|Reviews for Spilt Milk|
| Abracadebra chapter 1 . 11/10/2019
I just read this for the first time on Konarciq’s recommendation on a thread in the forums. And wow, I’m glad I did. This is a brilliantly layered story that keeps all the men in character while never caricaturing them —it explores their actions, reactions and motivations under the pressure of making decisions. It’s hard to articulate, but there are lots of stories that put the characters under extreme pressure to see what they would do. This puts them under a more mundane kind of pressure and shows how just having a few things go wrong can upset the balance of the entire operation.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a better Carter story. He is used superbly as a narrator because even when he doesn’t grasp why people are acting as they do, he remains open hearted.
I know I’ll read this again. Fantastic work.
| leebeenz chapter 1 . 7/18/2016
I really, really love this story. My favourite character is Carter and the way you write him is just EXACTLY how I see him. I have read this story several times and I see myself reading it over and over again when I feel like reading a real good Carter story.
| Jennaya chapter 4 . 6/5/2016
Liked seeing Hogan's vulnerabilities and that Carter was the voice of reason. Always thought there was more to him than comic relief.
| Book 'em Again chapter 4 . 4/25/2015
Confession time: I have read and reread this story many times. It is one of my absolute favorites. So sorry for taking so long to finally review.
I love the method in which you choose to tell the story. First off, Carter’s voice is very distinct and you capture it perfectly. Secondly, the letter he can never send, lets you talk about things that everybody already knows (exact Mr. Carter doesn’t) so we get Carter’s take on things we know which is surprisingly refreshing.
The scene when Hochstetter shows up in classic HH with his and Klink’s exchange and the we get a glimpse of the normal with the guy’s comments on the situation. Though the bickering shows the stress this creates quite well.
The scene where Wilson makes his diagnosis ups the tension very effectively. We figure out pretty quickly this is serious back like Carter have to wait for it to be confirmed.
The next the chapter, the agony that Carter and all the others feel if very apparent. Carter in his continued efforts to solve the problem, Kinch in ways you show that he’s trying to appear in control while not really inside. Then Kinch makes the decision we know he has to make but without saying it you make it clear that Kinch chose to let LeBeau die if needed to save the operation. That was very well done.
Kinch’s line when he sees Hogan is perfect. Because it doesn’t say more than needed for us to realize exactly what Hogan was doing all night. And Hogan staying out all night to be with a girl is so him. It’s something he’s probably done dozens of times before, but the way you have Kinch say, it feels like a betrayal and the stupid risk that it really is.
Then end of that chapter, with Carter’s thoughts on how he views Hogan (and probably the rest of the camp as well) set up the continued conflict in the next chapter really well. We know, everyone knows, that Hogan is supposed to be better than this but he’s not. He just is who he is.
Honestly, what I appreciated most about this story is that while an external factor (LeBeau’s illness) triggers the conflict, the conflict itself comes from the characters themselves. In other words, you simply let all the characters be themselves and it is their natural faults that causes everything to snowball. And snowball the conflict does in the third chapter and everybody stays in character and the reactions all feel right.
The danger, I think, with these types of stories is when you get to end, it can be hard to resolve everything without it feeling sappy. But you manage to avoid by never forgetting that these guys are in the military and Hogan an officer and everyone else isn’t. So while apologizes are made, Hogan still gives that little threat to Carter as he leaves the office. And Kinch is given advice about what it really means to be a leader of men. Really, all of the conversations in the final chapter are really well done.
Finally, you let us know that everything is going to be okay with that quip of Kinch’s were he states if LeBeau will understand risking it all for a night with a woman. Which is just like out little Frenchman.
So yeah, this is an amazing story from beginning to end. And it will probably be one of my favorites for a long time.
| SaraiEsq chapter 4 . 9/17/2014
I can well understand the terrible ache in Carter's heart. Well done!
| Goldleaf83 chapter 4 . 5/23/2012
I just came across this story (I wasn’t reading HH fan fiction when you wrote it), and it is absolutely breathtaking. I don’t think I’ve ever read a story on this site that is more emotionally layered and honest. The situation you set up is complex and leaves no easy answers: everyone is feeling both rightly and problematically angry and guilty; they’re all right and all wrong simultaneously.
Carter is just brilliantly characterized: smarter than he’s usually given credit for but completely rock-solid believable. While at times some of the nuances of the other characters’ comments pass over his head (but not the readers’ because he records everyone’s remarks and expressions so faithfully), he nonetheless has his own shrewd insights. He’s particularly good at understanding the emotions that drive everyone, and thus he can be the one who cuts through a lot of the anger at the climax of the story and gets everyone unstuck and able to move on emotionally. The conversation he has with Hogan is really well executed, in part because you’re doing Hogan’s character well (more on that in a moment) but also because Carter is the logical one to beard the lion in his den and point out the obvious that nonetheless needs pointing out: it is Hogan’s job to fix the mess. Carter’s voice rings true in every single sentence he speaks and writes: you’ve got him down letter-perfect throughout, including the others’ occasional exasperation with him. The way you make him aware of their annoyance and show his own exasperation with them is one of the fundamental ways you make him a truly round character, but without ever straying from what seems canonically true. It’s one of the reasons this story never condescends to him in the way many other stories featuring Carter do.
Newkirk is also really well done: you capture his anxiety and subsequent anger just wonderfully, particularly in the confrontation with Carter in Chapter 3 as they fight about Hogan and then get deeper into the bases of their personalities. There’s a genuine conflict of outlook here, clearly articulated, and that drives the argument beyond its flash point till they’re really hurting each other. (Carter’s great in that scene too.) They make up well, but not overly easily: the memory of that quarrel will stay with them, but it seems likely to help them be closer in the long run. Newkirk’s insolence to Hogan the morning after works really well too – he’s absolutely completely in character there.
Hogan had to have been hard to write, but he’s utterly convincing too. I had pretty much the same emotional reaction as Kinch and Newkirk when he finally shows up, but the way he switches modes shows that he’s instantly back in charge. Obviously, he’s feeling incredibly guilty, for all the reasons that Carter eventually perceives, and the way he metabolizes that shame as anger is very realistic, lashing out at the men under his command and pulling rank to cover over the mistake he’s made. So before blowing up, he resorts to just rank designations rather than his usual practice of calling them by surnames. (Poor Carter gets caught in the crossfire of his fury, which he really doesn’t deserve – not that Hogan can see that right then, caught up as he is in self-justification.) Hogan knows it’s also necessary to shore up his authority; having made a serious mistake, he still needs to ensure that the men follow his orders. It’s not like he has other resources on hand if they don’t, isolated from the command structure as they are in the camp.
Carter’s comments at the beginning of Chapter 4 show him finding his way to the key to the problem: officers aren’t supposed to apologize to enlisted, and they aren’t supposed to fraternize. But Hogan does fraternize with the men under his command: given their living situation, not to mention his own social personality, he literally can’t help it. So he’s particularly caught in a dilemma when he’s let them down so badly. Kinch is the logical starting place for setting things right once Carter has put Hogan on the right track, and their conversation is done very well: Hogan is uncertain, but he finds a way to speak man-to-man in apology yet also give his professional judgment as Kinch’s CO, both to reassure Kinch on his decisions and to empathize with the agony of the decision-making process. Here and earlier, Hogan’s sense of the burden of command and need for some relief from it, his feelings of vulnerability, and his guilt over his mistake, all humanize him in important ways. Carter’s memories of his father’s comments on a CO’s job, and Newkirk’s cooled and more considered reevaluation of Hogan’s actions help in that as well. Carter’s thoughts about Hogan’s job as commander show him as very understanding; in fact, it’s one of the places where we see him at his most perceptive. I’d add in his apology to Newkirk and comments on source of Newkirk’s anger as another example of that too, plus the reminder that Newkirk himself made a similar mistake to Hogan’s at one point.
I haven’t mentioned Kinch, but he’s also exceptionally well characterized: the agony we see him in as LeBeau worsens and he has to make the toughest call of his life, his disappointment in Hogan both when Hogan first gets back and later when Hogan refuses to address the mistake he’s made, and his fury at the Colonel in between those two points when he’s so mad he takes out the stove pipe. You do really well with getting the physicality of all the men’s emotions, the way their anger, frustration, blame, and guilt wind them all up. You show that incredibly well with Carter when we see him physically shaking with anger during the confrontation with Newkirk, all the emotion boiling in him in the immediate aftermath before he takes off out of the barrack, and even the way he crosses his arms and juts out his chin when he takes on Hogan.
The letter format you set up works very well in giving the reader a sense of past events and ongoing tension as Carter sums up what has happened, yet the action is ongoing, so the letter works almost like a journal because it’s not complete until the end of the story. And what we find out there makes it even more poignant. The shifts from the first person letter to the third person commentary worked well too; I was initially unsure about them, but I liked the more objective view of Carter as he wrote.
Overall, this is one of the finest HH stories I’ve ever read: I read it yesterday, went to the gym and couldn’t stop thinking about it, came back and started working on this review. I was still thinking about it at the gym today. It’s not often a story stays with me that vividly for that long. It’s not “fun”: it’s deep, and rich, and powerful, and affecting. Many thanks for the pleasure.
| Metoria chapter 4 . 10/1/2009
This is the Best Hogan's Heroes Fic I've read yet!
Carter is my favorite character.
And he is picked at very often in teh series!
Glad to see how you brought that out in the fic!
I'm Glad there was a happy ending! :)
Thanks for writing this!
I really Appreciate it and absolutely love it!
| konarciq chapter 4 . 2/7/2009
A terrific psychological thriller this one! The tension, the anger, the uncertainty, the dilemmas, especially Hogans dilemma about what to say... magnificently described! My compliments!
And of course its an excellent portrayal of Carter as well. And of everyone else.
| Becky chapter 4 . 6/21/2008
Okay, so now you are definitely my favorite Carter writer. I absolutely adore the way you flesh out his character. And I very much like the way Hogan wasn't a superman in this story. I also like the way you were able to keep the drama and suspense up without a wounded/tortured Hogan.
| Ditzyninja2249 chapter 1 . 6/27/2007
This is undoubtlably one of the best HH fanfics I read! I love the concept of the Heroes being at odds with one another. I think it would be really interesting to see Le Beau's reaction. All in all, I LOVED your story!
| TXMedic chapter 2 . 5/6/2007
I think this is the best HH story I've come across. I loved the POV from Carter and the characters were very well fleshed out. I would love to see a sequel to this story.
| Cristy W-S chapter 4 . 3/20/2007
Carter really surprised me in this fic, and I so like it when that happens! :):) A captivating glimpse into life at Stalag 13 with a startling, rather bittersweet conclusion that satisfies. Thanks for posting this! :) ~ Cristy
| Glorious Clio chapter 4 . 3/20/2007
This was harder for me to read- I don't picture the Colonel with weaknesses that interfere with the team... but balanced with Carter's strength in this story... I liked it- a lot. Poor LeBeau, though! I want to send him some flowers. What hospital is he staying in?
| ML Miller Breedlove chapter 4 . 3/19/2007
Your story depicted a Carter that really has it all together. Insightful, observant, and able to channel his feelings in a way that allowed him to work through them-via his father, which, in itself, was quite a tribute to his memory. In other words, I liked your story very much. Thanks.
| ML Miller Breedlove chapter 3 . 3/19/2007
A nice presentaion of both sides of the story. It flowed very well, and was easy to read. Poor Carter, caught in the middle of all that anger.