Hi Lia! I'm here for our TGS Review Exchange :)
Ugh, they're usually painful, but I love Severus-centric stories. I think tackling his home life is tough, right up there with Lily's rejection, so kudos to you! I really liked the characterization here, in terms of not only Severus but also his parents. He definitely learns lessons quickly, as evidenced by his resolution never to touch the broomstick again. (He didn't go on to be a great flier, as I recall...) I also liked Eileen a lot; she seems to have this never-ending capacity for compassion when it comes to her son, despite what she had to endure from Tobias. You wrote her like she is in my head. I also loved the extra touch of Severus returning that kindness back to her; it was very sweet, and very sad, even sadder than the destruction and returning of the broomstick. And Tobias, well--he's very cruel. I liked how he was also abusive in terms of what he said and not just his actions, as I so often see in these stories.
A few little areas of potential improvement I noted:
You've got a couple of places where the tenses don't feel quite right. For example, here--
So he pretended for her sake to walk along the sidewalk in the direction of the park where he knows she'd watch for him before moving away from the window.
^It seems like it should be "knew she'd watch for him," but then again, it's sort of present-tense-ish. It just reads a bit awkwardly to me at the moment.
There also seem to be a lot of breaks in here, and you might want to go back and make them all uniform (so, use all asterisks or dashes or lines). I think it would just give the story a cleaner look.
Finally, I see a few things concerning dialogue tags that don't look quite right. There's a tutorial on the forums that can help--I know because I've used it time and again, because I also struggle with them.
I really love the overall bleak feel of this piece. I thought you characterized it beautifully by describing it as if it had been built during the Industrial Revolution and just left to decay there. I could easily picture soot and ash covering everything, and the whole place just falling apart. I liked how Severus's life full of misery was given context in that his neighbors had experienced similar tragedies in their own lives; the whole thing felt very soul-crushing for Severus, like his youth didn't even have a chance here. I've always sort of assumed that his home life was unusual even for his poor part of town, and it's interesting to picture it being commonplace, almost like it's accepted. In a sad way, I hope it made him feel less out of place.
Very lovely work! I'm so glad we got to exchange!
Author's Response: Hey Amanda!
I'm so sorry that this is now getting to you. There is no good excuse I can give you save the usual 'school has been killing me'. I need to be in the right frame of mind to answer these, especially the long ones.
Snape is a very interesting person to write a character study for. There's so much more to him than people like to believe. Maybe my one-shot was only the tip of the iceberg. Like many reviewers before you, there's a lot of mention of whether or not Lily was wholly included. I find some people tend to write Snape stories with Lily in them. I wanted to focus on his life without her in it.
I re-read this review several times since you posted it, and I looked up the things you mentioned (many of which I did not remember). It's good that you linked those two events though.
Oh, I liked Eileen too. The most she can do while living in that house is to give her son the love that he deserves, and in return, he will love her back. That element between them was necessary for their survival. She needed to show him that the world isn't all that bad. I imagine that's what his attachment to Lily was based on - she was one of the few who was nice to him.
I tried to be very careful with the amount of visual I wrote for domestic abuse - for sure, the physical aspect of it is there, but it's not so blatant. Tobias is cruel in so many different ways and I wonder sometimes what really happened to them.
Ooh yes. I went and fixed them when I saw this review the first time. The only thing I hadn't gotten around to was reading the tutorial on dialogue tags.
I saw Spinner's End as an old industrial town, but I love how you said it's left to decay there.
I tend to relate the appearance of peoples houses to how they actually are as individuals - whether people could tell or not. If the town is desolate, or in disrepair, that's how I view its people. Indeed, that's how they were written - very resigned to their fates. Maybe the people there didn't know how to live any differently than what they were used to. I could only imagine the shock when Eileen found herself there.
Thanks for the review and for the discussion!