|Review:||Elphaba and Boyfriends says:|
Hi, Elphaba here with your requested review!
I ended up reading this story three times; I found that my understanding of it changed with each reading. I see that as a good thing. :)
Much of your writing here is ambiguous in that it could be describing literal or figurative sensations and events. For instance, at the beginning, "They" are "begging for redemption." Are they the willows (figurative) or Rose's attacker/s (literal)? Time moves over her like a "damp cloud of cigarette smoke." Is this just a figurative description of time, or did her attacker leave the smell of cigarette smoke behind? I tend to go with a more literal interpretation, but I really like that you leave it open to your readers.
The emotions and sense of what has happened remain constant through each reading, and that, to me, is what makes this piece successful. :)
I'm not sure what to make of the italicized portions. The first one, with phrases like "don't you want it" make me think of a threatening come on from her attacker. The others seem like they could be voices in her head; memories or conscience or even her sub-conscience, I just don't know, and get the feeling that I'm not meant to.
This line: "Things like this aren't supposed to happen to good girls, to nice girls, to girls who are caring and loving and spunky" stands out. I see it as a false belief that Rose is just beginning to question. How much easier would it be for Rose to talk to Scorpius if she could accept that sometimes bad things happen not because of our actions, but because they are beyond our control?
The only grammatical thing that bothered me is the use of "they" in this situation: "We both look at the entrance to the stairs and see a hooded figure. They are large and imposing, filling the doorway with a deeper blackness." Unless you want to keep the gender and number of her attackers ambiguous, I might change "they" to "he." It seemed to me like there is only supposed to be one male attacker because earlier she said "he" to Scorpius, and later she stares, "at my assailant." This is a minor thing, it just struck me as a little weird.
The ambiguous ending is a frustrating because I DO become emotionally invested in Rose and her outcome. I'm okay with this, though. :) It ends as ambiguously as it begins, leaving readers to decide what has just happened and what will happen next.
I think this is a story that is meant to be read and discussed with a group; it's the type of story that can produce very interesting discussions. Great story!
Author's Response: Hello my dear! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! :)
When I first read that, I didn't know whether to be hesitant or excited that you read it 3 times! :P I do hope it got better with every read!
I'm really glad that you like that I leave the interpretation up to the readers! That makes me smile. I've actually had a few reviewers tell me that I need to be more straightforward and that they don't like I left the interpretation up to them. So thank you for the vote of confidence!
Successful? Oh goodness, I am just over the moon with that comment!
Gosh, you're such a fabulous reviewer! Truly amazing. You've picked up on the fact that you're not meant to necessarily understand the italicized portions. They're an integral part of the story, but the reasoning behind them isn't spelled out. It's one of the things I like about this story - it gives the readers a chance to really dig deep and figure it out for themselves.
Yes, yes, you're very right about that - but Rose can't talk to Scorpius. She feels totally alienated from him, from society, from even her former self.
I see how that would strike you as a bit odd. However, I did that on purpose. If you see the ambiguity of the last part with the attacker, you'll see that even the attacker himself could only be a metaphor. It's all very intertwined with metaphors and such, you know.
I know how frustrating such ambiguity can be, but I really, really like for readers to work for the meaning. I was always taught that you don't hand everything to the readers on a silver platter, you know?
Oh, I never considered that! There's no telling what kinds of conversations would arise!
Thank you so much for your spectacular review! I really do appreciate it! :)