|Reviews for Apocalypse Minor|
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 8 . 12/10/2017
So Pearson is being a jerk but his comments were pretty funny nonetheless.
Ben hasn’t heard anything about Glenn? ...Why? He was either found dead or is missing or at least hasn’t showed up to classes in a few days. How can that not have sparked rumors?
Speaking of missing kids, I bet Val is worried to death about Savannah.
Oh, and I forgot to mention in the previous chapter, but FP/FFN can be insanely strict about copyrighted lyrics in stories so I would remove the lyrics in that chapter if I were you.
Overall I’ve liked this story. Ben is such a sweetheart who’s been dealt a bad hand in life. Savannah is less sympathetic but she has her reasons for being that way. Ben’s fixation on her is really fascinating and probably my favorite part of this so far. So few authors handle this kind of relationship right, but I feel like this was done very well. One might say, “they were just kids; why is he still obsessed with her?” But in this case it makes sense; childhood wounds cut deep, and Ben has already lost his mom and dad, so of course his connection to Savannah would be stronger than one would expect a childhood friendship to be. Of course he’s STAYED fixated on her when he has nothing else grounding him, no other family relationships to outshine his childhood friendship with her, no permanent home.
Since so much of this story is told in flashback, I’d like to see some of Ben and Vanna interacting when they were kids. We just know he gave her a thing and he wanted her to watch him play games but we haven’t seen those two actually chat or play together when they were kids. It would give the story a lot more impact if we could see some more of those little things.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 7 . 12/10/2017
[t she was a lot less wiser]
You mean “she wasn’t nearly as wise” (autocorrect changed that to “wide” at first, lol.)
The part about the bean sprouts was so vivid and nostalgic; I could totally just picture kids with dirty fingernails planting these little plants on a rainy day.
Ben suddenly turning and leaving gives Savannah the impression he’s abandoning her and from the vantage point of her own head tthat makes perfect sense but when he comes back it feels like we should have known all along he had just run off to get her some food.
He doesn’t even ask questions; just wants to help. It’s like he sees this as an opportunity to finally forge an unvreakable connection to her. He can’t undo having been the person to help her out after she killed someone and since he was never physically strong enough to stand up for himself, at least he can do one thing t shelter her.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 6 . 12/10/2017
The part at the beginning, the paragraph followed by “some people couldn’t be dead enough” was great. Rang true to reality and was written in a lovely way.
So, I’m wondering what actually happened to Ben’s Dad if he’s just let his house go to ruins. I guess I had assumed he was just neglecting Ben and Ben got taken away and his dad wasn’t willing to get his shit together and get him back. But nope, he’s seemed to have actually disappeared, or maybe committed suicide? It’s really sad that he would try to comfort himself by buying peanut brittle and sleeping in his own house. The part about there being dirt everywhere and it interfere with his delusions was, once again, a great way to put very real feelings into figurative words.
...I was not expecting that part at the end.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 5 . 12/10/2017
I like how the actual details of what’s going on is clearer in this chapter. I hope future chapters are like this as well.
One part that was hard to picture was when he was washing his hair. Was he washing it in a sink, a water fountain, a locker room shower? (With the word spigot, probably not, but I don’t know.) I only wonder because I pictured a water fountain at first, then thought “that’s gross - wait, does it actually say it’s a water fountain? Idk”
I have to wonder why he’s going with Riley to burn a scarecrow and a hat when he has piss all over his head. If that was me i wouldn’t go anywhere besides home to shower.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 4 . 12/10/2017
Now that the cast of characters is getting bigger all the poetic ambiguity in this is harder to wrap my head around. Like, I have to double check to see who is speaking sometimes or what things are in reference to. First she’s thinking about someone named Michael, then she’s with Glenn, she has a thought and I’m not sure if it’s about Michael or Glenn.
I liked the part where she wonders when she’d started caring about bothering Val, id like to see more of Savannah’s relationship with Val.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 3 . 12/10/2017
I’m having trouble picturing what’s happening in relation to what in the current day part of this chapter. So, the popular kids are watching the football players on the football field? But the unpopular kids are going under the bleachers to smoke? Where is the football field, if not right next to the bleachers? Why are people smoking on school grounds with an official event going on right by them?
This is the first time we’ve seen Savannah and Ben actually talking, which was interesting. Savannah is civil, even bantering (the part about recklessness moonlighting as stupidity gave me a smile) but not overly interested. While Ben is seeking out her attention like a lost puppy. makes sense. If she never said anything that made him laugh or acknowledged they had a connection at all, he might not cling to her as much. But even an unhealthy connection is harder to break if the other person acknowledges the connection.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 2 . 12/10/2017
...whoops, I pressed “post review” too soon last time. I was going to say that part broke my heart. Really evocative imagery there.
So, they were in actual orphanages the whole time, and Savannah has been in more than one? IS this set in another country besides the US?
It really seems so cruel to display kids to adoptive parents like an auction or something, but I know that’s a thing that actually happens and it makes me sad.
So last chapter we learned Savannah had a name change (and was therefore presumably adopted) and this chapter we saw that a couple at least tried to adopt her. I wonder what the story is with that and why sje’s With Val now.
So Ben gave her an eagle figurine thingy and she’s kept it? Am I understanding that right? It’s sweet and I can see how, with eagles representing freedom and independence and sometimes aspirations/dreams, it could come up as a symbolic motif in future chapters.
| She Who Loves Pineapples II chapter 1 . 12/10/2017
Hi! I’m reviewing you for the review game. I didn’t want to start in the middle of the story so I’ll review the whole thing I think.
I like the beginning. It’s doesn’t quite explain everything but since your protagonist is getting his butt kicked that makes sense - his mind is on the pain and his immediate sensory input, not his whole backstory.
The mention of an orphanage is a little jarring: the rest of this story (names Riley and Savannah, mention of jocks and football) is making me picture present-day United States where orphanages aren’t... really a thing? Is that supposed to be like, he was a kid and he thought his foster home or temporary place where foster kids live short-term was an orphanage?
The part about watching the movie and thinking how he should be one of those carefree k
| Electrumwriter chapter 6 . 5/17/2017
It’s a recurring theme for poor Ben that he seems to be wishing the earth will swallow him up. My favourite image from those of Ben’s despair in the introduction must be that of the darkness swirling into him.
The more mundane setting of the sweetshop sets up a nice contrast. Ben has the misfortune of experiencing an old person’s sense of nostalgia at a young age. It is telling that peanut brittle is triggering. The Chinese curse – “may you live in interesting times” has come true for him. I can attest to what it’s like. You can tell it has come true once you feel nostalgia for the ‘eighties.
So as for characters – besides Ben, it’s really only Val who gets significant screen time in this chapter. I do like her as a character. She seems such a nice and straightforward person. Able to guess (partly) what Ben’s angst is about and actually showing sympathy in a human sort of way. I get the impression though, that Savannah would only like the brutal Mickey Mouse from South Park.
Again, the theme of nostalgia - but it’s heart rending how Ben forces himself to wallow in it by revisiting the old home that is no longer a home and is instead in advanced decay. I like the juxtaposition of the room he’s built Lego train stations and cowboy saloons in, now bare and covered in dirt.
And as for that ending - Wow… just wow… what a cliff hanger! And a bit shocking, though not a complete bolt from the blue.
Whatever else has happened, his fate seems interwoven with Savannah’s.
| Electrumwriter chapter 5 . 5/17/2017
Poor Ben. He is one to reminisce as much as Savannah. That is one reason they might belong together. Another is that they both wish the ground could swallow them up. I see the theme of abandonment by his mother blossoming into his being roped into the Burning Guinevere fraternity.
Character interactions: Riley is an interesting character. He seems quite kindly in wanting to clean Ben up in this way, although my reactions to his society for venting were a little mixed. I like how Ben dwells on Savannah so much at this point, right down to the gorgeous description of her eyes.. I think it is significant that they both prefer a monochrome world. But Ben’s thought processes really do show a lot of interesting description. That of Riley’s teeth was better still – “rocks below a cliff, the risk he hadn’t noticed ‘til he’d gone too far.”
As for the idea of the burning Guinevere ritual – it’s an intriguing use of mythological symbolism and I like Ben’s reservations. They make such good sense given his experiences. I think you could have taken the themes from the legend further and made the effigy Elaine – she raped Lancelot; or Morgan Le Fay – she was a great antagonist. Either of them would make better sense than Guinevere.
It’s cute how in the end he cannot bring himself to chuck away Savannah’s woollen cap. Maybe some readers would say Ben seems a bit stalkerish trying to imagine the touch of her curls from it, but I’d just say he has it very bad for her and Riley burning the cap is not going to change that.
| Electrumwriter chapter 4 . 5/16/2017
For the multi-depth review game!
Starting with chapter four as requested The story is a little dark and the subject matter maybe not quite my thing, but it is compelling to read and your prose is superb, so lucid and elegant. I like the juxtapositions with the third person limited POVs of Ben and Savannah and the strong sense of self from both. I do wonder what will happen to them. Are they happily married now?
So chapter four – the opening does hint that Savannah has some sort of interest in Ben on some level and it’s actually gratifying to see that his crush on her is not as completely hopeless as it first seemed. I like the astral imagery she applies to him.
As for Glenn – “A cardboard king in his flimsy, see-through paper castle.” That says it all.
I like the upbeat way she describes the footballing clique, especially their gold sheen, I’m like a magpie. The best hint at her attraction to Ben is how she wistfully imagines him in the clique, or as she puts it, “part of that galaxy.” A good way to build on the meteor image.
Savannah’s reverie’s are an important part and I like how the details she dredges up about Michael Carter are very telling. He’s described well, but my favourite descriptor would be his eyes gleaming penny-bright. You can’t go wrong with coin adjectives as far as I’m concerned.
But I notice she reminisces more about Ben when retreating into herself and sees Glenn and that lots as being like carrion birds. It does not need stating that she is right. It’s so feeble that they feel the need to gloat about the reasons why Ben was given over to the state.
I like the whole theme of her mental retreat evoking retro cinema. Certain outdated mediums do have a charm of their own, take vinyl records, they have a unique quality of sound.
Her self-detachment at the end of this chapter is certainly well written. A desire for the earth to swallow her up expressed in a charming, almost poetic way. Nice juxtaposition.
Onto the next chapter
| alltheeagles chapter 1 . 9/16/2015
Oh, that detailed and (painfully) accurate account of unrequited love… poor thrust-into-alienation guy. I like your writing, it’s sharp and you have a distinct style of your own, but I can’t help feeling that there’s rather a lot of typical-this and typical-that going on. Whether this trueness to types is a good or bad depends on where this story goes next, I guess. On the subject of types, I like the way you categorise them, as movers and fumblers and watchers etc. We all do that, I think, we put people into categories and then we recategorise them as their behaviour changes or we get to know them better. So anyway, by the end of the chapter, I’m definitely not in a sunny mood, but that’s actually a compliment because it means you’ve affected my emotions with your writing.
| m. b. whitlock chapter 1 . 4/20/2015
So, I really enjoyed this. Ben is a very compelling character. Savannah appears to be his Beatrice or even his Dulcinea – a big reason why he wants her is because she is unattainable. I wonder if he ever will get his girl… Definitely draws my interest and makes me want to read more. :)
I also think you do such a great job exploring Ben’s interior world. He has a well-developed, original voice and a truly unique take on the world around him.
Here are a few notes:
What a powerful opening! I really like the way you describe what the protagonist is experiencing. Especially like this last line of the paragraph:
“When this cleared, he could finally hear the cackles dying and when the red mist disappeared from his vision, he could see the light of the late afternoon sun glinting off the steel-toed boot before him.”
Now I’m wondering who the boot belongs too. :)
This is lovely:
“One by one, they began to fade, each swaggering brute one by one until all that echoed in his drumming cranium was the velvet-soft tread of her sneakers.”
Really like how you use sound to distinguish Savannah from the guys.
Like how you give us the sense that this has been the protagonist’s life for some time:
“This was how Savannah said goodbye.
And this was when he'd lie flat on his back and stare at nothing.”
I guess Riley is the guy who just beat Ben up?:
“"A match made in teenage wasteland Hell." Riley had drawled nonchalantly on occasion of his first thorough beating.”
Okay, got it. He’s just Ben’s friend.
Beautifully resonant image here:
“'Savannah' was one of those names, even etched in graphite on lined paper.”
I can totally imagine Ben’s schoolboy eyes following the pencil drawn curves of the letters of her name. Cool. :D
Little confused by this description of Riley:
“Ben noted how utterly feminine the guy must appear with his *ramrod straight hair* and sharp chin jutting out from beneath the orange mess.”
Reads to me like Riley’s hair is both a mess and “ramrod straight”…?
“The thing about Riley *is* that he was a watcher.”
Think that “is” should be a ‘was’. :) Otherwise you are going into present tense suddenly…
Really like this thought progression:
“They made him think of swings in gardens. Gardens reminded him that he hated mowing lawns. Lawns made him remember that he was supposed to have been one of those carefree souls running around and playing peek-a-boo behind the trees.”
Really good ending:
“Sleep was making his eyes itch. He wanted to listen to the radio and watch a few hours of mindless TV to take his mind off her. The worst thing about Dream Savannah was that she made him dare to expect the impossible out of her.”
Wonderful atmosphere throughout this and a compelling character journey too. Great stuff!
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 4 . 11/1/2014
# Labyrinth review 4 :3
You still have such a subtle way of describing the most terrible events. I am not sure I could have continued reading this tonight, because wow, poor Savannah. All this time, she thought she was holding the reins, and now the tables are being turned on her, and she’s getting ‘punished’ for thinking that she was so strong (which she did not deserve, no one ever does). I like how you portray her moments during that moment – I like how she just flees into a sort of mind palace where she can think of happier think and does not have to confront the current reality. It’s horrifying though that she is forced to confront it when she is pinned to the ground and torn out of her reverie. Anyhow, I think that was a very good scene: very realistic in terms of how people deal with trauma/impending traumatic events. I also like how she is defensive of Ben internally, her thoughts always revolving around him even when he isn’t with her. It shows that he does have an effect her and that she knows that those boys who are bullying him are not good people.
I also think that this chapter was beautiful in terms of references and how you built it around various thoughts Savannah has lurked in her head. It made for an interesting technique and also worked well with your introspective style. I think your writing is effortlessly elegant, with everything flowing beautifully and the imagery being gorgeous.
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 3 . 11/1/2014
# Labyrinth review three :3
Again, so much there to this than meets the eye, and I feel really bad for not being able to give you the analytical review you deserve. But it’s interesting to see how each chapter fleshes the character out a bit more: we go from getting a passive Ben to a Ben who’s more passive-aggressive and secretly judgemental. What scares me the most is how he considers his second best day to be the one where he showed cruelty and malicious towards another child who bullied him. I know that it was probably because he was bullied it so much, but it’s still unsettling, because it shows how thin the line is between fear and pure hatred. And I personally got the feeling that he had nothing but hatred flowing through his veins at that moment. It was a very chilly and well-written scene.
In the same vein, I like that scene right after the introduction where he observes the kids around him, and secretly seems to judge them for sleeping around. It’s quite interesting, I think. I also like the conversation between him and Savannah, because of what it reveals: it’s kind of disquieting that he could abandoned by his father. It really explains why he’s still hanging onto Savannah; she’s one of the few constants in his life – in a world where you are no worth much, you would cling to the only face that is familiar to you quite naturally.