This book is dedicated to my mother

Virginia’s own brother Gene called Flowers in the Attic : ” a book about child abuse.”

Her own mother refused to read it ……..

So why dedicate such a harrowing story of children suffering to your own mother ? It just doesn’t make sense …….

Of course the cynic in me says that a book heavily marketed as a “true story” during a period where child abuse memoirs were topping the books charts had to have an edge. And what an edge!
Dedicate a story about a mother poisoning her children to your own mother !

The morbidly curious and bloodthirsty for a good story tells me , well to dedicate a book like that to your mother must mean your mother was truly evil…
Corrine Foxworth evil.

But of course, this isnt actually the case, my own research into Virginia proves this wasnt her story, her mother wasnt like that at all….
Even Ann Patty , Virginia’s editor referred to Lilian Andrews as “a sweet old lady”.

So why the dedication ? What could it possibly mean ?

What if , like Neisha Chetty s theory suggests about Corrines reasons , Virginia’s mother kept her away from the world in order to protect her ?

Her daughter had been harmed and paralysed in the outside world and to expose her again , a mother would fear how society would react to her. Like Corrine s fear of her children being seen as unholy , abnormal and subject to ridicule.

Perhaps in adulthood Virginia realised this and hence the dedication ?

In Fita , Virginia speaks of the isolation, the boredom and longing for life through an adolescent Cathy. Cathys frustrations at being shut away echoed Virginia’s own feelings regarding her paralysis and entire dependency on her mother.

Cathy Dollanganger is the voice of a million teenage girls , their frustrations and angst in life dominating them throughout that difficult period of becoming a woman. Her relationship with Corrine is echoed between mothers and daughters throughout the world. The assertion for independence , the longing to be like mom whilst simultaneously hating her and loving her …

But of course, Cathy and Corrines relationship was put through extreme circumstances much like Virginia’s and her own mothers .

Instead of an Attic , Virginia was imprisoned in her own body by the accident she had at fifteen. Like Cathy and the others she is dependent on the judgment of her mother. And sometimes mothers dont always get things right.

Apparently Lilian Andrews was fiercely protective of her daughter.
Through that and her paralysis Virginia lost out on many things a teenage girl would experience, just like Cathy.

When Cathy speaks in Fita , every word jumps out at you – raw , emotive.
A reader believes she is reading Virginia herself.
In fact, Virginia herself stated she did put a bit of herself into her characters.

Does Cathys frustration at Corrine s inability to see her becoming a woman , still treating her as if she was a child, buying her childrens clothes echo Virginia s own frustrations at her mothers attitude towards her ?

Did Lilian treat her like a child ?
I suppose psychically she would have to with her daughters disability. Whilst frustrating for Virginia, it was down to her mothers love of that its certain.

So like in neisha s theory that Corrine acted out of love , I propose Lilian did too. She loved her daughter with all her heart and wanted just to protect her.

Therefore, I propose that the dedication that has baffled fans for decades is not one implying her mother was some sort of child abuser at all nor was the tale Virginias own personal story,  it was to let her mother know through this tale , and dedication, this is how she felt but not only that – that she understood why.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. eastsidon says:

    That was brilliant, Lorraine Elgar ! I love how book theory was intertwined into Virginia’s real life situation. Like you, I actually think she had a complex relationship with her mother. Virginia loved her mother no doubt, but your research in a lot of ways shows that Lillian Andrews overprotectiveness of Virginia imprisoned and isolated a young Virginia. I think that dedication is meant to show Lillian and the world how some mothers can be as Cathy said in ITBT… It’s probably a dedication that says “mum I love you and I understand why you did those things but you hurt me so deeply in the process, if only you stopped and thought of the consequences”. Virginia didn’t want Lillian to read the books, but I think FITA was an outlet for Virginia to tell Lillian all the things she truly wanted to say to her and never had the courage to. She did that in the Faces of Fear interview that Cathy had the courage to say things she couldn’t. All this is definitely thought provoking and I can’t wait for more of your research … I’m literally at the edge of my seat because all of this is just so fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I explained in the blog , it was your theory on Corrine which led me to this theory. To me , this is the only thing that makes sense – this is why the book was dedicated to her. I d love to hear others thoughts on this though .


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