Hi, Lily =)
I don't know where to begin with reviewing this, it was just incredible to read. This is a topic I usually steer clear of when reading fanfiction, because it's an area that really has to be researched before writing and you have to be so careful when writing it so you don't come across as insensitive and glorified. Reading this, however, it's very clear that you have researched it thoroughly (I applaud you for doing so, even when you found it terrifying) and that it has been written with great care and sensitivity.
The use of the first person allows us to really look into Lucy's head, and the way you've portrayed Lucy's mindset is extremely accurate in the way that she doesn't realise just how bad she's got because she's so focused and trapped with in the idea that she still has to loose weight. Lucy is a very fleshed out character and, as a reader, I sympathised with her a lot when reading this. The style allows the reader to get close to Lucy and really understand her thoughts and reasoning behind her illness.
This is an incredible piece of writing, Lily. I think the way that you've handled the topic is realistic and sensitive and I seriously applaud you for all the research and effort you've put into this. Great work.
When I first validated this, I was completely blown away, and upon rereading, I was blown away again because of how well-written your story is. Your take on Lucy Weasley is one I've never come across before, and yet the voice you established here for her was so fully fleshed out and convincing that I can’t imagine another canon for her right now.
First and foremost, your handling of eating disorders was perfect. Speaking personally, I think it’s really difficult to find that line between using sensitive issues as plot devices and actually having that sensitive issue being an integral part of the plot. Here, I definitely thought your story fell into the latter category, and I think the reason for that is because of how you confronted the problem and explained why Lucy was bulimic and anorexic. I know you said that writing it was hard, but I could see the extent of research you carried out here because of how accurate her experiences were, right down to her eating habits to begin with to what Lucy ate first and why. I applaud you for choosing to tackle this subject and for doing it so well.
In terms of style, I immediately noticed and appreciated the use of first person. I'm not always the biggest fan of it, to be honest, but it worked so well here. Your story was intensely personal, and I don’t think it would have come across quite so strongly in any other point of view. I felt you established Lucy’s voice right from the outset, and that made her emotions -- of self-hatred, of her desire to change and to get attention -- so much stronger and more vivid. Also, as a reader, I felt closer to Lucy as a result, and considering what she goes through in this story, I think that’s even more important. And I think you succeeded, too, because I really understood Lucy as a character and sympathised greatly with her. The blunt way in which you wrote her, with the contrasting short and long sentences, emphasised her changes in mood and, perhaps, her uncertainty when looking back on the effects of her bulimia and anorexia.
The way the plot unfolded in your story was really natural and not at all confusing, which I know can happen with non-linear stories. I thought it was interesting that Lucy was narrating the events in hindsight, after her treatment, and that made her regret resonate even more strongly with me. But what was more shocking to read was the way in which Lucy’s eating disorder escalated -- her progression from binge-eating to bulimia to treatment and then anorexia was what pushed the story forward. I think the reason this was so compelling to read was that I really wanted to know if she got better, eventually, and I was so relieved to see Scorpius was able to change things for her.
Speaking of which, Scorpius’s characterisation was intriguing. I liked his patient approach to Lucy, but also, I thought his attitude towards his parents was a great inclusion to have. The way in which Scorpius referred to his father as having helped neither side gave me the impression that Scorpius had his own issues, too, and that made him so much more relatable as a character. I do think, at times, that you were telling quite a bit of the backstory behind Scorpius and Lucy’s friendship rather than showing it, and at times, it did feel not quite as convincing as other aspects of the story. For example, the part about Scorpius being Lucy’s friend for “as long as (she) could remember” could have been expanded a bit more, because I would have liked to know more about how they became friends, how their parents reacted to it, as well as Lucy’s cousins. But overall, that was quite minor, and I did like what I did see of their friendship here as well as the progression of their relationship into something more.
This story was intense, emotional and realistic, Lily, and I applaud you for dealing with such difficult topics with the sensitivity it needs. I certainly think it’s up there with your best work, and if it’s been tough writing it, know that that effort has most definitely paid off. :) Your story touched me deeply and stayed with me long after I validated it, and it was definitely the highlight of modding last month. Well done, and good luck with the Cotillion!
Soraya - wow. I am so blown away by this review! I have no idea what to tell you, aside from many, many thanks. This review has completely made my kind of sucky week, lol.
This story is easily the toughest thing I've written, not only because of the subject matter but also because I wanted the reader to really connect with not only Lucy but also Scorpius, and I'm extremely glad you did. Scorpius was definitely the most intriguing character in the story for me to write, and at some point I'm looking to write something that gives more information on his back story - it's something that I really wanted to include in the story but couldn't fit in quite correctly. Scorpius and Lucy, in my opinion, are two characters that here contrast very, very much - not just in nature but also because they have problems that are very similar, yet they choose to handle them very differently.
I was nervous about the subject matter, to be honest. I did lots of research - beyond the random facts that you can find online with the list of symptoms and causes. That wasn't good enough for me - I was looking for a lot more. I spent a lot of time in the Tumblr tag of "ana" and "mia", in addition to looking at some "pro-ana" websites. I wanted to be able to connect with Lucy's feelings instead of just what was happening to her physically. That's part of why I used first person. I didn't feel like a less personal description would be enough. Yet using first-person accounts of eating disorders was incredibly emotionally draining. It still makes me really sad to see people going through this.
I'm extremely glad you liked the story. I was really nervous about it, and having people say that this is my best work (you're not the first!) really makes me proud. Thank you, and good luck to you as well in the Cotillion!
Self-acceptance and the need to be loved for self; is this what you are wanting the reader to glean from Lucy's experience?
Good chapter. It had a nice progression, as Lucy slowly seems to be getting better physically but still struggles mentally. It was great to see her support system in Scorpius and learn more about that. I wasn't sure why she decided to drink so much on her own (one sentence would address that) but the scene itself finally let her open up a bit and admit some things to Scorpius, which was great to see. I really hope they have a future together. I like this pairing a lot. :)
Great introduction! You really got into Lucy's mindset with both of these diseases. It was a bit rambly at times, but given her state of mind, that's okay. She's sick. She's tired, hungry, and confused.
I don't know much about bulimia or anorexia (and haven't even known anyone with it, at least that I'm aware of!) but the thing that jumped out at me from other experiences is the terrible irony of wanting to stop but not being able to - of recognizing a bad thing but not caring because even though it felt bad, it felt good at the same time. Lucy mentioned wanting to be helped, and there was another line or two that alluded to this as well, in that like so many things, for her a part of this is a cry for help. It's very sad, isn't it? And very, very hard.
I'm glad Scorpius showed up at the end, and I hope that you write a lot more about his relationship with Lucy, and not just from here forward, but also a mention about their past. Why is he coming to see her, why is he the one who makes a difference? And the term hungry shadows is fascinating so I hope you explore that more as well as a connection between them.
Good luck as you continue! ~Gina :)
Having known someone at college with bulimia and watching as she ate, purged, then came back to eat, then purged, taking about two hours to go through her cycle, this story had a very authentic feel to it. Welll done for not pussyfooting around the topic and for not saying it's just a matter of being thin, because it goes far beyond that (although it might start out that way, obviously).
I think you made a small error with one part. I can't quote as don;t have the chapter up, but when you reference the bit about bright coloured food as 'markers' - you say they 'come up first and that's when you know you've vomited everything' (paraphrased. But actually they'd come up last.
I loved Scorpius. I loved the 'Hungry Shadows' idea, it's really moving.
Well done. ~Carole~