|Reviews for Like Eiderdown & Disendowers|
| Virtuella chapter 24 . 9/28
I liked the scenes that start the chapter, especially the one with the glass vases and the one with the Robins’ eggs. They introduce a nice theme of frailty.
Obnoxious parents, ah, I can sympathise. Though not entirely convinced that we need them for this chapter, or am I missing something?
Ending: So Jen catches them? And the whole thing, presumably, comes out? Dan will be in a hell of a lot of trouble.
Sorry it took me so long to finish. I’ve been busy writing myself. This has been a very fascinating story, full of great details. Very well done.
| Virtuella chapter 23 . 9/28
The hair cutting scene was good, initially a little confusing but eventually all became clear. I like how it signifies a new start but remains very pragmatic. “She could hurl the mirror but then she'd have to pick up the shards.“ Good sentence!
The scene at the bus stop with the older father, I felt that was a little heavy-handed. Sure, it is the kind of thing Dan would have to consider, but the way it came across was a bit too much in the face.
I liked Dan’s reflections on Sophie and how he wondered what Rebecca’s role would be.
| Jenny L. Gale chapter 24 . 9/9
I’ve put off this review because I had to think a while after I read the last chapter. Let me start with what I appreciated about your story:
1. You are good with words and knowing how to put them together, to form thoughts that have an almost poetic quality. I look up to that, because I find it’s where I lack. A couple of examples: “A chill ghosted over the surface of her skin…”, “She left a decent part of her on that bus. Because decency was like the kind of helium balloon for little kids. It was tangible and made her feel good she had it, but it took her nowhere…”, “Beneath a cloudless sky when light was hard and the shape of shadows precise…” Something as simple as, “He held her and he held his breath,” is to me very beautiful.
2. Characterization: Your characters are awesome! Perhaps they will never be awesome in their own fallible personalities, but the truthfulness in which you’ve portrayed them is. That is the mark of a good writer. We feel what they feel, we can relate even if we haven’t faced the problems they are facing. That is where you shine. My one critique in this area would be with Phelan, the villain. He’s a bit of the over-greasy villain, I would say. He’s too much the bad guy. We didn’t get enough of why he was what he was until the end and it was just a taste at that. Personally, I would have liked him more fleshed out and less this blank face of evil. However, I loved the way you weaved Dan and Rebecca’s story. You didn’t crash them together too quick. You took your time with it. And I love that Dan was so ordinary. He wasn’t the “hot” teacher.
3. Plotting: Your plotting is good, but not the best it could be, I think. While I did very much enjoy the story, there were parts where it seemed to go nowhere and there were scenes that didn’t seem to serve any purpose. And there were scenes you introduced but they weren’t followed through, or we as the reader did not get a hint or understanding as to where they were going or went (the job at the coffee shop, for instance; she went on an interview, but we don’t know if she got the job or if she gave it up because of Phelan’s connection with the boss). Scenes of people talking, or whole chapters of people talking were not the problem, as you had asked about at the end of one of your chapters. Those were some of the most interesting parts of the story, and they served a purpose.
4. Pacing: This is where my largest critique will come in. There were times where the story seemed to ramble … to me. Not rambling so much in words, but in the flow of the story. Thoughts and time frames and instances all seemed to flow into one another. One second she’s at the mall with her girlfriends, the next she’s on the front porch with Dan admiring robin’s eggs and then all of a sudden Dan is talking to Jen at school. I got lost more than once and had to find my way back. Maybe I’m a stickler for this where, on the flip side, it doesn’t bother others, but there were times where I couldn’t find my way back and had to give up and go with the flow.
5. My last critique (I know, don’t hit me) comes with the end. First off, I loved that Dan personally came to the realization that he would not be able to stay with Rebecca forever, that he would eventually have to let her go. I found it touching and heartbreaking. And (though I’m not quite sure) I believe Rebecca had a completely different outlook on their relationship. I don’t think she understood that about him or would see it coming in the future. But, back to my critique, THE ENDING! What happened? I felt like someone pushed me off the end of a cliff and I was hanging by my fingernails. I guess that was sort of your plan, but man, I wanted more. Sorry. I wanted the “I’ll be with you for as long as we can hold onto each other” sort of ending. But, I guess you’re the boss of their little world. You’ll have to explain it to me.
So, hope this wasn’t a bubble burster or anything. I really did like the story and I’ll miss Dan and Rebecca. I think 1500 reviews should tell you have good your story is.
| Jenny L. Gale chapter 14 . 9/6
On Dialog: if you ask me, dialog is the heart of story-telling. I enjoy reading and writing dialog. Though you can feel a character more through their actions and their internal thoughts, you see who they are through dialog. You see their strength, their capacity for truthfulness or blatant untruths; most people, when they are comfortable, reveal themselves through the things they say.
I don't know if you've revised chapter 14 since you originally posted, but this has been the most enjoyable chapter for me so far. Rebecca is finding her feet and her heart in this one. Now she just needs to find a way to stand up to that no good ! #$%.
| Jenny L. Gale chapter 5 . 9/5
I realize your last update to this story was over a year ago, and that it is a completed work (and that you have 1500 reviews [I could only hope for so much; lol]), but I still have to review.
You're right. I'm tempted to sniff disdainfully and stop reading, but only because the story has taken a turn I wasn't expecting. However, being a writer and a reader, I know the reader can interpret all the wrong things based on one scene. So, I'm going to continue and give your story a chance. As many reviews as you've gotten so far, it must be good. I'm just hoping poor Rebecca can get herself out of this, and secretly hoping Dan will be there to save her ... thought if your character is anything like mine, I'm sure she's resourceful enough to save herself. :)
| Sugarcane chapter 3 . 8/30
I don't have too much too say about this chapter. I enjoyed it.
I liked how you talked about how messy the dancing was, with the sweat and the make up...and that she ended up joining in the fun.
I really don't know what to think about Mr. Phelan, he seems to give mixed signals.
I also liked the honesty of the last scene, with the 'And don't say yes', 'That sounded depressing', etc. And the fact that she ended up not telling him seemed more real.
| Sugarcane chapter 2 . 8/29
I don't know why but I loved the first sentence. The first part was a bit confusing for me though, a lot of information in there.
The second part was interesting. It's not an expected situation at all, and I wonder why he had so much interest in her. I liked how he said there was nothing to be afraid of, since at first I thought that might be the reason.
The final scene was really nice. They seem to find a sort of peace at school, even if they aren't quite the same. The fact that 'they both knew she wouldn't take up his offer' seemed very realistic as well.
| Sugarcane chapter 1 . 8/29
I liked the beginning of this story. The premise isn’t new but what really counts here is how it’s developed. I really liked the fact that the parts with Dan had this slow, relaxed pace and the ones for Rebecca seemed more frenetic and reflected her worries about things a teenager would be worried about. The part where ‘his wife’ is mentioned made me want to know more about Dan, and I liked how you showed Rebecca’s awkwardness at the end, plus the fact that they aren’t supposed to be some perfect stereotype of the sexy teacher and the straight A student that is too mature for her age. Still, I’ll have to keep reading to find out if it stays away from the over used stereotype.
| Virtuella chapter 22 . 8/27
So this is where things come to a crunch. Rather chilling to discover that Rebecca went as far as pulling the trigger of what she thought was a loaded gun. I liked how you made Phelan look pathetic at that moment, with matted hair and a crooked tooth. What concerns me in that whole scene is that Dan is barely mentioned at all. Obviously he can’t really do anything, but I felt I still needed to have evidence that he was there, so to speak.
And so now Rebecca and Dan find themselves in a right mess. Dan finally, finally takes the adult stance, but it is way too late for that. As you point out, “No one left was very innocent.” It’ll be interesting to see how this will all be wrapped up.
| Virtuella chapter 21 . 8/22
Sorry it took me so long to continue with this story! Summer holidays took me on different paths.
I can understand that you feel a little uncertain about this chapter. It does stand out from the others, but once I realised the set-up, I had no problem with that. I would say I am not confused, but that is assuming you didn’t expect the reader to have a completely clear picture at the end of the chapter. It’s more that I get the gist of Phelan’s motivations. Not sure what the plane ticket to Zürich is all about, but we’ll probably find out later.
| Virtuella chapter 20 . 6/26
I really liked the descriptions of the walk in the forest. It connects with my own memories of outdoor spaces, and that is always a bonus in reading, because it evokes additional perceptions, like smells, that haven’t actually been described. It’s very melancholy, to think of Dan remembering his past, when he thought he would one day bring his children out here.
So, Rebecca has a conscience about doing something in her test that only just qualifies as cheating. This is probably an outlet for another kind of guilty feelings – at least I would hope that she has some kind of scruples about maintaining an illegal relationship with Dan.
| Virtuella chapter 19 . 6/14
“Her mother wouldn’t know.” This is such a good way of showing how Rebecca is facing all these difficult situations without adult guidance. Of course, we don’t know how much use her mother would have been, had she lived, but her absences stands for a wider emptiness in Rebecca’s life.
The blue tinted roses – they seem somewhat of a clumsy thing on Dan’s side, artificial, brushing a natural thing against the grain. I’m not sure what to make of this in the context.
The art theme is well played in this chapter. Rebecca’s obscure blob that resembles and apple, a continuation of the Fall theme, and then linked to Hannah’s rainbow, another biblical symbol, this time one full of promise, seemingly a comment on how much easier Hannah’s life is compares to Rebecca’s, and then the way that later transforms into a hint of Hannah’s on struggles. Then the motif of colour, and how that links with Dan’s wife’s photographs. Nice complexity altogether.
“And it was as if all the time before she'd kept a piece of her heart like a fern in an airtight bell jar and he uncovered it and when he did the fronds unfurled and she was unafraid.” The cadence and poetic beauty of this sentence are just lovely.
“And my friends are just amazing” Ouch, this must be a painful thing for Rebecca to hear, it is, in a way, a sudden demotion of her status as a friend.
| Virtuella chapter 18 . 5/24
Soooo, Rebecca gives up or finds unexpected courage – depending on what perspective we want to take. I remember in one of the first chapters have you linked her in your imagery to “the fall” and confirmed that it could mean both autumn and the biblical Fall. It is excellent to find so many chapters later that same imagery continued: “knowledge was fruit luminous and heavy with forbidden possibilities.” Also nice how you have linked that the Dan’s thoughts earlier: “he questioned if despite all his intentions, anything he did could make good come to fruition”
“Each daisy had twenty-one petals.” Clever, so that in a game of “He loves me, He loves me not,” it would ends with “He loves me.”
“he felt his spine bend, felt his shoulders drop” In spite of what Rebecca is thinking about needing him and finding safety with him, it might turn out that he is too weak to protect her?
Very thought-provoking chapter.
| Virtuella chapter 17 . 5/4
And here Phelan makes it to yet another height of creepiness and loathsomeness. Dan has got some nerve, though, to demand of Rebecca that she should report things when he has consistently failed to do so even though it is his professional duty. There are moments when it feels as if she is the adult in this story.
I liked the opening with Rebecca musing about the talents she would have liked to have. That rang very true. Also very nice the bit where she asserts that she is not a damsel in distress. Anyway, her problems are far too complex for such a simple concept.
And ah, the endless awkwardness of their conversations…
| Virtuella chapter 16 . 4/28
It is very touching that Rebecca, after all that has happened, considers her chaste and awkward kiss such a big deal, thinking of it at HER SECRET. Though she is right to feel bad about it, because she has put Dan into an impossible situation.
The detention room might as well be called the tension room, given how tension-filled it is. Is it a “red room” in reference to Jane Eyre or is this just coincidence? I liked how you described Phelan’s smile as acid and venomous, snake that he is.
Rebecca’s memories of her mother are lovely and heart-breaking. She was clearly trying so hard. “, the one who took a nap on a fruitful autumn afternoon to wake up finding herself in the midst of winter” – such a poignant sentence!
“tendrils of terror” - very good, very Cthulhu!
I liked the reflection on Dan’s tame but contented life and his very modest dream of meeting another sympathetic woman. Life could have been kind and granted him that!
I also liked how you described the decaying atmosphere in the house.
they weren't her allies. [They]
marked where where suppliers