Before, I never would have thought of Padma as anorexic, but I can see how she could have been; what with the pressure her parents might have put on her and all. Thanks for writing this story; I am a recovered anorexic, and it's refreshing to see someone writing about how it can affect other's, and not just your own health.
Author's Response: Thank you for reading this and taking the time to review. I wrote this story as someone who watched friends with anorexia and saw a close friendship reduced to an aquaintance by the dependency which her anorexia helped foster. I suppose I had to explain how much it hurt to watch, and I knew I could never tell her. I'm glad it means something to others.
Very well-written story. I don't know what else to say but I really liked your portrayal of the twin's relationship and what may be going on at their house away from Hogwarts. It's really interesting to see your take, since I never really thought of it. Great job. :)
Author's Response: I'm glad you enjoyed my take. Thanks for reading and reviewing!
THat is interesting, but Padma seems to be acting very strange.Why is she never hungry? Is she sick? It sounds like she's got some sort of sirious disease.
Author's Response: In this story, Padma is anorexic. Anorexia is a disease, but it's mental rather than physical. It's classified as an eating disorder. Anorexia is a very serious condition; people can die from it. I wrote this story partly as an emotional reaction to feelings about friends of mine who have been anorexic, and partly to raise awareness. Thanks for reading.
I can’t believe that I’ve been working on this review for 3 weeks and still I’m just turning it in at the last minute.
This story was very good at making me think. If I’d had a sister in the situation Padma’s in, I don’t know if I could be strong like Parvati, supporting her all the time and never being supported back. When I finished the story, I started worrying about Parvati’s sanity, and also Padma’s. Because if Parvati breaks, what will happen to Padma? Anyway. Enough rambling.
I liked the parallelism in the beginning and the end. The first paragraph was good for setting the stage, outlining Parvati’s frustration. The last paragraph was all the more powerrful because we knew why she was so frustrated, and the hopelessness of her position.
The progression in the italicized portions was very interesting. When I was trying to figure out why Padma was doing this to herself, I began to see that maybe it had to do with a need for control...then it got out of control. (That was unintended.)
I don’t know if this is just my situation, or if you did this too, but when you were italicizing the first-year Hogwarts Express scenario, did you decide on Padma from the beginning because of the deliberate irony, or did you debate for a while? I was thinking about it (over the past few weeks I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about your stories) and I thought that it would be hard for me to decide. At any rate, I appreciate the irony.
"She sees thick arms, thicker than Parvati’s." I suddenly got this image of Padma using Parvati as sort of a skewed mirror, and a hint of rivalry that doesn’t really exist, shouldn’t exist. The pudding line was really well done, as others have said. Possibly my favorite line in the whole story.
Anyway, this review doesn’t seem to make much sense to me, so I don’t know how it’ll look to you, but let me sum it up: You’re a great writer, I love your work. You always do really great at making me think and try and see things from different perspectives. This story was so heartwrenching and hopeless. And beautiful. Thank you for sharing it. (Oh, and no nitpicks either.)
Author's Response: I've been as slow responding to this review as you could possibly have been writing it, probably even slower. Your questions were the final spark on the fuse that had been going for some time... reading this review, the plot bunny for the sequel was born.
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful review! *hugs* (and no, it's not muddled.)
Oh my god. This one shot stunned me. I'm absolutely stunned at the sheer beauty of this story. Let me start by first stating that I've never really thought of Padma and Parvati's relationship until now. I've always thought that they (Ok, mostly Parvati because of the Lavender thing) were silly girls that really didn't deserve much attention. I even felt bad for Hermione because she had to share a dorm with Parvati. This fic really changed my view on them. Second, I want to tell you I am a twin (my sister, lupinslover12, will probably pop in to review this story shortly cuz she reads everything on my faves and this is going on) I tend to stay away from Parvati fics because I hate seeing twins and their relationship being portrayed in the Mary-Suish cliche way they usually are. I must congradulate you- your portrayel of a twin and their relationship were extremely accurate. I really enjoyed how you portrayed Parvati and Padma's relationship- not extremely lovey, yet they sort of have a dignified best friendship in your story. The relationship of a twin is usually something like that. I enjoyed how you used flashbacks to effectively give your story a wonderful past. My only regret with this story is that it's a oneshot. 10/10, definitely!
Author's Response: I'm glad this story was so meaningful for you :-) Thanks especially for the feedback on the relationship between the twins... I have to confess that I myself am an only child, so my portrayl of their relationship is based entirely on observation. I suppose I just take it as a general rule by now that any close relationship is going to be complex. Thank you for taking the time to read and review!
This was really powerful and make me think. I'd never really considered the relationship between the twins before, and I liked how it progressed over the years. You really captured Parvati's struggle so well as she tried to always be the strong one. Good work! I was just a little confused in the very beginning about what year it was.
Author's Response: I'm glad you found this story thought provoking. It's meant to be. I'm sorry if you found the beginning confusing. Thanks for taking the time to read and review!
I read this a long time ago and was stunned...but I didn't review it then. As my excuse, that was before I was a SPEWer. And I have to say, this story has been reviewed in-depth so many times that I, not the best at analysis, have nothing of real substance to add. I will just say that I thought this was nearly perfect, with the emotions, the way Parvati sees Padma, and the very genuine grief over Cedric and Dumbledore. Those were three really excellent points in a generally excellent story. 10/10!
Author's Response: Really, I don't review even 10% of what I read. So you shouldn't feel bad at all. I think I actually review less these days, as I feel wrong reviewing without doing a good job and getting constructive and going on for at least 300 words. But thank you so much for reviewing! Knowing that my stories sometimes touch people is what keeps me writing.
I hope you don't mind me popping in. I watch SPEW and saw a link connecting to this story and had to see. This is a strong piece, a piece that touched me and really made me feel as if I were there. As a female in my early 20's the teenage culture is extremely fresh in my mind. You described it well. On top of all those hormones and changes you get horrible things that are happening and a sister's response to a struggling sister. Very realistic. Now, with my beta hat on, I would recommend you describe the smells. You tell about the mother's reaction, but you don't really show it. I think this already strong piece would be stronger if you described the smell of the curry. What kind of curry? What are the spices used? Cardamon, cinammon, turmeric, paprika, saffron? And since I'm such an Indio-phile, which part of India do you have them from in your story? Cull up that culture and describe the senses. India is such a sensory place, and the culture is just begging to be plumbed in a fan-fiction. But mostly I would recommend that you don't tell, you show. Even if it's not culturally based showing, just the sensory details of every day life. I'm getting a bit disorganized here, but I think the best example is here when you say: 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. Instead of “Their mother did that,” you could say “Their mother did that, her hands fluttering, her eyes wet and wide, her Hindi a steadily swelling panic. Or even pause the “For Padma’s Sake” script (and I don’t mean script in a bad way, you use it well) and actually move to the scene of the crime if you will. Another thing, and I think a couple reviewers touched on this: As Chekhov's rule goes, if there is a gun on stage, make sure it goes off. We get a feeling of bitterness, but it isn't plumbed. I feel you should describe what Parvati is missing out on, what she is giving up for her sister. Make it a bubbling contrast between love and bitterness. I hope I make sense here, and I hope that is helpful! Once again, a fully wonderful story that I thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you for the great read!
Author's Response: I think I understand what you mean about the bitterness, and when I get the time I may go and play with some of your suggestions. I am, alas, a student, and time for writing is sadly scarce. Not to mention that I have a couple of unpublished oneshots, the beginning of a novel length fic, and roaming plot bunnies languising on my computer... I don't know when I'll get to really messing with this again. But I really do appreciate your suggestions, and they've given me something to think about.
I like your ideas about sensory imagery, but I'm not sure if adding more of that in wouldn't make my point less rather than more clear. Both the language and the imagery in this story are purposely barren. The intent is to reflect the emptiness Padma feels inside and the emptiness Parvati feels in her relationship with her sister, and to do that I held back on the descriptions. Whether or not that came across/worked for you is certainly up for debate, but it was premeditated.Though it might be interesting to highlight food related imagery (smells included) while keeping other description at a minimum.
This is an incredibly strong one-shot. I actually read it for the first time a few days ago, but I wanted to think it over before I reviewed. It’s terribly sad, but beyond that, terribly depressing. You don’t leave any hope for improvement at the end: just a path that keeps going down and keeps getting worse. It’s brave of you to write that: I can’t ever bring myself to end something without a ray of hope. She wants to be sitting two tables away from Padma, far enough away that she doesn't feel responsible. This line, found so early within the story, really sums up everything. How we want to take care of the ill, and how uncomfortable it can be to be around them when there’s nothing we can do. I like the way you’ve stated it so bluntly here. The first flashback, about the Cauldron Cakes, highlights the starting point so well. It’s very well chosen for many reasons: It’s just the two of them, before other friends begin to exert their influence; they’re carefree, before the troubles of the world start to weigh on them; it’s about food, and demonstrates clearly a time when there was no hint of the problem to come. She knows she must tread carefully, knows she must not ask. How true. When a friend’s doing something that’s not good for them, sometimes you’ve just got to be there for them, and let other people try to force them to change. But it can be the hardest thing to do—I can really feel for Parvati there. Two sisters and two best friends, taking support and giving it in return. This is the first time we really see the sisters dealing with trouble; it’s also the first time we see their friends. It makes a nice scene, and it really marks the difference between that sharing of troubles and the one-sided strength at the end. I know Parvati resents the change (and for good reason!) but I wonder if Padma does as well? Parvati wheedles. “Are you sure that's enough food?” I think I might have put a comma after wheedles, like this: wheedles, “Are…” She tells herself she's done something, tells herself she's made a difference. Poor Parvati! But she HAS made a difference: only a tiny one, but she’s stopped it from getting any worse that day. She’s merely holding off the inevitable though, poor girl…and you’ve done a wonderful job showing that. You’ve set up a horribly truthful dynamic between them, with Parvati trying so hard not to push Padma away. It’s one of the strongest themes in this story; a difficult one, but true. The memory of their train-ride home after fourth year is so powerful, because you can see the roots of the separation starting. The cycle that’s so evident by ‘present time’ is just beginning there, with Padma struggling for a feeling of control and Parvati trying to be strong for her. You can see it all starting, and you just want to scream at them to DO something about it. The body Padma sees does not exist; it is no more real than the pudding she never ate. My favorite line in the whole story. It says so much, in so few words. Love it! Parvati wants to cry for what her sister has become. She wants to cry for all the words left unsaid. But she must be strong. She must not cry in front of Padma. She must not. For Padma's sake. This just makes it so painful. It makes you wonder if Parvati wouldn’t be better to just go on with her life, instead of letting herself be miserable beside Padma—and at the same time you know that she won’t, because she loves the old Padma so much. The dynamic you’ve set up with Lavender is another great theme. Clearly Parvati would rather be with her, and I’m sure Padma can tell. It makes me wonder what Padma’s thinking through all of this, and what Padma feels about what has become of herself, and how fragile she is. Have you ever considered doing a companion piece?
Author's Response: Sorry it's taken me so long to respond to this. I don't really have any excuse except that I wanted to respond properly and either didn't have the time or got distracted by other things.
I guess I hadn't thought about how dark the ending is. I wanted to make it real, though. In life, there sometimes isn't resolution. Sometimes nothing happens, and you get used to the pain of interaction and slowly you drift away. I wanted to show that. I think it's important to show how that uncertainty can become normality.I hadn't really thought about writing a companion piece, though I know Jenna is planning on doing one. It would be a real challenge for me to write in that mindset. I may do it at some point, though I have other bunnies hopping around at the moment.
Lian…this is such a moving story, I really don’t know what to say in a review. I think that’s why I kept on putting this off. I feel like analyzing it will only take away from all that is beautiful and moving, because the story by itself is enough. It’s the mark of a good one-shot, I suppose, that it comes, says what it has to say, and leaves you speechless. Nevertheless I promised to review, so here I am.
I have to start by making the obvious comments on the style, though I’m sure everyone else has commented on these too. Present tense (a tense that is rapidly growing on me for one shots) fits the mood perfectly; it goes along with the mentality of the story. Parvati and Padma take their lives one day at a time. You concentrated mostly on Parvati, as she struggles to convince Padma to take a single bite, but the idea could extend to Padma as well; there is an immediacy to not eating and the need to come up with an excuse for every meal not eaten. Present tense catches this all up together, because the reader is drawn along with the characters into the story. It changes the entire mood and makes it much more intense, because there is a prevailing feeling of expectancy. If a story is written in past tense, the events are over and done with. (Obviously.) Present tense leaves much more room for the urgency of the events; if Padma doesn’t eat, she will die. It’s not over and done yet – there is still time. But not much time. In past tense, all the time in the world might have elapsed between the events and the reading. Present tense makes it happen now, and any time now Parvati might break and cry in front of Padma, or Padma might give up the pretense altogether, or… there’s an urgency pervading the entire thing.
The recurring theme of “for Padma’s sake” only furthers the urgency. Besides being a beautiful and haunting line, it is a reflection of the situation. No matter what happens, no matter what else is going on, Parvati must be strong for Padma’s sake. There is no break and no respite; it is a constant state. It is also an unnatural state, one that should not occur, which is why Parvati must constantly remind herself. Despite the beauty of the repetition, the things which Parvati must do for Padma’s sake should not have to be done. You did a wonderful job of showing the way anorexia caused them to lose the relationship they might have had, and distorts their role. Instead of being sisters, they become an unequal pairing in which Parvati must always give and must always sacrifice her own wants.
One of the (many) things I love about this is that you chose to show us Parvati, not Padma. When people think of anorexia, they tend to focus on the ways in which the anorexic person is hurt, rather than the ways in which the people around her (usually her, at least) are hurt. Seeing things from the other perspective was very eye-opening for me; I guess I never really thought that anorexia can cause just as much pain to the people around as it can to the person who develops it. However, I was very glad to see that you gave a brief nod to Padma’s perspective, giving us some idea as to why she doesn’t eat and how her struggle started. Padma does not let herself cry. She has to control it, control herself. She has to control something in the uncontrollable world. I’m not going to delve into the subject of anorexia (which we’ve already discussed exhaustively), but I love that your one mention of Padma’s feelings deals with control, rather than weight. And I also love the fact that both of your characters are driven by what they must do. Padma must control herself. Parvati must be strong. Neither of them do this by choice.
The body Padma sees does not exist; it is no more real than the pudding she never ate. I love this line! I could gush over it for a couple of pages, and probably could manage a passable English essay, on the implications of this line alone. I’ll refrain myself, but the imagery is so beautiful, and the idea that this entire matter is based on something that does not exist. The anorexia, the lies, the body…all those are merely Padma’s attempt to create something out of herself, to find some way to deal with her pain, to in some way control herself. Anyway, I’m gushing…I’m not sure if I’ve said anything constructive this entire review. I don’t really have any criticism, not a technical quibble or a thematic suggestion. I guess the point of all my babbling is just to let you know I really liked it and show you my response to certain things you wrote. I hope something I said was moderately helpful…*feels unSPEWish for being so gushy and unanalytical* Anyway, I loved it. But you knew that.
Author's Response: :: huggles Nan ::
:: huggles Nan some more ::I'm glad you picked up on the urgency, because the story would be really flat without it. It's good to know that it came across.
Frankly, your opinion of this story matters a lot. Not only as a reader, but as a person. If this particular story rings true for you, I've gotten it right. You would know if I had missed it. And I trust you enough to know that you would have told me. Thank you so much. Your opinion means more than I can say.:: huggles Nan even more ::
Where to start?
Ah well- I'll just start with a few good things. "Parvati is halfway though her meal..." to "...She cannot ask. For Padma's sake." is my favorite paragraph in the whole fic; showing the parents of the twins and how they would react is a great touch and an inside look at their homelife and how things are there, but also their reaction to something like this in general- insight is great in any way, shape or form, and you certainly delivered it.
Repitition is my absolute favorite thing to see in any piece of writing. You brought it home. I thank you for that- "For Padma's sake" is repeated many times, and it works. I should say that it also shows Parvati's love and devotion towards her sister.
Off to nitpickiness land *sighs*. First thing's first: "She wants the Padma whose world won't shatter if she, Parvati, is angry or sad." I think it contradicts what has been said already; whenever Parvati was mad or sad, she never told Padma, afraid her world would shatter. I also think you should add a HBP spoiler warning, since there is one in there (the part where Parvati talks about how she and Lavender soaked up a pillow each, and talks about this person).
However, I think it's awesome. Great job with everything.
Author's Response: Firstly, thanks for taking the time to review!
I honestly did try to put in an HBP spoiler. But my computer is a mac and somehow my keyboard won't allow me to select two warnings without selecting everything in between. I decided to put the ED warning because I figured that it's more important to warn about the sensitive issue. I do have "HBP Spoilers" in bold in my summary. Hopefully people do see that. But you're absolutely right, there should be a warning.On the one sentence that seems contradictory to you: Parvati hasn't been able to be open/emotional in front of Padma for a long time. She misses being able to talk to her sister without worrying about it. She wants to go back to the relationship they once had. I tried to show this over the passage of time with the scenes on the train. In the early years, Parvati could be upset without shattering Padma's world. I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear. *makes mental note to go look at it*
And finally, thank you again for reviewing.
I'm not going to bother reading the other reviews. That was beautiful. It made me ache. The repeating refrain seems to still be hanging in the air around me .... "For Padma's Sake."
Author's Response: Thank you for reading it. Thank you... for Padma's sake.
... And also for the sake of all the anorexic girls out there, and for their friends, who know the pain of watching.
Now, my little review seems woefully inadequate in comparison to the other eviews but internet time must be used wisely in my house....4 sisters, one phone line... well you get the drift. Anyway, I really liked this story. I usually don't respond to slightly angsty fics (more of a funny fluff gal myself) but this one really caught my eye. The way you portrayed how the sisters interacted, the way Parvati sacrificed for her sister and didn't seem bitter about it was true to life and real - extremely well written fic. Well done!!
Author's Response: Thank you for taking the time to review! I completely understand about limited internet time... and I happen to know that my other two reviewers for this story are constantly on the internet. They're also SPEW members who are required to write in depth reviews...
It made my day to get another review on this! And such a nice one, too! I'm glad the interaction between the sisters seemed so real. It's something I worried about... I'm an only child, so I have no sibling experience to work from. It's great to hear from someone who has lots of sister experience!
Right, here I am, reviewing late as usual, but if I miss this time I expect mj will either crucify me, or turn me over to Lex and Jenna for some more inventive cruelty.
1. Ah, one of these new-fangled moralistic intelligent stories (yes, I'm afraid I'm as sarcastically odd in reviewing as in chatting, so take nothing I say seriously). But it is a sensitive subject that seems to have been done well (at a preliminary glance) now on to nit-picking.
2. Now, I think you have many comma problems, you've completely misused them... sorry, don't know why I had to do that, I promise I'll do it properly now ;-)
3.Since I'm heartless and cold, I didn't make me cry, but it did move me a bit, I have to admit that I've never been hugely sympathetic to people with eating disorders, but now I do have some more, higher praise than that I can't think of.
4.I liked the use of the present tense in this fic, it worked very well in grabbing you and taking you along. But coupled with the 3rd person view, it keeps you at arms length, you feel that you are definitely an illicit observer of Parvati's thoughts, looking through a keyhole is the closest metaphor I can get to it.
5. Slight nit-pick, if they're coming home from Hogwarts, would they have a home made meal? If so how? (just out of interest, curry doesn't travel well at the best of times, and with an owl, well...).
6. You've done a good job of showing Parvati as powerless, even though it's her sister who is getting weaker, she feels bound to her and is therefore trapped.
7. I find it interesting (eg, I'm avoiding giving an opinion) that Parvati feels no bitterness at being trapped, she desires something else, but doesn't seem to lay any blame for it at Padma's door.
Overall, very very good. (especially for an obscenely helpful hufflepuff ;P
Author's Response: :: snorts :: Even when reviewing your comma use is mind boggling.
I'm glad you felt like you were watching through a keyhole. I was trying to show that Parvati feels like a puppet in a puppet show, with the reader as the audience. So some sense of that must have gotten through to you (if I correctly interpret what you wrote).They aren't coming home from Hogwarts. They're at home. I know I wasn't explicit, but I'm saying they travelled by floo powder from Hogsmeade. The "now" in the story takes place on their second day home. I agree that curry does not travel well.
No, Parvati doesn't blame Padma. It's very hard to blame someone so helpless and dependent. Parvati has to shut off her emotions when she's around Padma. I was trying to show how anorexia affects the people around an anorexic person as well as the anorexic person herself (or himself, in rare cases).
First of all, I'd like to say this is an incredibly emotionally-charged story, and really powerful to read. You have a wonderful way with studying characters, and the idea for the story is fresh and original, even if it is painful. And you deal with it great--even though it is a highly sensitive topic, you're incredibly sensitve about handling it. It made me want to cry at the end. You've really worked hard on it.
I loved the repitition that you scattered throughout the story, but at times the repitition got a bit too thick, such as in the area where Parvati is debating whether to yell or plead, and it says the way her parents did both. There were just a lot of sentences being repeated. I understand the effect you're going for, and you nailed it, but at that point it was especially a lot. The repitition in general, however, was lovely, and reinforced the messages you were sending. It worked a lot better in the places where the repeated sentences were short, like, "For Padma's sake," or "But she can't." Watch out on repeating the longer sentences--it can get wordy reading them twice.Your grammer and spelling are as close to perfect as they could be. I was contemplating whether far enough away that she doesn't feel responsible should be far away enough, but I couldn't really tell you which is right. I think it works the way you have it, it just made me ponder a wee bit.
That's enough for (I hope constructive) crit, and on to praise. I love it. It was brilliant the way that you inserted the flashbacks to their childhood, and the way in each one they became a little bit more distant every time, so that you could see how gradually they've come to this point. You made me really think about Parvati and Padma as seperate entities, rather than just two of the faceless that sit in the back of Harry's world. That especially struck me as they discussed things like Dumbledore's and Cedric's death--with the books, we don't really think about the way these things effect the others around Harry. We just focus on how sad he is.
Another thing I'd really like to commend you on (and it's silly, I know), I was impressed by the way you handled Parvati and Padma's names and the pronouns "she" and "her." I've seen many a story go on with, "she did to her and then she and they and she..." leaving me horribly left behind. I thought it would be hard keeping track of what Parvati was thinking and doing as opposed to Padma (especially since their parents felt the need to give them both names starting in a P), but you made it very clear. I didn't find myself struggling with that at all.This is a wonderful story, and I'd love to see more like it. It's not often that you come across stories like these, and not many people can handle them with your eloquence. I loved it, and I'm really looking forward to reading a lot more of your work in the future. Great job, HermioneDancr!
Author's Response: What's this I see? A review?! Wow! *Does the one-legged happy dance*
I think you're right that the repetition does get a little heavy in places. Thank you for pointing out that one section in particular. I think I may go back and see if I can fix it. I was going for repetition to create a sense of how Parvati feels--like she's living in a puppet show--but in that spot in particular I think it did get too heavy handed. I'll go back and look at it.Thanks especially for the comment about the pronouns; I've been trying to work on that (it's not generally one of my strengths), and it's good to hear that I'm getting better with it! I'm also glad the flashbacks worked for you; I was quite nervous when I put them in. They weren't natural at first, but I felt that I needed to show their relationship dissolving over time. I'm glad they worked for you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a long and detailed review! :: huggles ::