Reviews for Gracie
Unxious Custard chapter 1 . 7/9/2013
Oh lovely, yes the character got to me here, mostly in the way the internalisation of thoughts is phrased - childlike but with a certain sort of maturity that only a child with a tough life knows about. As the tale went on both characters pulled at my heartstrings. You have a good sense of plot too, with the characters growing within the timeframe, and that's not easy given this is a short story. I'd love to see you work on a detailed plotline, with twists and turns and odd kicks in the teeth, for your reader. Great writing, brilliant characterisation, just need more story to make me happy. Perhaps this is because I'm a long story type of girl, not an anthology sort of person. I get withdrawal if I don't have several long stories to waiting to be read.
VelvetyCheerio chapter 1 . 5/4/2013
Character: I really enjoyed Gracie's character. You captured the spirit of a child growing up in strange circumstances very well. I was impressed with how well I felt I knew her just through the conversations and narrative voice. She proved to be a highly believable character throughout and it made the story a lot more interesting to follow.

Relationship: I liked the relationship Gracie had with her father, or lack thereof. It was curious and intriguing and it added a layer of sentimental value to the two characters. You really want them to reconcile, but the divide between them just keeps getting bigger and bigger. And you portrayed that divide's progress exceptionally, from all the events that occurred to just how Gracie's daddy treated her. I was saddened, but not shocked by Gracie's leaving. There was definitely a level of realism to her reaction.

Ending: The ending was so bittersweet, but I loved it all the same. I feel like there were a lot of parallels between Gage's death and Ori's death and how these funerals were handled by the survivors. In the place of crying, Gracie was able to write that letter where his grave was, so perhaps in a way that fulfilled the requirements, or something like that. Anyway, I felt for Gracie by the end, and I think her remembering the past is what made the ending so bittersweet.

Dialogue: I really like the accent that these characters speak in. It lends credibility to the times (Gage raising her at only fifteen, none of them know how to write, running from "mob bosses" for one reason or another), but it also creates a setting in my mind where there wasn't one before. And I think in that way dialogue is very important in filling in the gaps for readers, and you did a great job creating believable dialogue that flowed naturally.

Technique: I thought the experiment of limiting setting was a smart move with this dialogue driven piece. It helps create a lot of mystery and suspense without bogging down the story with too much information. Plus, it gives more room for character development. I think the only thing that really bugged me by the end was who Gage was exactly. In my head I question whether he is really her father or her older brother. And what was he doing messing with thugs? And why did the two brothers resort to suicide in the end? But again, that's just part of the mystery, so the fact that I have questions means you've probably done it right.

Overall, great story. I really liked it. :)
lookingwest chapter 1 . 3/22/2013
She doesn't understand him any better. [Fantastic line here, I love this. This is SUCH a good representation of this entire story and it's "center" I think. She never fully understands him, as evident even by the end of the story, but she still sticks with him until the end, even putting her name/his name shared letter on his grave "G" - using my English major cap, I'd say this would symbolize that she also buried a part of herself with him. I really love the way you did that and incorporated that symbolism. This becomes especially evident by the second to last line when we hear "something is missing" from her - and that "something" of her identity has been buried with her father.]

Oh gahd, I was listening to "For Real" by Okkervil River when I was reading the last portion of this story and everything got super depressing really fast _

Anyway, I really like this. I feel like a characteristic of your writing is your ability to create a story of bare bones. When I first started reading your style, I didn't like that technique very much and was very skeptical of the way you use it, but after reading so much of your different stories and seeing the way you use this style, I think I've finally found a good appreciation of it. The short lines and character-focused dialogue and thoughts of your writing, especially with this story "Gracie" almost take on the visual look of a very long narrative poem or flash fiction. I like how you blend the two forms together and I think it works particularly well in this piece by the way you blend Gracie's voice with the narrative - especially when she's very young and using a lot of slang from her perspective as a child.

Her child-voice worked suuuper well. I dont' think I could ever do something like that. It had a good poetic nature to the "'cept" language and stuff. I'm never good with slang and always sort of skeptical of its use, but I think you execute it well in this piece, especially. Gracie became a very convincing character, and her relationship with her father Gage was well illustrated. I liked how you scoped this relationship throughout Gracie's life and we got to meet her father at these different points as she's learning about growing up. His suicide paired with Ori's suicide is especially heartbreaking towards the end after this development of their relationship.

Overall, Elric, I think this is one of the strongest pieces I've read from you. It's very raw emotionally and the threads you use to create an engaging and also literary-ly challenging piece through your use of symbolism is really refreshing. I like the way you chose to narrate this. Very strong piece!
Katsurou Shimizu chapter 1 . 1/27/2013
You know, I liked your other works, and your writing style. It's direct and it pulls no punches. But I always felt like there was something missing. Perhaps the other stuff I read was too brief and experimental for me to connect with the story or characters. But this one (even though it was experimental as well), I loved it from start to finish. I really really loved it, in all its bittersweet undertones and the missed chances of love between a father and a daughter.

Maybe it was the family theme that really got to me, since I am by and large a huge family man, and seeing such a tragedy unfold through the stages of Gracie's life was almost heartbreaking. I wanted Gage to get a hold of himself and be the father that he should be; I wanted Gracie to forgive her father, no matter how unreasonable that request sounded. And this is the best praise I could ever give a story for being able to evoke such feelings within me.

And I just realised that how both father and daughter's names both start with the same alphabet, which makes the ending really poignant.

I think the lack of details worked for me. Like I mentioned earlier, your writing pulls no punches, and throwing in some flowery descriptions and details might have actually muted the desired impact.

Great work!
thetruthaboutsilver chapter 1 . 1/26/2013
One thing I liked:
The mood and voice of the story had a realistic tone, the way you wrote had sort of an 'accent'. I liked this because it drew me into the story, and I could really understand the mood.
One thing I didn't like:
There could have been tons more description, about the setting especially, since it was hard for my brain to picture. The story seems to be made up of mostly dialogue and thoughts.
Great job!
Jalux chapter 1 . 1/25/2013
This is very well-done and emotional piece, the way it's set out was a bit strange but very effective nonetheless. I feel the strongest part of this story was just how it progresses, the flashes you see into her life are brief but makes it that much more interesting.

Characters were well-handled with such a limited amount of words although personally I felt a little more attention could be placed on Ori before his suicide but that's a personal thing, it really doesn't matter.
Sombrette chapter 1 . 1/25/2013
I loved this, it's really emotional, especially when she and her father they talk at the sunsets. I also think the progression from her as a little kid to her now is done well, each section is very true to who she is at that time. The characterization has a lot of depth to it, through this I got a good idea for Gracie, Her dad, and Ori. This whole thing is really sad though. I just felt so bad that through all this, well mostly the beginning and middle, all she wanted was his attention, no matter how it was given. And when she got excited about him telling her his secret, I don't know... it's just so depressing!

Another thing I liked was the way it was narrated, the accent carried onto it and I thought that was pretty neat. The dialogue was so natural as well, I'm guessing with that southern accent? lol That's what I got from it. I was bummed that her dad ended it killing himself though, kinda wished they would have fixed their relationship. But the way it ended still gave enough closure for me to be satisfied. Really, really good story :D
Shampoo Suicide chapter 1 . 1/25/2013
This is good. Somehow evocative without being too descriptive, I like that kind of writing. It's pretty unclear though, why she was supposed to stay away from Ori. Too ambiguous for me, anyway. Was it the fireworks stuff, or something else entirely? I imagined some shady stuff.
Skyward Ending chapter 1 . 1/3/2013
Dear lord, I started tearing up right before they talked about fireworks. I haven't gotten teary from reading since like...Harry Potter. It emphasizes the lack of her childhood in a way that hits home because damn-who hasn't seen fireworks before, even on the 4th of July? It also sets up the southern feel of this (in that scene, I could really imagine the weather and the setting). Another scene I liked was her 21st birthday. Very poignant.

The ending in comparison was underwhelming. I don't think her talking to her father in the grave was very effective; I personally think it should've been thoughts instead of words. I also thought that there were too many paragraphs in her speech.

The beginning wasn't as strong as some of those middle parts, and the tone switch from childhood to maturity didn't wasn't smooth enough.

In general I think you broke the paragraphs too much. If you could make the other sections as strong as the aforementioned two, it'd be absolutely amazing.
berley chapter 1 . 12/12/2012
Hello from the Review Game.

This story is really sad, but definitely interesting. I really enjoyed the distinct voice that you gave the narrator. It definitely added to the story and progressed as Gracie got older. I do have some suggestions for you. Since the story is in such a distinct voice, I think you should try a draft in first person point of view. It would be interesting to see how that changes and adds to the story, especially as Gracie gets older. I also understand that you have a specific style to the story, minimalism, but I think a few concrete details here and there would add to the story, especially since most of it is through the eyes of a young girl.

Good job so far. I would look forward to reading another draft of this.
RisanF chapter 1 . 12/9/2012
It's not bad at all. Not exactly a happy piece, but Gracie and Gage manage to cobble together enough of a connection so that it doesn't feel pointless. The one question I have is about Ori: we never know what his deal is, or why Gracie was to stay away from him. Was he getting involved with drugs? Was he going to molest Gracie? Or was he simply going to blow them up by accident with fireworks? I think the audience needs to know a little more about what's going on here.
Whirlymerle chapter 1 . 12/8/2012
[You ain't done nothing with me] Just a style suggestion, but since you're going with "ain't," have you considered [nothin']?

[cos] I really didn't like this spelling. I'd stick with ['cause]. Maybe it's just me, but "cos" makes me think cosine.

I loved the tone of this and how experimental it is! I feel like the characterization just oozes through the narration. The minimalism worked very well overall, because I can feel the emotions behind the sparse details. Excellent work!

TequilaMockingbird19 chapter 1 . 12/7/2012
That was really an amazing story you have right there. I think Gracie's character was quite realistic and the way her actions matured with her age was paced very well.
I like how you made her dad so young because i was totally supported by the way he acted and all. It actually gives the readers some time to think about what he does too. It made me think that he wasn't entirely responsible for how he acted and instead, he needed time to grow. The one I saw who really grew in the story was Gracie, of course. As I'd said, the way she matured in the story was told very well but I also think that though it was a bit subtle, Gage grew up a bit too. The way you showed that problematic dads aren't entirely monsters was very nice.
Overall, I think this was a brilliant piece to show that no matter how sticky the situation might be, family is family.
Needless to say, kudos to you for that piece.
Highway Unicorn chapter 1 . 11/30/2012
This was a very interesting piece, and I really liked it. First, I like the horrible relationship between Gracie and her father because I can relate it to me and my own father. When I was reading this, I kept thinking of my dad and how he acts similar to Gage, and it just made this piece just more personal for me. I think Gracie's character fits perfectly in this situation, because she showed emotions that I have had, and she's said things that I've had said. I just think you did a really good job at capturing that raw emotion between a daughter and a father.

I also thought this piece was creative by jumping around every two years, then 1 year towards the end. I thought that was a nice touch that allowed the readers to fully understand this relationship and see how it develops throughout the years in one nice chapter/setting.

And the sunset talks was a great add as well. I don't know; I just found the idea brilliant and just...nice. :) OH, and your diction (the poor grammer) is really good, and it really adds to this piece. :)

Good chapter! You have a nice talent for creating emotionally powerful pieces with deep meanings. :D
wisedec4u chapter 1 . 11/29/2012
I loved the how you kept letting us see flashes of her life with her dad and Ori every two years. This a very raw and emotional story and I couldn't help but be moved by your characters. What was so amazing is that you made feel sympathetic towards Gage which isn't to do for character who tends to be mean and abusive. I was very sad at the end when her father committed suicide. The only thing was that I felt a little like Gracie, never truly understanding her father and have more questions than answers. Overall, very good and the dialogue was superb.
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