I know you don't use MNFF much anymore, but I wanted to let you know my thoughts on this, because I noticed that somebody featured it and I really like it.
You know the issues that I struggle with. And I have to say that this is handled beautifully. It gave me chills, honestly, because I relate so so so much to it. Bulimia is a disorder of shame, I think, much more than anorexia. It's like you want to have an eating disorder but you can't even manage to do that right. And I really felt that come across in this.
I do have a crit, though, and it's something that I struggle with in my own stories and in my real life. I think that in my Hungry Shadows series, I tend to have somebody else save the girl with the eating disorder. And that's not really how it works, is it? You have to save yourself. It's easy to say that you recover because he loves you or because she wants you to, but at the end of the day, it's because of you.
I feel as if here, it's because of Louis. And I'm not saying that he can't help AT ALL. But...as someone who has struggled with the reality of an eating disorder, when someone says "Don't do this to yourself," my immediate thought is "WOW YOU THINK I HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF THAT????" Louis isn't the end-all-be-all to Lily's recovery. (ha ha) It's all up to Lily, in the end, and I desperately hope that she manages it.
I do this in my own fics, as well - I basically romanticized the whole Scorpius-saved-her thing. And that's not what happens, really. You do it yourself. It is the hardest thing you ever do, and you come out so much stronger. Lily deserves that strength!!
That said, I LOVE Louis here. He is the epitome of I-don't-understand-but-I-really-want-to and I love it. I don't know if this is intentional or no, but when he says things like "not everyone likes skinny girls," I'm like, YEAH, I KNOW, BUT I DO. He's genuine and sweet and I loveeeee him. You can feel how much he cares about Lily - it's tangible.
Lily, too, is very believable. As another Lily who struggles with eating issues - ha ha I've already made this joke - I loved the way she thought. I loved the description of the binge-purge. It was so real. I think it's hard because I always want to round the edges of it, almost - keep it from seeming as bad as it is. But I think it's necessary to show how much it fucking SUCKS. And I think this fic pulled it off very nicely.
The end made me smile. I don't agree with it - I don't agree with the idea that people should recover so that boys like them. But the last sentence really gave me the warm fuzzies. I know how it feels to talk to someone with an ED and want it to be right so badly, because at the end of the day, you have no idea what to say.
This is a long review that's mostly just me going on and on about my personal issues, but I'm sad that you don't write HP fic anymore, because this is lovely and I want to read more.
I think I read this a while ago, but never got around to reviewing it until I found it again today. It's really really good... Eating disorders are awful and I think they're still so rarely recognised and people often don't really understand what's going on for the sufferers and think they can just stop it. But I think you handled the topic really well. I liked that the story was from Lily's perspective, because you really see what it's like for her, and you never get a clear idea of exactly if she's overweight, or how much she is, if she even is. I would guess that her weight is fine, but that perhaps she's not naturally as slim as her cousins. But I just liked that by putting us in her head, we really see what it feels like to her - because her perspective on herself is so different to everyone else's.
I loved Louis. I think his honesty/bluntness is really good, because Lily really needs someone who says what he thinks, rather than someone who tells her that she's fine. (I hope that makes sense.) I also liked that he refused to drop the subject with Lily, even though it was obvious that she didn't want to talk about it and she was pushing him away, because he cared about her that much. Everyone else doesn't realise what's wrong for her, even Victoire, who is kind to her, just tells her she looks fine, rather than seeing the problem.
I loooved Louis at the end - he just knew exactly the right thing to say to her to make her feel at least a little bit better.
I also liked how you described their feelings for each other - even though it's from Lily's perspective, and she doesn't realise Louis likes her (probably because she couldn't believe anyone would like her), but you showed the reader that he does. So good work there :).
And in response to your last response to my review (that's a convoluted sentence...) - I think I'll be back on mnff a bit, I've actually got a new story up for the first time in about 9 months. I didn't feel I had anything to write for ages, so I didn't really read much fanfiction either. But I've got some new ideas, so you'll probably see me on a bit more. Good luck for your exams though :).
Author's Response: Yayyayyayay, I'm so happy you reviewed this, Katrina. Loulily as a pairing has been bothering me a lot lately especially because I have been trying and failing to convert to OF for the best part of a year. (I think I'm having issues because I just really don't know if I should give them a happy ending... but I won't start plot ranting in a review response, lol. Anyway back to your review - I'm so glad you thought the issue of eating disorders was handled well. This is a pretty personal story, not necessarily in twnrs of actions but more because I share a lot of Lily's insecurities, so I'm pleased to hear you thought I dealt with the topic well.
I do think there needed to be a bit of ambiguity regarding if Lily is fat or if it's just in her head - partly because I'm not sure myself, ha. Also I think this story was one about perspective, so I'm glad you picked up on that.
And yayyyayayyay, you liked Louis! :D Louis is kind of my fictional husband so I feel I know him well, as weird as that sounds, and I'm flattered that you liked his blunt honesty because that's a big part of his character.
what I liked about writing this story was that it was about romance but far more about unresolved sexual tension than any actual action - on Louis's part, this was also unrealised tension, lol. I think Louis didn't fully realise how he felt about Lily to begin with, basically. After all, it takes a long time for them to finally get together, haha.
Finally I'm so glad you're back! :D I will be far more active after my exams are over - in June, I'm planning on teaching a reviewing class and a betaing class and possibly running a three month character clinic challenge. But thank you so much for your lovely reviews! Responding to them in between revision has been a joy, so ♥
I really enjoyed this fic! I think that you handled the subject matter very sensitively and accurately. Your characters were very strong and the story, in general, just meshed together really well.
I really liked how you opened the fic. I think it really set the whole tone of the story. Yes, this is clearly going to have some romance, given that it was for the Cotillion, and yes, there is a wedding, but this story is actually very dark and really quite scary. I think that having the wedding as the backdrop to the fic really help soften what was going on at the time. It gives the story a bit of a glimmer of hope and happiness in the midst of a disease that is anything but. In fact, I think that you use comic relief quite effectively in this fic. From the first scene, you use it to ease tension in ways that add to the story in terms of characterisation, but also make things a lot easier to swallow. For example, when Lily says " From what Dad told me, Aunt Fleur and Nana planning a wedding together was a recipe for disaster", it's funny because it's so true, even if the tension is heightened a little due to the awkwardness of the situation following.
One thing that I would have loved to known more of was the general relationship between Victoire and her Potter cousins. Is Louis close to their age? Did Fleur and Bill have kids late? Otherwise, it seems a little bit off to me that they would be so close, especially as Victoire would be quite older than her cousins. It definitely could work, given that we aren't given birthdates for Dom, Louis, and James, but it would have been nice to know how the kids of the oldest Weasley was so close with the kids of the youngest.
It was interesting how your Lily was basically the anti-Lily. Even though there is no real characterisation for the Next-Gen kids, Lily seems to have a very consistent characterisation. You have basically switched around every single one of these character traits that we normally see. First off, your Lily is an exceptionally self-centered person. While it's not fully apparent in the story, it is seen in instances where she just brushes off Victoire's mourning or how she's more concerned about how she looks than the wedding in general, like how when Victoire is remembering her mother, she just brings up her weight again. While I can sympathise with her about her insecurities, it really shows how she is more focussed on herself than anyone else. I was actually quite surprised when it is revealed that she doesn't like to fly. I think that this is the only time that I've ever read a Next-Gen fic where Lily isn't a star Quidditch player, and it was a bit of a refreshing look at the Next-Gen world.
I thought that your characterisation of Nana Weasley was so, so good. Her obsession over the perfection of a wedding was so reminiscent of DH that there was no doubt in my mind that this was indeed Molly, putting 101% of everything she has into ensuring that the wedding goes off without a hitch.
I think that Louis is the real star of this story. He's just such a fun character to read. When we first meet him, he goes from super nice dude to super snarky dude and it's just a lot of fun to read. I think the moment when he Silencios Lily was my favourite moment of the entire fic. It was just funny and super snarky, and I loved that.
Overall, I thought that your premise of Lily's bulimia was very believable. From the start, you really her mindset. When I read " Lily took one more look in the mirror and tried to convince herself that her bridesmaid’s dress didn’t look that tight, that she didn’t look quite as fat as she felt, but it didn’t do much", I was immediately convinced that this could be a girl with bulimia. Not only that, but it was an excellent sentence to connect to Lily. How many girls haven't had days where they look into the mirror and think "I could really lose some weight"? There was a moment where it did all of a sudden feel like it just popped out of nowhere. When Lily first complains of feeling dizzy, it felt very sudden. It would have been nice to know that she was feeling a little under the weather earlier so that her dizziness didn't feel sudden and like an effect to Louis saying she looked ill. The following scene in the kitchen really convinced me, though. Every feeling felt accurate, and the whole situation was just so vivid that I didn't doubt for a second that Lily was truly sick. I think that section is the best written section of the whole story. Lastly, I'm really glad that you didn't just have Lily say "yeah, I can stop for you". The fact that she says she doesn't know if she can stop is so accurate to the disease. It never just stops, it's a constant struggle, and I'm glad that you touched on that.
Overall, this was a fantastic read, and I really enjoyed reading the it.
Author's Response: Maple! :D I am so glad you enjoyed this fic, especially given the subject matter. You know we’ve talked about this, about how personal this story was in certain ways, so it means so much to me that you enjoyed this, even more so because I know you love Lily as a character.
I definitely agree with you that the story is dark and pretty scary, even if on the surface it doesn’t look like that. Yeah, it was for the Cotillion, and of course you know the story for Loulily, but yes, there are some really dark undertones to this. Hence the backdrop of the wedding. I also think it was nice to have a supposedly “happy” couple there, with Teddy/Victoire?
And hmm, Louis’s age -- she’s a few months older than him, but they’re in different years. I didn’t really think much about Fleur and Bill, ha -- in my head canon, Dominique is two years older than Albus and Rose, so yeah, there is a bit of a gap between Dominique and Louis. Maybe that’s something I should have added. Thanks for that; I’ll try to add it if I can.
Also, I know Lily isn’t the conventional Lily. She doesn’t like Quidditch, no, and she is pretty self-centred, but I thought it would be interesting to have a different take on Lily than the usual characterisation. I hope that worked and I'm glad you found it refreshing. And yay, you liked Molly! :D I'm so flattered you liked her because I really don’t write her as a character much.
Yayayay, you liked my dear Louis! I won’t lie, he is very much my husband, and I did do my best to make him likeable, especially with the snark :D As for Lily and her bulimia, I agree that it was sudden, when she felt dizzy and everything, but the thing with Lily was that she was still getting used to what she was doing to herself, so I think that feeling must have felt sudden for her too. And OMG, I was so, so worried about that scene in the kitchen so it means a lot to me that you thought that was accurate.
Thank you so much for the fabulous review, Maple. I'm really glad this story got your stamp of approval if only because you’re so invested in Lily yourself. I heart youuuu!
Wow, this was great. You've captured it all perfectly, from the teenager-y angst to the serious topics. It was very enjoyable, and you can bet that I'll be checking out the sequels. Good job! :D
Author's Response: Yay, I'm so glad you enjoyed this! :D Yes, there is definitely a lot of teenagery angst in this -- in the sequels, they act more mature, at least a little. Thank you for the lovely review, and if you enjoy the sequels, please review and let me know what you think. I really appreciate the review. :)
It says complete, but I think there could be a lot of different endingd from good to bad for this scenario.
Author's Response: I agree :) Which is why this is actually a prequel to my three other Louis/Lily stories, in the following order: Broken Glass, The Highway of Regret and Glass. Feel free to read and review them if you wish -- you'll find out a lot more about their story in those stories. :) Thank you for reviewing!
Aww, this was really touching. You dealt with such a sensitive issue in a way that made it seem completely human, and I could easily understand why she was doing it, to me it made perfect sense. Her insecurities were so well developed in such a short amount of time, especially her belief that whilst no one other than Roxy ever commented on her weight they were all thinking it. I found that interesting because we so often are convinced people are thinking about us when they probably aren't. Louis... was perfect. I love your Louis, I love how he sees straight through her even though she thinks he doesn't understand.
I like how this acts as a kind of prequel to your other stories, and it was lovely to see their relationship developing and getting an insight not only into Lily's insecurities regarding her weight but also towards her blossoming feelings towards Louis. I'm going to have to start shipping them soon!
Really I have no idea why you're unsure about this, I thought it was lovely, understated and as always your characterisation was dead on.
Author's Response: Fenellaaaa! Yayay, are you going to review everything I write or something? Because I'm definitely not going to stop you, lol -- thank you so much for reviewing this so quickly! :D
I'm glad you liked the way I dealt with the issue of bulimia. It certainly isn't something I'd write about lightly, and it means so much to me that you could see her reasons behind doing what she did and her insecurities about her weight.
I am so happy that you like Louis! :D I do love him. He's kind of my husband, lol. I think that's part of Lily's attraction to him -- the fact that he can see straight through her and can understand her is definitely something she admires about him and is what makes her slowly fall in love with him.
This is very much a prequel of my other stories (I seem to have written them backwards, ha -- I started off with Glass, then The Highway of Regret and then Broken Glass and now this story). I didn't want it to read like I needed you to have read the others to understand this one, if that makes sense -- I want each story to work in its own right, which is why my beta hasn't read the other Loulily stories, as far as I know. On another note, yayayayayay, I am so glad you're shipping Loulily! :D I've already converted Ellie, so welcome aboard the ship, hehe.
I'm really flattered that you enjoyed this so much, Fenella! Honestly, you are one of my favouritest reviewers ever. I really appreciate it. :) *heart*