My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews is a novel that was published in 1982. It is the only stand alone novel that was published while Andrews was alive. The novel takes place in the Southeastern United states during the 1960’s-1970’s and touches on diverse real world subjects such as rape, post traumatic stress disorder and autism.
Audrina Adare believes she is a seven year old when the novel starts although it later revealed that her memory is unreliable. She lives in a Victorian mansion with her father, mother, aunt and cousin. Throughout the novel, the family takes special care to keep Audrina from knowing precise dates. She is frequently confused about the passage of time and is bullied by her cousin Vera for “being insane”. The story is that nine years before she was born, she had a sister whose name was also Audrina, who was raped and murdered in the woods on her ninth birthday. Her father tells her stories about the “first and best Audrina” and convinces her that through self hypnosis, she can gain all of her older sisters memories and become just as special as she was. By the end of the novel Audrina discovers the devastating truth that everyone knew but her. My Sweet Audrina is a story of love and deceit, innocence and betrayal and the power of parental love.
I really enjoyed the story for the most part. There are a few issues that I had with the story and characters which I will get to in a little bit, but I think that the novel is different from anything that I have read. It’s a dark, somewhat twisted story. There is romance, tragedy, death and pain but there is also joy and happiness. I think there is the perfect balance and the story comes together very well.
I think there is a perfect balance of core characters. Damian, Audrina’s father is overprotective and deep down does what he believes is best for her. Lucietta, Audrina’s mother is a gifted pianist who gave up a career for marriage and children. Ellsbeth, Audrina’s aunt is a feisty feminist who raised her daughter on her own. Vera, Audrina’s cousin is conniving and mean. Arden is Audrina’s love. He is noble but gullible. Billie is Arden’s mother. She was an Olympic figure skating champion who lost both her legs after getting gangrene as a complication from untreated diabetes. Sylvia is Audrina’s younger sister who is born with Autism and only seems to successfully communicate with Audrina. Lamar is a piano teacher who becomes involved with an underage Vera.
The romance between Audrina and Arden starts out as a sweet friendship. Audrina is isolated from everyone expect her family but she wonders into the woods one day and meets and befriends Arden. She sneaks to see him and his mother until her father finds out and forbids her from seeing him. Eventually he allows her to visit them. Arden lets Audrina know that he is interested in her but in the beginning Audrina doesn’t want a romance. When Audrina is almost 18 she finally realizes that she loves Arden and they elope. Throughout their relationship they have their ups and downs. Arden is seduced by Vera but still loves Audrina. In the end Arden helps Audrina find out the truth that her family has been keeping from her.
I have always been a fan of V.C. Andrews. I loved her Flowers in the Attic series and plan to reread it and do a review on that as well. She writes novels that combine gothic horror and family saga. Her stories revolve around family secrets and forbidden love. Frequently she writes of incest, mostly between siblings and they are often times a rag to riches story. I think V.C. Andrews novels are expertly written. She writes about all the dark, not often talked about, sometimes forbidden topics and she does so in a way that makes you really feel for the characters and makes you root for them. I’ll touch more on that when I do my review for The Flowers in the Attic series.
I had a few issues with the story and characters. First, the fact that the whole family lied to Audrina and didn’t even want her to know what day it was kind of made me made. That alone would make someone wonder what was going on especially when they were older. The thing about it that makes me even more upset is that her father took her to her dead sisters room to sit in her rocking chair and try to make her remember the life that her sister had. They don’t want her to have perception of time but they want her to relive the life of her sister? Second, I also have a problem with the fact that throughout the book, they want her to be like the “first and best Audrina” so Audrina grows up trying to be like her older sister instead of being the person that she is suppose to be. There is something wrong with a parent wanting their child to be like a child they lost to the point that they try to get them to remember that other child’s life. Third, without giving away anything, I was upset by the ending a little bit. When the truth comes out and Audrina is finally told why they never wanted her to remember dates, all I thought was why not tell her the truth before? They let her feel all these things that she didn’t have to. They put her though a lot trying to get her to be like her sister.
In the end they only wanted to do what they thought was right for her. They wanted to protect her but only ended up pushing her away. They wanted her to remember the life of someone else instead of just telling her the truth. I was very surprised with the ending. When the truth came out, I was not expecting it at all. It’s like the author wanted to you believe something for the entire book and then right at the end completely turn it around and shock you. I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be getting it to add to my collection. I rate this book five stars. It was amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone.
Thanks for reading my review. I hope you enjoyed it and go and pick it up!
P.S. There is also a movie for My Sweet Audrina. It stayed true to the book for the most part and was very well done. I recommend you watch it as well.