If There Be Thorns…or Plot Holes
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This is one of those books in the Dollanganger series I DON’T remember liking, so I guess it isn’t surprising that I still didn’t like it. The story isn’t compelling, the characters bore me, and there are gaping, mile-wide plot holes. We’re not talking about the willing and reasonable suspension of disbelief most good fiction requires…we’re talking plot holes so big they open beneath a reader’s feet like a crack in the Earth’s crust and suck us in alive and screaming.

Let’s examine a few of those deep, dark, reader-eating plot holes, shall we?

  • Jory is a well-adjusted young man, but Bart is CRAZY. And, no one notices. Of course, crazy seems to run in this family, so that isn’t surprising. I guess the part that doesn’t make sense here is that Jory is normal.
  • Cathy and Chris adopt a daughter of a dying ballerina with absolutely no legal intervention. (Even their own pseudo-adoption in PotW got a paragraph of newspaper announcement and meeting with a judge.)They just take her conveniently when Nicole dies and no one seems to notice AT ALL.
  • Emma, who likes to gossip over the wall, hasn’t mentioned EVER the true nature of her employers’ relationship. And why the heck didn’t they just hire a new maid?
  • Chris, at thirty-something, is the hospital’s new chief of staff. Isn’t he a little young for that?
  • Bart has nerve endings that don’t reach the end of his skin. Convenient, given all the times the characters try to spank him.
  • Jory still hasn’t connected the dots about his new dad being his former uncle.
  • No one has told Madame Marisha Paul died years ago, yet she lives in or near his hometown of Greenglenna. Doesn’t she read the obituaries or talk to anyone while she’s home in South Carolina?
  • Cathy has leg problems that have never been mentioned before. They don’t seem related to Julian breaking her toes.
  • The creepy butler next door is indoctrinating Bart in some crazy Malcolm Foxworth cult and no one notices.
  • Animals are being tortured or going missing which obviously means a psycho is on the loose. No one notices or tries to keep better tabs on the children.
  • Jory doesn’t question the portrait of the lady next door or why it looks like his mother. He doesn’t demand that anyone explain the resemblance. No one else, including Bart, notices.
  • Cathy has named Bart after her former lover and thinks no one will notice they have the same name.
  • John Amos has secretly been plotting his revenge for years after losing the inheritance, even going so far as to make sure there is a cage-room in the basement, and no one has considered this…ever. Even Corrine when she apparently married him…why, again?
  • Bart wanders around making cryptic but revealing comments about his parents’ attic past, and no one — not even Chris or Cathy — notices. They also mention how much he’s changed and gotten weirder, but no one connects this to the people who just moved in next door. (Well, except maybe Jory, but he doesn’t say anything so it doesn’t count.)
  • John Amos apparently needs the help of a creepy-ass kid with no nerve endings to enact his Christmas Day fire plot redux.
  • Corrine is now out of the looney-bin, which she resorted to I guess to avoid murder charges, but no one is the wiser when she shows up next door. And apparently the statute of limitations on murder (and weird codicils in wills that have to do with inheritance) runs out when you get old and move to another state.
  • Cathy and Corrine sort of make up in the cage. But Corrine hasn’t really changed except to make scars on her face, sit in hard chairs, and wear black clothes. She never even says she is sorry for the death of Carrie or Cory but suddenly she NEEDS to have Bart in her life. Delusional head-bumped Cathy doesn’t really question this. Just…no.
  • The bricked-up cage room has a kitty door.
  • Corrine owns the exact piece of land that Chris and Cathy buy when they flee out west. At no time during the sale process did they realize exactly who the seller of their property was.

I tried to like this one. I really did, but I like some plot with my plot holes, thankyouverymuch.On to Seeds of Yesterday.

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4 Responses to If There Be Thorns…or Plot Holes

  1. Y’know, in ANY OTHER BOOK, dead animals turning up would be considered foreshadowing. But no. Andrews just kind of leaves that plotline dangling. Does the book ever actually say who did it? I know that it’s implied John Amos killed them to set Bart up as a dangerous lunatic, but then, iirc, John says something that makes it seem as if even HE believes it’s really Bart. Further proof that even Andrews wasn’t paying attention by that point!

  2. shelleybean1 says:

    Exactly! I think she indicates that John does it to implicate Bart, but it’s all wishy-washy and jumbled up there at the end.

    • Neisha says:

      This book is to question your narrator Cathy. It portrays her as an unstable woman, this is a way of Andrew’s asking her readers think more deeply and revisit what she has written so far. The facts you have mentioned that were so obvioulsy ignored by the characters in the book (the holes in the plot) also mirror us the readers’ ignorance because we choose to ignore the what is so obvious. Here comes the insight. Hi. I know many of you love the books. But Petals on the Wind is equally brilliant. Look at little deeper. How can Julian have committed suicide if he was paralysed neck down (he tells Cathy he can’t feel her hand on his chest)? Why did Cathy have sex with Paul when she was with Chris? And she puts a candle in the attic to let the house catch on fire, the incident that Bart dies (find the clues). She must tell them she loves them before they die so they can forgive her. Bart dies before that.and how did She know how many doughnuts Carrie consumed? The package was had just one bitten doughnut left.. Pay attention to the words Spanish Moss ‘love the clung and clung until it killed’. Analyse this book using Chris as your mentor. He questions things. Contact me on neisha_chetty@yahoo.com if you need more answers. Mostly what frustrates me is that readers have never stopped to ask why would Cathy choose a incestuous relationship over her children’s well being. Imagine the shame they would have to face. Surely she could have found some other alternative and then I found the answer… Chris was the one thing that could save her from becoming killing… Choice of a lesser sin.

      • shelleybean1 says:

        That’s pretty insightful, Neisha. Choosing that relationship with Chris as a means to NOT becoming another Corinne makes sense. I guess I just wish she were clever enough or self-possessed enough to realize there were other good options :/

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