Hi, there! This is your Gryffindor Review Exchange review. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful!
I thought your story was sad and uplifting in equal parts. I consider myself fortunate that my kids haven't experienced any funerals yet, but I remember attending them for my four great-grandmothers when I was young. It's such a mixed feeling, because in one way you want a child that's Frank's age to appreciate the seriousness of the event, but in another way you don't. How do you get them to understand what it means to say goodbye to somebody for the final time without burdening them with a fear of dying? Like I said, I'm glad that I haven't needed to go there. But your exploration of the situation definitely got me thinking.
I liked the way that you set up Neville and Hannah's relationship. You made it seem as though they weren't prepared to deal with this, and that's about as realistic as you could have made things, I think. Nobody is ever prepared to deal with a funeral, especially young parents who are trying to coax their children through one for the first time. You did a good job of creating a difficult tension between the two of them without coming out and saying, "Hannah felt a difficult tension between herself and her husband." It was very natural and organic-feeling, done through awkward exchanges and laughter at moments where it wasn't quite appropriate.
It's a small thing in the context of the story, but I liked the idea that Neville and Hannah make their children clean up their toys without magic. The two of them really seem to be good parents, just caught up in a tough set of circumstances.
The funeral director bothered me just a bit, to be honest. I don't think I've ever seen somebody in that position seem as ebullient as Mr. Robertson. Given the circumstances, I would have expected him to be more solemn.
Poor Hannah. I can totally relate to snapping under the kind of pressure she's feeling. And that obviously makes her feel even worse. Another small detail that you worked in, the fact that Frank relates more to his father, struck a bit of a chord. I think it's human nature that most children are going to get along a little better with one parent than the other, but mothers always seem to take it harder for some reason.
I loved the idea of all of the Next Gen children knowing one another and thinking of their parents' friends as aunts and uncles. Albus and Allie were so cute together!
Gah! The poor nanny! I feel bad for her, too.
When Neville's emotions finally get the best of him and he snaps at Hannah, I thought that was an important moment for the two of them. He seemed to have been walling off his grief very effectively until that moment. Somehow, explaining Frank's death to his son seemed to help him deal with his own feelings a little better.
"But Vic said that Grandpa's in there," he said, pointing to the room where the casket lay. Wow. That line hit me especially hard. The way that kids try to process these sorts of events can really grab you where you least expect it.
I guess I had a lot of mixed feelings about the idea of Frank and Alice recovering somewhat from their madness after the war. Obviously it would have been wonderful for all involved if they'd been able to reclaim at least some small part of their lives. They suffered so much and so did Neville in a different way. It's just a nice thing to imagine for them. At the same time, to me, it takes a little away from the sacrifice they made to keep Neville and Harry safe. I don't know whether that makes any sense, but that was my reaction.
The pastor's eulogy was beautifully constructed. He hit on all of the great qualities that made Frank Longbottom special. The only thing I wasn't so wild about was the way that he referred to what happened to Frank and Alice as "the accident". What happened to them was a horrible tragedy, but it was no accident.
I thought your closing paragraph was really lovely. It captured a lot of what I took away from this story in a very simple yet touching way.
So as I was reading, I did notice two instances where you used "you're" where I thought it should have been "your":
“It’s you’re Grandpa Frank’s funeral today,” she replied.
“Frank, I’m sorry about you’re Grandpa, but don’t be too sad about it, love,” she improvised,
Otherwise, your writing was lovely.
I'm really glad I got the opportunity to read this. I hope the review was helpful!
Author's Response: My goodness, I'm so sorry for responding to this so late! I've had a very busy couple of months and I have to admit I've been a bit lazy :o
Well thank you! I did want it to be sad, but then again I wanted it to have a happy ending at the same time so I'm happy you were able to pick up on that :) I'm glad your kids haven't had to go through that either! I know I had a few of them when I was little and it was very confusing and hard to deal with :/
I'm so glad you liked all of my small details! I was really hoping people would think of Hannah and Neville as good parents because that's definitely how I picture them! Yeah, Mr. Robertson is definitely a jerk, but I had to throw him in there! Everywhere you go you're going to find someone who's mean and I just feel bad Hannah had to be the one to deal with it :(
Yeah, it definitely makes sense about Frank and Alice. I just feel really bad for them and wanted them to get a little bit better. They aren't by any means healed, but I feel like since Neville and Hannah and the rest of St. Mungos were able to be there for them more after the war, they got a little better, or at least did in Neville's mind :)
Wow, I didn't even think of it like that! You're right, it definitely wasn't an accident and I think I'd better change my wording!
Thank you for pointing out those grammar mistakes! My sister is my beta but sometimes we both miss little things like that :p
Thank you so so so much for such a lovely review! It definitely did help me a lot and I'm sooo happy you liked it!