|Reviews for We Were Just Kids|
| Mislav chapter 1 . 4/2/2020
Very disturbing and interesting story, and a fairly realistic depiction of dystopian society. It makes you think how people can end up accepting fascism (and other totalitarian regimes) under the guise of safety and necessary evil. The story that the father told his kids on the way to school was chilling. I liked the elements of dark humor too, such as how the teacher accidentally fired his shotgun while arguing that the new policy has helped reduce gun-related deaths. I knew the story would lead up to a mass shooting, but I expected Cassie to be killed too, possibly even Boze; I'm glad that wasn't the case. I wonder what will become of them now. The part where bunch of students ended up shooting each other while trying to take out the shooter was especially disturbing and poignant. The last line was simple yet harrowing. Keep up the great work. I always like reading your stories.
| Victoria Best chapter 1 . 1/9/2016
This was a very powerful piece and I am surprised that it is just a one-shot, as I think this is an interesting, unique idea, certainly very complex, and had the potential to do very well if made into a full-length novel. You have enough here to turn into a novel, I think, and with the current political situation regarding gun crime, I think this is a very current, sellable piece and so has a very good chance of being picked up (if it has not been already). It could be very interesting to watch these characters move along trying to survive in this world, sort of like an apocalypse film, but darker, more psychological horror than gory horror.
Excellent descriptions, once again. I particularly enjoyed the descriptions of the gun, such as its "Cold, dead weight." Other kinds I enjoyed were, "Smoke clung to the air," and "palpable tension."
The characters were interesting, particularly Cassie. It's great to see a smart, kickass female rather than the usual dumb, girly, damsel-in-distress characters often seen in action films and books. It was also a nice, original touch that she can stay calm in distressing situations. The dad was another fascinating character. The way he was so eager to tell his children all about the man he killed acts as a nice glimpse into the horrifying world they live in.
Finally, that ending was just wonderful. its awesome that you can pack so much impact and meaning in .just a few lines.
There is a missing closing quotation mark here, "Daddy I want a gun too!
You use swearwords a lot to describe things, such as "weird little fucker." Sure, you're trying to convey Boze's thoughts, but swearwords, like all writing features, lose their effect the more they are used.
"Reinforced slide to the enlarged iron sights." It's great that you have done your research, however people like me who don't know anything about guns will not be able to understand or picture this.
You pretty much only tell us that Cassandra looks calm and pretty and that she has a nice haircut. I would have liked a lot more description, and if this was your intention, I still would have liked descriptions in character-forming aspects such as the way she talks and the way she moves.
"You're luck it went through." Do you mean you're lucky?
Finally, I didn't like the way it was in one long narrative, with no line breaks in between. This is more of a personal preference, so feel free to ignore me, but as a reader it did feel tiring to read and the transitions between scenes felt sudden and jarring.
Otherwise I enjoyed this and, like I said, this has the potential to do really well! Very unique, powerful idea. Keep writing!
| pumadelic chapter 1 . 11/4/2015
Much of this is really quite brilliant. The style is terse, earthy, no bullshit and you drop the reader straight into an Au US which is not very AU at all. The characterisation of the father is so matter of fact, it avoids making him into a hysterical stereotype. I'd guessed what was going to be in that brown parcel but the Christmas angle gives it that edge of satirical parody.
Loved the slang - Paige's 'shotty'. Painting it pink - what can I say? That is quite obvious on one level but worthy of Richard Pryor on another level. The gun mobile phone link is hilarious and very apt considering happy slapping and cyberbullying.
As with your other work, sometimes the exposition is a bit obvious. I would have liked more show rather than tell in the relationship between Cassie and Boze. The references to politics demonstrated your underlying concerns but needed to be integrated a bit more .
The incident with Bryce is very effective
The major problem here is that the final denouement is all too predictable. It is well written enough but I perhaps would have liked them to be firing at something that gun would be useless with..something that would really point up the absurdity of the It's Safer to Tote mentality.
| MariaTJackson chapter 1 . 11/1/2015
This is awesome! I am falling in love with some of your work. This is a very interesting topic to explore, and I can sadly see that this just may be a possibility someday in the future. The thing that i loved is the way that you opened up the story. The innocence in the way the children were playing with the gun, then warping it it into complete horror. The plot is very smooth and well thoughout.
There were a few typo errors, but hey, sometimes we all do that!
Keep up the amazing work!
~Jay of MTJ
| Phoenix O'Hara chapter 1 . 10/25/2015
There were a few things that could have been improved, but overall, this story was AMAZING.
| Virtuella chapter 1 . 10/25/2015
Woah, this is a hard-hitting story indeed. You could see it coming from a mile off, and yet when it happens, it’s still shocking. As a civilised European, I would like to believe that it is massively exaggerated, though I fear that the attitude you portray is fairly common in the USA. You have done a good job of showing what happens when people believe propaganda uncritically. Of course this applies not only to the carrying of guns for personal use, but also to the wider question of militarism. Every nation claims they have their weapons purely for self-defence.
Lots of typos in this story; another round of editing would be beneficial.
| Infected Beliefs chapter 1 . 10/23/2015
Jesus...like...what the fuck.
My first thought after all that was: he didn't try to find his sister after that shit? I mean, girlfriend cool but family...
Anyway, really chilling piece here. I live in Arizona which has the loosest gun laws in the United States (yes, more than Alaska and Texas) and though your story was obviously over the top exaggerated there were some really unsettling similarities to how my daily life actually is. People here open carry all the time and you can legally own a rocket launcher. A fucking rocket launcher.
It was creepy how casual everyone was about the guns (and a little puzzling that someone didn't have the foresight to see this coming). Nice sleight on Fox news by the way.
I'll have to read ahead to see if the rest of the story continues in this manner but so far it sort of feels like a commentary story critiquing pro gun arguments in America. Not too realistic but not supposed to be. I like it that way. It reads well. You have a couple of typos that I can't be fucked to point out since I'm reviewing this on my phone. If you read through carefully you should see them. They were mostly just blatantly wrong letters.
Overall I liked it and hope to catch it in the games again.
| Ckh chapter 1 . 10/23/2015
Easy Fix Review:
For some reason, I started to like your writing more and more now. Maybe its just literature class finally getting to me but eh screw it. And now for the actual review:
I like how you balance things out with the plot, including all the "romance", motifs and character psychology in 5000 words or so. Nothing feels forced and the plotline is generally smooth. Kudos to that, must had taken quite some planning (or just writer's talent etc etc.)
I also enjoy the themes you are trying to convey in this story of yours with all the anti-gun themes, general opinion and all. I would had appreciated it more had I gotten more context but hey, living in Singapore man, no guns here. (Though complusory NS training forces men to learn how to use a gun)
Overall, I really enjoyed this piece and good luck in coming up in more plot ideas!
| Encore19 chapter 1 . 10/21/2015
And yet another of your stories is going on my favourite's list...
Was this story meant to be an anti-gun kind of thing? I live in Australia and reading about this is just horrifying and I don't know if comical is the word but I can't mix in my mind students in a school all carrying guns. This story was very dark and so poignant. It makes me feel bad for everyone living in America, specifically high school kids. While my stance was 'hell no kids shouldn't have guns' with the spreeking and Columbine incidences there is actually a point that kids should be able to defend themselves. But being kids they're not responsible enough and not well-trained enough to not shoot the wrong person. I think it should be just the teachers allowed to carry guns honestly. In this story we see various examples of how guns are dangerous, by the way they accidentally go off and damage property or people. Kids using guns as a popularity and aesthetic statement is also a gross representation of how shooting had been made 'alright' for them based on movies and games. If I am going to criticize something I'll say I wasn't that into Cassie as a character. She had the tragic backstory and was caring but I don't know, maybe what bothered me was a lack of flaws on her part?
This was very well done and seems like a good representation of where America's at with all this Columbine and gun terror.
| Ventracere chapter 1 . 10/19/2015
"all she had to show fot it was a slight crock in her little buttoned nose" - fot should be for. And should buttoned be "button"?
You had a couple other mistakes but they didn't draw away from the rest of the piece.
This was a fantastic standalone, as always. But I definitely liked how you explored the idea of a militarized society from the viewpoint of someone who has grown up around guns. Boze is a fantastic character to explore. In a sense, he was never naive, which is what I liked about him, but at the same time, he had all this room to grown into who he was, with Cassie and all. Personally, his snark was also on point. That aside, I also liked how you foreshadowed what was to come. His father's story came in handy with his little sister's actions towards Vincent Bennett and Bryce shooting himself in the foot foreshadowed the bloodshed to come.
Honestly though, I think what you did best here was show the growth and unease Boze felt as he came to realize the chaos and pain that could occur. Cassie showed him that as well, but he realized it himself. She certainly helped, but before she came along he already had an inkling of sorts. I guess that's another thing that I liked, that Boze could be a standalone, that the love interest is only off to the side, she's not what makes him, she's not what makes the story. Had you gone another way, I feel like it would have made the piece less poignant than it is.
Thanks for the read!
| alltheeagles chapter 1 . 10/18/2015
I’d like to start by applauding you for addressing this issue, which is timely and valid. I think maybe the message could be even stronger if the ending was more ambiguous. I know this opinion apparently goes against logic, but I think your anti-gun message would actually be strengthened if it didn’t end with a bloodbath but rather a ‘what if this is the right solution after all’ question.
Boze comes across as bitter and jaded beyond his years, yet his actual opinion on the guns is not made clear – seems he despises the use of guns, yet he has no problem using them himself. For the same reason, him being impressed and influenced by Cassie isn’t all that convincing because his personal stand was never solidified to begin with. He also gives off a ‘holier than thou’ vibe, so I can’t say that I find him a likeable character. Still, I don’t need to like the MC to get the story, so that’s okay.
I would not hesitate to call this satire, but still I think it takes itself just a little too seriously for the irony to really shine through. I get a strong sense of moralising and while that is definitely the ‘right’ sense to have for this issue, I feel that it makes the piece rather too preachy for true satire. Have you considered if using dark humour would be more effective?
The opening has the requisite ‘shock value’ and draws us in to find out more about this situation. In fact, I think it’s quite an accurate reflection of gun culture. On the other hand, the closing doesn’t seem to fit very well – I can’t see how ‘too much too soon’ is connected to what had just happened. I think it’s better off leaving out that line and ending with the day they first met, since that kind of mirrors the opening line with the mention of the first gun.