“Crystal” by V.C. Andrews is the second book in the Orphan series. This book follows the orphan Crystal who is adopted into an interesting family. The father is a peculiar penny-pincher and the mother is a soap opera fanatic. The couple approaches Crystal very differently and she soon finds herself trying to help solve the problems of her adoptive parents – most specifically that of the mother.
Shortly after being adopted, Crystal starts to understand just how strange her adoptive parents are. The mother comes off as a bit of an airhead. “Isn’t it wonderful to have a husband like Karl who can keep you from making the wrong decisions?” (Crystal, pg 12-13). Statements like these give the impression that Crystal’s mother feels content to let her husband make all the decisions – easy and hard alike – so that she can continue to live a life run by the television shows that she is so dedicated to. She is constantly trying to rope Crystal into staying beside her on the couch so they can watch the shows together. Crystal realizes very early on that her adoptive mother is living through the characters on her soaps. Then her adoptive father is full of advice and guidance that for whatever reason, he cannot bring himself to extend to his wife. ““Balance, Crystal,” he explained. “That’s what makes life truly comfortable, maintaining balance. Assets on one side, liabilities on the other. Everything you do, everyone you meet has assets and liabilities. Learn what they are, and you’ll know how to proceed.” (Crystal, pg 25). I liked this quote and found it a little odd at the same time. He talks about balance as if it is so important, but does almost nothing beyond adopting Crystal, whom he had hoped would be a positive influence, to get his wife to stop obsessing over television shows.
It was an odd book, that’s for sure. Crystal was a likeable enough character, although a little overly serious for a child. But acting older than you are makes sense for someone that was raised in an orphanage. The relationships that she develops with other kids her age were interesting. She didn’t behave like most kids do when trying to forge friendships, instead she refused to conform and pretend to be someone that she isn’t and was therefore, able to bypass friendships that would have been hollow.
Would I recommend this book? Yes and no. I like V.C. Andrews’s writing to a point. It’s okay. For the most part, the books are easy to read, and there is the added bonus with this series that the books are very short, so it isn’t a huge time commitment. I found parts of “Crystal” to be mildly entertaining and I’m intrigued about the rest of the Orphans series. But this book isn’t for everyone. It is one of those books that when it was done, it didn’t linger. I wasn’t emotionally attached to it or any of the characters. That is what I really look for in a book – a full reading experience with characters that I care about. And that isn’t really something that I found while reading “Crystal” by V.C. Andrews. But if you’re looking for a book to stash on a chair that you sit in for a few minutes, “Crystal” will work quite nicely.
This one quote I just had to include: “I hated promises. They were like those balloons I had seen drifting in the wind. They had shape until the air escaped, and then everyone forgot them.” (Crystal, pg 163)