Imagine you had a friend in high school, a close friend with whom you were inseparable. Eventually though you outgrew this friend and drifted away. Time passes and you look them up only to find out your friend has lost their effing mind. This sums up my relationship with Andrew Neiderman aka V.C. Andrews.
I haven't read a V.C. Andrews book in years but Secrets in the Attic called out to me. Mainly because it I thought it might be a throwback to Flowers in the Attic. The novel centers around two besties, Karen and Zipporah. At least the Andrews' legacy of terrible names hasn't gone out of style.
Karen begins to act strangely and eventually reveals that her stepdad is a regular Norman Bates who has been molesting her. Eventually Karen kills him and Zippy is forced to hide her friend while feigning ignorance to her trusting parents.
This story could have been a great psychological study on whether Karen was a victim or a heartless murderer. This book could have been some Nancy Drew mystery with the girls working to clear Karen's name. This book could have been about giant zombie bunnies fighting vampire guinea pigs. Any of these approaches would have been better than what really happened.
Aside from the murder, the plot of the book centers on Zipporah getting laid. Your best friend's virginity is far more important than being on the lam for murder. She even goes so far to manipulate some guy into thinking Zipporah's a sure thing. In the old school V.C. Andrews novel, Zipporah would have been raped, but this is a kinder gentler V.C.; attempted rape only.
Zipporah soon finds out that her older brother not only knows about Karen, he is also sleeping with her. Everyone eventually finds out that Karen has been lying about what had really happened and is conveniently put away in a mental hospital. And that she has a convenient sequel hook growing in her belly thanks to all that secret attic sex.
Secrets had the potential to actually be worthy of the V.C. Andrews name but was incredibly botched by boring characters and ludicrous story lines. I was hoping to read more about Karen not Zipporah and her search for a clue. Sadly, there is a sequel and I will read and review it. It’s because I may be a masochist who specializes in torturing herself.
Hopefully Secrets in the Shadows will tie up the multitude of loose ends that Attic has left behind.