Date: 08 Jul 2013 15:37 Title: Chapter 1
Ok, that's ...that's I'm not entirely sure how to go about reviewing this. Or even fully how I feel upon the reading of it but here goes.
It's just heartache in a bottle all over here. I thought there was something up to begin with with Malcolm's parents but then on initial meeting Mary Patrice seemed genuinely interested in all the children. Daddy Reed though obviously has a problem with it and I wondered for a moment was it a dementia type problem but it seems he really isn't ok with the arrangement and given how much a stickler Reed was and his own family it seems this is a fitting reaction here.
The open marriage situation is of course a hard one to get your head around if you're na outsider to it. And I would have to be truthful as a reader that is a situation way over my head and only from reading this glimpse of it it somewhat strikes me that Reed seems the poorer partner in this open arrangement. However, the family life is strong, a unit of loving siblings and parents, a kind and caring environment and you imbue it with such a warm, cosy, casual feel, an everyday situation and family unit that honours the characters, the choices and the family lifestyle and makes it normal, ordinary. To do so in such a small piece is some feat but you have a knack for showing and developing character relationships.
If I have a quibble about things, it .is about what these people do for a living? It appears they don't work in Starfleet anymore and the scene of domestic bliss seems to be a continuous one uninterrupted by tours of duty. So I would be intrigued to know the set up of that.
Reading Doug here after the five signs of weakness is also a nice thing, he is really well adjusted to this universe reality and really well adjusted as an individual given everything about the world around him groiwng up.
In contrast to that situation, Pamela and Teve. Man. Just honestly - man. What is there to say? Other than to extol the virtues and bravery of Pam for seeking to visit her sister despite everything that happened to her and to the fact she bore Pam no ill feeling. However, upon news of honouring her father with the naming of her child, it is then too much for Pamela and quite honestly, I have to agree with her. That's too much. Too much to be asked to take. And to blight the child with the name of her father is cruel to the child too - even if Lisa doesn't believe Pam something like that knowledge would surely make you question such a choice of name. But damn, on top of all of that her mother, the accomplice in so many ways if one so decided to view it, that's just too galling and honestly too horrific. Hard writing jespah and handled in your very humanistic way. Well done.
Oh, you honor me.
Lili owns and is the chef for her own restaurant, and Doug is captain of the local military unit. Melissa is a pilot (though she's on maternity leave here, from Neil's birth). Norri is a book editor and is either getting her doctorate or has it by now. So right now Malcolm is the only one working in Starfleet, but Melissa will go back there.
They did a lot to get to this point, and it wasn't easy. Doug and Malcolm did not always get along, and sometimes Melissa and Lili don't, either. But they work to make it work, because it's now bigger than themselves.
For Stuart, and Mary - and I imagine for a lot of readers, as you pointed out - the arrangement is weird and can feel a bit unnatural. But as I have thought about Starfleet, and how it keeps sending people away from their homes and their families, it almost seems like one of the few ways things could really work. Malcolm can go off and work (and fight) in the stars, but Lili isn't lonely and his son is well cared for. The home (homes) is taken care of, the children are loved and no one is starving, etc. This is a kind of proto-replicator economy so there are still salaries and there are still things to be bought and sold and paid for. But everyone is okay.
The elder Reeds are getting older, and details are slipping away and some of the odder things are even harder for them to take. Stuart just figured, Malcolm is married, here's his wife, here's maybe this one is Declan, no, it's the other one, who's this little girl? Even with a somewhat more conventional situation, it would be stepchildren and that could be confusing.
For the Hudson/Schiller family, it's a boiling, seething mass underneath what looks like a perfectly smooth surface. And Pamela begins to doubt her own memories of what happened, and blames herself even more for how she was treated. She is a character who had to learn that she was worthwhile. After that kind of a history, that wasn't easy.
Date: 07 Jul 2013 23:48 Title: Chapter 3
I am so glad his parents came around and that his sister turned out to be awesome. And that Pam and Treve are working on something grand, too. Well done.
Thank you - I wanted this to be both sides of forgiveness. Well, maybe three sides. Asking for it, granting it, and not granting it. Linda and the Reeds all explain their behaviors and ask for forgiveness, but the Reeds are easier to give a little slack to. Part of it is the aging process; Malcolm and Lili realize that they'd better make a few more allowances because Stuart won't be around forever (and Doug was never able to do that with his own folks - regrets can be long). With Linda, things are a lot harder because of what happened. The hurdle is just too high. Will she ever be forgiven? I don't really know.
Date: 07 Jul 2013 23:43 Title: Chapter 2
First: Go Malcolm! You tell 'em!
Second: I'm just jawdropped that these people can even have these conversations so coherently and without possibly breaking things and screaming. They must have come a Hell of a long way on their own recoveries. I hope they keep working it out.
I think what Malcolm says to his parents is probably the most important speech I have ever written for him. He just stands up and essentially says, love all of us or none of us; you can't have halfway measures.
And the Hudsons - as the theme song says, "it's been a long time, getting from there to here". Pamela is in her late thirties. She's been out for about 2 decades. She's done a lot of screaming (in other works); she's keeping things together because Treve is there.
Date: 07 Jul 2013 23:35 Title: Chapter 1
Wow. I kind of want to swat Malcolm's parents. With a leather glove across the chops, no less. A fascinating look at what really appears to be an excellent blended family, and their heartache when the rest of the universe can't seem to mind their own judgmental attitudes.
Yep; someone's got to be old-fashioned and unaccepting, I suppose.
Date: 30 Jun 2013 08:13 Title: Chapter 1
Enjoyed the ending, it struck me of the real world compromise, that we all have to accept or not with family. Shocking about the Hudson family and yet you do make each character believable and they reason seem to make sense to them, if no-body else.
Thank you very much. I strive for character realism; I'm so glad it connected with you. :)
Date: 05 Jun 2013 00:43 Title: Chapter 3
It was a nice ending. And while maybe not completely...whole, for at least one situation, it felt right to be left somewhat hanging. As for the Reeds, I can always appreciate the line "forgive an old fool." I'd be interested to know what Malcolm's sister told them to change their minds, or what they discussed together to turn around and change. But definitely liked Pamela's "forgiveness" situation. It definitely felt very real to me, where she wasn't ready to let things go, but willing to take maybe a step forward down that road.
Thank you for reading and reviewing.
What has happened to Pamela really isn't forgiveable, and if her father were still alive, she would have just bolted for good and would have never given Linda even the slightest chance. Linda is a character driven by the need for approval and security, but it becomes twisted and wrong. But all that Linda can hope for, right now, is to be able to coexist in the same room with Pamela. It isn't going to be hugs and reconciliations. Pamela still curses her father daily, but now, maybe, she curses her mother a little less.
The Reeds, for their part, are getting older and so chances to become a family are shrinking as the window of opportunity narrows. What did Madeline tell them? Pretty much what she said to Malcolm and Lili, and pretty much what Mary and Stuart said at the end, that it was exclusionary and overly fussy and that it was based upon a tradition that was horribly outdated. But the Reeds only apply to be related to Joss and Marie Patrice, and not to the Digiorno-Madden boys. That's too much for them; they are still putting on the brakes. But it's a start, and Malcolm and Lili will take it.
Date: 04 Jun 2013 17:24 Title: Chapter 3
And again, you tug at the heartstrings, but in a good way this time, my dear. I think at some point in all our lives we wish that we could make people who are close to us and have such a narrow view of the world broaden their horizons. I can certainly think of a few who need...enlightenment.
And Pamela was spot-on. Not ready or willing to forgive, but gaining the tiniest insight into what her mother must have been going through at the time. There is still hope for these two, I think, but it will take time, patience and an almost infinite amount of understanding. Even that might not be enough, but part of me wishes it will be...
Thank you for reading and reviewing.
Pamela is an unresolved character for me. She can be very hard to like. She's a damaged, wounded bird, kind of the second-born in a small nest, where the parent birds feed the eldest to the neglect of the younger one, who is eventually shoved out prematurely. She has made her life, as well as she can - and she is damned lucky to have Treve. What she wanted was to reconcile with Lisa, and she seems to have, and maybe even can have a relationship with her nephew in particular. But with Linda? The jury is still out.
Lili and Malcolm are learning that they need to make some allowances for Stuart and Mary, and there is the very real possibility that it all might end soon. Stuart, after all, is becoming more fragile. At some point, all the forgiveness in the world won't matter, as he and Mary will be gone. So it's a compromise - keep in mind, the Reeds applied to be grandparents to Empy and Joss, and not the Digiorno-Madden lads. But it's a start.
Date: 04 Jun 2013 17:10 Title: Chapter 2
This chapter ripped my guts out as well. I don't know whether to be really, really angry at Linda, or pity her. I guess reality falls somewhere in between.
I think I feel most for Lisa - realizing at what price her safety was bought. How do you even deal with something like that being dropped in your lap? Not that any of it was her fault, but how could you not feel that way?
And poor Lili - I already knew her backstory and what happened to her parents, but how senseless it must all seem to her. She was denied the love of her parents, not by choice, but fate. And now Malcolm's parents are squandering a chance at loving their grandchildren. It just seems such a waste in the end...
Lisa has to somehow reconcile what seemed like her perfect childhood and her perfect life with just how damaged Pamela was and is. She's learned that nothing is what she thought it was, and the rug has been pulled out from under her.
For Lili, yes, it's less about her and more about her children, that they are being denied what, in her childhood, was her sole refuge. The Maddens and the Digiornos are more than happy to fill that role, but Lili was hoping that the Reeds might step up, too. Lili had so many insecurities in her youth, and she wants fallback position after fallback position for her children - just in case. And one of those, which she thought she would be able to count on, is being denied. It's also troubling because, how can she raise Declan amidst all of this?
Much like Lisa and Pamela are treated unfairly, on the Beckett-Reed side of things, it's Empy and Joss on one hand, and Declan on the other. And even the positive treatments of Declan and Lisa aren't fair to them.
Date: 04 Jun 2013 16:46 Title: Chapter 1
Wow! What started off as a nice tale of families reconnecting and forming new bonds took a shocking turn that literally felt like a punch in the gut.
It's bad enough that Malcom's parents are taking out their misunderstandings of the situation on Empy and Joss - who in no way, shape or form are responsible for the choices the adults in their life make, but poor Pamela. My heart just aches and breaks for her.
Is her family truly ignorant of what went on, or are they simply in denial - figuring if they sweep it under the rug it will be as if it never happened?
Off to read more, and hopefully get some answers (although I don't think there's anything that can explain this away)...
There is a lot of denial going on in the Hudson clan.
I had originally written Pamela as being kind of an anti-Lili, and Intolerance was written almost as an anti-Reversal.
Lisa truly has/had no idea. She was shielded and protected and nurtured, and it was all at Pamela's expense. Inspiration came from an old news story about a child in a fairly large family who had starved to death. The other four or so kids were find, and in group photos, they look happy and healthy and well-fed, but the one child is gaunt. It seemed that that real couple were neglecting one child, for whatever twisted reason, but otherwise were caring for their offspring. And so Lisa is the focus for love and caring, whereas Pamela got the opposite.