Reviews for What She'd Been Missing

BY : Trillhouse


  • From DoctorYnot on March 26, 2020

    Just read the first two chapters. Absolute work of art, *unbelievably* good story. I'm seriously blown away; this is so far one of the best fics I've ever read. Such incredible, visceral emotion. No matter how intense it's never maudlin because every single outburst and exchange is earned, it's bone deep and REAL, the sheer immensity of their pain, anger, sadness...God! Absolute tour de force, a beast of a fic that everybody trying to learn how to portray true anguish and longing could get so much out of. This is a terrific piece of writing. Sincere awe at what you've achieved just in the first two chapters, the breathtaking grace of your prose and the dizzying humanity of your characters. I only wish I'd read it sooner. Bravo.

     

    I had to take a moment to sober up from the sheer exhilaration this story gave me after writing that first paragraph. It seriously, seriously hit me like a truck. I've pulled myself together now so I'm not so damn excited, hopefully I can speak more calmly now and maybe make myself understood, especially now that I've finished reading the rest of the chapters. I'd just like to emphasize that, in my opinion, infusing sincere humanity and emotion into characters like you have here is without a doubt the hardest part of writing fiction. That's because it's not like figuring out how to structure a story or get your prose to flow right, it's not something you really ever learn how to do or can practice, it's more more something you feel, just as much as your characters do. You have to reach in deep. You did it this time, undeniably, and that's what got me so affected and moved. Your characters have soul. I was so drawn into the tale I could actually hear the distortion in Lori's voice in my mind when Loan saw her as a monster! Complete hypnosis, the tale had its claws sunk that deep into my brain. Speaking more specifically...Well, you know, admittedly, I've always been more of a Lincoln guy and romance stories where he's the main or at least secondary protagonist are the kinds I prefer to read, but despite being a bit out of my usual wheelhouse this is so exceptional I still couldn't help but love it. And watching Lincoln be a good dad, well, that's something I do enjoy. Ronnie Anne too! She has such an interesting place in this story, such an intriguing role in the narrative, and she's portrayed so wonderfully. Spicy, hotblooded, but sweet, too. You can sense the familiar core of the character from the show in this now grown woman even all these years later, but she doesn't feel like an overgrown kid either. She feels...right. Like the way she'd truly be if her life had developed down the track you've written it. And the relationship between her and Lincoln, where there's tension and hard feelings over these developments, but you can still feel the incredible love and care they have for each other underneath it all, is mesmerizing. It's one of my favorite parts of all. I feel for poor Lori too, quite a bit. I have a lot of affection for her as well both within this story's world and outside of it. I want to see her be happy. She's a good woman. Anyone can make a mistake (though I'll insist 'till the day I die Lincoln's older sisters having sex with him will NEVER be a mistake, but I'm playing devil's advocate here), but the way she strives to do the right thing for the daughter she cares so much about is genuinely admirable, and the way she punishes herself so hard for the mistakes she made earlier in her life, the unrelentingly awful view she has of herself even all these years later because of all these things during her motherhood going wrong, her uncritically attributing all the problems as her own fault, even the stuff she couldn't have known, is heartbreaking. She's such a tragic figure, all of this starting from just one screw up when she was eighteen and drunk and emotional around her little brother. I was so sad when Lincoln flinched away from her touch and how badly that hurt her, really affected by it, but I was also so pulled in by how you described Lincoln finding it agonizing to see any of his sisters unhappy, even Lori, even after all that (great characterization, felt extremely true to the devoted boy we know), and I damn near choked up when he finally hugged her as she was about to leave for Japan. Such a tender scene. He's a good brother, and she's a good woman, and I know it's only a matter of time 'till they're as close as they used to be, it's just a shame she closed herself off for so long. I really think Lincoln could have helped. He always does, and he always will; there's nothing she could have done to make him stop loving her....Man, now I'm thinking of poor Bobby. That was such a heartbreaking thing. Felt real, also; the tragedy that is born from characters believably behaving like themselves under difficult circumstances rather than just having one uncharacteristic outburst of cruelty, the tragedy that is born essentially from two human beings simply misunderstanding each other, worse, trying to PROTECT each other, and it culminating in a sad end, is the one that I find affects me the most. I think most unhappy outcomes in people's relationships are because of that in real life, too. It was a really brilliant plot point for the story as a sorrow that powerfully shaped Lori and Ronnie Anne for years to come. It's understandable how everyone came to be the way they are, Ronnie's berserk anger, Lori's cold facade that hides a withdrawn grief, and the saddest thing of all is that you can imagine all of it happened simply because Lori was trying to do the right thing and not tie a good man like Bobby down with a child that wasn't his. Tragedies born from good intentions always cut the deepest. It didn't feel like something contrived to add artificial drama, either; everyone simply acted true to themselves and what they think is right, to a bad result. That's what makes it particularly poignant.

     

    Lastly we have Loan and Bobby Jr. I admit Bobby hasn't grabbed me too hard yet; although his character feels true and believable as an antisocial kid that has perhaps been treated unusually lightly by his parents (presumably due to the fact he's the only child they can ever have, another very clever plot detail that can perhaps explain their permissive treatment of him) and thus not having to work on certain aspects of his personality, I don't find him quite as interesting as Lincoln, Lori or Ronnie Anne. Then again, I'm usually more partial to the canon characters to begin with, so that's hardly an indictment. I do feel like I understand how and why you've written him the way you have, especially with the dynamic he has with Loan, and I do feel you're doing a great job in that sense. He can be a frustrating character, especially because of his cowardice, but he's not a bad kid either. Especially because based on the way he acts and thinks, I suspect he his own personality disorder, likely aspergers. You can hardly blame him for being especially shy or curt in that case. As for Loan herself, gosh, what a misfortunate girl...You've written her very empathetically, and a lot of the time you just want to hold her poor, trembling hand and coach her down from the ledges she talks herself onto. The voice in her head can definitely aggravate, although I confess there's been times when I couldn't help but agree with it a little when she fucks up hard enough to set my nerves on edge...Ultimately though, I find her a very sympathetic, likeable figure. She's a sweet, fragile girl, and the difficulty she has in doing even simple things because of how neurotic she is is a trait I actually find pretty relatable, not to mention very cleverly portrayed and written. Most of all, I admire how hard she tries to change herself, the steady steps she keeps taking trying to correct her bad habits. She doesn't always succeed, but seeing as someone who has known a lot of people like her and is even somewhat like her personally, I recognize the huge force of will it takes to even recognize your issues and at least make the effort. I suspect it'll be a development in the story that Bobby learns some of that bravery from her, which I think would be satisfying to read emotionally and because of how you're patiently building their relationship up. She's a pitiful girl, but she's courageous, and I have faith she's going to succeed. Especially now that she has such a loving household around herself to lend her strength; her relationship with Lincoln is very cute, and her giddy excitement when she discovered she has a father who loves her was absolutely delightful to read. I realize her counterpart in this story is Bobby and it's essentially a tale of two people helping each other come out of their shells, but I still can't resist hoping you write more scenes of her and Lincoln being father and daughter. They're awful cute together and those have seriously been some of the most charming passages in the fic so far. It's funny how sharp and accurate Lincoln's instincts are as both a parent and a brother, I think in the end he's just innately devoted to family, and that's really what Loan has been needing all this time. It's as reassuring to me the reader as it is to Loan the character to know someone is finally there to catch her when she stumbles and give her the love she's always needed. Actually, even the handful of scenes Loan's had with Ronnie Anne have been pretty intriguing, and I'd definitely be interested to read more of her and her stepmother sharing the stage. I know she must ellicit some pretty complicated feelings within Ronnie Anne what with how complex her relationship with her mother is, but Ronnie has done an admirable job of showing her kindness and forbearance so far. Who knows, maybe eventually Loan can be like the daughter she wasn't able to have...Now that it's come up, I think was a very elegant touch narrative-wise to give Ronnie an extra layer of vulnerability and sympathy she might not have had otherwise. Honestly, each member of the family having a bit of baggage might be part of why it feels like they all have so much humanity to them. It's possible to go overboard with that kind of thing, of course, to contrive to have drama just to have drama until it all rings false. But so far it feels appropriate, believable and restrained. They're not soap opera characters constantly bemoaning their problems or having showy suffering, they're real people; people who can have regrets and yearnings like that that can occasionally turn them wistful while still ultimately being happy and pleased with their lives. Watching such an emotionally complex cast still learn and grow and navigate through the tangle of each other's feelings and pasts is a big part of what's made the story so spellbinding so far, and something special.

     

    Well, I suppose I should wrap up this review to spare you from anymore of my rambling. To sum it all up briefly, I love what you've created. This fic is so wonderfully life-affirming; a tale about an unlikely but firm family, of kind but vulnerable people learning about each other and helping each other grow and heal, of redemption and how it's always possible to escape the shadows of your past...It's definitely been an unusual journey so far, the feelings and themes this tale deals with is rare among fanfiction, or at least rare to see them executed this beautifully, but it's a ride I would have truly hated to have missed. The first two chapters, in particular, are as good as anything I've ever read, and I'm sure I'll be going back to them every so often just to experience them again. Absolute diamonds. That's not to say the rest of the story is lacking though, of course! But those were my favorite. At this point, though, I can safely say I'm locked into this fic for the long haul and look forward to each and every update it gets. My compliments on your wonderful work so far, the emotional depths you've been able to plumb throughout this tale have been a true delight for me to get to read.

     

    Finally, on a slightly more personal tangent, I've got my fingers crossed the next chapter will be Lincoln and RA heavy! We've gotten a lot of the kids over the last couple of updates, and I can't help but want to see some more of the parents. Maybe Ronnie Anne at her job or Lincoln at Bobby's school, or even the two of them just cuddling at home together and being there for each other? Well, you're the author, but you know how I am. The most enjoyable thing in the story for me is definitely the two's relationship with each other and this cute, damaged girl. I can't help but want more of that. I'd love to see Luna visit the Loud-Santiagos, too, see how she works things out with Lincoln and how she interacts with Loan, Ronnie Anne and even Bobby (her easy bombast seems like it'd be fun contrasted with his timidity), but for the time being I think she's going to be in California for a while. Still, there's always a chance...Ack, I'm digressing again! Well, in any case, I hope this review finds you well. Thanks again for sharing this great epic with us, Trillhouse. It's really beautiful.



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  • From Sdrent56 on May 20, 2018

    What I meant was,she wouldn't have intercourse with Bobby Jr. He's too young for something like that even if he gives consent for something he doesn't know about. And if Ronnie finds out, she'd kick Loan out,or worse, call the Police and have Loan arrested and sent to Jail.



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  • From Sdrent56 on May 19, 2018

    We all know she wouldn't do what her mother did with Lincoln, with Bobby Jr. But I bet, int he end, she needs Lincoln's help to release her hormones or something.



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