Is 'Flowers in the Attic' Based on a True Story?
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Is 'Flowers in the Attic' Based on a True Story?

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | January 18, 2014 | Comments ()

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With Flowers in the Attic airing on Lifetime tonight, I suspect that questions about whether the movie/book was based in reality would surface again, as they did after the novel’s initial release. The short is answer: Yes, and no. There’s no actual evidence proving that Flowers in the Attic is based on true events, but the book was advertised as being “based” on a true story, when it was initially releases, and a relative of Andrews’ confirmed that it was inspired by an actual account:

Flowers in the Attic WAS based on a true story. Virginia was a young lady when my dad made arrangements to take Virginia to the University of Virginia hospital for treatment. While she was there, she developed a crush on her young doctor. He and his siblings had been locked away in the attic for over 6 years to preserve the family wealth. Obviously she cut the time back [in her novel] to be more believable. That area of the country has a lot of very wealthy people. I do not know who they were.”

Earlier this year, the editor of Flowers in the Attic confirmed:

“Yes, Flowers in the Attic was based on a story she heard when she was in the hospital for a spinal operation…. Well, someone told it to her, yes. Some doctor there. So I’d guess that some aspects of it were true—at least the aspect of kids being hidden away. Whether the twins were real, the sex, the time frame, probably not. I think it was just the concept of kids hidden in the attic so the mother could inherit a fortune.”

Moreover, Andrews’ next-door neighbors were the Garmingingers (which inspired the name of the Dollengangers), and the hair-hacking incident was also based on an actual account in Andrews’ history.

Virginia was playing in the street (they were putting fresh tar down to refinish the street) and got fresh tar in her hair—her mother could not get it all out so she had to butcher her hair… and Virginia always had long, pretty hair. That hair clipping really traumatized her even back then.”

Finally, here is Andrews’ pitch letter for the book, where she outlines that it is a ‘fictionalized” version of a true story.


Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, and Kiernan Shipka will star in the Lifetime adaptation of Flowers in the Attic, airing tonight at 8 p.m.

Sources: Wikipedia, The Complete V.C. Andrews

See Also: The 10 Most Telling Screenshots from Lifetime’s ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Trailer

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • NovellaParras

    The Story is so very interesting and Mind Blowing about the Flowers.

  • Sierra

    Does anybody else find these stories completely disturbing and ridiculous? I was disgusted throughout the movie and not only because of the vivid immorality that was displayed but also by the fact that someone was creepy enough to have written an even more descriptive story of it. Its simply mind boggling. Incest should not be encouraged. DIS-GUS-TING!

  • Jamie Dello Stritto

    Yes, everyone, please stop writing about disgusting things. There is no room for immorality in art. Please, just let us hide and pretend nothing indecent would ever happen.
    I'm not using my sarcasm to proclaim anything for or against this particular story, but this is a ridiculous comment.

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    The hangover I have today is one of the few over my lifetime that was completely worth it.

    This movie was ...I really have no words...AMAZING.
    And Petals in the Wind is confirmed already in production! I CAN HARDLY WAIT.

    Seriously. Do not read sarcasm in this. I completely, unironically loved this movie!

  • denesteak

    Is TK liveblogging this?!

  • SelenaMac

    I personally think Andrews was crafty enough to know her book would sell faster with the "based on a true story" bit than without. I do think it was more a fictionalization of her own struggles, as someone who was essentially confined to her home due to a fused spine. Her mother was her caretaker, and V.C. dedicated Flowers to her.
    I'm live-blogging the 1987 movie followed by the Lifetime movie tonight, on Persephone Magazine, if anyone's looking for drunk, funny people to watch with. /shameless.

  • Berry

    You wouldn't happen to know how her mother took the dedication, would you? Because... yikes.

  • SelenaMac

    I do not know for sure, but I think she may have been deceased when the book was published.

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