This story almost made me cry :) It is so beautifully, beautifully written. Alice's mind is portrayed almost magically. The sentences in the parentheses are, for me, the best. My favorite part is definitely:
"Once (when all the world was colored in brightness, and the rising of the sun in the morning meant a new day) she planted a garden with the man she loved best in the world... As her child grew within her body she knelt on the cool earth of the garden and promised her son that there would be a world (shining, golden bright) for him to live in."
That's probably everyone's favorite part. This part is also undescribably lovely:
"There are pictures of her dancing, with flowers in her hair. (Here, at least, she will smile forever.) Her son walks through the old house (the house his mother thought would be haunted by their very happiness) and into the garden in the back."
This one-shot was simply beautiful. Every sentence you wrote was like getting a glimpse into two minds at once - Neville's as well as Alice's. It was a great reminder of the fact that Alice Longbottom is not limited to only the character we see in the HP books itself but also a woman with a past that is open to re-imagining. And you imagined it extremely well. Thanks for writing such a great story - it gave me a lot to think about. I especially liked the way you threw in lines about the flowers that Alice planted into the story. The continuation of the metaphor was excellent, and the description of how Neville still brings her violets at the end was heartbreakingly sad. I've never read a fic that distills the essence of lost potential so well as this one!
this story makes me oh-so happy, in a nostalgic sort of way.
you have a lovely talent for writing, and i hope you continue to use it.
i really like the style (although, i believe there were several) of writing you used. they fit really well, and i like how you encorporated plants. it's lovely to know that neville got his talent from somewhere.
i adore how it ends on a lighter note.
and, as a plus, you mentioned daisies. daisies take my breath away.
very well done. favorite story.
What a sad, lovely one-shot. (I picked it by chance tonight, and was quite excited to see the allusions to Ophelia ♥).
The whole idea of weaving another seperate element throughout a story is one of my favourite devices to read. It creates a flow, attributes imagery, gives you the opportunity to highlight significance and meaning that you might not be able to otherwise (all of this, only when done right, of course; but you did it wonderfully, so no worries there). I also like that you didn't feel the need to purposely take specific meaning from quoted line, ie, you didn't make one paragraph specifically about rosemary and remembrance, and the next specifically about fennel and thoughts. You just carried your narration through, implanting (no pun intended) the evasiveness of the violets early on.
The only problem I think would be that this story might be lost on anyone who doesn't recognise the reference. Maybe 'problem' isn't the right word. I don't think it's something you can fix, or should have to fix or apologise for. It's simply what happens when you introduce outside elements to a story. I suppose what I really mean to say is that it's sad that people, trying to figure out where these words are coming from or what they mean, will miss out on the more simple beauty of the story.
I really enjoy how the different ideas here are sewn together. There is the initial mental association between Ophelia and Alice, both driven mad. And then there's the fact that things like 'remembrance' and 'thought' have a their own meaning in this story; for a moment I thought how wonderful it is that it worked out like that, but then I of course realised that you put that there. You directed the words to Alice, and you showed how she was unable to remember. But it was done so well, that it felt natural, like it all just happened to fall together :)
And Neville's part is wonderful, too. From the small glimpse we got of his relationship with his parents, his mother especially, this is completely in character for him. To be so thoughtful and sentimental an caring towards her. And, there is the (wonderfully unmentioned, so we can spot it ourselves) fact that we know Neville is good at Herbology. And so, this makes something more out of that canon fact, an makes me want to give Neville a big hug.
And of course, the writing in general is beautiful. But I think you're writing style is already well know for that. Wonderfully poetic, just lovely rhythm and flow. It's a treasure just to read the words, but it's made even more valuable by the meaning and emotion within the story. Love it.
I wish i could truly express how this story touched me. But unfortunately, I can't possibly. It;s just too. I'm just so...
Argh. It was beautiful. So sad. So wonderfully bittersweet. BitterBITTERsweet. I am deeply touched by how delicately, perfectly, softly you have written this. This is honestly one of the best fanfictions i have read. And one of the only ones that has made me cry. REALLY CRY. I actually bawled in the middle of my uni computer room. Quite embarrassing, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Thank you. Thank You so much.
Aw. That was sad! I like the poetic nature of this story, and the way you portrayed Alice. So sad! This fic really put a bit of her life in perspective, and the flowers connection was really great!
This is such a touching and fantastically written fic! I nearly cried it was so sad! :( I feel even worse for Neville now after reading this because it really hammers home the point that although they were tortured into insanity, the Longbottoms were loving, caring people with a son and a family. Sometimes, we forget that whenever we think (thought now since Neville's a total hero!) of Neville, and we just think of him as an awkward boy that's good at herbology. Overall excellence, great job!
Nan, your writing is so very beautiful and captivating. It stands out among other pieces of writing because it has this poetic quality. Your story is very smooth and the sentences just flow together to make a whole. You said in your authorís note that you edited the story and that there would be a combination of writing styles, but I donít see that at all, I couldnít point at one paragraph and say it was edited or not, because everything seems like it belongs and if there are indeed different writing styles, they compliment each other and donít work against each other.
The way you wrote this story, not really in Aliceís head, but not quite in Nevilleís either, was very moving. For me it captured how Neville must be feeling while he is visiting his parents perfectly, somewhat awkward, but still full of love for these two people who he will never be able to really talk to. Being there must be hard for him, but I also couldnít imagine him not wanting to go anymore. I love that he brings her violets every time he visits. Theyíre the only flower she didnít give him in the book she made for him, so in a way he gives her the one thing she didnít have enough time to give him. They are not just flowers, but show that Neville has kind of taken over his mothers role, now she is the one being taken care of and he takes care of her and brings her the flowers, if that makes sense.
I really love how Nevilleís mother had this garden and dried these flowers for her son. Itís like his passion for Herbology comes from her passion for her garden and the flowers in it. Even though Neville was essentially brought up by his grandmother and was to young to remember much of anything about his parents before they were tortured by the Lestranges, the flowers are a tangible connection between Neville and his mum. Spending time in the greenhouses at Hogwarts must make Neville feel closer to his mother in a way, which would explain why he enjoys Herbology that much, itís familiar and safe because he associates it with his mother back when she was a strong and intelligent witch.
I really really loved this story. The only bit of concrit that I can give is that I would have liked to see Frank Longbottom some more and not just in the photo, which doesnít really say anything about it. Anyway, you wrote a wonderfully moving and powerful story that I enjoyed reading.
Hello, loveliest Nan. I'm finally reviewing one of your one-shots, which is quite exciting--you know how much I adore your work. This one has particular significance for me because my grandmother has Alzheimer's disease. And it is beautiful.
The most admirable aspect of this one-shot is your portrayal of Alice. You simultaneously paint a picture of the haze of emptiness that she lives in, helplessly, and the joy that she embodied before the attack. (There was a time when she thought the entire world was nestling in her heart, waiting to spring out.) That line is one of my very favorites, and made me tear up; it's so delicately beautiful and fits perfectly with the image of Alice that is projected in canon. At the same time, you describe her colorless world equally well. (Once she would have said that there could be no world without flowers, but she has learned differently now.)
Sometimes vague words from another life will float through her consciousness and she will reach out to grasp them, but it is like trying to catch a rainbow. I loved this line, the comparison to a rainbow; the transience and illusionist qualities of a rainbow, as well as its color and joy, really give a vivid mental image of Alice's old life hovering just out of reach. I also loved "(Flowers were not meant to live forever. Neither was she.) It also has that element of transience. The mood of this one-shot is a lovely sort of bittersweet hopelessness, an unusual mixture of light and dark.
The trapped, but not desperate, feel of this story is part of what makes it unique. Many fics that deal with mental disorders, and the Longbottoms, show them as excruciatingly aware of all that they are missing, but I think it is even more moving to characterize Alice as being half-aware of what she's missing, almost in limbo. This line described the world that she lives in best to me: Now she sits trapped in her dark, grey world, which starts over every day and yet is every day the same. An unchanging, lifeless world is quite frightening. (Note: I think you ought to put the Mental Disorders warning on this, as is usually done for the Longbottoms.)
Though it is labeled neatly at the bottom, she never had a chance to pick the violets. This, for me, is the saddest moment in the fic. The realization of this one small thing Alice never had a chance to do throws into light a lifetime of flowers and moments that she has missed out on. I love that it is Neville that brings her the violets, is the one who is trying to bring her back to life, because we can see that he clings, at least subconsciously, to the hope that Alice could somehow impossibly, miraculously be restored to him in Christmas on the Closed Ward. (And btw, a motif of plants is perfect for Neville. =))
The one aspect of this fic that didn't ring completely true was a sort of lack of realism, for lack of a better expression. With your style as far as one-shots go, they are highly abstract and almost a little surreal to me. An example was the italicized thought "Pray you, love, remember." It seems too dramatically perfect that she would have a preoccupation with preserving the flowers and preserving memory, and then tragically lose all perception and memory herself. It's not wrong precisely, just stretching the bounds of realism. It works all right within your poetic style, however.
I Would Give You Violets is a wonderfully fitting title, for a lovely story. This story is a very special one to me, and your wise understanding made it so. I love your writing.
P.S. I miss you. *squishes*
This. Is. Beautiful.
It's written so poetically, it's just amazing! I particularly loved the lines "Flowers were not meant to live forever. Neither was she." and "I would give you violets, but they all withered..." I read that and my heart just broke... [strangely enough, as I was reading this, 'This is how a heart breaks' came on...weird!]
I also love the way the end echoed the beginning, capturing the cycle of life and death perfectly!
All in all, an amazingly tragic yet beautiful story!
Nan, I do believe it has been way too long since I have given you a review - probably even longer since I have given you a proper review as well. And, while I could have reviewed your wonderful wonderful wonderful WIP, I just donít feel right about it. My reviews could never live up to the fantastic ness of what is your writing. I still feel that way about I Would Give You Violets, but at least this is at least 1000 words less and less intimidating thing to review. XD So! Iíve rambled on enough, and Iím sure Iíve made probably twenty typos. Oh well. Onwards!
Firstly, Iíve always thought your writing was brilliant, simply put, that is. So it comes to no surprise to read the author note and know that this was written a year ago. It seems as if your writing gets better with age. As I grow older and learn more about the art of telling a story, some fics lose their luster and I part from them. However, your writing is one of the comforts I have when reading. I know it will always deliver, and that Iíll never have to worry about that constant sparkle it has will never fade away.
Now that the sappiness is over, letís get to the actual fic!
First off: the plot - of what plot there is - is fantastic. The idea is wonderful as well. You paint such a picture of Alice even though what little we saw of her really didnít reveal much. You showed us a story of hope and love and dedication - the saving of the flowers is really poignant. Thatís pretty much the whole story, so I guess Iím saying that the whole story is poignant. But you tie it so well with canon - that bit of backstory that we never really get to see in the books. Neville is also extremely in character.
I have no nitpicks. You and your beta do a mighty fine job, dearest. ;)
One of my favorite moments: There are pictures of her dancing, with flowers in her hair. (Here, at least, she will smile forever.) Her son walks through the old house (the house his mother thought would be haunted by their very happiness) and into the garden in the back. It is a forgotten place ó after his mother forgot, there was no one else to remember it. It is overgrown now, and the flowers have died. I call it a moment instead of a paragraph, because of the way you have written it makes it into a moment, and the way you sew all these little patches into one gigantic quilt makes it ever more great.
I know my review is short, but so is what I am attempting to say: Fabulous. You still remain my favorite writer on MNFF.
Oh... I saw you write a story from inside the mind of Luna and a story from inside the mind of Percy, but I thought you'd never be able to get inside Alice Longbottom's head.
Guess what. I was totally, utterly, and grievously mistaken. I feel like Elizabeth realizing that she was wrong about Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice." (Whoa, what's wrong with me, I typed 'Mr. Draco.' Eeee.)
You can really get a lot across in just a few words. This story's brief but it speaks volumes.
Another brilliant thing you've done is to use parentheses... and use them well! I could be the president of Parentheses Overusers Anonymous, and when I see a story that uses them properly without being irritating or distracting, I get both giddy and jealous.
You shift focus between Alice and Neville, but the story still flows beautiful, still has perfect continuity. The part where Neville found violets in the yard brought tears to my eyes.
You have a great, great gift, and if you had published a book, I would buy it in a heartbeat.
This story. The first time I read it, in rough form, it floored me. And the second. And even now, it still floors me. Itís the stunning simplicity. And the overwhelming love of a mother for her son. Itís my attachment to those particular lines from Hamlet. Itís all of those things.
Iím going to make this one of my rare reviews not written under the ďnitpick or die!Ē philosophy. Because honestly, I have nothing left to nitpick. Except that youíre missing a paragraph space between the second and third paragraphs, which Iím sure is an accident, because they were separate in earlier drafts. You might want to fix it, though, when you have a moment.
Thereís something so tragic about a mother who cannot recognize her child. Heart-wrenching. Might the inspiration for this story have stemmed from your experiences with your grandmother during the last year or so? Something about the beginning reminded me of something you said to meÖ That sounds awfully vague, sorry. You show Aliceís lack of awareness beautifully ĖĖ itís hauntingly real. Hauntingly. The contrast ĖĖ the very life of her (and sheís so alive) ĖĖ serves to really bring home the tragedy.
I love the imagery of the garden. The plants, coming to life, provide such a contrast to Alice, whose growth has been forever frozen by an early frost. The garden makes us realize the full extent (and tragedy) of what Alice ĖĖ and Neville ĖĖ has lost.
Lines from this story haunt me. They float into my head at random moments, like when Iím walking to school or on my way to the metro. Iím not going to list all my favorites, because that would make this review rather longer than the story, which would be silly. ButÖ this one has a particular tendency to float through my internal dialogue: Flowers were not meant to live forever. Neither was she.
You said to me once that upon occasion, a story will have so much impact on you that it changes the way you read the books. That it becomes ĖĖ for you at least ĖĖ part of the canon. This story impacts me that way. As far as Iím concerned, it happened. It is Alice and Nevilleís story. In my mind, Aliceís garden irrevocably existed (if that makes sense; ďitís so difficultĒ to find the words, as Prof. Snith would say). Alice tended that garden, and she imagined that the house that went with it (for it was the house that went with the garden, and not the other way around) would be haunted by their very happiness. When the wind blew through the trees, she heard them whisper. And when the world seemed to be collapsing under darkness, she pressed her flowers and put them into a book for her son. In my mind, those things happened, and will never unhappen, if that makes sense.
The last paragraphÖ ďJust guhĒ is in the right vein, but it fails to describe its impact on me. The last line in particular: And he holds her hand, and remembers for her. You know, that may be one of the greatest gifts a person can give. Not bringing violets, though symbolically thatís breathtaking too, but remembering for someone. With, if they can remember too, and for if they canít. That gift, like this story, is simply too incredible for words.
Author's Response: How does one respond to such a lovely review, especially when you already know most of my thoughts about the story? Yes, I think in some way I was relating Alice's loss of memory to Alzheimer's, which has - in my mind at least - a slower but very similar effect. And there are certain linelets in here that I am very proud of, so I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who loves them. *hugs* Thank you muchly for the lovely review, and for helping me so much with the actual story itself.
wow. lovely style, and the connection between Alice and Ophelia seems so perfect the way you write it. cool idea and very powerful.
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad you think so!
A very beautiful and original story. I hope you continue writing.
Author's Response: Thank you! And yes, I most certainly will.