Well, this was absolutely mind-blowing. What won me over was the end. This: "You’ll have to look a little closer to find him – but he’s there."
While I was releshing in you wonderful descriptions, something in the back of my mind was being all picky and kept nagging at me with "Where is this going? What are we seaching for in these memories?" And then that one sentence allowed everything to fall into place. We were looking for Collin, one of the most minor characters that, despite going practically unnoticed, still left a tiny yet meaningful rift in wizarding history.
I also loved how you concluded everything with fireworks. It reminded me of the ending of Blue Valentine - I don't know if you've seen the film, but the use of fireworks is very similar. There is something dangerous and exciting about lights exploding everywhere :P They symbolize both destruction and new beginnings, and are easily connected to war as well. It's a very subtle and clever analogy.
Another of my favourite moments was how you described the parents' reaction when they found out. It's a situation that not everyone has experienced personally but has seen overdone in literature and film so many times, it takes some effort to let the individuals still shine through their grief. The way they rocked back and forth, while awkward - and possibly because of it - was incredibly touching.
Let's see...Oh yes, and I loved this sentence: "And there’s half our Dad over there – the margin of the print slices cleanly through his face and so he’s one-eyed, quarter-nosed, and with an unfinished smile." That, besides evoking a very vivid image, was a neat way to foreshadow the tragedy to come.
That said, I just couldn't get over your use of the word "folks"...I know it's kind of nitpicky, but I just can't see it fitting with the rest of the narration.There is something provincial about it that stands out. I'm not British, so I really don't know how widespread the use of the word is, but - ugh, ok, it's up to you, really :P
A few more things I found a BIT les perfect than the rest of the story was, first, the abundace of details. On the one hand, they do create some vivid magery that I enjoyed very much, but they were also a bit distracting. This mostly occured in the sea-side scenes. This sentence, for example: "During our stay there we’d always stop at the local takeaway for fish and chips, which came parcelled in newspaper, oily blotches soaking through the print." It's wonderfully descriptive, but I didn't find that it added anything towards moving the story forward. I'm not even sure what it depends on, actually.For exampe, when reading about Doris, I thought the tea-bags were a perfect touch, but couldn't say the same for the description of her arms and her knitting. I suppose what unites the details I found superfluous is their lack of interaction value. The diner and the knitting say alot about the places and people they describe, but not much about the relationship of the narrator and other characters to them. I hope that makes sense! Keep in mind, this is the most minor bit of CC in the world and it's really not important at all :P
Also, I found that Collin's memory of his coma was a bit of a strange addition. Staring at cracks in the ceiling is sort of a cliché, in my reading experience. Also wouldn't he have been more focused on the people around him? He seemed to have an endless amount of curiosity and awareness of people and, considering the unusual circumstances of that year, there would have been people fussing over him constantly, right?
Don't pay much attention to my CC, it's really the most insignificant of details. it's just that when I read something that is nearly perfect, I become more aware of places where I, personally, could imagine improvement. This was a wonderful piece of writing and I hope to read more of your work!
Author's Response: Whiskey ♥
Ugh, sorry for taking twelve billion years to reply to your very lovely and incredibly detailed review! I have absolutely NO IDEA WHY you would give such a great review along with some very honest and thought-provoking concrit, only to end it all with saying "don't pay attention to my CC..." -_-
I need the CC and I can't thank you enough for it :D
This is a fic I didn't plan too much at all. I borrowed the starting line from another story and just began writing :) I'm glad you liked the ending; that was one of the easiest parts of the story to write because it just came so naturally to me.
It's so interesting to read your interpretation of the story. In my mind, as I was writing this, Dennis isn't actually searching for anything. He's just...feeling aimless and all, feels like he's stuck in some rubbish place and of course, his brother is dead and all. So he looks through his brother's stuff and photos without thinking he'll find much. But I like your interpretation of the fic! How Dennis might actually be searching actively for some hint of his brother, some fragment of him in the photos. It's a very logical interpretation, of course.
Glad you liked the way I showed the parents' grief. You're right about these sorts of things being overdone in films and books - there's always that danger of things become overly melodramatic. I'm so happy you thought I handled this well :)
As for the "folks" bit, I'm not British either :P I was intending for the Creeveys to be from the northern UK or somewhere...hence the way Dennis says "Mam". I don't know if people over there use the word "folks" or not :P I probably need the advice of some locals of that region!
Ah, yes the details. I know there are plenty of details, and not all of them relate well to each other. I did intend some of them to be random, things and images to leap around, like Dennis' attention is drawn to all sorts of the most trivial of all details. The Creevey brothers are indeed very observant, though Colin is fascinated by everything, Dennis just notices things with a certain distance and indifference (probably due to his present state). At least that's what I was trying to convey, don't know if I succeeded!
However, I do think you are right about the seaside scene. That bit is certainly out of proportion; it's much heavier on the detail and description compared to the other parts of the fic, and I have this nagging suspicion that it's because I was trying to fulfil the requirements of The Five Senses Challenge.
And yes, probably Colin's memory of being Petrified is a little out of place. I've always had the nagging suspicion that it wasn't supposed to be there, and I'm so glad you pointed this out :D You're a great detail-oriented reader! I will try to fix this bit a little. I don't think people would have really fussed a lot over him during his stint in the hospital wing. Colin was never a really popular kid :)
Thanks soso much for your review, Whiskey! It's been so helpful! And apologies once again for the huge delay in responding!