Hello, again! So you've reviewed about a zillion of my chapters today and I'd feel bad about tagging you again. Hopefully another new reader will tag you and discover this awesome story!
Gah, poor Isobel! I don't know if you've read the book Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, but Isobel makes me think of it. In the book, Famine -- one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse -- is forced to reinvent himself after modern agriculture limits his opportunities. So he becomes a fad diet guru and essentially convinces vain people to starve themselves. Isobel's problems obviously run deeper than vanity, but the cabbage soup diet brought me right back to the concept. Unrelated tangential note: In the book, Pestilence is forced into retirement after the discovery of Penicillin, and is replaced by Pollution.
Isobel is hiding so many things from her family, I don't know how she keeps it all straight. I have even more respect for her intelligence after reading this chapter, although that intelligence is being applied to frightfully self-destructive purposes.
Wow, Doge and Dumbledore as a couple. It's not impossible to wrap my head around, but tricky. I think maybe a one-shot on the topic could help. ;)
I'm feeling... something for Isobel's parents. My knee-jerk reaction is to say "dislike", because a lot of her body image issues seem to arise from the way they're treated her in the past. It's horribly ironic that they would have noticed the issues when she was nearer to the heavy end of the spectrum and they seem oblivious to it now that she's inching toward the dangerously thin end of the spectrum. Except that they aren't completely oblivious. Her mother seems to have half a clue, she just isn't doing much with it. Maybe "disappointing" is a better word?
Ha! Emily's parents seem like the best kind of muggles. They're fascinated by magic, they live off the grid, they have a son who works at a growery... I love all of the back story that goes along with them. It's easy to see how Emily ended up the way she did. A smart, loving, carefree girl who's also a bit on the sensitive side because she was likely sheltered from some of life's crueler realities as a child.
At least Isobel's dad didn't come off like a complete jerk during the conversation. He's a little self-important, but not at all in the Lucius Malfoy sense.
Lucas seems like an all-around solid older brother. One thing I noticed that might or might not be a continuity error was the following in the author's note: Levinia was disowned by her family shortly after becoming pregnant with Emily, and moved to the Highlandís with Jim to set up a small, sustainable, organic farm--mirroring the American 'back to the land' movement of that era. If Lucas is the older sibling, did Levinia's parents approve of her husband and ideals for the first child but not the second? Just seems a bit odd. Not a big deal, though. I like the fact that Lucas asks the girls about recreational magic and what happened to Laurel. He probably sees enough "drug people" in his job that he's hip to some of the dangers.
I really liked the conversation between Lucas and Isobel. Might there be just a hint of a romantic interest there? I felt a little something...
Another awesome chapter! I'm looking forward to the reunion at St. Mungo's, even though it might not be so much fun to read.
Author's Response: No, I've never read it, but sounds super interesting, and I generally like Gaiman.
As for Doge and Dumbledore as a couple: reread Deathly Hallows with that in mind--totally implied! Or not. But enough for Isobel to get the same idea :)
Yeah, Isobel's parents are pretty imperfect--partially because of their desire to be perfect. They aren't bad people, but I've seen parents like these, who don't realize how much they're hurting their children in subtle ways. I had a friend who pulled an Isobel in her late junior-early senior year because of the stress of applying to college. Her mom was actually proud of her, and only realized later that her daughter's weight loss was a bad thing.
And for some reason, I really enjoyed writing Ahmad. He's a fun combination of intelligent, kind, arrogant, and oblivious. I imagined him as looking like the Hedge-Fund guy from Skins:Fire.
"A smart, loving, carefree girl who's also a bit on the sensitive side because she was likely sheltered from some of life's crueler realities as a child." Yeah! Exactly! Well, mostly! You'll see!
Ah, it should have said 'Lucas', not 'Emily.' Indeed a continuity error. Thanks for catching it! I don't edit my end notes nearly as thoroughly as my chapters!
Thank youuu for another review!