Reviews for Hat
TheDarkArtist chapter 1 . 8/13/2012
Hello! Your story was extremely well-written and the care you put into its emotion and unabated theme sticks with me. You stand head and shoulders above a lot of amateurs on this site and I applaud you to keep up the good work. As much as critique is useful, I have none. I've only posted one story on here so far and I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Cheers!
dx713 chapter 1 . 9/4/2011
I liked that story, the plot we emotional enough. Now, I tend to be a sucker for romance, so that might not be a sign of anything strong, but, well, I liked it.

The narrator voice is easy to read while not sounding dumb, and the hat as a plot device is a good idea. I'm not that into sports, so I must have missed a part of the feeling here, but I liked that the hat is not something glorious, that it can be a symbol of failure.

The dying of cancer part felt a bit cliché, but I only realize that now, it didn't bother me during the read. Probably because the narrator doesn't spend too much time explaining how it affected him.

On the other hand, I'd like to know more about how the relationship formed. Childhood friends don't date that often. I'd also have liked to know more about how the narrator was now living with the ghost. Going on with life can have several meanings. But I suppose those things would have needed more time than you had.

As a one-off for a WCC, I feel it's quite a well-done piece.
rgarner31 chapter 1 . 8/4/2011
ohhh WOWWWW. This is just...WOW!

for starters, i love the pokemon reference, it brings back memories of one damn good generation :)

this is just such a good story. Its well written, a good plot, and very moving. I love that it starts seeming rather unimportant, with a hat, but then as we dig deeper and deeper into the hat's history is becomes more and more meaningful, and touching. On a lighter note, i loved his reaction when he thought she might be pregnant...wait i thought you couldnt get preganant from making out! lol :)

but then the cancer, and the family, and the hat and the dying... it was beautiful :)

(sorry im not so good at reviewing i guess)
Rosemarysgraden001 chapter 1 . 6/29/2011
Ok repaying the review, it was a piece that invoked a lot of emotion. I loved the relationship between Kathleen and the narrator. I also really adored Kathleen's spirit, it kind of reminds me of me. The history behind the hat is really interesting, how did you think of it?

Cancer is always heartbreaking, it seems in this case that good die young. I admire your skills as a writer, you do it well.

Rose
Rainbow35 chapter 1 . 6/27/2011
Wow. This is very good and very sad.

The opening was pretty good. It was interesting, and made me want to read more. It also made me wonder about why the hat was so significant.

I liked the relationship between Alexander and Kathleen, especially when they were kids, because it was so cute. I think it's absolutely adorable that they were fighting over Pokemon, and also that she bit him. xD

I loved the plot of this story, it was absolutely amazing. It was so emotional, and really realistic and just so sweet and cute.

The story moved quite quickly, which was good because it was relatively short. It managed to be short and long at the same time kind of, and the pace matched that. It was all really good.

I loved reading this story, and it made me feel sad and kinda emotional, because as the story developed, I got close to the characters and then felt sad when Kathleen died and at the end. So I think it's all just a very sweet and cute story. :D
Serendipitist Swan chapter 1 . 6/17/2011
I really like the background story behind the hat. I think there could have been a little more information on the hat's previous owner. But heck, you could write a whole other story about that.

The dialogue at the beginning is really good. The discussion about pokemon is very childlike and reminds me of similar conversations as a child. But, back then I thought all cats were boys and all dogs were girls. It's a very nostalgic bit of dialogue that's humorousness contrasts with the sadness that comes later.

Honestly, the cancer twist was just a little cliche. But it didn't really matter in the midst of the whole thing as it was very poignant and well written. Despite being over done, it worked well for the story so you shouldn't worry too much about it.

The last thing I have to say is that I had a problem grasping names and keeping track of who was who. That's probably no fault of yours, it seems to be a recurring thing with me, but it never hurts to repeat names a couple more times. If only to help the idiots like me.

Congrats on your win, you really deserved it.

-Swan
Eponine254 chapter 1 . 6/17/2011
Congrats on winning the WCC again! :)

I like the way you set up the story in the opening, but I feel like this could have used a more punchy opening sentence as a hook. Rather save the extra information for the next sentence instead of including parenthetical info in the opening line.

I'm impressed with the way you managed to contain such a lot of back story and emotion in such a short piece. I liked the way you used snippets from their relationship all the way through to show how important the cap is.

I feel like "I had moved on" in the third paragraph from the end is a bit too abrupt, given how important Kathleen was to the narrator. The rest of that paragraph seems to me to strike a better balance between loss and making peace with it - maybe a less blunt way of saying that he's come to terms with her loss would be more in keeping with the overall mood of the story.

The ending was very moving. The gesture which seems meaningless to the narrator's roommate has been imbued with so much meaning by this stage that it becomes very significant for the reader. You did a great job of bringing the characters to life over the course of the story, so the ending carries a lot of weight.

All in all, this was very well done! You used the prompt really well to tell a very moving, meaningful story. Congrats again on your win, and keep writing!
berley chapter 1 . 6/16/2011
Patrick, you really need to start writing more prose. I have a few things to comment on when it comes to this story but I’m not quite sure where to start, so if I ramble I’m sorry.

I don’t know if it’s just a personal thing, or if I’ve just read way too many ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ stories as a pre-teen, but I totally knew what was coming when it came to the ending. I’m not saying that is a bad thing or that it was cliché, because this story is far from both of those, but to me it was a little bit predictable. I didn’t guess anything right away, but I read about the hat and knew that there was going to be some important factor that made the ugly hat so special, and as soon as Kathleen was introduced I knew that something tragic with her was going to happen. Tragedy usually involves cancer and death, or at least it did when I read all those Chicken Soup for the Soul stories back in the day and watched too many movies like ‘A Walk To Remember’ (which was a book first, I read that too), which might explain why I felt that way.

Pretty much everything I wasn’t a huge fan of in this story is just personal opinion and has nothing to do with your writing at all.

But anyways, that doesn’t mean that this story wasn’t good because I still really enjoyed it. Your writing in prose is always very smooth and easy to read, which I really like and I particularly enjoyed the narrators voice in this one. I could really feel his personality come through, especially in the part of the story where he is talking about his childhood or when he thought Kathleen got pregnant through making out. It’s little comments like this throughout the narration that really gives your character his own voice. I also really liked how you didn’t just focus on the narrators relationship with Kathleen. You involved her brother and parents, and their reaction to Kathleen’s illness as well. That allowed the story to be a little bit more rounded and it cut out any possible ‘cheese’ affect that can happen in the ‘boy meets girl who gets cancer’ stories.

Let’s just say that I’m really impressed since I know that you’re a poet, not a prose writer. Good job, I’m glad you won the WCC again.
too.much.of.water chapter 1 . 6/16/2011
My god, there was something truly tear-jerking about what you wrote, the non-specificity of the story.

It's the classic boy-meets-girl kind of thing that I suppose we all have or will experience and I've never read anything as simple and beautiful.

Opening lines, while aren't particularly powerful again portray the normality of the situation, and the commonplaceness of the hat. I don't know, but I've always loved stories where there is meaning in something so trivial. It somehow makes it more relatable, which is probably why it was so sad.

Another thing I picked up on was the finality of Kathleen's death. The hat began with death, and it ended with death. That made the ending all the more spectacular. It's really what I loved most, how he moved on, how it wasn't a Taylor Swift song of everlasting love, how realistic it actually was.

The characters are really amazing, whether they're children or teenagers, you can see them in your head and it's that kind of simple imagery which makes the best stories because there's never been anything very interesting about a page on a girl's hair.

And sorry I'm pretty much rambling, but I'm just really proud/envious of your talent because it really is something incredible so yes, amazing job :)
A. Gray chapter 1 . 6/15/2011
Congradulations!

I have to say that I loved the opening because it really made me wonder what was so special about the hat if it was such bad luck. The response that that the main gave didn't answer the question, but added to mystery.

I have to say that overall the ending and the last scene it showed was by far my favorite. It was heartwarming and tear jerking to know that he could feel her standing next to him. I loved that though his friend didn't understand the hat he never explains it; it was his. The close second was "Could someone get pregnant from making out?" I laughed even while I thought of past experiences.

The characters were very well done. Even though we never got to know the friend, Pierce, I could still understand him enough by his words and reactions. Kathleen was wonderfully strong and loveable while still be weak. I wanted to just hug her!

Your dialogue was well done too. When they spoke as kids it sounded like kids and that is something most miss on. When Kathleen is demanding that her brother go to school I think you captured her commandingness perfectly. Bobby's surliness was great too!

I loved and hated this story. It was brilliantly written, but that made it worse. While the ending did help that while she was dead she was still alive with him, I hated that she had to die at all. It touched a bit too close to home for me when we realized that Kathleen knew the end was coming.

You made me laugh, smile, and cry with this. Well done.
Salvatore Paradise chapter 1 . 6/14/2011
Ah, well that was cute. Nice dichotomy between your young and innocent age to the cancerous infected last days; but, in utter honesty, what self-respecting man-horse alights around with red mane and yellowish, pinkish coat?

Needless to say, it is now my duty to be something of a bastard.

The end sentiment carried as much flavor as a Rob McKuen poem: midnight cowboys carrying kittens into the sunset as impressionable boys gaze on: that sort of thing. Now, for a kind of self-reflexive work of cliched puerility, the cancer and the token hat reminder and the omnipresence of the first love all work with attributed flair, but you're a much better writer than that. This sort of thing does not suit you. It suits 98 % of the writers who clog the bestseller list and our seldom-picked through Contemporary Anthologie (the 2% excluded would be Updike and Palanhuik) because it's good for cheap sentiment and in a short story, it's tricky to build a whole lot of sentiment in so limited a space. (In case you haven't noticed, I skip the sentiment step entirely and just draw mentally unsound polyglots from space who talk like Edwardian limeys).

Now, on to the cancer. It was rather too surreptitious; and not in the characterizing kind of way; as cancer usually IS surreptitious in coming. Rather, this sparkled much more with the aura of needy dramatic interlude ergo desperate tug at the heart. Unfortunately, you made cold hearted bastard bolshy ballocksy buddies like me who spend ten hours a day in cancer creative writing-related internship work and who would rather gouge their eyes out with their nibbled-on fingertips before reading yet another cancer sobstory. But I digress out of the realm of severe personal issues and get to das Fleisch und Kase auf YOUR issues. It's too sudden, too much, too soon, and too quick. Allow me my continuance:

Coming at your audience with the curve ball of death is a good maneuver so long as it makes sense. Norman Bates as his mother at the end of Psycho is a very logical, explanatory, and satisfactory plot twist with heavy foreshadowing and clues that jostle the memory of the viewer. Cancer isn't a plot twist, but it's unexpected, and generally it's more fun to read the unexpected when it's not totally unexpected, ergo the usage of such lovely devices as foreshadowing. Maybe she has a family history that you can allude to, maybe she coughs, just something that stops the cancer from springing out of the blue in such a drivelous (yes, I just pattented that) fashion.

Moving rightly along, your ending was sweet; if I wasn't such a flamboyant heterosexual I might call it adorable. I suppose this works if your audience doesn't know you, but I know you and from what you I know, I am under the pretenses that you are a man who expresses himself much more gutturally than with softy emotions. Permit me to elucidate via some nonsensical descriptions: Russian v. French, Hebrew v. Italian, raw v. lucid, inadvertently aesthetic v. purposefully aesthetic, physics v. the Sistine. Haben Sie das Bild? Nein? I don't really blame you because aptness and timeliness were never my fortes. I'll try this another way: do you have a bigger catharsis pouring over Danielle Steel (oh yes, I am aware of your guilty pleasure) or William Carlos Williams?

Precisely. I prove whatever point I was originally trying to make with whatever answer you just subconsciously admitted. And because you think so, I ask you why you choose to characterize your emotions with the EXTRAORDINARY depths in which philanthropists like Stephanie Meyers revels; particularly when you garner and enjoy the latter example much more than it's chicky former? There. Point made. Don't do it again.

I think I'm on a thin wire with the amount of time I've spent procrastinating from work today so I'll probably be high tailing it in about forty five seconds. Ponder these sweetish prosodic segments or spit them out like watermelon seeds: I bestow the choice to you and you and you. Also, this is your second prose piece in under 8 months...I'm liking this narrative trend. Kindly keep it up; it's a high art, which you'll understand in time, oh my little brother.

Slan agus Slainte
Frap chapter 1 . 6/13/2011
OH GOSH!

That was so nice. I sort of felt she was sick, but you did an awesome job of displaying the feelings and turmoil in a few short words.

Your descriptions were so to the point,and you nailed your characters also. You didn't give us an unnecessary info dump, but you gave us enough to keep the story moving and entertaining. It was beautiful and a joy to read.

I love this story and it even brought a tear to my eye. The emotions are there and the voices are distinct in the way you deliver each sentence. This was a wonderful read for me and thanks for sharing!

Frap
Nesasio chapter 1 . 6/11/2011
I love all the quirky details you have in here, particularly in the first half with the hat's history and the fight over pokemon. That was adorable, hah. I actually wanted to see more specific things like that in the second half (after she's sick)because there were more generalizations/plain narration rather than scenes there and the scenes started to feel a bit mundane. That didn't seem to fit with the happy/fiery/spunky stuff he says he remembers about her. That was my impression, anyway. Overall, though, I thought this was really sweet. Great interpretation of the prompt. Good luck in the WCC!
sophiesix chapter 1 . 6/11/2011
Ok i totally didn't see that coming. Or that.

Wow.

It started off so, sort of, nicely, lol, despite teh fact that it was about a funeral, and then wham! You pulled it off really well, I was fearful of melodrama and it never appeared. Ezekiel got it spot on: your poetry makes your prose glow, you lucky shit!

Alexander Nicolas, hey? X) ok, yeah yeah, Petrushka will get his cameo, hold your horses ;)

"Are you a dummy?" she asked. "Boys aren't pretty. So Rapidash is a girl." ahaha this girl is great.

"So she bit me." oh perfect!

"Instead of carrying her ghost on my shoulders, it walked next to me" I love that so much.

Awesome stuff, Pat, and good luck in teh WCC! :)
Sercus Kaynine chapter 1 . 6/9/2011
This was about the sweetest thing I've read in a long time. The Pokemon fight was hilarious; especially since I used to have similar arguments with my friends when I was that age.

That, and having relatives in Chicago makes me sympathize with the Cubs. The hat was a brilliant way to connect the story and the prompt together.

Good job and good luck in WCC!
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