Date: May 11 2017 4:46 PM Title: Reintegration
I waited to review the last chapter and now I’m super glad I did. They really need to be talked about together.
What we are seeing is Jack overcoming, stage by stage, fear. All three of the women in his crisis are here, representing his emotional state. At first we see the creature, in a nightmare (where she belongs) representing his terror. Once he awakens he settles into a cold dread. He knows he has to face the real thing.
Once he is in the crucible of school he encounters Alex. The swaying, unreliable thing. She represents a sort of uncertainty. At the end, she shows a small glimmer of kindness. Jack begins to actually shed some of his dread.
At the end of the chapter we again encouter Penny. Jack is not completely free from dread, just as Penny is not free from doubt, but he begins to maybe even hope. To see the light at the end of the fear tunnel.
The creature is never even, really, there, and Penny is there for like, a second, but the chemistry between the characters is palpable. You can feel their presence and their influence on Jack. Just as he gets "further away" from his nightmare, he is getting closer to his dream. This is great writing with deep emotional layers and thoughtful literary complexity. I am so satisfied as a reader. Imagine8 has not pandered to us, but treated us like the intelligent, thoughtful audience we are. This genre can be truly amazing and attracts some amazing talent, that is clearly on display here.
Imagine8, thank you for your efforts and for your generosity in sharing this with us.
Thank you, Pix, for a beautiful review. I don't think it's half as clever as you're making out (!), but I'm definitely exploring some semi-autobiographical musings on fragility, insecurity, love, lust and fear for the future - albeit within a GIANT LADY setting of my own... perverse imagining.
Date: May 11 2017 4:01 PM Title: Reintegration
As a person who suffers anxiety, I feel like you've really captured the feeling well - the constant edginess, the crying for no apparent reason, the trembling etc. Well done!
Thank you - I hope it's true to life for the most part. I myself don't suffer with anxiety (though I am fundamentally quite insecure and sensitive around aspects of this fetish) but there are many people close to me who do. As a supportive kind of person, there is definitely some catharsis at play here with the characterisation of Penny, and whilst my intention at the start wasn't to be writing about a neurotic, terrified teen, the 'realism' I crave, and the abusive scenario with Caitlin, have steered the narrative in this direction.
Date: May 10 2017 6:52 PM Title: Introduction
This is a great story. Keep int going and thanks for getting the latest chapters up.
I didn't expect Jack to find his glasses. And from Alex, no less. It's great to hear about these good things, even if they are seemingly inconsequential, pop up amongst all the horrible things that have happened. Something to help cheer Jack up; and boy does he need the cheer.
Bittersweet innit. Life's weird sometimes. Breaks your heart a bit.
Thank you for the kind words about the story, it means a lot.
Date: May 10 2017 1:29 AM Title: Reintegration
Another good chapter. thanks for 3 quick chapter updates.
About Alex, I'm sorry for my messy post where I did forget words. What I was trying to say was that Alex was like "ok, I gonna help you to make Jack escape but after that I don't want nothing to do with you".
You said yourself: just because she found out that abusing/torture wasn't her thing doesn't mind she's "beta-friendly" now. but if she got a change of heart, 'I'm fine with it.
I think, at the risk of straight up telling you how she feels, it's essentially that she's had her preconceptions challenged, at least in Jack's case, so whilst she might be pretty much as indifferent to Betas as before, she's very aware of his suffering in particular. She's not going to go around being nice in public, especially as she has to maintain things with Caitlin, but privately she will look out for him in her own way, even it's a little gruff, like 'get going out of this classroom so I can help you' rather than 'take all the time you need'.
Date: May 09 2017 6:11 PM Title: Reintegration
Penny admires Jack's bravery. She's said so on multiple occassions. 'Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.' Jack demonstrates this resistance by returning to school, where everyone dwarfs him and at least one wants to harm him.
I suppose he can't just go sit at Cait's table during lunch, but he's lurking around school like a secret agent, constantly on edge, unable to relax. He's got to do *something*, otherwise the tension itself will hurt him.
Of course, I say those things as a reader cheering for Jack. From a more objective viewpoint, the tension you instill keeps the reader's attention and makes us crave the next chapter. So it's a good technique, so long as there is an occassional release to the intense pressure-cooker like situations.
I'm just waiting for Cait to finally appear. I'm *wanting* her to appear at this point. It's like when the guy goes into the dark basement at night to check on creepy sounds. At some point you just want freddy krueger to *appear*, even if the protag takes a few slashes to the face. :)
Date: May 09 2017 4:20 PM Title: Reintegration
I just watched a show called "13 reasons why" on Netflix, and the show was eerily similar to this story. The characters match those from the show to this story and even the setting is the same. The one thing differing is that the victim in the show commits suicide and I'm wondering if Jack ever considered death as an option since he has been taking shit left and right.
I have been waiting for this chapter for a lot time. The moment when Jack gets his balls back after they were taken from Caitlin. He finally gets on that bus and takes on the daily struggle of school.
Jack sat next to a kid who was 8 or 9? How old is Jack again? Are they both going to the same school? Something doesn't seem right.
Ah, so Jack's vision is so bad that he can only look at Delon's shoes as he follows him. Since Jack didn't want to make much eye contact, his blurry vision may have indirectly helped him.
I still don't know what to think of Alex. I still think she is an enemy and the glasses are just a fake sign of trust. Maybe Cailtin had them remake Jack's glasses custom made with a built in tracker so she can keep track of Jack constantly. Why else was Alex following Jack to class? She was leading him to a trap. Alex should be naturally faster and beat him to the door, but she let Jack go first so she can make sure he doesn't escape. Sneaky alpha girls.
I think Jack needs to workout a little. Or atleast do some stretches. Get that blood flowing instead of feeding the world and cowering. He needs a confidence boost more than ever. If this mental torture continues, I fear he might take drugs or something, anything to ease the pain.
Will Jack get a "fuck it" moment where he just doesn't care anymore? Will he proclaim to the school about the abuse and start talking to people boldly without care? I'm sensing that he might explode on someone with anger. He broke down in tears with Penny and Alex just now, but Jack still is bottling up that frustrated emotion.
Penny has returned to comfort Jack again. I wonder how this relationship will progress.
I can't wait for the next chapter!
Date: May 09 2017 3:53 PM Title: Reintegration
Man this guy is a bundle of nerves and reflexes! How much stress can one guy endure? Why can't he just tell some authority already, jeez, why's he putting himself thru all this? Is Caitlin's family influence REALLY that far reaching? At the very least he could get her expelled or something. In the real world people with money don't get away with things completely, they get less punishment usually but not NONE.
For example that Afluenza kid that ran over and killed a bunch of people didn't go to jail like he deserves but he still got 10 years probation even with all the BS influence and money his family held. I don't know, it's the one point of this story that still bugs me abit...Anyway, another great chapter, at least Penny is there to brighten him up abit.
Point #1 - This is a work of erotic fiction, and if it were a flawless, logical universe, Caitlin would have been prosecuted after touching him up in the bathroom in Chapter 2. End of story. Game over. Exit through the gift shop.
Point #2 - In the real world, people with money get away with things scott-free all the time. I'm not saying this is a watertight argument for GH-X2, but I'm saying it's not an implausible assumption. I also refer to point #1 - this story has been engineered this way to avoid a long, boring legal / police investigation into abuse. I appreciate that you are taking it very realistically and I personally interpret that as a huge compliment, but also remain aware of the fetish and what I'm trying to facilitate via this setting. Injustice is driving this story along.
Date: May 09 2017 8:24 AM Title: Introduction
Great chapter and I almost believed Caitlin's comeback TomSpeedy. But I dont get why Alex agree to protect Jack!Didn't she say she wanted to do with that after helping Jack escape???!
All that was mentioned was that Alex should not be contacted, to avoid implicating her. It's obvious that she's already trying to help Jack, from the moment she realised how bad things were at the pool, to helping stage the rescue by ringing Caitlin, and presumably playing along with everything behind the scenes in an ongoing inside job.
Date: May 08 2017 3:13 PM Title: Agitation
It's funny how Jack has turned Caitlin into a cartoon villian in his mind. Sure was she a good person? Nope. But she was certainly more complex than most people wouild give her credit. She showed emotion when Jack was inside the Teddy Bear and she was looking for him, maybe there were signs she was even conflicted about what she did. I kinda feel like part of the reason she's such a bully is for appearances in front of her friends. Who knows, maybe I'm seeing complexity that isn't really there?
Anyway's another great chapter. OH! Something else I wanna mention is that this story FEELS like it takes place over a longer period of time than it actually does. I've noticed that I get the impression that it takes place over several weeks but when I check things back it seems to take place only during a few short days! It's probably the amount of time we as readers have to wait to get releases that affects this too, I get that feeling with tv series too where I feel like its been more time in-show than it actually has been because of the actual time it takes between episode releases.
Don't know why I wanted to post that but it's just another tidbit I wanted to share about my experience with this story...
Yeah, I do feel ya here. I have tried to showcase enough depth in Caitlin's character to lead to some doubt as to her exact motives, but let's not forget, she has done terrible things, and that does make her the villain of the piece - even if it transpires she's misguided or misunderstood or whatever. It's also clear that at least one of her friends isn't a total dickhead (Alex) so the impressing her friends argument would only really be to impress Amber, which might be the case, but wouldn't be overwhelming peer pressure by any means.
In terms of the timespan, yeah, I've seriously overwritten for the duration elapsed, and this is exacerbated by the sparse updates. My defence is that it's a highly detailed story, it's my first (and only) and I had no idea of pacing (during the Caitlin section especially), and my signature 'introspective shit' takes up a lot of space. It is a weird situation, this was meant to be like a snapshot of a scenario in 2013, and it's 4 years later and barely 5 days has elapsed in-world.
Date: May 08 2017 2:58 PM Title: Agitation
Am I the only one who knew that was a dream? I think it was going to be too soon for Caitlin to return. Even though these chapters are long and a lot have happened, not many hours/days has went by since Penny rescued him.
Delon gives Jack reassurance consistently, and has his back. Even if Delon doesn't do much, just the chat alone is comforting.
I like Spookytaco's idea of confronting Cailtin in the open. It would surprise her and maybe it might influence Cailtin to back off Jack since he isn't weak anymore. It could backfire if Cailtin sees this as a challenge and tries to get Jack again.
I can't wait for the next chapter!
Date: May 08 2017 1:11 PM Title: Agitation
He's got a bad case of PTSD. If he's not going to go to the authorities or faculty, he should just man up and go sit with Cait at lunch. I'm sure that would surprise her. Better to face her head on in a public location than in a dark alley. Plus it would show he's mastering his fear, something which often makes bullies back off. Cait derserves to be locked up in juvey, but she wouldn't go so far as to actually kill him. I.e., she's not insane and pure evil, just spoiled and cruel, so he should face her.
I like the thinking behind this, but I can categorically tell you that, in a school where Betas are bullied on a semi-regular basis, confronting Caitlin will basically just result in her casually picking him up and carrying him somewhere private as he squeaks away - no-one will bat an eyelid. The odds of him somehow landing a PR victory against the #1 predator within school are roughly zero; she's greatly feared, popular, and holds great sway over most people, even teachers. Even if she's spotted by a teacher who acts on it, as long as she puts him down, no-one's really going to give a shit, as I say, the Betas get hung onto coathooks and bullied on occasion and it's just considered a thing (think of it like some of the horrid racist/sexist attitudes that used to/still pervade society, but in this NWO add sizeist).
The teachers would perhaps show a modicum of care for Jack, but they're not really bothered, they don't think Betas should even be at the school. I guess you could have him confide in the school's support network and start to build a case from there, but as a story that's just gonna end up tedious, I really need to keep the action away from a criminal investigation, so I'm trying to provide semi-plausible doubt of official channels to keep the narrative focused. It's basically playing out like a kids movie - don't trust the adults, beat the bullies yourself!
As for Caitlin, it remains to be seen how complex or evil she truly is.
Date: May 07 2017 9:55 AM Title: Introduction
This story is absolutely outstanding and getting better with each chapter. I felt like the chapters with Caitlin drug on a bit but perhaps it was neccessary to break Jack down so utterly so he can be built back up.
According to one theory, the hero's journey is separation, extreme ordeal, then unification. Penny's role in "unification" in this case is very, very satisfying so far.
Thank you for the lovely review! The Caitlin stuff took a long time to work through, mainly because there was a lot to cover, and also because it was such a stressful situation. Skimming over it would almost fail the story, at least in my eyes - every moment of it was brutally 'real' for Jack, and the narrative reflects that.
I think the basic story arc thus far has definitely fit the kind of 'hero' origin plotline you're referring to. Let's see if it descends into the labyrinthine finale against the final boss!
Date: May 07 2017 7:07 AM Title: Affirmation
Okay, the bench scene kinda made me tear up.
This is what i read for. So much...nice going on here. How can anybody not love penny after this?
I'm still worried that Jack lives in a world full of bastards....but Penny might make it all worth it.
The fact that they live in a world of bastards makes Penny that little bit more wonderful, I think you'll agree. I am honoured that you found it moving, I really am.
Date: May 06 2017 11:43 PM Title: Affirmation
Cute chapter! Maybe Jack is finally getting rewarded after all he's been through huh? Can't say he doesn't deserve it, hopefully things work out between him and Penny. Honeslty I can see why she'd like him, Jack is a charming dude, seems to know what to say and what questions to ask, has a bit of a quirky, jokey side to him, and is alot stronger than he gives himself credit for. He's better than you're typical "cameraman" protag in most gts stories, I think it's believable that someone would fall for him.
Thank you! There is a smidge of karma here for Jack, and yes, he deserves every tiny shred of happiness going. I like to think Penny sees him for who he is, someone who is brave, self-effacing, good and kind. The size difference, for her, is perhaps not a factor in the quite the way he's worried about, it actually seems like it's her own fear of him being repulsed by her that's to blame for the stigma she's had up until now...