kevin why do you break my heart with these things why are you so good at angst (what is a gutter veela anyway) these are the vital questions of our time
so the thing that you're so fucking good at doing is just pulling the reader (or at least this reader) into the mindset of the character - i can really feel what she's feeling, and the way that you pair that with descriptions that from the outside are just obviously so toxic and unfair is just heartbreaking
like... "he doesn't forgive people like me" and "she's eight, she can take care of herself" and "isn't that what love is" Are Just nooooo these are bad things the bees (murder hornets?) are coming from inside the house, get out of there! (metaphorically, but also physically tbh?)
"school was nice school was safe but i didn't always get to go" is 1) heartbreaking (i know i'm overusing that but it's just so fucking true) and 2) honestly kind of hits esp hard for me with current events rn - the number of kids in this position who don't have access to school at all for the foreseeable future is just something that super haunts me
"the dumb girl who kept having to go to summer school" god that is fucking gut-wrenching, it is not your fault!! (i was so glad that she eventually realized it but good fuck)
the cycle is just so fucking terrible - every time she starts to feel like maybe things are a little better, something else happens to knock her back and confirm everything bad she thought about herself - the way she blames herself even years later for becca's death is just so horrible but also horribly realistic - i hate the way guilt works that way.
(i apologize for my lack of coherence, ty for putting up with it haha, you're the best <3)
(here for rvg)
I'm here to review your story for my Make TreacleTart Cry Challenge! I'll be breaking this review down into the categories that I'll be using to judge it.
Plot: I thought the plot of this story was very tragic and heartbreaking. Watching Amanda recount her life story really was tough. I thought it followed a very logical and realistic progression as she went through the various struggles.
Characterization: I know in your author's note you said that you weren't sure how well the voice of Amanda reflected the various ages she was in the story, but I actually thought you did really well. In the beginning, I could immediately recognize that she was a child and as the story progressed I could tell she was aging. One thing, I thought you did especially well was convey the insecurities and scars that an abused child might suffer from. You could see it in Amanda's desire to please, her constant self doubt, her poor self esteem, etc. (The only real question I have in terms of characterization is if it's likely that someone living in a trailer would be doing cocaine. I often think of cocaine as a rich person's drug, so it seemed slightly out of character. Maybe that's just me stereotyping though.)
Sadness: This was absolutely tragic. Just dealing with a parent with a drug addiction is hard enough, but than you add in the abusive father, the sibling death, the move to foster care...It's just awful. It hits home a little harder because growing up I had a best friend who dealt with some very similar issues.
Grammar/Spelling: As always, your writing is flawless.
Really great job on this!
(i’m working my way up to being able to write a coherent review on this, but i’m genuinely just at a loss for words right now.)
ok, i’m back, with… hopefully real words this time.
this is just…. god, this fic is really something. it’s so incredibly powerful, and the fact that you’ve delivered it through a child’s narration just makes it even more so. you just have this incredibly innocent little kid who doesn’t really understand much of what’s happening, but understands enough to want to protect her baby sister from it… it’s positively heartbreaking. and knowing how the story ends, coming back to the beginning and seeing that amanda blames herself for everything that happened to her little sister is just… it’s just, god. (that’s another thing - the way you’ve given this story bookends at the graveyard, because it just sets a dark tone from the start but also sets up a bit of a mystery because we don’t know the backstory and how much of the self-blame is warranted and, you know, whose grave it is to begin with.)
the fixation on those specific details, like 7 being the perfect volume for the TV because it hits the sweet spot of letting her little sister hear but not making her father mad, the fact that she struggles with things like 'there' and 'their' but everyone else in her class is a good enough reader to understand her mistakes but she doesn't have anyone at home to help her with any of these sorts of things, and the way she doesn’t really know what to make of the men showing up at her house (presumably drug dealers) - it makes this whole story just even more heartbreaking, because even though amanda as the narrator doesn’t know what’s happening in full detail, the reader’s able to put it all together.
this whole thing was masterfully written and so, so sad. i’m not a crier by nature, but if i was, this piece would’ve definitely gotten me. you’ve really killed it on the angst front with this one.
So I'm here for RvG - POGs special reviewing. I don't know how I'm going to write a review that does this story justice? It's a bloody masterpiece. There is so much beautiful gut wrenching emotion in this story.
From the first line, it really builds up a sense of dread. I think I straight away I assume that it was going to be more focus around domestic violence. It would be her mum who had died. The fact that you were brave enough to go beyond had a lot of shock value for the end of the piece. I was really shocked. I love that though. I went away and had some food because I came back to review this and honestly this story hasn't left my mind since I've read it.
I thought Amanda's voice was really well handled. I was completely impressed with how you wrote her as a child. It seems really like natural the way you were able to do it. Age is sometimes a tricky thing to play because people often write children as too mature or too baby-ish. I think you hit a perfect balance between the two. I think it was really good for emotional impact that the audience knows what she is referring to her in childish way that she doesn't know yet.
I love how you've build up the relationship between the two sisters. Amanda obviously cares a lot about Becca. You can really tell through Amanda's inner monologue, the grief that she feels especially highlighted in the opening paragraph. I love that she has a little nickname for Becca too (which is on the gravestone soon.)
When she said that Stanley called her 'good girl' - something about this was just awful, so hard hitting. I felt a bit sick because I wanted to protect Amanda (and Becca) from these people. I think you should be really proud that this is an OF that is so well rounded. I don't know anything about the characters apart from what you've given me. You have a backstory will already set up when you write something from hp canon. It's an advantage that you haven't chosen but it has really paid off and shows your stregth as a writer. I think this would be a really deserving piece to win this challenge because it does what it says on the 'tin' so good luck!
I was very impressed with this piece! Great work!
Hi Kevin! I’m here for swapping :D
Wow—I think you’ve made an excellent entry for Kaitlin’s challenge. Amanda’s voice is so haunting as she bears witness to the horrors of her growing up and how she tried to protect Becca. I was gripped by the tension of the story and how trapped Amanda and Becca were. The image of the girls watching loud TV trying to block out their parents’ fighting—and other horrors—was especially vivid. And the ending scene with the paramedics and the grave—really well done.
The way that you opened and closed the story at the graveside—without telling us whose grave it was until the end—was really effective. Even though I could tell this was not a happy story, until we got to the end of it, I didn’t realize (or want to believe?) that the grave was for Becca. I thought the whole time it was going to be for Amanda’s mom. Great job twisting the expectation—and making people cry.
Really nice job here—you are the king of angst.
Thank you for the swap :D
I love reading OF on here and it's good to come across a story like this, where the author isn't afraid to show it like it is. It's not all happy endings and wine and roses, sometimes it's a cycle of perpetuated violence, abuse and neglect.
You did just fine in her voice and moving the story forward while also keeping a flow to it.
This unfortunately feels very real and true.
Thanks a lot for this. I was - sadly - able to draw from the stories of people I see/meet in the courtroom some with differing aspects of these themes and some unfortunately with all three, whether they're there as a victim or as a defendant themselves. Having obviously not been in their situation, that was the toughest part on top of putting a child's voice to it, but I'm glad you felt it worked well.
I really appreciate your feedback!