Ice Goodman, a troubled young girl, must draw on her extraordinary singing voice to escape the tragedy, deception, and her mother's jealousy that threaten to destroy her world.
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One of the most popular authors of all time, V.C. Andrews has been a bestselling phenomenon since the publication of her spellbinding classic Flowers in the Attic. That blockbuster novel began her renowned Dollanganger family saga, which includes Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. Since then, readers have been captivated by more than fifty novels in V.C. Andrews' bestselling series. V.C. Andrews' novels have sold more than one hundred million copies and have been translated into sixteen foreign languages.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Whenever I was alone in our apartment, which was quite often, and if I was very quiet, I could hear the sounds of other families below and around us. They traveled through the thin walls and in or over the pipes. I could move my ear from the wall on one side of the room to the other or take myself to another room, preferably the bathroom or kitchen, and press my ear to the walls there and hear different noises -- what I thought of as the symphony of the Garden Apartments. It was almost like changing stations on a radio.
There were families who always seemed to be at war with each other, complaining, screaming, threatening in growls and shouts. There were those who spoke softly, enjoyed some laughter and even some singing. And there were often the sounds of someone crying, even sobbing, as if someone was walled in forever like in the short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Of course, I could hear television sets and hip-hop music. There were at least a half-dozen white families in our project, but their music wasn't very different, and I often heard as much shouting and crying from them as well.
I didn't know any other person who paid as much attention to the symphony of the Garden Apartments as I did. They were too busy making their own noises to listen to anyone else's and rarely did an hour pass in their homes when silence wasn't broken. Silence, I learned early on, frightens people, or at least makes them feel very uncomfortable. The worst punishment imposed on my school friends seemed to be keeping them in detention, forcing them to be still and shutting them off from any communication. They squirmed, grimaced, put their heads down and waited as if spiders had been released inside them and were crawling up and down their stomachs and under their chests. When the bell that dismissed them finally rang, they would burst out like an explosion of confetti in every direction, each talking louder than the other, some even screaming so hard that veins strained and popped against the skin in their temples.
Mama wasn't any different. The moment she entered the apartment, she turned on the radio or clicked on the television set, crying, "Why is this place like a morgue?"
If she had done some drinking with a girlfriend, she would dance and laugh, calling to me to join her while she fixed dinner; if I didn't come or if I made a reluctant face, she would pounce on me and accuse me of being strange, which she blamed on my daddy and his side of the family.
"Never seen a name fit better than the name I gave you, girl," she would declare. "The only time I ever see a smile on your face is when you're singing in that church. You going to be a nun or something? Wake up. Shake your booty. You got a nice figure, honey. You're lucky you don't take after your daddy in looks and be big boned like that Tania Gotchuck or somebody similar.
"You got my nose and mouth and you're getting my figure," she said with her hands on her hips, turning as if she were surrounded by mirrors.
Mama didn't need mirrors to look at herself though. She could spot her reflection in a glass on the table or a piece of silverware and suddenly fix her hair or touch her face and complain about aging too quickly. She wasn't. She was just anticipating it with such dread that the illusion of some tiny wrinkle forming or a single gray hair put hysteria into her eyes and panic in her voice.
"You wouldn't be so crazy nervous about yourself if we had another child," Daddy told her. "It would give you something more important to worry about."
He might as well have lit a firecracker in the middle of our living room, but for as long as I could remember, Daddy wanted to have more children. I know he wanted a son badly. However, Mama grumbled that giving birth to me had added a half-inch or so to her hips and another child would surely turn her into another one of those "walruses waddling around here with a trail of drippy-nosed brats they couldn't afford to have. Not me. I'm still young enough to turn a head or two."
"That's all that makes you happy, Lena," Daddy retorted. "Being the center of attention."
He didn't make it sound like any sort of accusation or even a criticism. It was just a matter-of-fact statement. Even so, Mama would go off on one of her tirades about how he wanted her to be fat and ugly so other men wouldn't look longingly at her anymore.
"You used to be proud to have me hanging on your arm, Cameron Goodman. I could see how you would strut like a rooster, parading me in front of your friends, bragging with your eyes. I let you wear me like some piece of jewelry and I didn't bitch about it, did I? So why are you complaining now?"
"I'm not complaining, Lena, but there's more to life now. We're settled down. We have a home, a child. We should be building on this family, too," Daddy pleaded, his big hands out, palms up like someone begging for a handout of affection and love.
"I told you a hundred times if I told you once, Cameron. We can't have any more children on your salary," she replied and turned away quickly to end the argument or to run from it.
That wasn't fair or even a good excuse. Daddy made a decent salary. He had always done well. Now he was the head of security for Cobbler's Market, a big department store on Ninth Street. He had been a military policeman in the army; after he came out, he started working different security positions until he was chosen to head up one and then another.
It wasn't just his size that recommended him for the job, even though he stood six feet four and weighed two hundred and twenty-five pounds. He was considered a clear-thinking, sensible man who could manage other men. I know for sure that his calm, patient demeanor helped him get along with Mama. It took a great deal more than it took most men to get him to lose his temper. He seemed to know that when he did, he would unleash so much fury and rage, he couldn't depend on his power to rein it in. He was truly someone who was afraid of himself, of what he could or would do.
Amazingly, Mama never seemed afraid of him, never hesitated or stepped back even when it looked like she was treading on thin ice. I have seen her throw things at him, push him, even kick him. He was like a tree trunk, unmovable, untouched, steady and firm, which only seemed to get Mama angrier. Finally, frustrated with her inability to get the sort of reaction from him she wanted, she would retreat out of exhaustion.
"You're just like your father when it comes to your cold personality," she accused, pointing her long, right forefinger at me like some prosecutor -- because to her way of thinking not to be outgoing and emotional was truly a crime. "There's where the ice comes into your veins. Certainly not from me, child. I'm full of heat," she bragged. "A man looks into these eyes and he melts."
She would wait for me to agree or smile or look like I was envious, but I didn't do any of that and that brought a sneer to her lips.
"What is with you, girl? You think you're better than everyone around here or something?"
I shook my head vigorously.
"Because I never did anything to make you believe that. I never pumped you up with compliments and such until you walked around with your head back, looking like you got flies in your nose or something, did I? Well, did I?"
I knew she would keep at me until I spoke.
"No, Mama," she mimicked. "So?" she said, her hands still on her hips, "why are you home all the time, huh? Why don't you have girlfriends and boyfriends? When I was your age, my daddy put a double lock on the door to keep the boys out. Here you are seventeen," she said, "and you ain't been out on a real date yet. I don't hear the phone ringing either," she complained.
It nearly made me smile to hear her grievances. All the other girls my age were con
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Book Description Thorndike Press, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110783897510