Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Book Review: "My Sweet Audrina"

Mame and I have decided that we are going reread V.C. Andrews' books and post reviews. You know. For fun. What? It's OUR blog. We can be geeks if we want to be! And she's practically our patron saint. (Of incest!) I should probably stop saying the word "incest" so much. God knows what kind of people end up here, looking for...you know what? I don't even want to know. ANYWAY. Oh, this review will probably be totally spoilery, but I refuse to feel guilty about it because the damn book came out 25 years ago and the "twist" is totally obvious anyway. So here goes!

Our first book is My Sweet Audrina. Something of an oddity in the Andrews universe in that it doesn't follow the usual pattern: five books in a series, the last being a prequel. It's a stand-alone; no sequels, no prequels. And my mother verified for Mame and I that it never had a double cover. (You know, Andrews' books always had the cut-out cover with the creepy picture underneath that you ooo'ed and aaah'ed over while you were passing the book around in study hall so your friends could read the dirty parts. Oh whatever. Don't act like you never did that. Don't even. It's how we all learned the word "orgasm." Oh, hello, more porn fiends! 'sup?) So, the story picks up with a little girl named Audrina Adare. (The names in this book are TOTALLY soap-opera-y and often descriptive of the character. The male love interest's name is Arden. Yeah. And Audrina's menacing dad? Damien. No one EVER accused Andrews of subtlety.) Audrina's...a bit off? A bit touched? She has trouble remembering things, never knows what day it is, gets headaches and is totally afraid of "something bad happening in the woods." I know, sounds twisted, right? IT IS. Her family is all messed up; she's got a useless, pretty mother, a bitter spinster aunt (Yeah! Give it up for the spinsters! WOOOO!), an evil slag of a sister/cousin with fragile bones (Whatever. Isn't that a real disease? Like Samuel L. in Unbreakable? No one acts like it's a big deal. "Oh, Vera broke her femur again. What a nusiance. No, Audrina, nothing bad EVER happens here! Look, something shiny!" And look at that, I just described the whole book. Heh.), a spooky, brain-damaged baby sister and a boyfriend with poor math skills and a guilt complex. And you thought Faulkner was twisted? Sure, the Adare clan is too posh to make their own coffins out of window frames, but they can hold their own with the Bundren family.

Heavy references are made to Audrina's "older sister," the First Audrina. (Yes, the "First" is always capitalized.) Audrina 1.0 apparently met her demise while trip-trapping through the woods (against her parents' orders!) at the hands of some evil boys. Her rape and murder are always skirted around with some stupid euphemisms. The most hilarious part of the whole book is when young Audrina 2.0, somewhat hazy on the details, asks her mother just what killed her fabulous older sister. "What was it, Momma? A snake?" Well, kind of... ahem. Sorry, that was bad. ANYWAY. Our unreliable narrator, Audrina 2.0, is forced by her weirdo dad to sit in her sister's rocking chair and sing some creepy song about always staying with her daddy to "soak up her sister's gifts." Or whatever. That part is a little...murky. Apparently, Audrina 1.0 was perfect and wonderful and beautiful and full of joy and sunshine came out of her ass. Blah, blah, blah, Audrina 2.0 grows up with a big old inferiority complex and a whopping case of PTSD. Typical gothic novel plots follow: Mom dies in childbirth, baby sister is not right in the head and toddles around saying weird, sometimes prescient, shit, "older sister" Vera is really her cousin, boyfriend Arden is, by turns, shifty and sweet, Audrina 2.0's dad schtups bitter aunt, the bitter aunt pitches down the stairs to her death, Audrina 2.0's dad bangs Arden's legless mom (Yeah, you heard me. I'm reminded of a certain quote from Six Feet Under here. Heh.), legless mom pitches down the stairs to her death (sensing a pattern?) Arden and Audrina 2.0 get married, Audrina 2.0 hates sex and Arden must be a lousy lay because he doesn't notice and Vera is a total whore. Whew. And seriously? That's like, half the plot. I just got tired. Oh, and turns out? There WAS no Audrina 1.0! The whole thing was just a ploy because neither Audrina nor her dad could deal with sexual assault! Boy, wonder why THAT treatment isn't used more often? Oh, wait. 'Cause it totally doesn't work and is fairly obvious throughout the book and probably in my brief summary.

It's actually a decent book. I'd go out on a limb here and say it's probably her best. (Don't freak out, Mame! Ok, it's a toss-up between My Sweet Audrina and Flowers in the Attic. Happy?) Sure, there's plot holes you could drive a whole FLEET of trucks through, but the atmosphere is nicely creepy, the story deliciously fucked up (Better than any episode of Law and Order: SVU!) and Audrina 2.0 is a reasonably compelling character. She's complex, interesting and not as whiny as SOME of Andrews' heroines. (Are you listening DAWN?! SHUT UP, DAWN. And your whiny daughter, Christie. HATE THEM. Also, don't judge me, but sometimes Carrie Dollenganger bugged me too. Yeah, YOU'RE SHORT. GET OVER IT. Sorry!)

And people? Why hasn't this been made into a tv movie? It would be awesome, right? RIGHT?! You wouldn't even need a miniseries like you would for all of Andrews' other books! It could be a regular, two-hour movie! GET ON IT, LIFETIME! OR COURT TV! OR WE! But not Hallmark. They'd take out all the dirty parts.


Tifffany said...

I always thought Ruby was whinier than Dawn ;)

Tifffany said...

I always thought Ruby was whinier than Dawn - WHY IS THIS THING NOT WORKING!

Tifffany said...


OK, I figured out why, you "moderators"... off to bed!

Anonymous said...

HEY!! Your most excellent review has stirred in me the desire to re-read My Sweet Audrina-- which is one of my fav VC Andrews books. So off I went to my small, yet conviantly located across the street from my work, used bookstore. Now there is a whole shelf of Andrews books, but no Sweet Audrina, so I asked and the owner said he had about 100 more in the back. I sent him back to search and, would you believe it? He had NO copies!! What the heck? Did all the world read your review and run out to get a copy? I guess I have to wait for a visit from the parents to have them bring me my VC Andrews collection which is still in their attic.


Anonymous said...

OK already-start getting me the VC Andrews' books on CD-I guess they're worth a 2nd listen 20 years later. GOD!

Bea mom