Reviwing again to correct a typo; I meant she grows into a bitter woman, not a better one! Sorry about that.
What an interesting take on a character I’ve never really thought of before. Your depiction of Petunia is in keeping with canon but gives her so much more depth than we see in the books. I really empathised with her. Her emotions, particularly of jealousy in the beginning, are so close to what I’ve often felt in situations where a sibling seems to have surpassed me.
I found her search for her own letter incredibly touching and human. . I knew it wasn’t likely, but I couldn’t help but feel just some hope that maybe another letter was on its way. It’s so.. so… gah, I don’t really know how to say it, but what I mean is that it’s exactly as I think any normal person would act in the circumstances.
You do a great job of showing her faults, too. Her jealousy and envy held her back so much she couldn’t even say goodbye to Lily as she left for school. I couldn’t watch Lily go off to become something special while I remained behind. Lily tried to get me to come, but I refused. So Lily hugged me goodbye and promised to write. After she left, I started crying again. It’s clear from her tears that she still did love her sister, but she was cutting off her nose to spite her face, as they say. I think that the change in her only a few lines down is quite shocking; she goes from caring to saying ‘But at least Lily was gone’, especially as she tells us in the next few paragraphs that they are close and she’s looking forward to Lily’s return a little. I think you might want to tone down her feelings about Lily’s absence; I don’t think she could go from resentful love (if that makes sense) to hate and then back to love in only a few paragraphs, even if it does span several months.
I think the real gift of the story lies in the characterisation, as you can probably see from the above! Even Lily is in character but with that extra dimension, giving her faults and values. Her treatment of Petunia, especially with the Christmas present she received, was insensitive and casually unkind. It really helps us to see why Petunia harbours so much ill will against her sister.
I love how you presented Vernon. For the first time we see him from another perspective – that of one who loves him. But oh, I felt so sorry for Petunia when she arrived so full of good news and then Lily turns up with this perfect boyfriend. You get her emotions so well; I particularly like the line’I cried myself to sleep that night, feeling jealous of Lily and sorry for myself.’ That just sums up Petunia. She is so caught up in pitying herself and envying Lily that she can’t enjoy what she has – an engagement with a man who loves her. She sees only what she hasn’t.
We see this jealousy really become destructive when Lily tells Petunia of her engagement. As I read this I kept thinking ‘No! Don’t do it!’, but of course she succumbs to her emotions.That hurt expression, the same one I’d had for so many years around her. The same rejected feeling, the one I’d held inside of me for so long. You do such a great job of showing how self-centred she is without ever directly saying it. This line is a perfect example; she doesn’t see that making her sister as miserable as she is is not going to make anything better. She can’t take any joy in the happiness of others, simply because it isn’t hers. This is the impression we are left with at the end of a fic; a jealous girl grown into a better, self-centred woman. Her reaction to Lily’s death was incredibly hard-hearted. ‘Now I could just live my life without my sister there reminding me of how I wasn’t good enough.’.
There are a few minor grammar mistakes, for example: I knew Lily was coming home from school for Christmas (Being a year older, I was already done with school). The ‘b’ in being shouldn’t be capitalised, I don’t think. There were also a few Americanisms, such as ‘make grades’ instead of ‘get marks’ in the fourth paragraph.
Overall, this is a wonderful one-shot. It is a perfect example of a character study of a minor character. Well done!
The Order of the Ravenclaw House-Elves.
Wow. Very well done. I think this is very realistic, and I could see how it would be devistating. Of course, we know we all like James and Lily more, duh, but I felt a large pang of guilt for Petunia. You have a very nice way of describing emotions. Well done!!
Author's Response: Thanks for the review. =)
Yay! Another Petunia story! :D Anyway... I like this take on Petunia's character - it makes sense how she couldn't bear to be around Lily after all of that. It also almost makes the reader feel that she was "right" to hate Harry. Poor Petunia!
Author's Response: Thanks! Petunia is one of my favorite characters and I believe she will prove to be a good person in the end. I was hoping to show her in a better light. I agree, poor Petunia! Thanks again. =) ~ Katherine
Wow. That was so sad! Really beautifully written. I absolutely loved it.
Author's Response: Thanks for the review. =) ~ Katherine