Reviews for The Things We Give Away
Nesasio chapter 1 . 8/12/2012
I like how much dialogue you have here. At times I forgot there were actions or tags or anything but I could still follow what was going on really easily. I thought you could almost make it entirely dialogue but then with the ending I don't think so as much. Still, it makes for a fast read and I think enhances the effect of this being a surprise at the end (for the dad).

While I don't have much experience with extreme PTSD, it was a little surprising seeing how damaged Drake was. His actions seemed to be almost too much and not quite right for the situation, to the point of being distracting to me. I'm not sure on the realism there but I almost think it would have more of an effect (on me, at least) to not repeat the same actions so much. Vary his responses with the conversation, maybe not too much but enough to keep the actions varied while still holding true to the psychosis. At a certain point the writing needs to take over for the realism or else the storytelling can suffer a bit. Does that make sense? I'm not sure.

Overall, I liked this. It's a powerful ending and not something I've seen before on FP: a story about guilt and self-destruction told from an observer. Cool perspective, sad story, and well-executed.
Vere D Lee chapter 1 . 8/11/2012
that was pretty epic, i loved how u gave me bits and pieces of the back story and not force me to read it all at once. the build up to the conclusion was great, it truly kept me guessing till the end. I guess i would've liked to see more narration to set more of the atmosphere, but that's a minor gripe. good job.
Dr. Self Destruct chapter 1 . 8/9/2012
First I just want to say how much I love the name Drake. I used to have a huge thing for fantasy and dragons when I was younger, so Drake was always one of my favorite male names. I also think it's rather normal, but also different enough to make it really memorable. It's not one of those names where you scratch your forehead and think, "wtf? I've never met a person with that name..." which sometimes happens when I read fiction set in present time. xD But, um, yeah... I love the name (sorry for my rambling; I'm kinda tired right now).

I like how you so effortlessly include Drake's history in the beginning here. You do it in a way that's entertaining and interesting and doesn't feel like a bunch of facts being tossed in our direction. Instead of just telling us what's wrong with him, you show us what's wrong with him, like the pacing, the inability to stay still, his strange mannerisms, the way he hits himself in the head. They're all very showing and I love that. You get across his personality and what's made him the way his is today in a very narrative manner, so it never breaks the immersion, but rather enhances it. I think that's one of the qualities of a good writer: they can get a lot of information across without the reader really feeling like they're being sat down and taught all this stuff.

I'm also really enjoying the attention you're paying to the lighting coming in through the window, especially how you mentioned the 'round, swollen moon.' I thought that image was very cool, and the others also add to the picture of what's happening in my head. It creates a very real cinematic aspect to the writing, and I always love it when writers put that type of attention into things. Instead of drawing attention to mundane, everyday features, you single out what makes the scene itself vibrant and colorful.

Okay, before this turns into a very possibly dark piece of literature, I just want to mention how cool I think it is that you approached this from a father/son angle. I also love how compassionate the father is to Drake, how he's touching him and wiping around his tears/sweat. I mean... I don't know. I just feel so fucking sad right now reading it, haha. Like, I can picture this perfectly in my head and it makes me want to start bawling. xD Maybe it's because I'm jealous that I didn't have the same type of relationship with my own father, or maybe it's just because for once I actually get to read something where the male characters aren't afraid to, you know, touch and talk honestly with each other. To show emotions. The dad's personality comes off as strong, there's no doubt about that, but he also feels *emotional*. Real. And I really appreciate that. It's nice to see a father painted in a positive light instead of a negative one.

Fuck. At first I thought he had drank the alcohol because the bottle was turned over, and he was going to die from that or something (I don't really know what happens to a person when they drink a whole bottle, but I imagine it's enough to kill someone). But then you slapped me across the face with this ending. And damn. I'm really choked up right now - I haven't read something that's been able to do that to me in *ages*. The way you handled both the character's dialogue was amazing, and I love how you continued to develop the narrator's character up until the very end (like when mentioning he has a gun because he's a cop). This is just so powerful. Especially Drake's dialogue - I'm not completely 100% on what exactly he was talking about, but I feel like that's the beauty of it. It mirrors the chaotic thoughts in his mind, the battling personalities.

You always have very powerful short stories. I wonder if you ever thought of participating in the Writing Challenge Contest over at the Review Game? Something as well written as this would definitely win. :)

Just a few suggestions:

[ He'd seen some nasty shit while he was over there, one of the worst being a little girl who'd run out in the middle of a street with a bomb strapped to her and had gotten blown to bits, taking with her a good friend of Drake's who'd tried to remove the bomb.]

I thought this sentence would be a little more dramatic/flow better if it was broken down. Perhaps like this?:

"He'd seen some nasty shit while he was over there. One of the worst was a little girl who'd run out in the middle of a street with a bomb strapped to her. She'd gotten blown to bits, taking with her a good friend of Drake's who'd tried to remove the bomb."

[ (My ex-wife had not been kidding when she told me I said some of the dumbest things.)]

Style: Suggest working it: "(My ex-wife wasn't kidding when she told me I said some of the dumbest things.)" I also thought this was a very nice, subtle way to drop some information about the narrator, and that he's divorced (and that he's also male). Up to this point I was a little wavering to what his gender was, but that's fine. I like discovering it as I go along - feels like I'm putting a puzzle together. Plus, if you ask me, I think Drake is the real important one here - the narrator is more a secondary character observing the actions of the main character, which is also cool and not often done.

[I asked, but Drake did not answer.]

Style: Suggest making the 'did not' into 'didn't' just because the narrator seems to prefer contractions up to this point. Just to keep up with the consistency, that's all.

Thanks so much for the read! I think this is my favorite piece from you yet.
Punslinger chapter 1 . 8/8/2012
A very gripping narrative. It is proof of your talent
that you can write so vividly about the shocking trauma
of war without having direct contact with it. For
young people, what makes bad experiences so intense is
they can't appreciate the healing power of time. It
seems that the agony will never end, while the passing
days are gradually pushing it back to a safe distance.
jamieb32 chapter 1 . 8/7/2012
Wow! This was engaging! I love your descriptive sentences and I got a very clear visual of the location and the story between Drake and his father. I loved the line about revenge too. Awesome story...I'm interested in seeing more.
AThousandPromises chapter 1 . 8/7/2012
I swear I actually shivered when I read this, it's incredible. I especially love the last line, because it makes you realize the narrator is remembering it. I don't even have any criticism :)