Hi, Nadia! Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room.
When I was young, I had a cousin who was struggling with bipolar disorder. It was never so severe as what you've described in such a mesmerizing way in this story, but I'll never forget it. The thing I remember most were the windows of clarity between the crazy mode swings and the manic fits of misbehavior. The moments where he knew that something wasn't right. It was haunting to listen to him talk about himself as though he was talking about another person entirely. I got the same sort of chills in Edith Nott's moments of clarity in this story. For me, at least, that was what made it the most real.
This story was so gripping and intense. It was impossible to look away, really. And I had two 5-year-olds trying very hard to make that happen. Poor Theo was left to shoulder the burden that his father -- who was elderly, if I remember the canon correctly -- was either unwilling to deal with it or too busy carrying out the Dark Lord's orders.
I thought you paced the story really well. You started off with some of the less awful symptoms of Edith's mental disorder and gradually escalated it to the point where it was completely beyond her control. Every behavior you ascribed to her felt incredibly realistic. There wasn't anything cartoony or over-the-top about the way you treated her mental illness, which I was thankful for. There's nothing worse than a story that seems to make light of such a horrible thing, whether it's on purpose or due to simple misunderstanding.
And those awful moments of clarity. In one way they're a gift, but they also make the process so much more painful. You get these brief glimpses of the person you love as they used to be. It fills you with false hope, only to see it dashed away a moment later.
She whispered in your ear, “Make it stop, Theo. Make the voices stop.”
And so you promised, “Okay.”
But you didn’t. You lied. You broke your promise. -- If there was one moment in the entire story where I felt worst for Theo, it was right here. The guilt that comes from promising something that you know you can't deliver, but you promise it anyway because it's the only form of comfort you can offer.
You passed her the knife and waited for it to happen.
So perhaps, it was your fault. -- Tragically, no matter how long he has to process and understand what happened to his mother, there will always be a part of him that believes that.
I don't know what else I can add. This was equal parts beautiful and heart-wrenching. Written with so much sensitivity and finesse. Lovely job!
Author's Response: DAAAN!I'M SO THRILLED YOU READ THIS AND LIKED IT! *falls to the ground* And I'm so sorry that it's been so long and I'm only just replying! But thank you so much for the review, it really made my birthday!
*sigh* I've fortunately (?) never known anyone with anything similar to this. I personally have been through/am going through a phase where I am sad, a lot of the time for no apparent reason. So I understand the, "knowing something's wrong, but not knowing *what* exactly is wrong." I think because I am that way, I was able to pass on some of my own characteristics to Edith.
Ah, that makes me smile. Your twins and the fact that you found it so gripping. That truly means a lot.
Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you! A lot of the symptoms have to go to Google and Amanda. There were times I will admit, where I thought I was rushing, or maybe there were *too* many symptoms. I'm so glad you liked it, because I know that if I had made it cartoon-y, I probably would never have put it up.
The way you review drives me insane. Seriously, I am not worth that praise. I'm so honoured whenever you leave reviews for me, because you look at everything of mine from a different perspective, or word it so nicely it really leaves my face burning.
THOSE LINES! AH! I loved those ones, particularly because I felt super smart writing them. But to see that you liked them too, for your own reasons and thoughts, make them a lot more special.
Man, Dan! (that rhymed wicked!) You are seriously too kind. So thank you, a lot. Honestly, this review has got to be one of the nicest and most thoughtful reviews I've ever received. Congratulations on surpassing 900, by the way!