Amanda! Hi m'dear ♥ Well, at least your advisor has done ONE good thing since working with you. This one shot is incredibly intriguing.
I'm so behind on your new short stories, and it made me so happy to see you request! I feel like there's so much I need to be doing all the time that opening a thread back up felt like the only way I'd get myself to review, haha. ANYWAY I'm really excited you requested this one shot. It's more of the classic Amanda work I love so much, though a bit less abstract than some of your other pieces.
I love that you took into account the fact that Lavender wouldn't have gotten away with either life or death. It wasn't that simple, and instead she's been left in the sort of limbo between being not quite human but not quite werewolf that we watched Bill enter into. But Bill had the support of his family and unwavering love of his fiance. What does Lavender have? A dream long gone of being the princess in the fairy tale. That's so, so sad.
Maybe if she would have had someone to care for her the way she's able to use the potion to alter her brain and care for herself, she would never have felt the desperation of this. She just wants to look at herself and see someone beautiful, someone charming that could be the desire of every man around, and the love potion does that. She doesn't deal with her feelings of inadequacy, she covers them up. I love that. I love that she clearly hasn't come to terms with anything, because even surviving through what she's been part of would be hard enough. Surviving it without someone like the strength of the Weasley clan would be damn near impossible, and the idea of her needing that potion just to pretend for a while that she's the best version of herself is twisted in the same that that it's inventive. For both of you! Instead of letting herself live in this sort of hate, she's found a way to be everything she wants. It's a messed up and unhealthy way, sort of like an alcoholic that uses it to dull their pain, but it's still a way.
You said you wanted to know if this made sense, but now I'm over here questioning if my review even makes sense :P. The story made perfect sense to me, so I don't see why it wouldn't to other people. You leave enough clues to tell what she is and to make it clear that she isn't a full werewolf. I also love the idea of it being the full moon that induces either this further hate of herself, making her need to create the potion, or induces the need to love herself more. I'm not sure which it is, but either way it's still a really creative idea.
The only thing that I could spot CC wise in this is that there's a bit of excess commas. But I'm terrible at actually understanding what is too much... There were just times that I felt like it would have flowed smoother without a few. Like:
--When I was a little girl, I used to read and re-read Beauty and the Beast.
I think this first sentence would feel more fluid without that first comma.
--Some months, I am weakened, and I sit and stare at the stars, a book open in my lap and Professor Trelawney’s voice in my head.
--For a while, I would wrap the bottle up in ribbons and make a show of presenting it to myself, just to make sure it would work.
I think both first commas in these two sentences make it feel a little clunky, as well.
Like I said I am far from understanding the best way to use commas and am just now training comma splices out of myself, so feel free to ignore that. Those were just a few places that felt more complicated than necessary because of the comma.
This was really beautiful and dark one shot, Amanda. Not that I'd expect anything less from you ;). I think you should start making writing a priority every time you can't sleep! ♥
Author's Response: Ugh, blame my advisor for why it took me five days to respond to this. But thank you, love! :D I feel like I haven't talked to you much lately and I miss you, and I just couldn't resist the opportunity to get your opinion on this piece. (And I know I've said this every which way I can, but it's my full intention to catch up on Before They Fall at some point, hopefully over the summer.)
It's so great that you caught the similarity I tried to pose between Lavender's condition and Bill's after the war. You're totally right that there is a major difference between them due to the contrast between having a huge Weasley support system and having no one. I definitely viewed the potion as being like alcohol or a drug, in that Lavender uses it to numb herself to sleep and try to capture that feeling of love that she's never experienced.
I'm glad you feel like this piece makes sense. I had gotten a few people who seemed to miss that Lavender wasn't a full werewolf--I tried to allude to that in her comment about Greyback, but it seemed like people saw that as being a sort of suicide wish, which wasn't exactly what I meant to convey. I just meant that if she was a full werewolf, she would at least not be in this terrible limbo state. As for the ending, I think that self-hatred is always there under the surface, but the full moon makes her moody and irritable, which really brings it out and causes her to feel restless.
I seem to overuse commas; I think it's because I get annoyed when I read stories with endless run-on, comma-free sentences. You're probably right that some of those could come out, especially in your last two examples :) I'll make a note to go back and edit this when I have some free time and declutter it.
Thanks so much for this wonderful review, Jami!