|Reviews for A Prodigal's Dilemma|
| Raaawr Ima Dinosaur chapter 23 . 11/16/2011
I absolutely loved this story. I enjoyed reading it. Great job! :D
| xfffxfxfx 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
| elizaben chapter 23 . 5/18/2011
'Dilemma' was a very interesting and emotionally charged story. I loved the romance, especially Seth's decisiveness and loyalty.
Abuse is always difficult to read, so I'm glad it was placed in the past and I knew that it had ended. That didn't make it easier to read, but it made the whole concept tolerable. The way you handled it was both the story's strongest point and its more taxing one. I know I'll skip those passages the next time I read it, but I don't regret reading them in the first place.
The strong emotional impact of the story is balanced by the lovely romance, the hot sex scenes and the lighter moments (Matt asking his brother to take his stepson as a partner was extremely funny).
All in all, a great story and I'm glad I read it.
| Mewenn chapter 23 . 4/29/2011
This was such an emotionally charged story, I loved every second of it. Steven for his strength despite all he was put through, Seth for being so supportive, friendly and headstrong (and deliciously devious, I mean seducing Steven like that with all the preparation it entails, how did he even know what time Steven would arrive? Did he camp at the airport? the boy knows how to get what he wants), Matt for just asking his brother to be his step-son partner like he couldn't imagine anyone else he would feel safe enough giving the boy to (that was really the best scene, I was already imagining things like taking over the father's business or something horrible). The sisters were nice and the mother as well, Jenn is tough and I liked that, too bad Stacy can't get as close to Steven as they used to be. I like Lisle's description too, even if she treated Steven like her pet, at the time he probably needed someone who would take care of him without wanting much in return. Really all the characters were exactly what the story needed to suck me in and not let me out until the end. Thank you very much for this story.
| Sorin89 chapter 12 . 3/4/2011
Great story. I really like your writing style.
I have a really random question: Steven and the Dutchman started out in Holland, but ended up in Denmark. Isn't that a bit of a drive for one night?
| thecrivens chapter 1 . 11/13/2010
I love this story! I even shed a few tears reading the part about Steven's abuse. So, just to get it straight, Hank was gay, wasn't he? and did he lust after Steven? Is that why he treated Steven that way? his actions could be because he was a homophobic dad who beat his son to hide his own sexuality or because he wanted Steven for himself, am I getting it right? either way, that's a real big elephant in the room.
On with "Waiting for Valentine..."
| marshmallow7 chapter 17 . 6/23/2010
i am on chap 17 and i am so afraid to go to the next because i am terrified of who might have seen them...i am so sad and happy for them/ please let it be okay
| chocobananacake chapter 23 . 5/26/2010
i really liked this story. i cant wait until i read the next one. very well written. :) loved it!
| LlamaLlamaNewt chapter 1 . 8/9/2009
What have you done indeed! Well crap.
| frolic-horror chapter 23 . 5/7/2009
This story is something different from what you generally read in slash fiction. I like the different approach on abuse, a more realistic one, if I may say.
| Words of wisdom91 chapter 23 . 1/12/2009
you are a genius. I love how it is so detailed but it is not boring because of all the insiughts of Steven's past from his sister's point of views.
I shall read every story you write.