Reviews for The Mouth Of The River
Mislav chapter 1 . 5/22
Very disturbing and sad story. I wonder did Faith have a bad reaction to "poppy" or did she just have a panic attack at the wrong time. What Comstock said about her after she died was disgusting. I feel so sorry for both her and Adam. The last line was chilling. Keep up the great work. I always like reading your stories.
Ventracere chapter 1 . 6/21/2015
Oh man, so this one is a little different from the previous ones that I've read - and I enjoyed this one.

Despite deviating from horror, I think the strengths of your writing stayed true. You always have this way of luring me into a false sense of security and this case was no different. I liked how you built to the climax at the very end, and kind of leave us there. Again, this has to do with the false sense of security, but also the way that your pacing is held together. It's never dragging, and at the same time, not too fast.
Another thing that I definitely liked was your play with names. That last line, "buried his Faith in a shallow, nameless grave" was perfect. He literally buries his faith for God, and the girl he loved as well. That's what probably got me the most. The fact that you can use that one word to mean so much.

Nice job!
Anihyr Moonstar chapter 1 . 5/31/2015
Lovely build up as always. The narrative at the beginning came off solid and I swear even the ‘voice’ of it in my head shifted to fit the tone of the piece. It all looked very Oh Brother Where Art Thou-esque in my head, southern panoramas of scenery and authoritative Old White Guy telling the story with all due gravity. I think word choice like [His pa] and [others believed ‘cause they was told], help to cement that voice right off the bat.

You also, again, manage to build up strong characters in a minimalistic time span, making the most of the few words you use and giving me a rich picture of both Adam and Faith (so aptly named, mm?). Having learned not to trust you, though, I could feel the sense of dread building the more I saw them happy together, and I knew something *had* to go wrong - which, of course it did. Terrifyingly so.

I hate effectively hate the reverend and want to drown him in tar.

Though I didn’t see it the first time I read it, when I looked at it again, I noticed the play on words right at the tail, which I *assume* was intention and I thought was very cool. How they [buried his Faith in a shallow, nameless grave] - I assume this is double-entendre since it seems like right at the end there, his faith cracked for her and he wanted to save her instead of follow along with this insanity. I assume after this, his faith will never be the same.

Anyway, very well done and solidly written.

- Moonstar
lookingwest chapter 1 . 5/16/2015
I would capitalize in the first paragraph - Ma, Pa, and Bible. Ma and Pa because you're using them as names and we don't learn what their real names are, so they should be capitalized as proper ones.

I'm not sure overall how I feel about this story. For strengths, I mean, I think you do a good job with characterization of Faith and Adam in the space you have, and I think again, you do a good job with creating conflict and that Freytag Pyramid for a short story, which is great. I liked the narrative voice you used too, because I felt it was realistic given the time period of your setting and the upbringing of your characters - it felt like it worked and I'm always impressed by how many unique narrative voices you can muster without them all sounding the same! But in the end, I feel myself kind of pausing in regards to the actual lesson or themes that you're dealing with here.

Even though Adam feels what happened is unfair at the end - it doesn't matter because it still *happened* - for some reason Adam could be forgiven but a woman who was forced into becoming a brothel maid at the age of fourteen *doesn't* get forgiven? Meh. This story doesn't really break any new grounds on what it seems to be saying even though, like I said, we do get that Adam doesn't like it - but in the end I feel like because she does end up dying, your actual theme is, well, pretty much "Once a whore always a whore" - as Comstock states at the end. Which I feel is a little unfortunate or well, not really a theme or takeaway that I can get behind.
m. b. whitlock chapter 1 . 5/13/2015
Very strong opening. I really like how you pull me right into the world of the story, just the right amount of history and character background:
“Adam believed with his entire being.”
At the end of the first paragraph when we get to this line I am so ready for it. It has a really good punch and lets me know the essence of your character Adam. This is just an aside really but I like your character names so far too. :)

This is great:
“Faith had been a lost soul, drifting from city to city as a "public woman" during the war at the tender age of fourteen.”
Really like the old time/setting appropriate language of ‘public woman’.

Really good little bit here:
“'cause every saint had a past and every sinner has a future.”
Sounds like a scrap of a sermon, like a mantra for Adam.

“Every Spring the believers would flock to the mouth of the Potomac River and set down their tents in anticipation of the baptism day.”
Now I know where this is set. I grew up near the Potomac… It’s a rough river in a lot of spots. Cool!

Your description of the pitch baptism is amazing:
“All that's left was the nothingness, smothering on all sides, just a taste of what would become of your immortal soul if you didn't turn to God and accept His forgiveness.”
What a horrifying experience. You are so good at this kind of thing! Yikes…

Really great dialogue here from Faith:
“"They say that when you take your first sip of poppy your legs go all rubbery and your tongue numbs like a big ol' slug in your mouth and all kinds of colors explode behind your eyes, letting you know God is with you down in all that darkness!””

Wow. I am so worried for Faith at this point!:
“The day of Faith's baptism was oppressively hot, the sun seemed to just hang in the midday sky, its sharp rays spilling across all of Creation. The congregation of the Right Reverend Comstock gathered at the mouth of the Potomac like a dole of majestic doves and at the center of the throng of worshipers was Adam and Faith.”
Really searing contrasts here too, between the hot sun, the dark pitch, then comparing the congregation to doves and Faith dressed in ‘pure’ white… It intensifies the feeling that something horrible is about to happen…

Wow, terrific ending!:
“The congregation dug a hole right there at the mouth of the river and buried his Faith in a shallow, nameless grave.”
Adam’s love and his belief are both now gone. Very well done!

Really powerful and compelling work.

vb,

mbw
Jalux chapter 1 . 4/29/2015
That is well very messed up actually but interesting I suppose because it's definitely not what the reader would expect. It's awful but I'm fairly certain acts like this have indeed been committed through human history in the name of religion. What I do like is leaves room for a sequel as judging by Adam's reaction he's going to try get revenge somehow. It is a little bit iffy though that the name of the girl is Faith and he loses his faith at the end as well, I think someone else pointed this out but yeah I think giving her a normal name would make this story a tiny bit better. That being said we do get pretty attached the characters and feel his anguish at the end.
LuckycoolHawk9 chapter 1 . 4/15/2015
Oops.. . I could have sworn I signed in for my first review, but the guest review is mine :) Still an awesome story!
Persevera chapter 1 . 4/15/2015
I liked the romance of this story, the good man accepting the woman who had sinned and planning for their perfect life together.
The phrasing was beautiful, such as the description of the effect of the poppy juice.
I like the ending less. It isn't because of what happens to Faith, because of course, that's the story, and one could guess that she had received an insufficient amount of juice to allow her to stand the pitch. (And where did ever come up with an idea of baptism in tar?) It just ended abruptly.
pumadelic chapter 1 . 4/15/2015
This has great sentence rhythm and an appropriate biblical intensity to it.

The use of the poppy and the pitch suggests a really extreme sect well and there is some very effective sensory language eg the poppy sluiced into your bloodstream and weighed down your bones.

Dialogue feels real but does suggest the historical period. Faith has an individual voice - 'your tongue numbs like a big 'ol slug in your mouth' and we feel she is a person.

Ok, I'll fess up..You've seen the movie Sweet Charity...Charity Hope Faith Valentine, the incredibly warm and generous taxi dancer whose trust is cruelly disappointed by her over virtuous boyfriend? Or maybe not.

Faith's baptism is truly horrible - you suspect that he might have slipped her too much poppy but maybe that's just my paranoia.

The main negative is that use of 'two peas in a pod' - a bit of a cliche and not strong enough in this context.

She's symbolic too..buried his faith/Faith.

Impressive.
alltheeagles chapter 1 . 4/14/2015
RG EF review

Oh wow, that was powerful stuff.

Ok, the beginning was all unicorns and rainbows, right up to the pitch baptism. I like that you slipped that in without fanfare, because if you'd made a big deal out of it being pitch and not the usual water, that would have lessened the impact of the ending.

I like the implications that you weave in as well, through that one word 'mocked'. I read that as disapproval on his part turned into (murderous) action disguised as fervour.

I think I would have liked it better had the ending been more open-ended, ie had Faith not been confirmed dead. But then that's just me - I like to continue stories in my head after I've read them.
Virtuella chapter 1 . 4/13/2015
Impressive! It is a sad example of how misguided religious zeal can do the most terrible things without so much as a flicker of compassion. Rhe reverend's self-righteous comment is chilling to the bone. Adam will rebl against it now, I am sure. The final sentence is excellent in its double meaning. I also liked the sensory richness of the prose. What does "Tim Tucker" mean at the top?
Shampoo Suicide chapter 1 . 4/13/2015
What a downer! But so powerfully written. I really appreciated the use of the language and diction of the period throughout the narration, it made it a more immersive reading experience than if it had simply been present in the dialogue. It's a pretty tragic tale to take in with everything that happened to Adam before watching the people who'd supposedly saved him take more away from him. And I like that you mentioned he'd been born into a family of nonbelievers when considering the ending of this. I also like the nod to hypocrisy and judge mental behavior of the supposed righteous. Good stuff.
Guest chapter 1 . 4/13/2015
I liked the way it climaxed as Adam realized that this was not the way to ask God for forgiveness and her love for him because it shows how he wishes to be strong and save someone from sin. I also liked the fact that they buried Faith in a nameless grave because it shows how they feel she deserves to not be remembered which beautiful set up the congretation. I also liked the fact that Adam cursed the Heaven because it comes to show that he does not believe that this is right or just. Otherwise great story.