Friday, March 24, 2006

Peer review

Dear Lauren,

You have an excellent command of descriptive text, and I enjoy thoroughly the portions of your narrative where you get very detailed, like in the beginning with the green beans. There’s also a great part in your opening, where you sent a shiver of dread up my spine as I realized what state he would be coming home in, and what that would mean. There’s a great set-up for the atmosphere of your narrative at your opening, and it really grabs my attention.
Your opening is great, but you could use a little spice in the later portions of your narrative. You’ve got this awesome, scary vibe in the opening, but you lose that later. While it would be fine if you traded it for another vibe or atmosphere, you don’t seem to. While the rest of your narrative is good, your tone either shifts too quickly, or there isn’t a steady one. In order to better balance your narrative, perhaps you could include another equally emotionally-charged portion later on.
I like the direct quotes from your mother, and it’s wonderful to hear the voice of the person whose story this is, and you use them effectively. I think you could use them to mark changes in tone, or breaks in the narrative where you shift focus. Use them as placeholders, so to speak. Just a suggestion.
Overall, I think this is a good narrative. There are a few parts that could use some fleshing out. I’m not entirely sure what your narrative is about, or specifically, what issue you’re addressing. I’ll probably have asked during the conference, but for now, it seems that you’re addressing the concept of abusive parents?
However, your overall “voice” is enjoyable to read, and your light, conversational tone makes the essay more personable.

--Jason

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