Welcome to the first ever Trashy Tuesday, Thursday Edition! In an effort to keep my recaps/synopses/reviews from becoming tl;dr posts, I’m going to bring Trashy Tuesday to you twice a week for the rest of the year.
Today we’re covering the second book in the Dollanganger Saga, Petals on the Wind.
When we last left the Dollanganger kids, they had escaped from the attic and were on their way south to join the circus – images of themselves performing as trapeze artists dancing in their heads. Because that’s completely realistic, right? On the bus south, Carrie starts throwing up all over the place and the bus driver freaks out. The kids are approached by a large, note-writing black lady (we later find out that she writes notes because she’s mute) who tells them she will take them to her doctor-son. She writes a threatening note to the bus driver, and he decides to leave his route to deliver them to a residential neighbourhood. This…this seemed completely unrealistic to me. Really? Don’t buses have schedules to keep and whatnot?
Anyway, they get to the “doctor-son” and he’s a 40 year old widower with a huge house. OF COURSE he’s going to take in the pathetic poisoned runaways! Nooooo, he’s not going to call the cops or anything. He’s just going to welcome them in and give them the run of his house. Were there credit cards in the 60s? If there were, I’m sure he just handed ‘em on over to these kids he didn’t actually know. Even if he didn’t give them buttloads of cash, it’s not a biggie cos he took them all on a super shopping spree shortly after arriving. Somehow the doctor-son (now called Daddy-Paul by Carrie) manages to become legal guardian for the three, even though their mother is still alive and if it’s ever found out she has any kids, she will lose everything. This is another thing that doesn’t make any sense to me.
Corrine’s father knew she’d locked her kids up in the attic, but he still added the codicil to his will stating that if she was ever proven to have children with her half-uncle OR any other children in the future ever, she’d lose everything. Why was it so easy for her to be summoned to South Carolina to
not appear for a custody case? Surely just the fact that an attorney was reaching out to her with regards to her kids would have been enough to tip someone off? NO!
Cathy starts bleeding all over the place when she auditions for some prestigious ballet company and we’re told that it was because her cycle was never regular in the attic (what with being stressed out about being locked up and being poisoned and stuff). Chris is truly, madly and deeply in love with his sister and tells her that he will never want anyone else (ew), that his love for her grew while they were imprisoned together, and his heart will always be hers.
To dissuade her brother’s romantic feelings for her, Cathy goes on dates with a boy ballerina (I know that’s not what they’re called, but danseur sounds so pretentious) – Julian is the son of the woman who runs her dancing school – but she also starts trying to seduce her new daddy, Paul. This girl…man, she really has issues. She’s constantly talking about revenge on her mother and grandmother, she’s trying to hop into bed with someone 25 years older than her because he was nice AND she’s still managing to lead her brother on while telling him that it can never be.
Cathy graduates from high school, Chris goes on to medical school, but Carrie (who never really grew properly after being locked up in the attic during her formative years) gets in trouble with some mean girls at her school. She’s locked on a roof in the middle of the night, and while trying to find her way back inside, falls into the attic (?!) and breaks her leg. That’s the end of boarding school for Carrie, right as Cathy is about to leave for New York to fulfill her dreams of becoming the greatest ballerina the world has ever seen. [sigh]
During one of her trips back home, Paul asks her to marry him and of course she says yes. Chris FREAKS OUT and tells her he’d rather have her marry Julian than Paul (which really doesn’t make much sense because everyone knows that Julian is a jealous douche who is only good for dancing), but says he still hopes that one day she’ll be his. Jeez, dude. Let go. SHE’S YOUR SISTER.
One night, back in New York, Cathy is paid a visit after a performance by a woman who claims to be Paul’s sister. She says that Paul isn’t really widowed and that the procedure Cathy had after bleeding all over the place in the dance studio was actually an abortion. An abortion that got rid of a fetus with two heads and three legs. Gross. Cathy believes her for some reason, and marries Julian without ever talking to anyone about it. Smart.
Julian is of course, not the fantastic husband she’d hoped for. He cheats on her with young girls and hits her, is incredibly verbally abusive…just not a nice guy. While they’re on vacation in Spain, Cathy receives an invitation to Chris’ graduation from medical school. Julian refuses to let her go because he doesn’t want her loving anyone more than him, so she drugs him and takes off.
After graduation, Chris takes her back to New York and Julian gives new meaning to the term spiteful dick by jumping on and crushing her toes. Sorry, Cathy…no more dancing for you! Julian gets super drunk and crashes his car, finds out he’ll never be able to dance again after the accident and kills himself. So now Cathy is pregnant AND can’t dance anymore AND a widow at the age of 23.
But things aren’t all bad! The insurance company doesn’t want to pay up because of a suicide clause, so she decides to find a lawyer. Guess who’s a lawyer? Mommy’s second husband! The one that doesn’t know about them! Cathy gets her money, then moves to be closer to the home they escaped to put into effect her new plan of stealing momma’s husband. Nice. Super classy.
Of course she manages to seduce Bart. Of course he falls in love with her and tells her all the family secrets. Through him, she finds out that the grandmother has had a series of strokes and can no longer speak, so it makes perfect sense to sneak into the manor and exact a little revenge against an old lady that’s ready to die.
Meanwhile, poor Carrie is in love with a boy that doesn’t seem to mind how tiny she is. When she finds out he plans to be a minister, though, she makes herself eat a bunch of arsenic laced doughnuts so she can go just like Cory did. It was pretty sad. What does this make Cathy feel? The lust for more revenge!
So. Seduction of mother’s husband? Check. Whipped grandma as payback for the beatings you received as a child? Check. Pregnant (again) with mother’s husband’s baby? CHECK! The only thing that’s left is public humiliation, right?! So, she sneaks into the house on Christmas night, descends the staircase and gives this huge performance about how she was locked up in the attic for three years with her brothers and sister. Bart tries to play it off like he’s paid Cathy to perform this little drama, but no one really buys it. He takes Cathy and Corinne into the library and demands answers, damnit. Corrine lies at first, but then fesses up to being the world’s worst mother, then goes off running through the house to set the attic on fire (I assume to destroy the evidence of the dead kid that was left up there and all the things that the other three left lying around).
Bart tries to play the hero and goes back into the burning house to rescue the dying grandmother and they both die in the fire. So…that’s two baby daddys that are dead, Cathy. You really can pick ‘em.
Paul is dying, so Cathy marries him to give him a last few years as his wife, and so that mini-Bart can take his last name. Paul’s dying wish is that Cathy let Chris do for her what he can, since she’s already had her tubes tied, there’s no risk of more freaky kids being born. Wait, what? How does anyone actually encourage someone else to run away and marry their own brother?!
Does she do it?
Find out on Tuesday!