Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2 reasons why I am a weirdo today: VC Andrews and Lurlene McDaniel

This weekend I got a great birthday gift.  No, not the awesome books from my honey of the cake from my trivia team with a deep cut Saved By the Bell reference from the Malibu Sands episodes. [Tangent: Seriously check out the link. It was amazing...and got instagram love from the girl that runs the Saved by the Bell podcast, Go Bayside. Happy Birthday to me, indeed.] This weekend via article in Entertainment Weekly and via text from my librarian friend Laura that the VC Andrews book Flowers in the Attic is getting the Lifetime movie treatment. This mass market paperback is likely the best book about incest and arsenic coated donuts that you will ever read.

[Tangent: In the late 80s there was a movie version that starred a young Kristy Swanson, but it wasn't that great. It was much too tame and had the dumbest ending ever. It's on Netflix if you want to pregame and use it for comparative cinematic analysis.]



When I was younger, and all the other kids in my peer group were all butt crazy in love with RL Stein books, I was kinda over it.  [Tangent: At that point I was watching Tales from the Crypt, so really, the Goosebumps series were not living up to its promises.] My sister, who is a couple years older was had a shelf filled with VC Andrews and of course, I wanted to do everything she did. At the age of 11, this book was likely the most salacious thing I had ever read. It was so twisted and amazing and filled with characters who did completely inexplicable things like a mom who in order to get money from her rich family locks her children in an attic and slowly poisons them. Spoiler Alert. [Tangent: I have always had a fascination with eccentric/certifiably insane rich people in pop culture...and the Dollanganger family in this book doesn't disappoint. Trust.]

Upon hearing the news about the reboot, I started talking YA novels with my sister, who teaches 8th grade and is thus the leading expert on fiction aimed at kids in braces. [Tangent: She said she keeps Flowers in the Attic on her bookshelf to loan out to her kids, but none of them want to read it because they say,  "the cover looks boring." Seriously, those kids don't even know what they are missing.] She also said none of her kids wanted to read my favorite childhood author: Lurlene McDaniel. Ugh, kids today.
this was basically EVERY cover. So dramatic.

Never heard of Lurlene McDaniel? Well, you probably weren't a dark weirdo like me as a child. All of Lurlene's books revolved around dying teens and children. ALL. OF. THEM.  Don't believe me...here is a list of her books. 

Mother, Please Don’t Die
The End of Forever
If I Should Die Before I Wake
Too Young to Die
Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever
Somewhere Between Life and Death
Time to Let Go
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
When Happily Ever After Ends
Mourning Song
Baby Alicia Is Dying
Don't Die, My Love
Till Death Do Us Part
For Better, For Worse, Forever
Sixteen And Dying (One Last Wish)
A Time to Die (One Last Wish)
Please Don’t Die (One Last Wish)
Mourning Song (One Last Wish)
She Died Too Young (One Last Wish)
Mother, Help Me Live (One Last Wish)
Someone Dies, Someone Lives (One Last Wish)
A Season for Goodbye (One Last Wish)
Let Him Live (One Last Wish)

I can't imagine why I loved these paperbacks so much. The storylines couldn't have varied that much from book to book, but I was seriously at Bookworld every week adding a new title involving the word "death" into my collection. I guess my mom never questioned it...she was just glad I was reading.  [Tangent: The stories were basically like if Deathcab for Cutie wrote Harlequin romance novels to a Babysitter's Club generation.]
 


So what have we learned about my adolescent psyche? Basically the lithmus test for whether or not young Kimmie would like a book revolved around whether it was terribly depressing and or would make a great Lifetime movie one day. Luckily Flowers in the Attic is making my dream come true. [Tangent: Also fellow VC fans, check out this blog by My Paper Crane about this very subject. You'll love her commentary.] I can only hope the cable execs are reading this blog and sign a deal with Lurlene McDaniel, too. It seems to be her destiny and would make me a happy/midly derranged camper.  [Tangent: Lifetime, while we are at it...can I please be a guest judge on Project Runway? Please and thank you. I mean if the girl from Precious can be a judge, surely, I am capable.]

16 comments:

  1. When I was in high school, I worked at the local public library. We had to shelve all of the books that were returned, so we kept a passive-aggressive list on the wall of "Authors Who Need to Stop" like John Grisham and Nora Roberts. You know, because all these books fell under the same author name and required an additional level of sorting.

    Lurlene was on the list. :)

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    1. I don't doubt it. In retrospect, they are terrible. I guess I thought they were fantastic literature, but preteens generally have TERRIBLE taste. I was no different.

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  2. Wow. Those are also two reasons why I am weird, as I was similarly obsessed with both these authors at a formative age. SOMEONE DIES, SOMEONE LIVES was my favorite McDaniel. My mom never really questioned my purchases, either. Although she did attempt to keep me from stealing her Stephen King books. Off to read that blog post!

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    1. I am so glad I am not alone . I was talking about them not long ago and seriously NO ONE knew what I was talking about.

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  3. Lol, I actually own and have read Lurlene McDaniel's I'll Be Seeing You. Majorly depressing.

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    1. I think the one I remember most was baby Alicia is dying. I guess as a young girl in 4th grade, a book about an AIDS baby really spoke to me.

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  4. I remember reading Too Young to Die!

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    1. THEY WERE SO GOOD. was that one of the Make-A-Wish ones. There were a lot of those.

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  5. Holy crap,YES! I just had a re-read of the Dollenganger series and My Sweet Audrina not too long ago. As a child (started on VC Andrews at about 11 or so, too) they were twisted and fascinating narratives. I've re-read them at different stages in life and have come away with different conclusions. Now to me they're hilariously kitschy over-the-top and badly written, still fun to read in the same way it's fun to watch campy bad movies. They are so fun to make fun of. I can't wait to check out the lifetime movie, hadn't heard of it. :D

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    1. I really need to reread it before the lifetime movie premiere. I looked on amazon and they are selling used copies for a penny. I think I can afford that.

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  6. hmmmmm i think i'm going to have to keep a lookout at goodwill for some of those lurlene mcdaniel books. seems right up my alley, even now! haha

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    1. I am certain you will find them. Imagine A walk to remember but like even more terrible yet somehow addictive (at least I thought so 20 years ago when I read them). If not, I will borrow one from my sister's class for you.

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  7. "Baby Alicia is Dying"-- I'm laughing so hard I feel sick.

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    1. That is perhaps the most memorable. It is about an AIDS baby, which is of course what every 5th grader is obsessed with.

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  8. That trailer looks ridic. I like the cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine" whining in the background. They should have made a movie for Heaven instead. As a sheltered 7th grader in Brentwood, that redneck turns high class hooker story really spoke to me. Nonetheless, dvr it for me please.

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    1. I think I started Heaven. In retrospect, it was basically Fancy, right?

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