader she is today.

    Virginia - I agree on all your points.

    Chen - I'll be interested to know if they carry it at the library. You'll have to let me know.

    Darlene - It is creepy. It took me until I was an adult to understand the reasons behind it, and realize that it was more the g'ma's fault than theirs.

    Noele - I agree. We do live in America where we have the choice of whether to read a book or not. We should celebrate THAT rather than ban books.

  26. I saw the movie but I don't remember reading the book. I think books are way more detailed than movies. It's been so long that I don't recall if the movie even touched on incest. I'm totally against the banning of books. If something is inappropriate for you are your kids, then don't read it, no one has the right to decide what's appropriate for everyone else.

  27. Tara - I also saw the movie, but didn't think it was as good as the book (when is it, though?). I don't recall if it discussed that, either. And the grandma wasn't near as scary in the movie as she was in the book.

  28. Nabokov's "Lolita" was controversial when it first came to the United States, as well as some European countries. It didn't help that Nabokov offered no justifications for the book's subject matter, other than the fact that he needed to get the story off his chest.

  29. Micro - I didn't know the story that Nabokov just needed to get the story off his chest. I don't know if that's classic, or disturbing! lol.