So this story is very real to me in a personal way. I know how much the aftereffects of family trauma can last well past the trauma itself, and I think you wrote that well. The main character is in some ways smart to know that the worst is not over.
“Flat” is a good way to describe that numbness that I recognize in Donna.
I want to reach out and comfort her and tell her that things really will get better.
This was a hard little story, but it also felt real and powerful. The briefness and lack of resolution suited it well.
Thank you so so much. Donna is one of my favourite characters, I think. She's so tough and capable but obviously she is hurting and is under a huge amount of stress. I'm really glad you liked it and that the reactions seemed realistic.
You've done it again - written a really powerful piece in under 200 words - I don't know how you do it! I love that you highlighted the grey areas of life that are easy to forget when you're focused on an end goal but not on the repercussions of it. And certainly things are better in one way, Donna's father is no longer able to abuse her mother... but it's also uprooted the lives of everyone in her family, and change is hard, and sometimes justice has a cost that makes it all feel hollow. This story kind of sheds light on the ugly truth that's easy to forget about in fiction sometimes when things turn out fairly, but life isn't always like that. Amazing work. You're a talented writer.
Thank you so so much for the reviews. I'm really glad you liked this. Donna is a character from a novel length story of mine. It ends before the court case and I wanted to sort of explore her feelings afterwards because there are a lot of remaining issues even after the case is resolved and on top of the stress of the case itself and the way it's likely to rake up so many issues and memories, I think the pleasure in knowing her family is safe would be somewhat dulled. Things are better but still far from perfect.
I'm not a great fan of completely happy endings (or completely sad ones either a lot of the time) because life doesn't really work that way. You don't get one day in your life when suddenly all your problems are solved and everything is perfectly happy from that moment on and certainly you are unlikely to get it after years of abuse and neglect. There are going to be ongoing repercussions.
Thank you again. I really appreciate your words.
Oof. This is so good.
The idea of justice aligning perfectly with a happy ending is a pretty ubiquitous trope, and I love the way you pushed that idea here and showed how messy the aftermath can be and how there really are no easy answers. Amazing job.
Thank you so much for the review. Glad you liked the story.
It's sort of an epilogue or something to a story I wrote years ago, which had the father being charged but ended before it came to trial. Donna is the sort of person who works on the premise of "if there's a problem, just go and sort it out" so I think she might find it more difficult to think that even when the issue has been effective dealt with, people still have issues related to it. She is a pretty resiliant person herself so she gets rather frustrated at how her mother and brother seem to be dealing with things in a way that exacerbates rather than reduces their problems. But of course abuse does leave scars and sometimes people do respond with unhealthy coping mechanisms. She feels a lot of responsibility for her siblings but isn't really sure how to help her brother.
My stories often end somewhat ambiguously, because in real life, there isn't one moment at which everything is solved or even one moment where everything falls apart. There are always loose ends and issues that persist. And in particular with things like abuse, it appears trite when it is completely sorted and nobody has any ongoing issues or resentments.
I think that you've done a really amazing job here with so few words. It's easy for anyone on the outside to say you've done the right thing, you've made the best choice. Television shows tend to show it as this great success, this magnificent victory. What you've shown is that the victory might not always feel like a victory and that nothing is black and white. The guilt for the outcome's impact on her family is something we just really don't talk about. What about the income loss and how it will change the families way of life? What about victims who don't realize their victims? Obviously I think Donna made the right choice and did the right thing, but thank you for showing how complex situations and abuse can be.
Thank you so much for this amazing review. I really wasn't expecting such a detailed review on such a short story.
I'm really glad you liked the story and yeah, I doubt there is really any easy way of dealing with abuse by a member of one's family. There are likely to be issues of loyalty, especially when it's a parent and Donna and her siblings grew up with the sense that this isn't something you talk about outside the family, and then as you pointed out there are practical issues. It's never going to be as simple as "just leave" or "just call the police" and then everything will be OK. And in this case, as is hinted at here, there is also the fear of "what if he's found innocent? Or gets a suspended sentence?" It's not going to be hard for him to figure out who reported him
I'm really glad you liked this and thanks again for the review.