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Reading Reviews for The Baby In The Closet
  
27 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Jutta Epilogue

23rd December 2015:
Beautifully written!

Author's Response: I was so surprised and pleased to see a review for this story after so long. Thank you! I am very glad that you enjoyed it.

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Review #2, by krazyboutharryginny Epilogue

4th April 2015:
Aw!! This is so cute!!
I'm so happy because this is such a lovely and nice ending to this wonderful story, but I'm also sad because it's over and I had such fun reading it :( But, if it had to end, I'm glad it ended this way.
I really did love reading this!
-Kayla

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla.

I'm glad you came back to finish off this story by reading the final chapter, because I had been afraid that you thought that Chapter 10 was the last chapter. (Originally it was, in the manuscript, and then I thought of this final touch to finish things off so neatly.)

One would think that the subject of child abuse and its long-term effects could be a downer, but you say that you loved reading it and had fun reading it, and that makes me happy. It's not really ended, in the sense that it will be with Harry for his entire life, but now he knows that he can cope with it, and that's the important thing that he achieved in this story. Despite the sadness, there is hope for happiness in the future.

Thank you so much for sticking with this long story all the way to the end and for writing so many nice and often helpful reviews!

Vicki


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Review #3, by fwoopersong8 Epilogue

2nd April 2015:
Wow! So now you're an astronomer and a psychologist! The more I read your stories, the more I'm impressed by the time and research you must put into them. Hey, I'm a dumb teenager...I like to do things fast. But I really enjoy the quality of works which have obviously been labored over.
You had me hooked with psychology. I love psychology! (Although ironically, I have never taken a class on it, something I regret. It's my most-looked-forward-to general ed class in college.) I never thought about how Harry's childhood would affect him as an adult or as a parent, but it makes so much sense. I very much relate with the feeling of having to hold everything inside and take charge of everything, because I'm the oldest of a large family and have to be responsible. People call me "Second Mommy." :) Recently I started wondering why I'm always afraid of disappointing people or not living up to expectations, and I did a little research (although not nearly as in-depth as Harry did!). Great job creating a story that resonates so deeply with introspective people like me! (Is that even a compliment, or just narcissistic?) :)
Also, I really like how this "Mature" story doesn't contain anything graphic or any highly offensive swearing. I get so annoyed when people use the Mature rating as an excuse to swear in every other sentence. I wish all Mature-rated stories were so, well...mature!
Never stop writing! I hope someday I have the time and initiative to write as well as you do.
~fwoopersong8

Author's Response: Hi, fwoopersong8. Thank you so much for reading this long story and leaving a review. I'm glad you liked it. I wrote this story after reading a couple of fluffy one-shots by an excellent writer (who does not post at this site) about Harry's experience with his own newborn children, and I thought Something's missing here! There's no way Harry can be a good father without reconciling the events of his own childhood. So I set out to write the story because it needed to be written. It took about nine months to write, with a summer hiatus, and hours of research. But it makes me so happy, worth all the work, when things fall into place.

I was surprised to learn that on this site any story that even mentions child abuse has to be rated Mature and Strong Violence, even if no abuse is going on in the story. I sure hope that the ratings don't scare readers away. I never write anything graphic or gratuitous profanity.

I will echo your constant advice--never stop writing. The stuff I wrote when I was a teenager was pretty stupid, and all burnt to ashes long since. But years of experience and--dare we say it?--maturity have improved my writing greatly. :)

Nice to hear from you again.

Vicki


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Review #4, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Epilogue

1st April 2015:
He didn't specifically recognize the words and pictures, but he felt a visceral reaction spreading throughout his gut, as if his body was saying This is right. This is how it is supposed to be.

What a wonderful ending! In all honesty you could have ended with the last chapter. I thought you wrapped everything up pretty well but what I liked about this ending was the fact that we see Harry's happiness from beginning to end. Also, the mention of Mrs. Figg. She has never been such a prominent person in fan fiction so it's nice that you paid homage to her here and she kind of made everything come full circle because she was the one that cared for baby Harry, truly, when no one else did.

Author's Response: Hi, DD. I'm glad you liked the ending. As you could detect, the manuscript originally ended with the previous chapter, but as I was doing yard work in my back yard (or, as the British say, garden work in my back garden), where inspiration often comes in the midst of mindless tasks out of doors, I thought of this final touch, which wrapped things up and, as Harry noted, linked the beginning of his life to his later years. Mrs. Figg would never have suspected how significant those books were for Harry; is not life often like that?

The description of deja vu is how I feel when seeing pictures or videos of the Mojave Desert, where I lived as a very small child. All those deserts (the Mojave, the Sonoran, the Chihuahuan) have unique and distinctive looks because of the distinctive plants that grow in each one of them. Our typical mental image of the southwestern American desert is the Sonoran Desert, but the Mojave Desert looks quite different.

Thank you so much for reading all the way to the end and leaving so many lovely reviews. They are much appreciated.

Vicki


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Review #5, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap The Last Funeral

1st April 2015:
Child abuse is not a magical problem, it's a human problem. It's not a matter of having been injured by an errant spell or hex, or having been bitten by a toxic animal. I don't think there's a spell or potion that can reverse it

It has taken me forever to come back to this story. I work too much but i'm glad I finally was able to read this chapter. I think by far it was my favorite. Just to see such familiar faces and for Harry to tell them his feelings and to be accepted and treated well. I liked Hermione's sentence above the best because I kind of figured someone wasn't going to get it. It made sense for it to be Molly because she comes from a different time and from a different family life. Plus, I don't think abuse is something wizards talk about. Especially pureblood ones because it would bring shame to their family and I also think it is kind of accepted.

I cried a little during Harry's eulogy to himself. The baby in the closet all this time was his. Wow. It makes complete sense and I'm surprised I didn't come to that conclusion before. Really great job.

Author's Response: Hi, DD. I'm glad you could come back to this story. I know how it is to have so much work that the days slip past, one by one, and not much else gets done but tasks.

This chapter was actually the most difficult one to write, and I struggled with it more than with the others. I am glad that you think it was successful. As it ended up, there was a lot of stuff packed into this chapter, hopefully all contributory. Harry's climactic line is actually a quote from an adult survivor of child abuse.

I think you are right about wizards' not talking about child abuse. For a long time we Muggles didn't talk about it either.

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing. :)

Vicki


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Review #6, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap The Bombing of Coventry

18th March 2015:
(This review is in support of the HPFF fundraiser review competition)

I was really happy you didn't just focus on Harry in this chapter. Mrs. Figg never had much of a background in the books. She was there and she seemed batty with all of her cats. So it was nice that you gave more depth to her character. To hear about her husband, hardships and children added a special touch to your story. In my opinion anyway.

The ending confused me a little bit. Only because Harry's thoughts and outburst wasn't fully explained. It's like he knows what he's talking about but I felt more like Ginny, puzzled and trying to understand him as a bit of an outsider. I don't think it's a big deal because it will probably be explained more in the next chapter.

Author's Response: Hmm. Sorry about that. I will try to explain.

Harry said that after learning so much information about child abuse, he felt as if he had been damaged to the core, that he was just "a sack of walking Dursley Damage." He had wondered, as he left St. Stephen's Church, if his mother's love during his first year of life had protected him somewhat from the influence of the Dursleys, but he had no proof of that. Now suddenly he puts two and two together, juxtaposing the fact that he had had a little broom to fly on when he was a toddler and the fact that he could fly instinctively at age eleven, and he realizes that it is in fact true, that the core of who he was, established in his parents' home during the first fifteen months of his life, was still present and still undamaged, and that he could build upon that to rid himself of the toxic effect of the Dursleys. That realization, that flash of insight, made him extremely happy because now he felt sure that there was hope for him to recover from what he had been through.

I'm glad that you liked what I did with Mrs. Figg. I always liked her as a character and wanted to add another side to her character, to round her out. There had to be a lot more to her than what we were allowed to see.

Thanks for reading and reviewing.

Vicki


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Review #7, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Ginny Comes Home

18th March 2015:
(This review is for the HPFF fundraiser competition)

My grandparents, my Evans grandparents, didn't do that, and you see what happened to Lily and Petunia, and then you see what happened to Dudley and me. Well, this is where it ends!"

I'm glad he was finally ready to open up to her and he's ready to look into his past. I do hope you surprise us in the future and he does seek out Vernon and Petunia. It would be nice to just see him confront them and then close that chapter completely.

It's great that he's setting boundaries I guess you can call it that and that he's planning for the future and trying to make the changes needed to make so he doesn't repeat the cycle.

You know, that's crazy. My aunt was worried that the neighbors would think I was a freak, and yet she did her best to make sure I looked like one."

Exactly. Petunia, not so smart.

The conversation with McGonagall was riveting. I didn't think she would know much but at least it gave him a starting off point and the ability to blow off some steam. I don't think Harry would ever blame Dumbledore because that was his mentor and he did many things for him. I just hope Mrs. Figg has some answers because I can't even begin to think of who he could go to besides her. He really didn't have anyone else unless of visiting Petunia and Vernon he has a meeting with Dudley.

Author's Response: Hi, DD. I'm glad you enjoyed this chapter. Harry will probably never get all the answers he wants. Maybe, as with Adolf Hitler and the Second World War, some of the Whys will never be known.

But I have the feeling that he is capable of rising above all of it, in the end, as many people manage to do.

Vicki


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Review #8, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap St. Stephen's Church

18th March 2015:
(This review is in support of the HPFF Fundraiser)

It is nice to see you again. I'm glad that you came." She deliberately used the word "again" to acknowledge the tiny, brief relationship that had been established at the volunteers' class. She wanted him to feel that he was in a safe place with friends.

Patricia is so warm and she's everything I would want in someone i am seeking help and guidance in. Your profile says you're a nurse so I'm going to assume you have some expertise in this field. I definitely see great knowledge and research in the story and that helps because it makes it believable.

What was Dumbledore's Army if not the ultimate self-help group?

Wow. I never looked at the DA like that but it's so true. It really was a self-help group.

They gave him everything he wanted, overindulged him, you would say. He was a bully toward me also, but now, looking back, I think he was just imitating what he saw them do. I think, in the long run, he had to learn everything the hard way.

Exactly! You know Dudley learned how to treat people, specifically Harry, from his parents. He was an abuser as well but I think Dudley was abused too. I think we see that from his weight gain and then his weight loss because he loses the weight and because this big bully (well even more of a bully) but then he kind of switches tact a little once Harry saves him. He realizes Harry isn't as bad as his parents make him out to be or magic and I think they would have tried to have a relationship (a strained one) after the battle and everything calmed down.

That closing line was everything for me but when Harry opened up and all the women responded I thought that was the best part of the chapter. It was all very insightful and interesting. It also felt sort of invasive because I started to become attached to the other characters and for a moment I said to myself, "I shouldn't be reading this!"

Author's Response: Hi, DD. That's kind of funny, feeling like you're peeking into someone's clinical record that you shouldn't be reading.

Yes, a lot of this information comes from my work in this area while I was in Nursing School at the University of Washington a long time ago. So it was just a matter of transferring it from an American setting to a British setting (which also involves a lot of research to get the details more or less right; my notebook is full of pages printed from the internet).

Thanks for reading and reviewing.

Vicki


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Review #9, by krazyboutharryginny The Last Funeral

18th March 2015:
Wow, okay! So this is the last posted chapter -can't remember off the top of my head if this is a WIP or if this is the last chapter, though. I'll definitely check back.
Overall, this whole story is extremely well done. This is a hard subject to tackle and you've pulled it off incredibly well. There are some issues with characterization, but not insurmountable ones. This fic is very good and I truly think it could be excellent with just a little tweaking.
-Kayla (for the HPFF review challenge)

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla. There is one more chapter, which is in the queue and which I hope will be validated soon. (The validators have certainly been on a roll the past few days!) Thank you for your frank and honest comments about the parts which need to be beefed up a little. That is very useful to know. I am glad that you enjoyed it (I hope that 'enjoyed' is the right word). :)

Vicki


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Review #10, by krazyboutharryginny The Bombing of Coventry

18th March 2015:
Characterization is a lot better in this chapter. I LOVE the way you did Mrs Figg. You gave her much more depth than in the books, which was really nice. The way you showed Harry and Ginny's relationship towards the end when they were in the playground felt quite natural to me, although I think Ginny would be a tiny bit sassier. Also, I don't think Harry would push Ginny on the swings considering she's very heavily pregnant... that seems quite dangerous.

One suggestion I have for improvement is to work on the start of the conversation between Harry, Ginny, and Mrs Figg, when they're discussing Harry's childhood. Try adding more narrative description to it. More emotion- when Harry asks Mrs Figg how she knew Dumbledore, you could say he "asked, surprised". There should also be pauses in the flow of their talking. It reads like an interrogation. Another example- when Mrs Figg says she figured out that Harry and Dudley were being treated unequally, you could say something like "Harry swallowed and looked down at his lap. He took a sip of tea as he processed everything he'd just been told."
Just suggestions, please don't be hurt by them. I'm really enjoying reading this!
-Kayla (for HPFF review challenge)

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla. Well, I hadn't envisioned Harry as pushing Ginny like my six-year-old granddaughter likes to swing, pumping herself up so high that the chains of the swing are practically parallel with the earth at the height of her arc. He was only pushing her mildly. You are right--anything more would have been inappropriate.

I'm glad you liked Mrs. Figg. It was my intention to treat her with a lot of respect, rather than going with the often-seen image of a batty old lady in carpet slippers. My sense always was that her characterization in the seven books was part of her cover persona, and that after the dangers of the war had passed, she was free to live a more dignified life again.

There was a lot of research in this chapter about England's economy during the Great Depression and the events of the Second World War. The British automotive industry, located in the Midlands, was the one bright spot in the Depression-era economy, and the automotive factories were converted to production of military machinery at the outset of the war, which is why the Germans were intent on bombing that region. In real life, Cyril Barton was an RAF pilot who was killed during the bombing raid over Nuremberg on March 31, 1944, and was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for gallantry. I did not know about him until I researched the role of the RAF in the war, after I had selected the name Cyril for Mrs. Figg's husband.

Your comment about needing more narrative description is right up the lines of what we talked about in the previous review, the business of my narrative being a little thin in this regard, and if i wrote it again, knowing what I know now, it would include more of the things you suggest.

Thanks for your comments.

Vicki


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Review #11, by krazyboutharryginny Ginny Comes Home

18th March 2015:
Okay... I have problems with the characterization in this chapter.
"You're probably wondering why I care, all of a sudden."
"Yes, I do," Professor McGonagall remarked.
"It became more important to me as I was looking forward to beginning my own family, and finally it became an overwhelming need to find answers, to put things to rest. I had doubts about my ability to create a completely healthy family life so long as old ghosts were hanging about. I think these old ghosts can twist and warp your thinking, maybe even in ways you don't recognize, so that you're not in control of your own life, and that's bad."
This exchange doesn't feel realistic. Harry wouldn't bring up things that personal to McGonagall without her specifically asking first. You could potentially change it so that she asks why he's wondering and he hesitates and then explains, or you could have him bring it up very purposefully as a way to start applying the things he learned in the last chapter at the group - an intention you'd have to get across in the narrative.

I think McGonagall would have an angrier reaction to Harry's story about his treatment at the hands of the Dursleys. Think about her body language in the books and utilize it here. For example, there are frequent descriptions of her nostrils going white when she's angry and trying to stay calm.
Things like that. The overall structure of the chapter is fine, but the dialogue is a bit off.
I hope this criticism is helpful and doesn't hurt your feelings; I truly do like this story, I think it has a ton of potential, and I just want to help you improve.

-Kayla (for the HPFF review challenge)

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla. No, it doesn't hurt my feelings at all, since I have no delusions of perfection! Your suggestions of expanding and enriching the beginning of the conversation between Harry and Professor Mc Gonagall sound as if they have a lot of potential in them. I could try reworking that section a little to make it sound more true to life.

I wrote this story back in 2012, out of a compulsion to have this story told, to fill up a gap in the extended canon, and that was before I had studied any textbooks or taken any courses on writing fiction. Since then I have learned more about including the visible behaviors, the physical movements and actions, the signs of emotional reactions and so on, that enrich a dialogue scene. So today I can see places in this manuscript where the narrative is a little thin in those details. And my natural inclination to be terse doesn't help much. I am torn between rewriting this story, knowing what I know now, or keeping it as is, as a testament to where i was in my writing skill three years ago. My more recent works, though not dealing with such a hard-hitting topic, are probably more skillfully written (though still imperfect) as I apply the writing concepts that I have since learned.

Thanks for your comments!

Vicki


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Review #12, by krazyboutharryginny St. Stephen's Church

18th March 2015:
I love the way this chapter is written. The subject matter is handled sensitively, but the reading is still moving. It's written in a way that is informative and could even be helpful to people who suffered childhood abuse, but it's not too academic to be enjoyable. Once again, VERY well-developed minor characters. You get a pretty good sense of these women even though we don't hear their specific backstories.
One tiny improvement I think you could make would be to describe Harry's feelings and his relief in a bit more detail in between the dialogue of the support group. Other than that, I have no criticisms. Very nice!
-Kayla (for the HPFF review challenge)

Author's Response: Thanks for the suggestion! This chapter was a balancing act for me--how much to include, how much to summarize quickly, how to make it seem as if it lasted for an hour without making the chapter too long. How to show what Harry learned without making the chapter sound preachy.

I have a soft spot in my heart for this chapter because it is the point at which Harry stops dancing around the issue and holding it at arm's length, and finally confesses the entirely of his personal involvement, the first time he spills his guts, and I think it was the book at the Institute of Psychiatry that finally impelled him to do this. It was the book that revealed to him how damaged he really was and how imperative it was to do something about it. It's also significant that the first people he chooses to reveal the truth to are, again, strangers. And it takes Patricia's urging to convince him to trust his family with this information. We all can probably remember times when we resolutely marched forward in some task that we really didn't want to do, forcing our feet forward, step by step, because we knew we had to do it anyway. That's how I feel Harry is feeling at this point, kind of like when he was marching into the forest to die.

Thank you for reading and reviewing. Your suggestions are valuable.

Vicki


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Review #13, by krazyboutharryginny The Institute of Psychiatry

18th March 2015:
While reading this, I'm struck by your minor characters. Your descriptions of them, even the nameless ones, are amazing. While reading about Harry being engrossed in the book, I was picturing the receptionist and what she might have been doing in the background. With the man at the British Library, I got a good sense of his jovial personality without him even being named. It's very impressive.

I have one very small criticism of this chapter, which is quite an easy fix. Also, feel free to disregard it- this is based purely on personal experience.
In my life there have been times when I was on the verge of receiving information I'd been wanting for a long time; for example, a diagnosis for my mental illness. At those times, I was always excited and happy like Harry is in this chapter. However, I would also be a bit nervous/anxious. I think that, right near the beginning, when Harry's on the tube to the British Library, you should mention him feeling some slight anxiety over what he might find out.

Another great chapter overall!

-Kayla (for the Hpff Review Challenge)

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla. That's a great point, the idea that he might have felt at least a tiny bit of anxiety about what he might find out. I will have to give it some thought, work up how and when it would fit into the narrative.

When Harry is out and about in London, he's going to run into a lot of unnamed Muggle characters, and it's heart-warming to think that each of them helps him on his way, although none of them will ever know how much, or how important that was. Perhaps we have done the same for other people also, without ever realizing it. Thank you so much for saying that the minor characters are well-characterized. Sometimes I wonder uneasily if readers are displeased to see so many Muggle cameos, but since Harry is moving out into the Muggle community, they have to be there.

This was a rewarding chapter to write, with all the internet research and the challenge of figuring out the public transportation and the public buildings.

Thank you for reading and reviewing.

Vicki


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Review #14, by krazyboutharryginny Volunteer Night

18th March 2015:
I'm back to leave more reviews!
Okay, so I have a couple of problems with this chapter, but they are pretty minor! I hope you don't mind, I still really like this fic and I just want to help you improve.
My biggest problem here is that (as far as I can remember) Harry doesn't change his mind the way he does in this chapter in the books. He tends to be incredibly stubborn and doesn't usually change his mind without some needling and pushing. In the last chapter, Ginny said that volunteering with this organization would be a bad idea. He never receives that little push, and there's never really an internal push. He just changes his mind. In my opinion, this chapter would feel a little stronger and closer to canonical Harry if there were a clearer trigger for his change of heart. Perhaps, since he's living at Grimmauld Place and in the last chapter he and Ginny were reflecting on Sirius' childhood, he could think about what Sirius might say if Harry told him about the group, and imagine that Sirius would encourage him to get involved? Or something like that. Just something that would explain his very sudden change of heart a bit more thoroughly than "he had nothing else to do".
One tiny other problem is just with your choice of wording in one particular place. ""I was hoping to sneak in quietly and sit in the back row," Harry said jokingly" - you could just say "Harry joked" here.

I'm glad that Harry's going to go to this group. I can't imagine him being ready to be a father without dealing with the trauma of his own childhood properly.
Good work on this chapter!

-Kayla

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla. Interesting that you perceived that Harry was changing his mind, because that was not how I had conceived it. My thought, perhaps not expressed clearly or forcefully enough, was that he had decided he had to do Something and that Ginny's discouraging remark about his mention of volunteering at the agency was not sufficient to change his resolve about that. This was the moment when he realized that he was running out of time, that the baby was coming in six weeks, and he needed to not waste what was effectively his last chance. By going to the volunteer training, he was grasping at straws because he could not be certain it would take him where he wanted to go, but he didn't see any other options.

The fact that he does all this while Ginny is gone, and feels an urgency to get it all done during her absence, is indicative of that fact that he is not yet ready to reveal this problem to her or confide in her. He is still trying to deal with his problems alone, as has been his custom for so many years.

Thanks for your careful comments.

Vicki


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Review #15, by krazyboutharryginny The Barren Gardens

18th March 2015:
It's me again! :)
I'm glad Harry went and talked to the child abuse hotline people. I think that was a really good move on his part. At this point in the story, I'm thinking his nightmares are a result of all his childhood trauma... but maybe I'm wrong and it's something more sinister... I hope it isn't!
I love the way you write Harry and Ginny as a couple. They seem to be so good for each other. They are so loving and I loved the silliness between them on their walk.
I'm glad they're going to move out of Grimmauld Place at some point in the future. Like I said, I can't really imagine them wanting to live there at all, so that relieved me.
-Kayla (for the HPFF review challenge)

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla. I figured you'd be happy when Harry proposed moving out into the countryside eventually. As he said, Grimmauld Place is no place to raise children.

One of my goals when I wrote this story was to flesh out the relationship between Harry and Ginny. So many people say they don't like this ship, and maybe that's because Ginny didn't really have a big enough role in the seven books, so that we never really saw what it was that Harry saw in her. Given that he did love her, she must have been a nice person, and that is how I try to write her.

As before, thanks for reading and reviewing.

Vicki


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Review #16, by krazyboutharryginny The American Visitor

18th March 2015:
Alright! Thoughts on this chapter! ^.^
I like the detail you included about how loads of people applied to be Aurors immediately after the war. I think that makes perfect sense. Everyone would still be very deeply shaken by the war and would feel a drive to do something about the remaining problems. So good thinking on that one!
Hmmm, the "convenient stranger". It's cliched, but it works. Pamela is very well rounded compared to most "convenient strangers", so kudos for that. Susan is very well-developed too. You're quite good at characterization!
This is a good little filler chapter with a pleasant vibe. Nice work!
-Kayla

Author's Response: Yes, in some ways it's a "filler" chapter, providing situational background, establishing something about Harry's life at this period in time, showing that, in between angsty moments, Harry can be cheerful and happy, and yet revealing the moment in which he gets pushed to take a step onto a new and untried path.

I wonder if cliches become cliches because they represent something that actually does happen fairly often in life. So then the challenge becomes to deal with them in an original, realistic, well-developed way. It was fortuitous that Harry met Pamela, but in my life I have seen so many fortuitous coincidences, random confluences of two lives, that I believe in them completely. If it had not been Pamela on that day, it would have been someone else on another day. As we say, it's a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

Thank you for reading and reviewing.

Vicki


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Review #17, by krazyboutharryginny The Sign in the Plaza

18th March 2015:
Hello again!

I'm super interested to see where this is going!
You write Harry very realistically, in my opinion. His hesitance to discuss his dreams with Ginny reflects his attitude throughout the books. I love that you wrote him as being understanding of Ginny. A lot of the time, fathers-to-be are written as complete idiots who infuriate their pregnant wives. I can't see Harry being like that and I'm glad you didn't write him that way.

-"He reflected that there were times in history, tipping points, when long-established social structures reconfigured rapidly, and he suspected that he was living in one of those times." I think a better word to use than "suspected" would be "supposed". Harry grew up with Muggles and then transitioned into the wizarding world, so he would be extra-familiar with the stark differences between the two and pick up on it very quickly when they started to blend.

On to the next chapter! :D

-Kayla (for the HPFF review challenge)

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla. Thank you for commenting again. As a reader, I get frustrated when reading about characters who behave in idiotic ways that are guaranteed to make their lives unhappy. What with the foibles and hang-ups that each of us unavoidably has, we make enough mistakes without adding to it by behaving thoughtlessly. So I prefer to write characters who are sensible, or at least try to be.

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Review #18, by krazyboutharryginny Infanticide

18th March 2015:
Hello lovely! I'm doing some reviews for the HPFF review challenge and decided to check this story out ^.^
This is very interesting so far and I'm definitely excited to see where you go with it. You've made Harry's anxiety about his dreams come through very clearly here, especially in the small details. I really liked the detail about the RNLI mug. It makes so much sense that Harry would feel a connection there. I loved that he felt grounded by the mug; as someone with an anxiety disorder, I know that sometimes I can feel very unreal or like I'm going to just float away, and it is genuinely helpful to have some sort of object to hold and ground you. So that detail was great, and made me nod in approval.
The idea of transfiguring Voldemort's body into sand and dumping it in the ocean is such a good one! I never would have thought of that.
I found Harry's temptation to look at his tea leaves (and his fear of actually doing so) very interesting. He never really believed in Divination as far as I could tell, but when you are anxious like that you do and believe in things you wouldn't normally.
One thing I will say is that I do find it unbelievable that Harry would ever choose to live at 12 Grimmauld Place. That house holds some bad memories for him. However, that's something you can't really change, and it wasn't a HUGE deal; I could suspend my disbelief in order to enjoy the story. :)
Great work on the first chapter!
-Kayla

Author's Response: Hi, Kayla. Thank you for reading and reviewing my story. It is so interesting to see the great variety in the way different readers respond to different details; you are the first reader to comment on Harry's feeling grounded by holding this particular cup with happy connotations.

As for anyone's ever finding 12 Grimmauld Place to be an adequate dwelling, I am assuming that Harry transformed (speaking vernacularly, not magically) it totally, cleaning it up, throwing out all the old furniture, decor, and junk, refurnishing it with his considerable financial resources, and, in sum, making it utterly unlike what it was when he first laid eyes on it (though I wonder if he managed to remove the portrait of Sirius' mother or the family tapestry). I hope that by making it look totally different, he can make it less reminiscent of those difficult and unhappy times.

Vicki


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Review #19, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap The Institute of Psychiatry

17th March 2015:
(This review is in support of the HPFF Fundraiser)

I'm on a roll, he thought. He was so eager to get to the British Library that the rest of the day seemed to drag.

His enthusiasm is infectious.

He saw himself in every sentence

Thatís rather heartbreaking. My favorite thing about this chapter was his inner reflection. How he sat down engrossed in the book and started wondering about certain reactions in his life. It is the first step I think to him understanding himself better.

I wonder if the magical community does anything about abuse. What do you think? They were so behind on the times and sometimes I forget that Harry Potter wasnít technically written in our time so I consider Severus and his abuse and itís saddening but it makes sense no one did anything to him because he was clearly disturbed as a student by his life. Harry I suppose because Dumbledore required Petunia to live up to her word and watch him. Iím trying to think of anyone else. Heck, I think Draco went through some aspects of abuse but no one would have done anything because it would have shamed his family and blood line. Same with Sirius, etc. Wow, maybe they really didnít do anything and it was just the norm.

Author's Response: Hi, DD. I am so glad that you quoted the line "He saw himself in every sentence." That line is the heart of this chapter. This is the point where everything he has learned so far is irrevocably connected to himself. If he had any doubts before about whether his childhood had affected him, he doubts no more. That book actually exists. I encountered it, not in the library of the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, but in the library of the School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, and the cover was blue-gray, not brown.

I doubt that the magical community has a strong awareness about child abuse. The Muggle community would probably be more advanced in that recognition, yet it was within my adult lifetime that the concept of physical abuse first arose in the medical community, and emotional abuse, including bullying, came much later. People's natural inclination is to assume that parents act lovingly towards their children, as Dumbledore assumed concerning Petunia and Vernon, and we are reluctant to face the reality that sometimes the opposite is true.

Thank you for continuing to read and comment.

Vicki


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Review #20, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Volunteer Night

17th March 2015:
(This review is in support of the HPFF Fundraiser)

What was the possibility of breaking the "cycle of abuse" that the other speakers had mentioned? What determined how badly a child was harmed by abuse?

Great questions. Iím really enjoying how believable this story is. I also liked the length of the chapter you didnít oversell it. You went into enough detail so we understood what they do and what Harry was looking for but you didnít make it obvious that heís going for him because he was abused.

I really liked that you had him go to the meeting as well because he could have listened to Ginny and just casted it aside but we know Harry is a curious and passionate person. When an idea gets into his head he goes for it. Thatís just his character. So him going there instead of the Burrow to sort himself out was perfect.

Author's Response: The material in this story in based in great part on work that I did in Nursing School at the University of Washington, so the believability comes from real life. The research part was the translation of all this action across the Atlantic Ocean to London.

I agree with your statement that when Harry gets an idea, he goes for it and is not easily dissuaded from his chosen path. And he prefers to solve his problems himself, if he can.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Vicki


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Review #21, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap The Barren Gardens

17th March 2015:
(This review is in support of the HPFF Fundraiser)

The need never takes a holiday. Some of our outreach programs are through the schools, but when the schools are not in session during the summer, the children can be more vulnerable because they spend more time at home.

I think you described the organization and what they do well. Heck, reading this makes me want to join. I used to be a volunteer in a soup kitchen and a food pantry so Iím for any and all types of volunteer work. It helps you learn about yourself and also teaches you there are bigger things in the world than you and your issues.

but now, in retrospect, it seemed childish, like something a teenager would do, and he regretted, not the romantic interludes, but the deception

His feelings and thoughts are so relateable. Looking back, I was in a relationship for four years but I was terrified of my mother and also terrified of being in a relationship. Even after four years I would just lie about where I was and with who I was or I wouldnít acknowledge to anyone he was my boyfriend. Now, looking back it was childish but I was childish and shouldnít have been in a relationship in the first place.

I didnít appreciate the way Ginny brushed aside his idea to volunteer. I suppose I understand because he didnít explain to her exactly what is going on in his head and why he went there in the first place. Also, because sheís pregnant and about to have their first baby soon but this is something Harry needs to do in order to be the father he wants to be.

I liked their walk and their talk about the future and a little ode to the beginning of the relationship. Itís nice to see even though heís stuck in the past he can still see the light and dream of a better future.

Author's Response: You're absolutely right. Ginny brushed aside his idea of volunteering because she had no idea what was impelling his interest, and he had not yet come to the point of confiding in her. Since she had lived her whole life within the wizarding community, she had no experience with reaching out to the Muggle community for anything, and at this late state of her pregnancy, her attention was focused entirely on her upcoming baby. So his communication with Mrs. Miller's agency seemed to Ginny like a random, inexplicable whim. But Harry knew what was driving him, even if he didn't discuss it with her, and he would not be easily turned aside from his path.

I too am a regular volunteer at a food pantry, and volunteering just seems to be a way of life.

Yes, he could still plan for a better future, and I think that the issues of where they lived and where their children went to primary school were things he had been thinking about for a long time.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing.

Vicki


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Review #22, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap The American Visitor

17th March 2015:
(This review is in support of the HPFF Fundraiser)

Fabrics that are fairly thin and lightweight, but if they are able to stop a bullet, maybe they could stop the force of a bite, could keep the fangs from breaking the skin.

This is actually a marvelous idea. How did you come about it? I think it would work with the assistance of magic rather well. The only part that would be suspect to a bite would maybe be the face unless they wear it over their face as well, kind of like an extended leotard or something. It looks very strange in my head.

By the way Iím super glad you used Susan in this story. I am a big fan of her character and I donít feel like sheís in enough stories.

Also, thanks for making RonÖwell, how do I put thisÖsmart. I write mostly comedy with a flair for dramatics so I do write Ron a little dimwitted at times (and Harry too but if anything Harry is more of an instigator in my stories) but I donít like it when authors are like, well, Ron was never smart so he always has one-liners in serious stories or heís pictured as this joke and I just donít understand it. Ron is smart. At least I think so.

I thought Pamela was lovely and sometimes we do need to go outside ourselves and our scope of friends to an outsider in order to see the bigger picture.

I'm interested to see what exactly the number he is calling is going to do for him, the people anyway. It could help him or it could hurt him but only time will tell.

Author's Response: Hi, DD. Thanks for reading and reviewing. I agree with you about Ron. There are many ways of being intelligent, and one does not have to be an imitation of Harry in order to be considered intelligent. It makes sense that George would need a family member to be his close partner, and who else but Ron? Now Ron can come into his own and use his particular talents to complement those of George. I think that the business world is full of people like Ron.

I see Pamela as an inevitable development. She is in her latter 60's, and people at that age have accumulated a lot of wisdom. And the fact that she is traveling alone in a foreign (to her) country implies that she is extraverted and open to talking with strangers such as Harry. Of course she would see him like a son and give him what she thinks is useful advice (I know I would). This is Harry's first instance of breaking out, at least a little, from his defensive shell, and his first inkling that older people may have something useful to share with him. But he still dares only to talk to a stranger.

Vicki


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Review #23, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap The Sign in the Plaza

17th March 2015:
(This review is in support of the HPFF fundraiser.)

I'm back before I go out into the cold from dinner. It was a long work day. TV is stressful! So I thought I would pop in and see what else is going on with Harry over here.

Harry resisted the impulse to try to solve Ginny's problems by pointing out that the mornings were cooler and therefore the best time to be labeling the shelves in the baby's room.

Smart move! Never argue or point out the obvious with a pregnant woman.

But Mum says that we short ladies stick out more because we don't have as much place to hide it as the tall girls do, like Fleur.

I LOVE this because it's so true! I'm a short lady (standing at 5'1, thank you) and my sister is an inch taller than me and man did she look huge (how sensitive am I?). So did all of my Aunts from the pictures I've seen of them when they were pregnant and most of my shortie cousins as well. Tall women look glowy and regal when they're pregnant. I can't help but think I'll look like a cow if I ever decide to have children one day.

When you hear the words 'child abuse and neglect', do you think of your own childhood, or the parenting you are doing now?"

For the love of--I'm convinced Harry has no luck whatsoever. I think everywhere he goes he's going to be reminded of his dreams and anxiety and this does not help. I think when you become a parent you're on high alert and you have to face all these new concerns you never would have thought twice about for yourself because you know how to handle yourself and you can verbalize to the world and to others what is wrong. The most terrifying time is when you have this little baby in your arms and they can't tell you what's wrong. They can't tell you properly if someone is abusing them or touching them in the wrong way or what hurts. So seeing this isn't going to qualm his fears.

Could it help him? Yeah, he needs to face the issue and come to terms with it. Petunia and Vernon weren't good guardians and quite frankly I don't think they were good parents either (to Dudley). Besides Arthur and Molly, Harry doesn't have a good role model as to how to be a parent. He didn't experience love until later on in life so I understand his feelings. I think it's completely believable because he kind of just pushed the Dursley's away once they left. That was it, except for that little interaction with Dudley, I don't his relationship with them would have been any different after the war. Even though they treated him terribly I always got a sense that Harry still needed them. Wanted them (partially). They still are a sign of his past and his blood family.

No matter how far he walked, the log was always just behind him, slowing him down, holding him back, wearing him out.

I think this is a great way to close the chapter. It's this weight on his shoulders but it's heavier because it encompasses his entire body and takes up the back of his mind (well, now the forefront).

Author's Response: Hi, DD. Thank you for reading and reviewing. The sign in the plaza is derived from a public service announcement that I saw on television when I was in Nursing School back in the '70s. The image and the message were stark and compelling, and I always remembered them, so that I put them into this story, but as a poster, since Harry didn't have a television set at his house. He has shoved the issues of his childhood into the far back of his mind, but as he begins to create his own family, these issues push their way forward, and he realizes that they are still there.

Interesting, your sense that Harry still needed, on some very deep-down level, some connection with his blood relatives on his mother's side. I myself did not pick that up from reading the seven books, but it brings up the question of Harry's capacity, or inclination, for forgiveness. Thanks for the idea.

Vicki


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Review #24, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Infanticide

17th March 2015:
(This review is in support of the HPFF fundraiser.)

Wow! This was magnificent. I'm on my phone so I can't quote anything since the website doesn't allow it but that opening. It was creepy but I understood it completely. I don't have any children of my own but when my niece was born I would have all these nightmares of miscarriages and leaving her in this place or that place or she would get wounded fatally somehow. What can I say? Children make me nervous. So I find it believable Harry would have had this nightmares plaguing him.

I can't decide if what he has to deal with is being left in a closet himself (the Dursley's) or the loss of his parents at the age of one. I think both are important and work together but I'm interested to see where you go with the story.

I also thought it was a nice touch to have Kreacher find him and not Ginny. I didn't want her to comfort Harry or wake up and try to calm his nerves. It's something he has to go through and work on himself even though they are having the child together.

Author's Response: Hi, DD. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing. Yes, that first dream is pretty creepy, but it was a dream I had around the time of my first child's birth, long before JKR ever started to write Harry Potter, and I used it to begin the story because I wanted a bad dream at that point in the story, and I didn't even notice until a while later that the dream resembled elements of Harry's early life. The other dreams were collected from the memories of my female friends. I don't know whether men commonly dream stuff like this or not.

Nobody to whom I have shown this story has ever commented on the fact that it was Kreacher, not Ginny, who found Harry in the kitchen, but you're right--it is significant. Harry does have to work this out for himself.

I'm so glad you read my opening chapter and hope you will enjoy the rest of them also. I checked out you author page and see that you have been writing for a long time. I'll read some of them and let you know what I think!

Vicki


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Review #25, by chinaglaze The American Visitor

15th March 2015:
Okay, so this chapter buzzes along nicely and although it is quite long it doesnít drag at all. Iím liking the beginnings of a recognition that Muggle technology might have something to offer the wizarding world and it is clear that prejudice against Muggles is still strong.

Harry is plagued with self-doubt but seems to be realising that he needs to address his internal conflicts.

There is a good balance of description and you introduced an interesting original character.

Britpicking; I think itís vanishingly unlikely that Harry would not have heard of Girl Guides even though he would not have had first hand experience. He did after all go to an ordinary primary school and itís almost certain that some of the boys and girls would have belonged to Cubs and Brownies which are the younger versions of Scouts and Guides. They are very well known organisations.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review. I love the Britpicking. It is just the final touch I need after polishing up the writing to my best ability. I will change the wording a bit to indicate that Harry has heard of Girl Guides, although he don't know much about what they do.

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