|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Finally here to review your story for the TGS review exchange! I've managed to read it a couple of times and I'm still in awe about this first chapter. There's so much going on in it, but I really enjoyed the kind of humour that you used. Not only does it win awards for all the sarcasm (which I love to see), but there's this darker, not-quite-bitter side to it that's alluring. The birth scene was at once disturbing and an incredible way to begin a story (thank you for making it realistic, by the way) because it's the upheaval the marks the beginning of Nisha's story - not only is Pepper born, but the story is too.
What strikes me first is the strength of the narration - it sounds like Nisha is in the room, reciting her story with brilliant sarcasm. What you have here is a great example of effective first person narration - you don't overuse "I", but instead focus on the events and the (crazy) people in Nisha's life. It's a far more realistic use of the first person, actually bringing the reader closer to the story, as though she had come to tea and was talking about her terrible experience with the ex-boyfriend. Although there's a lot of action in those first scenes, the intimacy of Nisha's narration draws one in - it's clear that she's reached a new stage in her life, and I can't at all blame her for wanting to exorcise the demons from her home. :P It's also a great way of establishing sympathy for Nisha - she's not pleased, but she doesn't whine about it or let it get to her. In this chapter, we learn a lot about Nisha, not from what she says, but in how she responds to the chaos around her.
The pace of the story slows dramatically when you begin the final section of the chapter, and I wonder if all of those descriptions of Nisha's office space are completely necessary. Is it that you're establishing how different her chaotic home life is from the peaceful, slower pace at work? It's certainly a more orderly place, and I like the details regarding times, schedules - anything that alludes to structure. Although Victoire is this dragon-like presence in the background, Nisha still has a strong sense of satisfaction with her workplace - she belongs there. This is only emphasized by her relationship with Teddy, which is OMG-worthy. I really like the way they talk to one another, and how completely crazy they both are (in a good way, unlike Chutney's craziness), oversharing with snippy comments. They have a comfortable-sounding friendship - definitely beyond a working relationship - and behind the jokes and exaggeration are two people who just understand one another.
It's the kind of introductory chapter that makes me want to know more about characters and see what happens to them next - ergo, it's an excellent first chapter. The only critique I can think to give is in regard to those first 3-or-so paragraphs of the last section, where some of the words, especially the adverbs, could be trimmed to improve the flow/pacing. Other than that, the writing, characterization, and style of this are fantastic, and I'd love to read more! :)