This is the most disturbing coming-of-age story I ever read. And I read "Flowers in the attic".
Everybody likes to talk beautifully about this book on how the Walls family portrayed in it were able to raise smart, non-consumerist, independent, strong, fear-overcoming kids who later succeeded in life. The quote in which the father gives a star to each of his kids is a favorite.
But I wasn't able to see things as "fluffy" as others. You can raise smart, non-consumerist, independent, strong, fear-overcoming kids without exposing them to prolonged starvation or sexual abuse (I counted 5 borderline rapes in the story, one of them encouraged by the father). All I could see is that was an excuse for their laziness on taking their own responsibilities! The Walls kids couldn't trust their parents to provide for basic needs, like food, hygiene, health... All because:
1. The father didn't want to work at regular jobs. 9 to 5 jobs were not his thing. He was really smart, an entrepeneur of sorts, a huge amount of potential going on waste.
2. The mother was an artist, and had the artist temperament, and made her family pay for it with the never-ending lack of food and unstable moodiness. She also hated working.
3. They were too proud to accept welfare.
4. "Have you been sexual abused by your Uncle? Don't make a big deal out if! He was probably lonely, the poor thing!"
5. The father was a drunk asshole who stole money his kids spent month saving;
As a frustrated twenty-something, I can understand the Walls parents at some level, not fitting in regular jobs, wanting to survive solely on art and exciting projects, but if you're going to live like that then you should get your shit together BEFORE you have kids.
Sorry, for the rant, but I just hate the Walls parents right now!