Reviews For For Padma's Sake
Reviewer: mooncalf
Date: 01/21/07 16:33
Chapter: For Padma's Sake

Hey Lian! *waves at SPEW buddy*

First of all, WOW. I knew once I saw that it was Padma that I had to read this fic, but I didn’t expect something as wonderful as this. Both parts of this story are amazing, but I’m going to focus on just the first as it’s my favourite.

Your style of writing is quite unusual. The repetition, the short sentences, even how the fic is laid out (one meal, making Parvati think back) – it’s not the norm. It’s a refreshing novelty to read something written as well as this. The short, sharp sentences lend a sense of desperation to the fic, a tension which is left with the reader even after finishing.Parvati has won her battle. But victory is bittersweet. It is not enough.

Parvati wants to scream at her sister, scream at her and force her to eat. But she does not. Their father did that. It did nothing. She wants to plead with her sister, plead with her and beg her to eat. But she does not. Their mother did that. It did nothing.. I know that’s a terribly long quote, but I just had to take the whole thing. The repetition has a similar effect; it gives the impression that this isn’t the first time Parvati has thought these things and felt this way. It’s a beautiful way of emphasising emotion and distress, and it gives the story an almost musical quality.

Thankfully, I haven’t had personal experience of anorexia, but in my opinion you deal very well with such a sensitive issue. We feel pity for Padma, and sadness that she must suffer this. I think the lines describing her physical condition are particularly harrowing; She sees the hollowness in her twin's eyes, is horrified by the way her sister's elbows bulge out from her skeletal arms. This line is wonderful too: The body Padma sees does not exist; it is no more real than the pudding she never ate. It’s a haunting way of telling us how Padma tries to deceive others as well as herself.

In a way, though, Parvati is nearly more a victim than Padma. We can see this anguish her twin’s illness is causing her: Now Parvati cannot cry. She cannot scream. She cannot hurt where Padma can see. I love how you characterise Parvati in this story. She isn’t the rather flat, giggling character we see in canon; while she doesn’t appear out of character, she is so much more developed and believable. She wants the Padma whose world won't shatter if she, Parvati, is angry or sad. I think this line is incredibly moving. She has lost what everyone comes to need from their siblings; security, comfort, companionship. Instead, she has to constantly prop Padma up. The stress and worry this must cause on a teenage girl is distressing. You do a great job of highlighting this by telling us of Parvati’s reaction to the various traumas she has suffered in her school life.

Usually, I’m quite a critical reviewer, but I can find nothing wrong with this fic – except that I’d like more! While Because of Padma is a lovely fic, it achieve the same heights as this one does. Congratulations on an utterly amazing fic!




Author's Response: Funny, some people have said that the repetition you quoted was their least favorite part of the fic. I've revised it a bit since then, though, and I'm glad it works for you as it is now.

Yes, Parvati is a victim too. And yeah... it occurred to me at some point that even seemingly empty and shallow people can still feel pain at a very deep level. I tried to show that.

Reviewer: Lurid
Date: 01/08/07 7:57
Chapter: Because of Parvati

I just wanted to congratulate you on writing such a strong story, Lian. It’s so compassionate and yet, dispassionate from the characters point of you. You, as the author of Pavarti in the first chapter and as Padma in the second seem to be acting like their conscience, almost urging your characters on towards the right path.

But she hates it too. She hates looking in the mirror, looking and seeing every pound, every ounce that has not come off. The body she has yet to conquer. It’s all about control, isn’t it? It’s all about the power to defeat something, to achieve something. It’s twisted, in a way, but with it comes a wonderful sense of triumph when they do achieve it. The thing is, most never do.

She shatters. I think this is a good ending. It has a lot of questions, and yet is entirely predictable. Because, both Padma and Pavarti have broken and shattered in this. I don’t think a lot of people are strong enough to experience this sort of unspoken theme. It’s shoved away in the corner usually, but you brought it out and you wrote it, and for that I am so glad. It’s a fantastic story, and I think a lot of people should read it.

Author's Response: I think I had to write this story in a sort of distanced tone, because otherwise it would have easily become too overdramatic. I'm glad you read and reviewed this, Steph. Thank you.

Reviewer: Lurid
Date: 01/08/07 7:50
Chapter: For Padma's Sake

Solemn.

Scary.

Skinny.

It leaves me with an empty sort of feeling (that’s a good thing!) that leaves space for me to think. All good fictions do that to me; leave my brain some space to think and your has certainly hollowed it out for the day!

She sees the hollowness in her twin's eyes, is horrified by the way her sister's elbows bulge out from her skeletal arms. They are not beautiful. They are not graceful. But Padma does not see them as they are. She sees thick arms, thicker than Parvati's. The body Padma sees does not exist; it is no more real than the pudding she never ate. That paragraph is the most beautiful, terrible, and the most ugly in the whole story. It betrays the deception of the mind to the reader, and it’s so true. That’s what makes it so horrible in hindsight, yet it makes me appreciate your gift of writing as I read it. It’s so fluid, it seems to be seeping unthinkingly from her mind, almost as if by thinking it, she’s confirming it. Lian, I love it.

Author's Response: *hugs Steph* I can't really tell you anything, except... you understand. Thank you for that.

Reviewer: Lily of the US
Date: 01/02/07 13:22
Chapter: For Padma's Sake

this is such a beautiful piece of writing. i have never struggled with anorexia, but I came very close last year. I love this fic beacuse i can relate to it. great job.

Author's Response: I'm glad you liked it!

Reviewer: greeneyes
Date: 01/01/07 17:14
Chapter: Because of Parvati

Wow, this is quite a powerful story that sends a very powerful message.

Many authors do not care to use anorexia in their fics for fear of offending readers, but I think you handled this beautifully. It was not unrealistic the way Padma would make excuses, nor was it for the way Parvati did not know how to comfort or help her sister.

I seriously urge you to continue writing, especially thought-provoking stories like this one.

You did a wonderful job, and I thank you for writing such a story most authors would not dare to.

And a Happy New Year to you!!

Author's Response: Thank you for reading and reviewing! So long after I wrote the original chapter, it's easy for me to forget how "daring" it was. But when I first wrote it, the story scared me a lot. Thank you for appreciating that, and for helping me remember.

Reviewer: some_kinda_superstar
Date: 11/06/06 3:00
Chapter: Because of Parvati

I came back to re-read this fic, and thought I'd leave you a more substantial review than last time. So, here goes...

First off, your writing style is excellent. I loved the way you kept repeating the title throughout the story; it was really effective. You have a brilliant way of describing people, places and emotions.

You really captured the feelings behind anorexia. I have struggled with this disorder on and off for a while, and I can completely identify with her feelings. I know what its like to never feel adequate, and to be so desperate you will reach out to anything for control.

I am glad you added a second chapter, it showed a whole new aspect of the story and fitted really well. I loved the way you incorporated the two different viewpoints in the story.

This was an absolutely excellent story; touching, haunting, and brilliantly written.

Author's Response: Thanks for reviewing again! I've been kind of amazed at how many anorexics and former anorexics have come out of the woodwork and reviewed it. Hopefully it means something; I wrote this as a way of coping with a friend's anorexia, and I hope reading this can be part of the healing process for other people.

Reviewer: SomberBallad
Date: 10/07/06 19:06
Chapter: Because of Parvati

While for “For Padma’s Sake” stands very well on its own, I think it was very good of you to write “Because of Parvati” because I think it really completes the story in a very unique and real way. Padma’s side of the story really brought everything together and leaves us with a conclusion and I can’t help but like something that is finalized.

Though both sides of the story are written very similarly and very chillingly I felt this one was very different maybe because we are looking at the story right at the heart of the problem. I liked reading about Padma’s side more. You make many references to illusions and you slowly take away the veil from the beginning of the story and even though we as readers know what has been going on all along it seemed to hit me peculiarly when she realized she was living a lie.

In this chapter I really enjoyed the strong contrast between Parvati and Padma in the room where they sit together. It really was striking and I could see it so well in my mind, Padma like a statue and Parvati in a heap on the bed. It was a good contrast that really conveyed the truth that Padma was trying so hard to avoid.

Your last chapter I critiqued that some of your writing might be unclear to all readers. I think that this chapter definitely fixed that problem. You were clearer as to what was going on this chapter and I wasn’t at all confused.

A lot of people gushed about Padma's state of mind in the flashbacks and how she felt. I think I just expect it of you to nail them, and a lot of it just proved all the symptoms of her disorder. I say to anyone who commented on Padma's thoughts, "of course they were brillaint, it is Lian!"

Your last line is brilliant, I wish I had something more constructive or nice to say about it but that is exactly what an ending line should be, and you nailed it.

I have no real constructive criticism this time, this chapter was much improved to the last one. I am very lucky that you ran into me in that SPEW chat and asked me to test read this because I am very fortunate to read such an amazing story.


Author's Response: This chapter is indeed very different from the first. I think you're right: it's because you're looking at the story from the interior rather than the exterior. I think it's interesting that you prefer this viewpoint –– it is clearer, I suppose. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing, dear!

Reviewer: Celestial Melody
Date: 09/16/06 13:03
Chapter: Because of Parvati

Another marvelous chapter. I do not know why you continued the story, but this chapter, again, sums up exactly what anorexics feel. How clearly do I remember standing in front of the mirror, crying, because those last pounds wouldn't come off.

I was one of the lucky ones, though, I didn't end up in the hospital. I got help before that.

I sincerely hope that Padma doesn't end up there. I'm not quite sure what happens after "she shatters," I hope she gets help.

You have also addressed the reason why so many people become anorexic: Feelings of inadequacy. It is so hard to live in a world where, seemingly, only the so-called 'perfect' are praised and valued.

Padma's reason for becoming anorexic is entirely plausible; my experience was similar. Must be thin for football season and the semi-formal. It was tragic that I felt--and, yes, still do feel--that. It is tragic, and I sympathize greatly with poor Padma. And she's right. Once you start, you can't stop "dieting." And, once you do... you feel like a failure. I sincerely hope you can save Padma.

I have spent so much time drawing my own experiences into a parallel with Padma's and haven't complimented you on your writing. I'm so sorry.

*ahem!* Your style is truly lovely. There are just the right amount of short sentences to contrast the complex sentences. The use of these short sentences, in fact, increases their impact in the chapter and gives a feeling of despair. (Yes, I used that word to describe the last chappie, but it's completely applicable.)

The tense in which you wrote the story is interesting. By using a rather omniscient voice in the italicized parts, you give almost a distracted and objective view to the suffering of the twins. Not ... removed from emotion, or anything like that, but very ... interesting.

Your vocabulary is formidable and I wouldn't like to be in a spelling contest with you because your story is mistake-free. Wonderful! It's such a pleasure to read properly edited fics. I hate wading through fics that would, otherwise, be joys to read, but are so riddled with grammatical errors, I have to close the window before I explode. =)

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I thoroughly enjoyed your story and would have liked the story to remain as a one-shot because I could fathom the ending at that point. I had my own ideas about what would happen. However, now that we have "She shatters," I'm hoping you'll continue and show us what happens to poor Padma. No pressure, though. Thanks, again!

~Julia~

Author's Response: I'm glad you came back for the second part of the story (which I never intended to write, originally). In some ways it was harder for me to write this chapter, because my experience with anorexia is much more from the outside perspective than the inside perspective. I did share a pair of journals with my friend who was anorexic over a period of a couple of years (we actually filled up the journals), so I have a pretty good idea what she went through, and I can't honestly say that I never came close myself, even if I never went over the edge. It's really good to hear feedback on this PoV from someone who has experienced anorexia from the inside rather than the outside, so thank you.

You would probably beat me in a spelling test –– I'm actually a pretty horrible speller. I just edit well, and I usually have good betas. Although, this story has never really seen a beta; it was too personal, in a way.

I'm not currently at a place where I think I'd be able to write a good story about the recovery process, partly because of the emotional energy required to write about this subject and partly because I think recovery would need a chaptered fic, rather than snapshots. However, I am considering it as a possibility for the future.

Reviewer: Celestial Melody
Date: 09/16/06 12:47
Chapter: For Padma's Sake

That was wonderful. Your writing is so eloquent, but that wasn't what drew me to the story most.

You see, I understand completely what Padma is going through because I went through the same thing. Your description of her mindset is completely correct.

I wonder: Have you ever had, or do you know someone who has had anorexia?

I, personally, have been both anorexic and bulimic and the following sentence truly sums up the exact emotions that I was experiencing.

"But Padma does not see them as they are. She sees thick arms, thicker than Parvati's. The body Padma sees does not exist; it is no more real than the pudding she never ate."

You have a gift. I'm so thrilled to have found this. My own fic, "Serpent in the Moonlight," is also about an anorexic girl, but she's an OC. I began writing her during the summer and it was a balm for my healing process. I'm rambling, I'm sorry. You don't really need to know all that.

However, I just want to say, "Thank You," for such an insightful story.

~Julia~

P.S. The repetition of "For Padma's sake" throughout the story is wonderful. There is a feeling that one gets when reading it ... a feeling of urgency and also of despair that is really heartbreaking but strangely lovely at the same time. Thank you.

Author's Response: *hugs*

As my username suggests, I spent many years of my life training as a ballet dancer (while I still dance, college really changed my focus). Anorexia is fairly common. One of my best friends from high school was anorexic, and this story began as my way of working out my feelings about how it hurt our friendship.

Reviewer: some_kinda_superstar
Date: 09/15/06 2:11
Chapter: Because of Parvati

I really loved it. So sad.

Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing!

Reviewer: TheVanishingAct
Date: 09/09/06 8:43
Chapter: Because of Parvati

So, after hearing that a sequel/second chapter of For Padma's Sake would be written and up, I was excited. After all, For Padma's Sake is undoubtably your best work [but this isn't meant to bring anything else you've written down -- all of it is fantastic, as my numerous reviews express quite a many times]. So, after waiting a bit, we recieve the sequel , and possibly something that possibly rivals For Padma's sake in terms of utter brilliance. I'm in awe of your writing talent, m'dear. I don't know how you do it.


The imagery seems to flow from your fingertips; it's sometimes elaborate, sometimes very simple, yet it is always used in good taste. Parvati. Parvati is on her stomach, body draped across her bed, clenching the edges of her pillow with either hand as she sobs and screams. She is constant motion. Paravti is aching, crying, screaming, fighting. This shows exactly how you can gives us a picture that normally, we wouldn't think of -- that constant motion bit -- and it shows the depth of even the simple adjectives we do think of, but don't realize it until you paint the picture for us -- she is aching, crying, screaming, and most of all -- fighting. I love your choice of words in this portion. And everywhere else, but I think that's a given. ;)


And you bring back one of the things that hammered For Padma's Sake in our heads -- the refrain! Who could ever forget those haunting, chilling words and the breathtaking imagery and the heart-ripping emotions? Certainly not me, for after I read and noticed the refrain [which, admittedly, took a little while], I recalled that you used the same brilliance you did when writing For Padma's Sake. Parvati crumbles, and Padma does not know what to do. She is paralyzed by disbelief. Unable to feel and unable to stop feeling. Because of Parvati. And once again, imagery, refrain, and emotion play a big role in getting your point across. This is a brilliant way to hammer in our heads that it is unpleasant, that the world is not only falling for Parvati, but for Padma as well.


The subject matter of Because of Parvati isn't as deeply cutting as For Padma's Sake. It doesn't have as real of a quality. We see the sisters, their connection, and their loyalty to one another, and we see that they both use a similar approach when dealing with the other's situation. However, using a real world issue in a Harry Potter fanfic is rare, and I think that plus your fantastic handling of a sensitive subject [and let's not forget the talently placed story and it's imagery] helped make it so popular. Plus it's written by an extremely capable writer, so that helps. ;) I think this feels disconnected in a way. Not to say that it's horrible, because it's way up there in the fandom, but to say that while it does give a few passing mentions that Padma has a problem, it feels like it doesn't have the heart For Padma's Sake did.


But Good Lord, it is brilliant.


I like how Parvati is Padma's anchor; in For Padma's Sake, Parvati wants to help Padma, wants to do something to let Padma know that she is and will always be there for her. However, when seeing it from Padma's perspective, we see that Parvati has done so much more than she had ever realized: She kept Padma anchored. And in Parvati's moment of weakness, when her anchor has abandoned her and she is lost floating at sea, she cannot continue.
She shatters.
The moment we see that they are nothing without the other.


I could elaborate on and on, but as I'm trying to keep my reviews shorter [is it working?], I'm wrapping up here. Lian, you're brilliant, this is brilliant, everything you write is brilliant; I guess, in one word, I'd describe you as brilliant. And let's remember -- this review is for Padma's sake. /bad joke



Author's Response: "The subject matter of Because of Parvati isn't as deeply cutting as For Padma's Sake." You know, I think readers might actually disagree on that. It's not as anguished, which may be what you're getting at. It's the explosion rather than the tension before it. The tension may cut deeper for you –– and honestly for me –– but I think that in some respects the eventual explosion may be easier to understand. But you make a good point: while the two chapters are very much compliments of each other, they get at the story in almost totally different ways. Thanks for the review, Pat!

Reviewer: Cheshlin
Date: 09/05/06 22:15
Chapter: Because of Parvati

Wow. This is a very emotional chapter. It really show how two worlds that are very similar can be very different. Being a twin myself, I have seen how two people can see things in entirely different ways. I feel bad for both the twins. I love the way you show this very emotional time, and seeing how Padma shatters, is very sad. Thanks for adding to this story.

Author's Response: I'm so glad you came back to read the second chapter, even though I wrote it so much later (and originally didn't plan on it at all). Thanks for reviewing; I always enjoy getting reviews from you.

Reviewer: Valentinia
Date: 09/03/06 20:33
Chapter: Because of Parvati

Wow. Just wow. The feelings of both girls are so realistic and so touching, I almost cried. Poor Padma and poor Parvati. It really gives a lot of depth to their characters - I love when people recognize that they are people, too, not just "valley-girls" (dumb word, but can't think of a better way to say it).

Author's Response: I'm glad this story seemed realistic to you, and that I was able to write Padma and Parvati as people rather than plot devices.

Reviewer: SomberBallad
Date: 09/02/06 15:12
Chapter: For Padma's Sake

Lian, you writing is entrancing. All the stories I’ve read of yours seem so real, so real it gives me chills. The way you understand character emotion, or just emotions and feelings in general is just amazing. This story is so moving, the ironic thing about it is that it’s heartbreaking yet I can’t cry, for Padma’s sake…or something like that.

You take a very serious issue and instead of presenting it to the reader the way we’ve seen it before. You show us what is like to watch it happen through the eyes of someone who falling apart. I am so thankful to have never had to witness something so awful as someone I love have an eating disorder. However I do know what it is like to be strong for the sake of someone else and in that way I can very much sympathize with Pavarti. I wish I could put it some other way but your grasp of human emotions is so good, and I love to read stories that delve deep into the “realness” of a character.

I think I also told you this on “Until the Dawn” but I don’t read minor characters a lot because they don’t interest me. J.K. Rowling never gave me anything about them to care about. You however come up with fantastic stories for these characters, rich pasts and real people behind the heroes of the story. It makes me appreciate them more in the actual canon. I’m actually looking forward to “Grey Lavender”, and I don’t even like Lavender. Your minor characters move me, Lian. The relationship between Pavarti and Padma that you have introduced us to is so intense, and you just don’t see that in the books. For lack of a better compliment, it’s really cool.

My last point is a compliment and perhaps a critique, however you want to take it. Your writing is really smart. I feel really sophisticated reading your stories. However, when you talk about the issue of anorexia here, I’m not sure that everyone will actually understand that it is what Pavarti is worried about. Not that you need to beat people over the head with it, please don’t, but if I were to change this story in any way I would allude to Padma’s problem more.

Another great story you have here, Lian. I really respect the talent you have with minor characters and human emotion. I will be reviewing chapter two soon.

Author's Response: I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond to this, Ashley. A lot of people comment on how interestng it is to see an eating disorder from this perspective of someone not suffering from it. Personally, I think you're all giving me too much credit. I wrote it this way because that's how I knew it –– from the outside.

I don't think the feelings of a person watching a friend suffering from an eating disorder are entirely unique; dependence is something which many more people are familiar with. Hopefully it helps make anorexia less inaccessible to my readers who aren't intimately acquainted with. *hugs*

Reviewer: Fantasium
Date: 08/28/06 0:43
Chapter: Because of Parvati

First off, Lian, I need to tell you something about your writing which I just realised. I’ve noticed it before, but it wasn’t until I read this chapter that I understood it wasn’t something about the individual stories, but about your style. It’s like music. Music, in the sense that the tone of your writing is a melody, and the words its lyrics. No, don’t laugh, I’m being perfectly honest. What I mean is that you can write about extremely sensitive topics without making it too hard to bear. As a reader, I can enjoy the melody of your fic, such as language flow and word choices, and choose how much of the lyrics, the actual meaning, I want to take in. It’s not something I see often, and I value it a lot.

Really, it is unfair to have me review this (yes, I know I could choose what to review, but this felt like the obvious option ;), because I’ve read the chapter three times and not come a cross a single grammar/spelling/formatting mistake. Also, your language is fantastic, and I’ve only got one small suggestion on improving a sentence:

…praising her discipline and her trim figure. She glows at their praises —— no one has ever admired her or praised her this much before.

You work very well with clever repetitions (as in Now Parvati is crying. Crying desperately. Crying achingly. Crying as never before. *loves*), and in all other cases in this chapter they create a captivating rhythm, but here the use of ‘praising’, ‘praises’ and ‘praised’ gets a little repetitive to me. It might be intentional, but I think you would get a better flow if you found a good synonym for at least one of the three words – something I know would only be too easy for you.

But that’s it. That’s all the advice I’ve got to offer. So, what else can a poor reviewer do? Gush, that’s what.

I love how you include ‘Lisa and Laura’, as it shows how much Padma’s friends’ attitudes matter to her dieting. With the emphasis you put on them being Ravenclaws, Padma especially, you show us that intelligence isn’t always the same thing as wisdom.

You release a small monster inside me when you bring up one of my pet peeves: parents who expect too much of their children. It makes me so angry and I want to scream at Mrs Patil. You’ve used the twin’s parents well in this chapter, with a strong tie to canon. You show us several of Padma’s reasons for dieting, but it’s her mother’s high demands that get to me.

Parvati is crying, crying out months of hidden frustration and clandestine pain. Padma is staring, suspended in unreality. It has been years since she last saw her sister cry. She believes in a sister who is the embodiment of strength and resolve —— a sister who does not truly exist.

Lian, that paragraph is as beautiful as it is serious and touching. And ‘clandestine’ might just be my new favourite word. ;)

It is May, and Padma decides to stop dieting, just for one day, to assure herself of her control. She discovers that she cannot stop. Cannot. And she is spiraling. Spiraling.

Spiraling in the realization that her diet, her control, is just like everything else. Her control is only illusion.

This, together with the couple of italicised paragraphs above, scares me. You manage to convey the feelings of hopelessness and loss of control with a clear, crisp reality, and yet it’s poetic. It is not easy to imagine what Padma (or any girl in her situation) must be experiencing, but what you write doesn’t only make sense but it’s truly convincing as well.

Now I don’t know whether I should ask you for a third chapter or not. On the one hand, I would love to read more, but on the other, these two chapters with their two viewpoints, the two titles reflecting each other, complement each other beautifully. Though… I feel that I’m aching to see what happens next, to know what happens to Padma and Parvati. I want to know how bad Padma’s anorexia will turn out, not because I generally enjoy reading about pain, but simply because you write it so darn well. Bravo, Lian!

Author's Response: Words have always seemed like internal music to me, so your observation about my writing being like music is neither silly nor surprisng. Just very insightful, which is unsurprising. Good point on the 'praise' repetition. I think I went and fixed that, but it was so long ago that I can't quite remember. *snuggles*

Reviewer: Ennalee
Date: 08/27/06 23:33
Chapter: Because of Parvati

O.O (And no, I’m not an owl. I don’t think.)

How is it that for all that I’m listed up at the top as your beta, I didn’t even know that you had written a second chapter? I just stumbled on this as I was looking for a story to review, and happened to notice that it now has two chapters. I’m so happy to see more of this – you know how much this story means to me, and though I thought the first part stood up perfectly on its own, a second part is a wonderful addition.

To start with, I love the way the two girls are interconnected, and this second chapter really emphasizes their relationship. “For Padma’s sake,” is about Parvati, and “Because of Parvati” is about Padma, and each girl defines herself as she talks about her sister. Padma even implies that she is able to continue existing only because of Parvati. Whatever choices one makes will totally and completely affect the other, and we learn that Parvati wasn’t exaggerating in the first chapter when she said that she had to be strong for Padma’s sake.

You also did an amazing job of capturing Padma’s descent into anorexia. Of course the background was all realistic and understandable – the constant scrutiny of her parents, the pressure to be special in a house where doing well is expected – knowing you, I would have been surprised if it wasn’t. But what made your description really special was some of the simple, understated sentences you included. “She loves the strength she feels when she sits at the table and does not eat, loves the freedom of refusal.” You’ve captured, within a sentence, a huge piece of what it means to be anorexic – that it’s not about food, or about weight, but about control. And I find myself thinking about the first chapter in another light, as well; Padma thinks she is gaining strength for herself, even as Parvati carries more and more of the burden. “The body she has yet to conquer.” There you do it again – both the idea of control, and the thought that Padma sees herself as fighting a battle and conquering her body, while Parvati sees her as slowly destroying herself.

“She has been crying since she departed Hogwarts, but she hadn't shed a tear until today.” I love this line. Enough said.

“She believes in a sister who is the embodiment of strength and resolve —— a sister who does not truly exist.” Just like she believes in a body that doesn’t exist.

I meant to write some sort of comment on the amount of repetition you use – it seemed a bit too heavy to me at first. The more I looked at it, though, the more I realized that the repetition is essential to the tone and the mood. It’s the repetition that makes it so heavy and weighty, and it reflects the idea that they are going in circles around each other.

So, since I can’t critique the repetition, I’ll critique the ending instead. ;) From one standpoint, I liked it a lot. It’s very dramatic, and it drives home in a final and terrible sort of way how dependent upon her sister Padma is. And you’ve built up to it very well, with the references to the world built of illusion that has been stripped away. At the same time, though, as much as I hate to say this because maybe it’s just me feeling literal and unimaginative, learning that “Padma shatters” isn’t quite enough. It’s very poetic – but I find myself wanting to know what it means. As it is, there are so many things that you could mean by shattering. Maybe she just crumples, maybe she completely loses her will to do anything, maybe she screams like Parvati. Perhaps you’ve left it ambiguous because it doesn’t matter what she does; what matters is that she can’t go on without Parvati being strong for her. I can convince myself of that explanation, and if I was writing an essay on your story I’d delve into it from that perspective, yet as a reader I found myself wanting more description. Then again, the reader shouldn’t always be given what she wants, and I’m really just rambling and exploring possibilities, and I may think something completely different in the morning.

I’ve always looked at eating disorders very much from one point of view, the perspective of the person who has anorexia. Your first chapter was a huge part of really driving home for me something I had never before realized, of how much eating disorders effect so much more than one person. Putting these two chapters together really drives that home for me, how much the two are interconnected, and I think that that (even aside from all the great lines in here) is why I love this story so much.


Author's Response: Hmmm... no clue why you're listed as a beta for this story. But... I don't think I'm going to change it. Honestly, I wrote this second chapter in part for you, so it seems fitting to have your name attached in some way. Does that make sense?

I really wanted to explain Padma's control and its central importance. I'm glad it was believable to you –– you know how incredibly much I value your opinion.

About the ending: the ambiguity is extremely important to me. Whether she recovers or not is, in a sense, immaterial. Possibly a separate story, though it'd have to be a chaptered fic, I think –– recovery cannot be captured in snapshots, at least not adequately. But... I won't say any more because I don't want to breed any more plot bunnies. >.< *tuggles*

Reviewer: Cinderella Angelina
Date: 08/27/06 15:15
Chapter: Because of Parvati

I feel terrible that you have waited so long for this review, after I hinted at it all those days ago. My initial response to the story – that it resonates somewhere within me and makes something hurt – is still true despite the fact that I have read it several times since then. It’s amazing how much you can fit into such a short piece.

The continued balance between the twins is very well done, I think. Padma is unmoving to Parvati’s constant motion; nice twist from the previous chapter where Parvati must remain unburdened and strong to counteract the fragility of Padma. There is one instance, though, where the line between that is blurred. When the twins’ mother looks them over and Padma is nervous and envies Parvati’s indifference seems to be a strange contrast from where Padma accepts her parents’ refusal to let them attend Hogwarts with resignation. (Possibly I’m thinking about this too hard.) Padma thinks about so little with resignation in this story – she is always looking for the odd ounce that must come off, the stray Potions grade that will reflect poorly. It was just odd to me that, though I can see that is how it would be typical of her in regards to her parents. I don’t really know how you would fix that, either – maybe a line somewhere how she sees her parents compared to how Parvati does (or perhaps this would fit better into another chapter). Oh, I’m not making any sense.

Now for the point of opinion. In the last sentence of the seventh paragraph, you use the line She has been crying since she departed Hogwarts, but she hasn’t shed a tear until today. That by itself is just fine, and is a good line. However, the next paragraph begins Now Parvati is crying. You go on to explain how she is crying – desperately, achingly, etc. But the juxtaposition of the two sentences I highlighted seems to need another word, like “inside” for the first one. Except, I’m sure, you can think of a much better word than that. And since they are split into different paragraphs, you may very well decide it’s not worth your time. Just thought I would point that out.

The flashbacks reveal Padma’s character very intriguingly. We learn that it’s her desire to be admired, to have control, that starts it all, but by the end she realizes as we have long known that the control is only an illusion.

Parvati knows her sister very well; she knew that when faced with the reality of her weakness, she would shatter. To have that as the last short sentence of the piece is very powerful and also, as a reviewer before me said, quite ambiguous. One is left wondering what actually happened. As for me, I would hope to see some healing – not necessarily right at that second, but as a result. Both Parvati and Padma can use their sister as a strength and they build each other up...but that’s just my natural hopeful self talking. The fact that we are left hanging is half the power.

So...yeah. There are my thoughts on this. I hope I was subtle enough in my hints for a sequel...have a lovely day.

Author's Response: Padma is simply resigned about not returning to Hogwarts because being there doesn't mean as much to her as it does to Parvati. Padma isn't particularly happy at Hogwarts (or anywhere, for that matter), but for Parvati Hogwarts is a place where she feels free. I hope that makes sense. And... I'm not sure I'll write another sequel. It seems fitting to have two parts: twins, interior and exterior, etc. Have I thought about what happens to them after this? Honestly, yes. But I don't think I'm going to write about it.

Reviewer: lotus672
Date: 08/10/06 0:39
Chapter: Because of Parvati

Very cool! I like the ending- kind of ambigous.

Author's Response: Thanks for reading and reviewing, and I'm glad you liked the ambiguity of the ending.

Reviewer: Starmaiden
Date: 08/09/06 23:17
Chapter: Because of Parvati

I am really excited to see this up! I loved the original.

Oooh, really great pov switch. Neither girl can bear the struggles of the other. Fascinating. Also, fantastic explanation of why Padma turned anorexic. It’s so easy, but so real. I mean, thousands of girls have been driven to eating disorders exactly like this.
In Ravenclaw, doing well is merely expected. She loves her House, but she has never stood out or been admired.
She watches her mother’s eyes as they examine the twins, no curve or blemish unnoticed.
She loves the strength she feels when she sits at the table and does not eat, loves the freedom of refusal… She hates looking in the mirror, looking and seeing every pound, every ounce that has not come off. The body she has yet to conquer.

Fascinating. Yes, very dark, but very very good. I love what you’ve done with a very hypothetical, completely plausible situation.

Author's Response: Hi Katie! Thanks for popping in to review this!

Reviewer: the nutty imp
Date: 07/23/06 3:58
Chapter: For Padma's Sake

It's so dramatic and emotional especially due to those little flashbacks. I like how she keeps quiet and not berate her sister and instead subtly show her concern. It's alarming -- anorexia and you showed it clearly in this story.

The little details you use like the rice and curry does help to emphasise their Indian heritage and add a bit more realism to all this.

It's great that you used Pavarti's POV so that we see it in the way a loved one sees the problem and their helplessness in all this. I guess this is what makes it so sad ... to see the problem plainly to see it slowly destroy your twins and not be able to do anything ... You know you want to help your sister but knowing that you can't - you sought an escape ... thus her want for Lavender's company.

Wonderful and realistic Lian!

Author's Response: Thanks for the review, Miel! I'm glad the details worked for you. This story is purposefully barren of description, so it was sort of difficult to decide what descriptions to use.

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