Oh, this was so pretty, Amanda! And there was a dark edge under it all that I loved even more, because dark stories draw me -- beautiful, but with a bite. It is a very fitting tone for the subject of the story, and I think you pulled it off really well, like you always do.
I don't know who this woman is in particular, and I feel like she's a character of your own invention, but I still felt like there was something about her I could relate to. We all have our moments, though, don't we? As little girls we're trained to grow up and achieve love and be satisfied with that, and some may argue but worlds of Disney movies and fairy tales say otherwise. When we don't rise to meet those expectations, a part of us feels as though we've failed. It's almost scary to know that this woman has to resort to drinking love potion in front of a mirror to feel worthy -- and it's an excellent commentary on society. How many real young women would do the same, if they had the means?
And going back to what I said about your imagery -- lovely, and right on point. ♥ There were a couple of lines in particular that stuck out to me:
I have never been told that Iím one of those girls who would be so pretty if she just took all that paint off her face, so I put it on thick -- This is heartbreaking and accurate, and I just... I've never been one of those girls, either. I tried not wearing mascara the other day and when I told someone I was a little tired, she said, "Yeah, you look tired." Something I am never, ever told when I'm wearing makeup. That line resonates with me, and it breaks my heart: A mask of makeup to hide real and imagined scars
My kitchen stinks of peppermint and roses -- Have you ever read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut? The phrase "mustard gas and roses" is used a few times to describe the smell of the dead, and it's almost the same here, really. Not physically dead, obviously, but a deadening of emotions. Forced, unnatural love, because she can't love herself.
Maybe I'm reading too much into this story, or maybe what I found is exactly what you intended. Nonetheless, this is a lovely story, Amanda, and it's made me think more than a lot of other fan fiction stories I've read lately. Thank you for that! ♥ And thank you for your lovely review, too -- I hope to respond to it sooner, rather than later. Always such a pleasure to read a story of yours!
Author's Response: Hi Rachel! Look at us, getting our exchange done right off the bat. I'm so proud :)
I actually had Lavender in mind when I wrote this, and I felt like she really embodies the height of that romantic sentiment you described. She's fallen victim to the idea that if you're a girl who's not pretty or not wanted, then you've really got nothing to offer the world and you'll be cast aside by everyone else. I thought of her consumption of the love potion as being akin to drinking or using drugs to numb the pain, except that it takes things one step further--she actually feels a drive to fall in love with herself because she thinks so little of her own value without the potion. As it is, she's stuck between being a werewolf and being a human, with no kin to call her own.
I don't get told as much very often, though I usually wear make-up, but I also feel sort of tired and unattractive when I don't put in that effort in the morning. I think we're conditioned to feel that way--it's the same thing if my hair isn't done or my outfit doesn't feel quite right. It's sad to think that Lavender really needs to cake it on to feel like a woman. Why should we have to apologize or make excuses for not looking immaculate?
I haven't read that--though my husband loved it--and for some reason your reference reminds me of imagery from The Hunger Games (probably the roses). Anyway, it's great that you picked that one out, because I like it, too. I think it conveys the idea that anyone else would be disgusted and overpowered by the extent of Lavender's effort to like herself, but for her, all of the drama and desperate measures are needed.
I do think you got at the heart of the story, and I'm pleased to hear you enjoyed it! I always strive to make people think, so that's good to hear. So glad you enjoyed my review as well, and know that I loved getting this one!