Reviews for Strength: A short story
iamdeleted chapter 1 . 5/17/2008
i thought this was really beautiful and i loved how it showed that the girl's friend wasn't just crazy and wouldn't eat...

but that she believed in what she was doing for a reason-to be beautifl

luv the last part too about knowing but not doing...because its not always easy to helps someone. all in all GREAT WRITING
ManicBlue chapter 1 . 4/12/2008
This story was really touching.
Not-On-Purpose chapter 1 . 4/1/2007
This is beautiful. this story captures the emotions perfectly and i think that writing it from the perspective of a friend makes more real, it makes the story seem more human despite the fact that the world can be so painful and shallow and un/inhuman (but you have captured THAT as well). and the subject, im sure is a very sensitive one, but you have totally managed to write something that actually won't offende anorexic people. Keep it up!
MKSub chapter 1 . 2/24/2007
this is amazingly well written.
Shikaido Yuki chapter 1 . 11/15/2006
It's a touching story...
The Breakdancing Ninja chapter 1 . 8/23/2006
The Breakdancing Ninja gives this piece a WHOPPING 5 out of 5 for its narrative voice, its brevity, its structure, its discussion and exposition of the subject matter, its pace and its commentary. Thought-provoking, simple, unadulterated, and just completely AWESOME. He was horrified by how awesome this story was. Refer to the criticism below for more details.

No Hertz Analysis for this one. hahaha

Seriously, once is enough in a day. XD;;

[The kind of funeral that people go to, cry, and give complimentary eulogies to someone they didn’t really know] Re-edit: “The kind of funeral that people go to, cry, and give complimentary eulogies to someone they don’t really know.”

[I felt sad; but not in a grieving way even though it was a funeral.] Grammatically, the “but” isn’t necessary. It’s really iffy sometimes because English doesn’t have one big ass book of grammar for people to go, but there is no need for the “but”. The major issue, though, is the fact that the semi-colon connects an independent clause with a dependent clause. Even though the second clause is has the statement “it was a funeral”, it is more of a modifier for “but not in a grieving way”. The deadliest error is to connect dependent clauses to either independent clauses or other dependent clauses by way of a semi-colon (unless it is poetry, which is the anomaly of English). In other words, it better aesthetically and grammatically to use a period. [I’m sure you do; we had a memorial service for her after all.] The semi-colon is used correctly in this sentence.

[I was angry for the people at the funeral. I was sad for the person of the funeral.] With this portion, I think the narrator is peeved that people don’t really care about the deceased girl, so the “for” is grammatically wrong. It should be “I was angry AT the people at the funeral.” And if what bothered you was having two “at’s”, then you could always say: “I was angry at the people attending the funeral”, which, again, is better aesthetically and grammatically to use a period. To say you are angry “for” someone is to say: “I am angry in place of them” just as one says, “I am doing homework for someone”.

[She was broken from the inside and out. Her skin held a pale, sickly color that was pulled tightly over her bones. Her smile stretched her thin lips and crinkled her eyes at the corners, yet she was still beautiful. She just didn’t believe it.] Man, this is an excellent paragraph, probably one of my favorites out of everything I’ve read here on , which, counting my other alias, is a LOT. This is better than even some poetic lines I’ve read. It’s written without a lot of vices in it, or sarcasm. It’s humble and it’s crisp, as well, as totally empathetic. This sets a good tone for the narrator; I’m drawn in. The narrator seems to be someone who is different from the others (but not in an obvious way) and has a perceptiveness that the others from school don’t have. I could imagine them faking tears or even laughing right after the service. It’s a sad reality, but at least the author identifies more with this character than the others.

The ampersands are just section markers, right? Why not use the uber line of doom? Or some asterisks? :3?

The second section scratches a curiosity I’ve wondered. I’m not a health freak, but I can’t exactly afford recreational drugs and alcohol. But does nicotine really make you lose your appetite? Or is it just the intake of carcinogens? This one chick who isn’t really a friend of mine, but more like an acquaintance, complained about taking up smoking again, because when she tried to quit, her stomach swelled and she gained a lot of weight, which is like, to me: “Okay, so?” But it still made me wonder if stuff like that happens.

The narrator seems naïve and innocent in this section, especially with the way he/she (I like the genderless embodiment of the character, by the way) asks harmlessly if he/she could take a “puff”? Unless the hand-itching is really a craving and not just a curiosity.

[She was so calm and quiet and content, but it made me wonder if she knew she was dying on the inside.] Wow, this is a really delicate piece. When I think of “calm”, “quiet” and “content” people, I think of people waiting to die. People without passion are probably the closest ones to death, anyway. But I like the image I’m getting—more of the narrator than the starving girl.

The third section is like whoa. The exposition of the story is great. I like the tone and the voice of the narrator—it’s crucial to me.

But, man, that’s hella insensitive—the gossip. I mean, what the hell? She just died and people are already spreading shit like that? That’s messed up. I mean… It’s kind of funny, but still messed up. c_c I think the story addresses a community of really inconsiderate people, which could be symbolic of how the world looks upon things and people it doesn’t know or understand with a lot of apathy and insensitivity. It could also be a look at the cruelty of people within schools, because the worst kind of peers are young ones. They lack experience and understanding more than anyone else, and they can’t seem to have enough foresight, empathy or even consideration to censor their words. [I wondered what made people think they knew what they were talking about. I wondered why they thought they had the right to act like they knew what happened moments before her death. I wondered why it was her that died, instead of them.] Man, I’m in love with this narrator, I’m telling you. Guy, girl or whatever, this narrator is amazing. I would want to know this person in… person? XD;;

[You used to always tell me that people simply liked to talk, and rarely about anything respectful.] I think the narrator is addressing the starving girl directly, which has a warm feeling to it. I like it a lot. I kind of wish I at least knew the starving girl’s name, so I wouldn’t have to call her “the starving girl”, or “the deceased person”, but it also adds to the readability and relatable nature of this story—how it could be just about anyone whether they are the narrator or the friend of the narrator. The “so” in [You were so right.] made me smile. It was a good choice to indent it as its own line.

Oh, here’s the word I’ve been wanting to use to describe the narrator—the narrator is very mature. I’m seriously in love. I’ll write a few love letters tonight.

The fourth section is even worse. What the hell is with people?

I don’t know how it works, but there seems to be a real competitiveness among chicks for some reason. Maybe it’s something that’s existed for as long as… well, really long time ago. And an “expensive Louis Vuitton handbag” sounds like something a shallow, stupid rich chick would own—guessing from the tone of the narrator. And her friend just happens to be a blonde chick. I wouldn’t say it’s stereotypical as much as it is a reality. Man, high school was full of chicks like that. I had this huge group of friends—we were sort of the middle people, not too popular but not too weird—and it was half guys and half girls, right? Well, I knew this chick named Allison Clement. She was really skinny, had thick glasses and braces and talked as if she has never yelled in her life. She’s got a Jewish father and a Roman Catholic ma—and people made fun of her just for that. Seriously, just for that. I was like, ready to curb-stomp someone. I wanted her to join the group, but for some reason, she kept eating alone. I guess it was her way of exercising independence, I don’t know. Sometimes I would eat with her, but she wouldn’t talk to me. Maybe she was shy. Or maybe I’m just stupid. ROFL!

She transferred out halfway through Junior year. I kind of liked her, too.

Anyway. Where the hell was I? Let’s just pretend I don’t have… wounds that will not heal. XD;;

This girl, though—the one the narrator knows. Dude, she’s fuckin’ Mother Theresa. She’s a samurai or something. She even smiles “mildly”. I like the qualities she’s endowed with. It’s hard not to sympathize with her—it just sucks that the narrator seems to be the only one part of her interior life who knows her for the good person she is. And she says: “People never change”, which is a totally morbid but real mantra. The fact that she accepts it and isn’t out to please people is probably the best part. She doesn’t seem embarrassed, angry or hurt. I’ll marry these two… in the state of Nevada. rofl

[I felt helpless when she faced situations like that. I always believed she was a strong person. Perhaps, that was where I was wrong.] I would feel that way, too. And man, that’s sad.

… How come we never hear of guys with problems like that? Anorexia?

The second to the last section is… man, these are sad as hell. I mean, the tone is set up by placing the funeral section in the beginning—by the way, the structure of the piece itself is ingenious, it has great transitions, great flow, depicts everything realistically and humbly (my two favorite qualities in good writing).

[She was trying to brace herself against the teasing, and the verbal abuse, and the pictures the magazines printed. She was trying to stand against the worst there was. I thought she had locked her knees, and stood up straight, and simply had the strength to go on.] This is beautiful. Man, that’s a corny word, but that’s what this is. The images flash by as if they’re a montage—it’s cinematic and rendered in a great first-perspective. I like the intimacy with which the narrator relates this girl. This piece is littered with great writing, seriously.

I think my only problem with this section is the very last sentence. [Oh, I wished I was as strong as her.] Grammatically, I think “wish” is better, because the narrator is seeing everything in retrospective. But what really bugs me is how he/she questions the starving girl’s strength in the section before. And even the paragraph before, it says “I thought she had locked her knees, and stood up straight, and simply had the strength to go on”. If it said “She had locked her knees, and stood up straight, and simply went on”, then I would have said that the narrator agrees with the last sentence written, but it seems to be sort of an acknowledgment that because his/her friend was anorexic and committed suicide, that it was sort of illustrative of weakness. I think it would have been more appropriate, since the first paragraph of this section says: “I wish I had helped her”, I think the last sentence would seem more correct as: “I wish I was strong[er] for her”. The reason why the “er” is there is because narrator mentions the starving girl relying on him/her to defend her from remarks against classmates. You don’t have to take my word for it, concerning that last sentence, but it is a little iffy to look at.

I didn’t care too much for the last section. It seemed to me like… milking the cow. And it seemed too much about the narrator in the last section. I lot of moaning and groaning—and even the “bitterest” tears part almost took me out of sympathy for both the narrator and the starving girl. I think just the narrator’s acknowledgment of all these things about the starving girl that no one else ever knew is enough, the wish to be strong is enough. The last section seems to beat the hammer, the same way an unnecessary epilogue in a movie does. You might reconsider either editing the last section or omitting it—what I mean is that it sounds insincere.

[It’s a terrible thing to watch a friend suffer. But was there ever one time, it felt the most terrible to know they were suffering and you couldn’t do anything to help? I suppose you’ve already felt that many times in your lifetime, though. What did you do?] This sounds like a suicide hotline infomercial. rofl

The overall story is a masterpiece—a quiet masterpiece, but a great one. I appreciated the narrator’s candor and honesty, how intimate the narrator was with the subject of the piece, the commentary about peer pressure and anorexia and suicide. Man, this was more loaded than the one I just read, I couldn’t believe it. The beginning quote (or the summary of the story) is what kind of got me curious.

You have immense talent for the first person perspective which I feel like learning, but the style is very feminine, delicate and perceptive (which is what I’m not rofl). The reason why I never assumed if the narrator is a guy or a girl, though I’m learning more toward, well, girl, is because the writing was just borderline androgynous to genderless, which, in the long run, aren’t much different from each other. Though, this story’s voice just seemed more androgynous.

Damn, there’s so much noise. My roommate’s drinking and cussing at “Wheel of Fortune”. rofl

You won’t believe how in love with this narrator I was. The story and everything, such good qualities this piece was endowed with.

I was impressed—no, more than impressed, I was blown away by the structure, the brevity, the humility of the piece. It lacked humor, but I guess too much humor might’ve choked the life out of this story. In afterthought, I think even a little humor might have ruined the whole ambiance, so scratch that.

Man, it was amazing.

It’s going in my favorites.

Rock on, sketchingaCYNiC.
emptyword chapter 1 . 7/15/2006
Very nice details to pick out to flesh out the situation. Short but makes a point. I writhe with guilt reading some of these lines: "She is so obviously anorexic. You can’t not be anorexic and be that skinny."
Mosaic Stains chapter 1 . 4/17/2006
I hope you don't mind semi-long reviews because I can't stand those reviews that say I love it, keep up the good work, yaddah, yaddah, yaddah. So When writing a review I write what the story really made me feel or think about, and this is what yours made me think:While reading this I remembered another story I read online once called The Black Dress. In short summary a girl endded up starving herself to death over a dress that seemed to get thinner and thinner as she got skinner and unlike that story this one is narrated from the eyes of a friend, which gives it a nice effect of sadness-making you feel sorry for the regret she feels in not being able to help her friend like she wanted to. But then again the question is if she had of helped her friend would actually have been taken?
psychotically obsessed chapter 1 . 4/10/2006
this was brilliant. It was just brilliant...I really have no other words to say, I am really at a loss for words...brilliant
Jolie chapter 1 . 4/4/2006
Damn that was tragic. Lol, poor girl. She must've been pretty darn haggard at the end. Good piece of work!
Kjersti chapter 1 . 4/4/2006
So very sad and beautiful. And horrible. Very well written. Good work.
hey maria chapter 1 . 3/30/2006
This is incredibly well-written and touching.