Where the Greener Grass Grows was always thought to be an unpublished manuscript of a previously unreleased novel and surprisingly turned out to be the first draft of what ultimately became Petals on the Wind.
Excitement enough for any VCA fan, and of course questions were raised – What did it contain ? What was it like ?
Although Jessica was not able to read the entire manuscript due to time restrictions , she has been able to inform fans on what the manuscript contains.
It’s 486 typed pages (though the first chapter is missing) and is written in third person. Surprisingly , it is actually completely different from the final version of POTW with many differences and is very slow going:
Cathy and Paul
●The story focuses on Cathy and her dating Paul and ultimately marrying him.
● Cathy attends school, is terrible at maths and is almost gang raped.
● Paul attempts to send her to a Private School
● It is Henny who encourages Paul and Cathys relationship. She also talks of her own husband.
● Cathy gives up her dream of being a ballerina and becomes Pauls housekeeper
● Cathy dates one boy Grant Sarnoff until she realises Paul is jealous
●Paul is aware of what happened between Cathy and Chris
●She stays married to Paul for the entire book, and Paul is still alive by the end.
●Paul is a doctor, but he also helps children of abusive parents.
●Carrie and Chris fade into the background for the first half of the book.
●Carrie marries Alex and she has a baby girl named Catherine Leigh.
● It’s unclear if Alex is a minister.
● Carrie dies by the end of the book
●The incest is only mentioned once, early in the story, when Chris comes to Cathy and says that what happened in the attic cannot happen again.
●Chris marries a nurse named Sarah. She’s not mentioned at the end of the book, so it’s unclear if Chris stays married to her.
●Corrine is brought to trial for what she did to her children. The verdict is unclear, but she was set free.
●Corrine dies by the end of the book
●Foxworth Hall is still standing.
And then this bombshell, which has been exclusively revealed to AtticSecrets :
“it was said Cathy was looking for the killer who killed both Carrie and Corrine it implied it might be the grandmother or someone else.”
The evidence found by Jessica Zinder especially Corrines death suggests that the Dollanganger saga was initially meant to be a two book series serie
It confims suspicions that ITBT, SOY and possibly GOS were just a product of Virginias imagination though if I know anything about Virginia I suspect that she liberally sprinkled these with clues to the real story also … especially in malcolms journal and Corrine’s dialogue.
Fans have often wondered if the book Cathy was writing in ITBT was Flowers in the Attic and when she says it was becoming so large that she had to split it in two – the second part became POTW.
Where the Greener Grass Grows certainly is the continuation of the flowers story , it is reminiscent of someones memoirs and with it being the first version of POTW makes you wonder if this is what really happened to the children in the real life version of the story….the true story. And if thats so then the whole murder aspect of both Carrie and Corrine is intriguing……..
If this is the case it can tell us a lot more about the true story too :
●It tells us that the house of the true story is still standing … or at least it was at the time the manuscript was written.
● The real life versions of Cathy and Chris did not continue their incestuous relationship.
● Where there are no direct descendants of the real life Chris and Cathy. There was of Carrie.
Interestingly, something that may back up the theory Where the Greener Grass Grows is also based on a true story is that Corrine was taken to trial.
Ann Patty, Virginia’s editor, when speaking of the true story links mentioned the mother had been taken to trial and it had made the papers. But does this mean the rest is true ?
Was there two more murders in the real life dollanganger saga ?
I also doubt it was a coincidence that the 2014 lifetime version of POTW had Chris engaged to a girl named Sarah …. someone connected to it must have been aware of this manuscript.
To me , it feels that Where the Greener Grass Grows was indeed what actually happened to the children once they escaped but unfortunately for Virginia the publishers felt it wouldn’t have been exciting enough .
I mean , seriously , our feisty Cathy giving up ballet and becoming a housekeeper ?! Never , surely . The whole concept seems alien to Cathys character.
And im kinda morally shocked that Henny would encourage the relationship with Paul !
Personally leaving out the star crossed lovers aspect of Cathy and Chris is a big piece of the Dollanganger saga missing, it wouldn’t have been the story we know and love nor would it have haunted us readers as much.
The continuation of the Dollanganger saga was that no matter how hard she tried Cathy couldnt escape the Attic. In WTGGG it seems she did and whilst that s all fine and dandy for real life unfortunately , its rather dissapointing in fiction. Flowers in the Attic was no fairytale …. there was never going to be a happily ever after.
Of course, id love to have read and seen Corrines trial and how she wriggled out of that one but apart from the murders …. Where the Greener Grass Grows seems to be very very tame.
However with the murders , if this really is a true story then things take a rather sinister slant.
The real life Foxworths were apparently very powerful, and according to Ann Patty to figure the true story out would need the CIA . This suggests that to publish anything that straight out stated murder would be a foolish thing to do and I suspect that the publishers of POTW were aware of that.
So thats the differences – What about the similarities ?
The thing that strikes me is where Petals had a lot of subtext, where the suicide of Carrie hints at the actual murder of Carrie – Where the Greener Grass Grows comes out with it straight. There is no subtext here. This could back up the theory that it was intended by Virginia that the subtext be read that way. That the suicides in POTW were not suicides at all.
All in all although completely different , I know I would kill to read this manuscript….. theres so much in my head regarding the changes its actually difficult to write exactly how I feel about them down without having read it fully myself . From a fans point of view would these changes have worked ? Would the Dollanganger saga still affect me as much ?
I asked Jessica her specific thoughts as she is the only fan and one of very few people who have seen this manuscript
” It was hard to read having to set my mind on it being in third person when for the most part reading her books in first person. There are parts that seem to take forever and it is slow. I guess if I was reading this cold (i.e.. never read POTW) I might have thought it was a slow steady pace unlike POTW where things are being thrown at you non stop. During the rewrite I think she was tightening those things up. While in other places she was digging deeper in many ways I found POTW more action based though.
Cathy seem more passionate and also seems more curious about people it seemed she took more of what happened harder.
While Chirs seemed way more damaged then he seemed in POTW he didn’t just shrug it off but he separated from his sister unlike he was able to in POTW. (Granted that might of changed I just wish I could have read it more to tell more concrete thing then just the little that I was able too .)
Carrie seemed to act the most different she became quiet and more mature I think also (although there not being a first chapter) I didn’t see anything about Carrie being a Little Person.
The book was alike enough to know that is was the first version. Again not reading the whole thing the only thing I can remember is Owl of the Roof which seems to be the most similar but for me it seems VC did the rewrite because she didn’t want this to be the last book or someone didn’t want it to be the last book.
Cathy giving up dancing seemed odd to me ”
So there we have it , again one more VCA mystery solved as to what the story of Where the Greener Grass Grows is and a whole lot more questions left in its place ….. but then again it wouldnt be VC Andrews if that wasnt the case 😉
id love to hear others comments on this, what they think of everything the manuscript contains and if they too believe WTGGG is the actual true story of what happened after the attic.
Of course , comments under this post are welcome as are on the AtticSecrets group aswell as a special thread on the Lost Angels of VCA forum