Reviews for A Prodigal's Dilemma
ArthurAlbionKirkland chapter 23 . 4/22
I like this story. Warmed up to me.
ArthurAlbionKirkland chapter 1 . 4/21
Wolf Flameheart chapter 23 . 2/28
This is the best fiction I've read in too many months
I'm not usually one for contemporary but kudos
fantasyobsessed chapter 23 . 5/23/2013
Wow this was so deep and touching. I could literally visualize the whole thing like a movie in my brain, the show of truly good writing
Guest chapter 17 . 12/23/2012
It must've been more often with other things. I can't even remember a count, it was far too often to keep one, of how often my parents beat me. The two-by-four did not merit counting. It was too common. No, the counting was reserved for the unusual additions to the beatings. Once my mother broke a brush on my ass, the broken handle drawing blood as it scraped down my sides. Twice my father backhanded me hard enough to split my lip. Once I was locked in a closet for more than 4 hours. Once I was knocked out of my chair at our dinner table, with neither my mother nor my sister making a single comment, even when the chair flipped on top of me. Twice I was picked up and thrown down the hall by my throat.
It's the rare and unusual ones that are counted.
So, to have been bad enough to run after only five... those five must have been the rare ones, with something else as the more common.
Guest chapter 14 . 12/23/2012
Quote:"Is it really all right to remember the just good in a man who was so bad?"

If you ever find an answer to that, let me know, because as good as my parents are now, I know, I *know* I am still punishing them with my behavior for all the shit they put me through in my childhood. For me, it started when I was 3. 3, damn it. My earliest memories are quite literally the nightmares that still haunt me, and I'm 31. Even being hospitalized for intentional overdose at 14 wasn't a clue to anyone outside my home that there was something to worry about, and no one looked twice at any of my bruises or marks, not even when Dad finally got so furious he hit my face - even though a split lip and loosened tooth was clearly visible and visible was sooo not normally done.
They're good people, sometimes. Church goers, charitable, etc. But does that really make up for the fact I got the beating of my life when I tried to run or that my first nickname from my mother was 'horse's ass' and I was 4? Does it make up for the fact that but for a rare genetic trait that most of my scars are only visible in photographs - that I've mostly burned... because most go away after 5 years or so. But, the internal wounds the missing scars would show are still very much there, including the hip that doesn't always support me and the ankle that will never ever be straight again. Does helping at the local homeless shelter make up for making me wish I had never been born for the first 25 years of my life? Does helping missionaries make up for making me so miserable I've developed a mental disorder (apparently genes only increase the likelihood; you have to be abused to become a borderline)
I don't know HOW to forgive them. It's worse though in that they do not believe they did anything wrong. They honestly think using a two-by-four to hit anything from shoulders to knees until I couldn't stand, and sometimes yanking me up and continuing, was acceptable discipline. And because they think it was okay, they will never apologize. How can I forgive, if they never even say sorry?
Guest chapter 23 . 7/10/2012
Great story
blurry19 chapter 23 . 3/12/2012
OH my gosh this was beautiful to read.

Thanks for writing it!
R. Ficst chapter 23 . 3/3/2012
I read Waiting for Valentine's before realizing that it was a sequel. I feel lucky to have found this and I really enjoyed it. The two go together so well, and I also enjoyed the choice to split the POV. The background on Steven and the background on how Seth fell in love with him is done really well. I think it's awesome how you chose to have everyone "ignore the elephant in the room" as you put it; the choice was refreshing and added much hilarity to the building action and the moment when Matt finally has the talk. Great story, and great characters. Loved it!
Raaawr Ima Dinosaur chapter 23 . 11/16/2011
I absolutely loved this story. I enjoyed reading it. Great job! :D
JHeartbreak chapter 1 . 10/19/2011
Dilemma is quite possibly the best story I’ve read on the internet. The plot is tightly wound and very well planned without being contrived, the characters are genuine and clearly differentiated (not so simple considering there are a lot of them and they are all related), and the story as a whole is full of emotional and intellectual depth. I’d like to expand a little on the intellectual depth of the story, just to show that it can sustain some kind of critique. I’d like to expand on the symbolism a little, and I’m going to point out that it follows the three unities, as outlined by Aristotle, unity of place, of time, and of theme. All of the events take place in the same house (unity of place), within one day (unity of time), and all they all relate to family relationships (unity of theme).

The day is important. Not only is Christmas traditionally a time of family togetherness, it celebrates the day that the holy Christian family came to be. There can be no God the Father or Mary Mother of God without a Son. So it is essentially at this point that the central family relationships of the Christian universe were put in place.

The most enduring symbol from this story is the house. All of the present scenes take place within the confines of the house, and almost all of the rooms are contrasted with past associations and memories. It comes to signify the ways that we build our family relationships, accommodating each other and the shifts in our lives. The house is a common symbol in dreams for the self. So it is that Steven fist sees the house under construction as a child, and that his first intimations of love come on his front step. So it is that his explorations of the house bring back the haunted corners of his own consciousness, bringing to light even things that he had forgotten or not known about himself. And thus the final importance of the renovations to the house to accommodate Steven. It’s not simply making room for him in his family unit, but in a sense, the first time he’s made room for himself inside of his own self for over a dozen years.

It is significant that Steven’s return to his home and his family is precipitated and finalized by his pseudo-incestuous relationship with Seth. As Camille Paglia writes: “The ghost-ridden character of sex is implicit in Freud’s brilliant theory of ‘family romance.’ We each have an incestuous constellation of sexual personae that we carry from childhood to the grave and that determines whom and how we love or hate. Every encounter with friend or foe, every clash with or submission to authority bears the perverse traces of family romance. Love is a crowded theater….” If Steven’s love life is him playing out his ‘family romance,’ he has continued to play the youthful victim - submitting to the desires of his older partners – or struggling not to be the distant and unloving father to his own children, and generally failing. Steven is neither taking advantage of, nor being taken advantage of, by Seth. We should note that Steven’s relationship with Seth promises in fact to be his first truly fulfilling relationship, even before he has reconciled with his family. Ultimately, Seth is both a chance to show that Steven has not become his father, and the father Steven never had. After Steven’s departure, Hank could speak openly about his love for his son, and transmitted that love to Seth. Steven left home feeling unloved and betrayed, but he returned to find that someone had loved him for years without even knowing him first-hand.

I only have one point of negative criticism to bring up – the ending. The main conflict in the story is what Steven wants against what his family wants. In his youth that is his sexuality against what his father wanted, and in the present that it his desire for Seth against what he thinks his family will say. At the end, however, it is revealed that the whole family has more-or-less given their approval to their relationship. I think it would be more powerful for Steven and Seth to have to confront the family with their relationship, and then for the family members to respond as they will. For Steven to make up his mind, no matter what the consequences, no matter the possibility of getting hurt, is much more moving than him making his decision knowing the entire family wants him to. It’s not only weak drama, it betrays the symbolism of Steven and Seth’s relationship. That, and I find Matt’s ‘request’ frankly difficult to buy. I can’t imagine any father saying such a thing, even speaking about their stepson, given that he barely seems reconciled to Seth being gay, and especially the ludicrousness of essential asking them to be partners for life.

So, thank you for writing this story, I hope wish you the best for future scribblings.
Sas399 chapter 23 . 9/27/2011
Thank you frogs. For sharing this story with us.

I am always amazed at the depth and reality of your characters and stories and truly believe your stories teach me things about life that life hasn't taught me yet...

What I loved most about this chapter was this line:

'Unless I really misjudged things, there isn't one person in that house that wants him to give me up.' As the burial of lots of fears that Steve has held _
Sas399 chapter 22 . 9/27/2011
w00t! I like the way this is going and Seth coaxing Steve with brain numbing kisses! *happy sigh*
Sas399 chapter 21 . 9/27/2011
oh my, this sure was unexpected.

It sounds like something someone with strange ideas could talk himself into, like in a roundabout fashion make sense to themselves #_#

It was also the best thing that could have happened to Steve, like he doesn't need to have to explain it to himself or even Matt, because he was asked, right? Only, will he try to straighten out Matt's strange ideas, even if it would mean losing the budding relationship?

Matt is strange! *grins*
Sas399 chapter 20 . 9/27/2011
I love this chapter and have finally regained enough sense to want to review what I read. I love the part where he speaks of having a part of his soul stolen with every time he had sex...

I love how I can connect this story to the happy snippets you show us at the 100 word community livejournal. That makes it more bearable to read this angsting I guess. Steve has had it rough but he always does what he thinks is best and he has a (very) good heart! I'd want to be his friend (or Seth's) in RL.

In a way he seems like a kid, while Seth comes across as very adult. But since he thinks so himself too, that is not strange,

right? _ He had to grow up very differently, and he's adorable *cuddles Steve plushy*

I'm not much of an editor, but these two sentences blinked at me...

iDid my soul finally regrown enough for me to see how shredded it is?

Today prove that without a doubt. /i
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