Reading Reviews for Don't Feed Mary
  
6 Reviews Found

Review #1, by academica Fickle

27th June 2013:
Hey! Thanks for the swap :)

I picked this one because I really loved your piece on psychosis, Look at Me, and this story did not disappoint. Eating disorders can be hard to understand, but I thought you did a nice job of capturing a number of salient aspects. I especially liked Mary's internal battle with herself and her disordered thoughts in terms of when she should eat and when she feels regret about having eaten. You can tell that no matter what choice she makes she ends up hating herself for something or another. It's really quite sad to think about, especially given that she had friends like Lily who would have undoubtedly accepted her as she was.

I also really liked some of the stylistic choices you made here, like the counting and breathing routine and the derogatory terms that kept creeping into Mary's mind. It was a nice tactic to get the readers into her mind and help them understand how obsessive and dark her thinking patterns became.

Nice work! I'd love to see you write more in this vein, because you do a really great job with it.

-Amanda

Author's Response: You're welcome!

After reading your review I actually went to pay Look at Me a visit and its really quite strange how stylistic I had made it comparing to my other pieces, and even this one.

It's a bit surprising how much I miss writing these kinds of stories even though they require a lot of work and care and going over constantly. And I think I would like to go back to this and perhaps doing a longer work that focuses on the human mind specifically.

This was inspired by a myriad of things so I'm glad you liked it and I'm glad you think that it worked so well considering I've not experienced a lot of the things I write about and I research it all for the stories.

I think that a lot of mental disease all have select things in common and its the tumult of mixed feelings about other people and themselves and how they're perceived. They know something is wrong but the don't always acknowledge it properly and that's what happened with Fred and Mary here. They couldn't bring themselves to understand what exactly was going on - if they even knew what it was going on with them.

Thank you for such a lovely review, you gave me lots to think about and lots of ideas sparking up! :D

Hannah ♥


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Review #2, by onestop_hpfan18 Fickle

19th September 2012:
I thought you handled the subject matter quite well with a sense of maturity in your writing. There were times when it felt more telling than showing (mainly at the top part in the middle section) but for the most part I believed your character's story and felt her pain. And toward the end a few sentences felt like they were missing a word (or had an extra word attached) because the wording was a bit awkward.

For instance: She wanted to a smart, stick thin person who had perfect skin, perfect friends, perfect family and a perfect life. {She wanted to be a smart, stick thin person...}

Over all, I liked it a lot and thought you did a really good job with the conversion from the classic you had been assigned. And I loved the way you set up Mary's character, you did an excellent job introducing her and her problem in this first chapter. Keep up the great writing! :)

Author's Response: I'm very particular about my characters and how I portray them - they should have their story told without having to move a plot along. People are not plot movers and therefore characters shouldn't be treated as such. Their actions could lead to a plot, but over all I think they should be left alone as they'll make interesting stories by themselves if you let them be.

I've got alot of work to do in order to go over this chapter as I'm not quite happy with everything in it and just like the things you've pointed out as well. Some of it is annoyingly repetitive and needs tinkering with.

Thank you for your lovely review though - one day this will be continued and finished!


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Review #3, by Arithmancy_Wiz Fickle

20th July 2012:
Hi, Cirque. I'm here for the TGS review swap!

I don't often seek out stories that center around eating disorders because I don't feel they are always respectful or sensitive to the seriousness of the disease. They often use the disorder as a means to an end: a way to make a character seem broken or to attract the attention of some strong, strapping man who can save them from themselves. I really like that you didn't choose that route here. You let Mary's disorder speak for itself. It wasn't a pathway to something more. It just was...

I also enjoyed your repeated use of the idea of a monster or a devil living inside her or whispering in her ear. That's a very powerful way of personifying her thoughts and compulsions. Some other elements that also really stood out to me were when Mary thought the other students were whispering about her and the repeated use of those less than flattering words all in a row. I think everyone can relate to that to some extent. Being self-conscious or having low self-esteem is something a lot of people struggle with, even if they don't develop eating disorders. And it is very reasonable, based on the back-story you gave, that Mary would be susceptible to developing this. Often easting disorders involve issues of control. If her family dynamic was changing or slipping away from her, it's understandable she'd turn those feelings of powerlessness inward on herself.

If you don't mind a little CC, I did notice a few mechanic-type issues that you might want to keep an eye out for. Sometimes your verbs (particularly versions of "to be") seem a bit off. I can't think how to describe it really so I'll just give an example:

"She thinks that if she carries on the way she does that she'll finally get to where she wants to be."
AND
"She wants to be perfect, but she doesn't understand that she was perfect the way she had been before."

I *think* these should be: "carries on the way she had been that she" and "was perfect the way she was before." I'm not enough of a grammar expert to explain *why* I think it's supposed to be this way, but it's just something I noticed.

On a way less confusing point, I also noticed you started a lot of sentences with the word "She." The sentences in the paragraph that starts "She will have to go to classes..." all start with She. You might want to keep an eye out for repetition like that. And there were a few missing commas here and there as well.

Overall, you really did a nice job of tapping into something sad and important without exploiting the sensitive issue. And it was a really interesting idea for the convert a novel challenge. I started a Withering Heights story but I've still not managed to edit and post any of it yet. I'm glad we got paired for the review swap this time around. Thanks for sharing your story - and thanks for the thank you at the end :)

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Review #4, by TheSameReviewerAsTheFirst - Squared and Cubed. Fickle

26th June 2012:
DUN DUN DUN DUNDUN DUN DUNDUN DUN. DUN DUN DUN DUNDUN DUN DUNDUN DUN (I think The Imperial March tune from Star Wars is far more effective than a bland trumpet fanfare... especially for addressing something as glorious as this piece)

Continuation...

I loved this. :'). I loved the whole concept of it. There isn't much that I can say against this. Nothing at all, rather. It's probably just elements that didn't work particularly well for me. 'Work' is the wrong term, rather. When I say I loved every bit of it, I do mean every bit. WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO ME?

Right. Let's just take it onto my idea of the cruxes of this piece.

'...everyone can already see there is something not right.' - This reads a bit awkwardly to me. Maybe you meant to phrase it this way, though... in which case, please ignore me. Try working with something around the lines of "...everyone could see that something was not right", perhaps?

'...be present in a young girls' mind:' - Misplacement of the apostrophe, I believe. "Girl's" would make the following term possessive which, I think, is what you were aiming at. If you wished to generalise young girls, though, and talk from their perspectives, I suppose you could say "...present in young girls' minds", too.

'She wanted to a smart, stick thin person...' - This bit looks to me like it's missing a "be" between 'to' and 'a'.

AND THAT IS ALL. There are very few, and they're not even major errors! I just thought I'd point them out because they were really merged into the context. I didn't spot any of these on my first and second readings, so... YOU'RE BRILLIANT.

DID I MENTION THE THING ABOUT THE METAPHORS BEFORE? Just in case, I LOVED IT. I LOVED IT ALL. THIS STORY WAS FULL OF THEM. It was like my own personal Eid feast or something, all just laid out in front of me to appreciate. I LOVED ALL OF THEM. They highlighted their connotations in such a miraculous manner. I especially loved the way you referred to society as a 'beast'. That was such a brilliant notion. I'm going to save that one for last so I can savour every last drop of it and have the after-taste remain in my mouth for the rest of eternity (getting a bit ahead of myself, aren't I? WHAT DO YOU DO TO ME?). I loved the devil concept which lived within her which she couldn't get away from. Some of this describes me so well, it's unreal. I LOVED IT.

A lot of your readers could probably relate to this and know how it feels to live with this disorder. I think everyone should read this because it holds such wise words of wisdom, and looking at the lives of a relatable characters can really influence people into looking at themselves from a different perspective... a much preferred perspective, in this case.

I LOVE LOVE LOVED HOW YOU WROTE THIS ALL IN DESCENDING ORDER AND IT STILL WORKED SO BEAUTIFULLY.

You make me cry.

ANOTHER BRILLIANT COMPOSITION, I MUST SAY. You're just...

BRAVO!

Author's Response: you make me lol omg with your name you're silly.

i decided to cut it to a one-shot in the end - maybe it'll be a bit more at one point but we'll see

xxx


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Review #5, by tangledconstellations Fickle

21st June 2012:
Hey love,

this one-shot was really beautiful and really, really sad :( I felt you handled it really sensitively though, and didn't glorify it at all. The older sister of a friend of mine suffered with an eating disorder and I remember the pain it inflicted on all of the family. Sometimes it's a topic difficult to understand or really put into words. It really truly is heartbreaking, and its somewhat impossible to make head or tail of, because it's not stubbornness or stupidity - it is an actual illness. I really felt like you addressed the sensitivity, though, and the way it is all consuming.

Despite this, this one-shot offers a little glimmer of hope and happiness to the reader. Saviours like Lily Evans do exist in real life - you just have to give them the chance.

Thanks for writing - Laura xxx

Author's Response: This was...difficult to write, but it was also so /exciting/ because it was quite personal and, well, write what you know is the philosophy I go after a lot with writing.

I love that you reviewed it first so squishes for youuu. I'm also so sorry for getting to this a month late! :(

Will it make you happier or sadder when I break the news that this was, indeed, the prologue and there are few more chapters to come?

Hanzi xxx


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Review #6, by Ghetto-Percy-Weasley Fickle

8th June 2012:
Inhale... Exhale... I'm tired of it... I don't wanna breathe.

This was first thing that came to my mind after the counting down. I thought the countdown was really effective in the sense that it emphasises what a lot a teenagers living today have been experiencing, along with the level of destruction and pain it has been causing them within this society. This variation of Mary is the perfect archetype and you've brought it across in the most glorious manner possible, brilliantly portraying her character so that readers who have this said barrier in front of them can relate really well.

I found the order confusing at first but I blame that solely on my own senselessness and first-readingisms and such. I loved how you've made this work backwards; it's a truly engaging concept, and I've certainly never come across anything like this. Bonus points for the originality!

My favourite quote (or thought, rather) was:

"Disgusting and rotten words that shouldn't be present in a young girls' mind:

BLEEP/BEEP/BLEEPITY/BLEEP/BLEEP/BEEP
BLEEP/BEEP/BLEEPITY/BLEEP/BLEEP/BEEP
BLEEP/BEEP/BLEEPITY/BLEEP/BLEEP/BEEP."

To me, this came across as an echo in the background. Although this has been written in the third person's perspective, the way you've merged it into this piece so proficiently made it sound like voices were running through Mary's mind with this dominant tone. It shows the reader how the repetitive words had grown into her so deep that it pained her to the very core of her existence, causing this glitch to make her want to change herself. I loved it. The way you've written this paints such a strong, graphical image of how a person with this disorder has to live with the consequences of their choice, and what they had to live through prior to this state.

Overall, this is so powerful and so brilliant. It's so thoughtful and so contentious, giving it a really moving upshot.

As difficult as it may seem, I shall refrain from writing anything more until someone else steps forward before me, so to keep to my third-reviewer status (and possibly change my name for that one review for obvious reasons).

Author's Response: you are lovely thank you xxx

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