Reviews for White Flag
jakc chapter 7 . 11/26/2007
Hey Sam,

It's great to see this fic back up running again. I was starting to wonder what was happening to it. I desperately wanted to see how Tom and my 'favourite' of all characters [Susie] were coping. You didn't include them much but since you were focussing on the Kelly/Matt/Joss, dare I say, love triangle; it didn't matter too much.

Some of my favourite moments:

"Susie didn’t reject his sympathy"

Oh really? Granted that she's been bashed by her fiancé, you would wonder why Susie accepts sympathy at all. She's very ungrateful.

"Predictable, stable Chris Riley."

Oh don't you just love stability? I'm a change hater, I also don't like routine but once I've settled on something I hate to have to change. Chris' role is ephemeral in Mount Thomas but it IS so stable and unchanging. I love it!

"the lights inside turned on and seeping out past the boundaries of the glass and onto the street beyond."

I must say, that florist scene with the light is very pretty. Very pretty.

"“We are closed, you know,”"

OH! I smiled when I saw this. It's really quite nonsensical but I've been doing a lot of reading on Neuro Linguistic Programming. You've probably heard me go on about the term before, in short it's a useful way of seeing the world in a positive and constructive way and it uses a bunch of psychological theories quite in depth. And one section deals with manipulation or rather how easy it is to manipulate people with words and one such way is by adding a tag question to the end of your sentence, such as 'you know'. Whenever anyone one says: 'you know' you just have to SAY 'I know' because it wouldn't make sense not to agree. Anyway that's completely irrelevant I just thought I might point it out because I told myself that tag questions don't work but obviously they do.

"drawing away as though he had been burned"

*sighs* I love the way you describe certain actions. I'm not very good with actions because I usually describe things physically but you remind me so much of how 'The Great Gatsby' is written, how the author uses all these unique ways of describing actions that you'd otherwise think are mundane. This one is of my favourites and it describes the flocking of people to one of Gatsby's parties: 'In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.'

“I’ve got nothing left worth living for in my life"

The funny thing is Joss doesn't have anything left. It doesn't mean he should stop living but he REALLY doesn't have anything left. Wow.

"Matt’s the one I love the most."

This reminds me of something a friend of mine and I theorised when I was about your age. We decided sitting on park swings that if people stopped marrying for love and instead married people with whom they share many things in common and have a deep respect for, they'd render divorce obsolete. I don't necessarily believe that anymore but I remember at the time thinking to myself why do people fall 'out' of love or rather how do people fall 'in' love and how can you 'love' someone MORE than another person? Then I sort of came to the conclusion that you 'love' every person in a different way and you don't necessarily have 'stop' loving someone because you're angry at them you just don't love them or maybe you just don't respect them as you did previously. Hmm anyway, Kelly just confused me that's all. Thanks for the trip down nostalgia lane! :D

Thanks for this chapter Sam. I hope there are more soon. This line was my favourite though: "drawing away as though he had been burned". I'm stealing it.

jakc
panthersfan chapter 6 . 10/3/2007
hey i loved the whole story. its a great story. and i can't wait till the next one by u! cya Jen
jakc chapter 6 . 9/14/2007
Hey Sam.

Last review for the last chapter? I personally would like to see more, I didn't get to see what happened to Tom. He's why I'm reading remember? But I understand if you're busy.

“Our lives are shit.”

They're all so very hopeless. It's a little disheartening. Even Jonesy can't find some sort of solution. I hope something happens soon, if not they'll all be standing on the edge of a very tall bridge.

“It’s just a broken wrist,”

And you know, for Susie it is so much more. That's what I hate about her subtlety. She quite obviously draws attention to herself and then pretends to hate the sympathy. I can't say I don't sympathises with her, who would enjoy seeing another human being beaten? But I definitely can't empathise with Susie. Her broken wrist is her trophy, the more danger she can put herself in the more legitimate sympathy she is able to acquire. I want to know what provoked this fiancé of hers to hit her. There's always a very good reason to an argument, unless one party is psychopathic.

"Somehow, he managed to keep her pinned in position without even laying a finger on her."

That exactly what Jones would do (nice one Sam!)! And it's a very freakish reaction. My chemistry teacher masters it with every lesson. He is able to silence a room with one simple glare and he never raises his voice. *shudders*

'“Then why are you letting him do this to you?”'

Funny that you mention this. A friend was explaining to me the reason why she stayed in an abusive relationship. She said it was because she honestly believed that he would change. That's what so good about humans, we're able to trust someone so immensely no matter what. Some people are more apt at it, it turns out that they suffer more but are better people for it.

In any case. What's Susie's motive? I can't figure it out. Does she love him? Does she trust him? Or does she think she doesn't have any other choice?

"to the nightmare she had allowed her life to become"

Yay! You said it! The nightmare she ALLOWED her life to become. I think too many people believe that she had no control over her life. Which isn't true, she created her own problems but blamed herself last.

“What kind of father doesn’t even know their own kid?”

Perhaps one that doesn't want to know. I forget why Alex and Rory lost contact. You did mention it didn't you?

“I think I lost count at twenty-five.”

:O That's a LOT of alcohol. How much is in beer? 4 percent? My maths is shocking but that's about 250mL of alcohol (in 25) and let's say he weighs a slender 75kg. His blood alcohol level if he drank that all at once would be 0.33 which could kill him, in any case he'd lose consciousness, his bladder wouldn't function and his heart rate would fluctuate if not demise rapidly. *gulps* I don't think I'll ever drink, never.

'“but you’ve got to die of something, I guess.”'

That's very true. In fact I'd pat him on the back for it. Well done Joss, you've just discovered that humans are not invincible. And his prize shall be an extra carton (just to cheer him up).

There is something pathetically loyal about this alcoholism but I don't know whether Kelly should be flattered by it. I'm starting to wonder how weak spirited Joss really is.

Well done Sam, I'll keep reading once you've posted up some more.

jakc
jakc chapter 5 . 9/3/2007
Hey Sam,

I'm waiting for dinner and I thought I might as well try writing a succinct review (dare I try). So enjoy, it's brief! :D

I didn't realise I had read chapter four until I read it again, funnily enough I remember the billiard balls and the shot being rigged. That has to be my favourite quote, it's inconspicuously significant.

Although I skimmed through chapter four I picked up a couple of things I had missed before (as you do).

"Jealousy – the horrible monster that it was – was rising deep within him"

Oh, have I mentioned that Shakespeare created that monster? You must read Othello, jealousy is a major theme within it. It tells of the pure havoc the monster of jealousy can reek, the quote being: "'Tis the green eyed monster that doth mock the meat it feeds on". It's all consuming. But I didn't think Matt the type, maybe I over looked him for a passive jealous ridden man? One thing I do know, that in the sphere of men that have the right to be jealous, Matt is one of them. And in that case I'm meant to not be angry at his jealousy, the truth is I am, for all that Peroni has proved himself to be half of me feels sorry for him, that he spends his life consumed with the notion of happiness without ever having the capability to touch it.

"In the year since the shooting, they had all found what they had convinced themselves was happiness, but they were all finally realising that it really wasn’t. It was just the best they could do."

Impressive perception by Jonesy I must say. And it's great in the way that it explains the idea of happiness as something that cannot be created or found really, it isn't an object, it's more likely a by-product of something different. Humanity's quest of happiness in material possession is a plain example of that. And the ability of a human to hide from his fears is a great point too. I like the fact that they're hiding in self-delusion. If they somehow create a notion of happiness it must then exist. That can't be true. Well done Sam, it made me think! :P

“We’re older, Amy,” he told her, his façade of strength slowly beginning to crack under the pressure of her critical stare. “Twelve months ago, we were all still young, still naïve. Suddenly, we’re all older.”

I think I asked you what Jonesy meant by being 'older'. I thought you meant physical age and then you said 'no' and then when I suggested maturity that didn't really fit in either. Could it possibly be a different way of saying that they've gain another perspective on life? You know, looked at the box a different way instead of just sitting outside it?

"he just found himself listening to his heart."

:D YAY! Personification. Something that absolutely kills my English teacher is my incessant need to personify everything; what kind of pen is a pen without feeling? An object. But sometimes objects need feeling too, if only to explain a deeper concept. The absurdity of listening to your heart is hilarious but most of us recognise something in the statement. Not to mention that those medieval scientist were more than right, every human feeling is governed by the heart. At least we think it so, it makes us sound romantic.

"You are the best thing that I have ever had in my life"

It's very much something Jonesy would say, just out of sheer lack of originality. I've always wondered though, for someone to be the best thing in your life does that mean them exclusively and also does it mean that all those you said it to previously have been dismissed and also does it mean that you'll never experience anything better? Hmm, sorry I have my physics hat on at the moment: 'Question the validity of EVERYTHING!'

And something on chapter five:

"a father figure"

I don't like Tom being a father figure, probably because I don't understand the concept. But do you mean a father figure as in a person that would replace your father or a person that acts in the same manner? Does that make sense? In other words you don't have to be someone's father to be protective of them but is that what a father 'figure' is deemed to be? :S It confuses me.

"Styrofoam cup of coffee."

Did you know polystyrene makes white noise? :P I thought you might like to know.

"factored into the equation that was her life."

Is that a Sam original? Because it's brilliant! Who says maths doesn't dictate our existance?

I bet her life was differentiated too and the gradient found to be steeper than what she intended. (sorry, maths puns aren't funny).

"Her façade was breaking"

Interesting, Susie has a façade? Never!

"She had become the victim."

Ooh that's very brave of you. I think Susie's well aware of her victim status, Susie almost glorifies it. If she isn't the victim in a situation then something is wrong. Enough of Susie feeling sorry for herself! But really, egocentricity is the only principle she is able to understand.

Well done I enjoyed this chapter. Is there anymore after the sixth? There must be more, even if it is to find out what happens to Tom?

jakc
jakc chapter 3 . 5/11/2007
Sam,

Another review. Unfortunately this one will have to be as succinct as humanly possible for me. Aparently I have another life that needs tending.

"She was so much like Maggie Doyle these days that it wasn’t even funny."

I know you mentioned that what was written about each character was strictly their opinion on the matter but because you've written in third person, you as an author can't be completely objective. It sounds silly and I'll bet that I'm the only one (aside from my lovely year 11 English teacher) that will ever say this but the third person tense is a very difficult tense to unpersonalise. Every one does it, it gets to me a million times more when I do it, but when you read something written in the third person, everything that is printed is read as the opinion of the author. Even if it the intention isn't deliberate, it still reads that way. That's my explanation to why my comments were directed to you in a critical way although I know that there's little that you can do to change the characters themselves.

And here's another one: :D

Tom is so very wrong in his opinion of Amy. She was nothing like Maggie Doyle and she could never be anything like Maggie Doyle. If experiential learning means anything than Maggie and Amy were so different in their experience in life that to compare them would be like comparing water and air.

"that damn chair"

Any chance of sticking Tom in one? I think he might be a little less cynical if he stopped feeling sorry for himself.

"It had taken everything Alex had had to learn about his son and forge a bond"

Ah Alex. We won't even go there, you are well aware of my opinion of this 'man'. Forging a bond with anything is Alex's struggle in life. I won't be surprised if Rory just gives up on him. Who needs a father that's so out of touch with his own son?

"Suddenly, his son was little more than a stranger again."

Rory was always a stranger. I can't physically remember a time where Rory ever felt like Alex's son. But I suppose Alex should be given some credit for his pitious efforts, at least he knows his age, of sorts.

"It was just a little gesture that meant nothing, really."

Hmm, it was Nick Carraway that described personality as 'an unbroken series of successful gestures'. And it meant that a person's character is revealed through the smallest of gestures. For Alex, his minimally important gestures, prove what a poor character he really is. I feel sorry for him.

"Susie playing the ice queen"

Aw Sam, she doesn't 'play' the ice queen, she 'is' the ice queen! :P

"Nothing could destroy their father figure."

I don't believe Tom was ever a father figure to Evan. I can't possibly imagine him (in the state he is) to be suitable to be a figure of any sort. It saddens me that he's become this shell of a man. And it still makes me wonder how Amy could have though as much of him as she did.

"her lover"

The purple rhinoceros is happily flying about in the picturesque sky. It's funny because I know I said that the AJ relationship doesn't bother me in the slightest and it doesn't and I'm doing my very best to pretend that their relationship is 'real' but I just can't. It's feels so plainly absurb that Amy's referal to Evan being her 'lover' makes it even more fake. *flushes with embarrassment* Sorry, I'm sounding mean. You're hardly likely to change the fact that they're together so I'm going to grow up and accept it but you've lost me in the AJ plot. I don't understand any of it because I literally can't see it in my head.

"There was not a star in sight."

Apart from it being impossible (of course, you meant to be a figure of speech) I'd be a little freaked out if there were no stars in the sky! Did the absence of stars mean the absence of hope?

On a lighter note (that doesn't relate to this fic at all, I thought I 'd just throw it in because I thought it was interesting): NASA managed to get footage (possibly recreate, I was eating dinner at the time...) of a star that exploded and collapsed under its own gravity. And just to prove how far away these things really are, it took the light of the explosion x (sorry I've forgotton the actual number) billions of years to reach us.

"'Why didn’t you guys tell us?'"

I liked this quote, it made me smile. Every thing is unsaid and assumed in Heelers, that's how we all became body language experts in watching it.

“That shot was rigged.”

:D I like the unintentional irony in this one.

"so that they could retreat back into their world of Evan and Amy"

I tried to think of something constructive about their relationship but because it still doesn't make sense to me I'll have to say that their 'little world' is a ignominously tacky, but that's coming from a person who's a horrible romantic so don't take it quite to heart. :P

"He was still drunk, the taste of the last drink a few hours ago still playing on his lips."

I can imagine that some people might be shocked by Joss' little rebellious outburst. But I love it and I feel it's incredibly true to his character. Well done there Sam. It shows just how immature and selfish Joss was.

“Jesus, what’s happened to you?”

*cringes* Tom really bothers me and it's silly of me to protest against it because he is the sole reason I'm reading this fic. But Tom's sudden downward spiral in the religion department was something I could never envision. I always pictured old Tom to be a very strong man but aparently I was wrong, he's really nothing more than 'a broken man' and maybe he always was. People always make me cringe when they use Jesus' name in vain and Tom is no exception but I won't dwell on that, funnily enough people find it offensive when I point it out.

"Suddenly, we’re all older."

I need to ask you about this one Sam. I'm not quite sure what you mean by it. If Evan is refering to maturity coming with age then he's completely wrong. None of them have matured one bit and it's a well known fact that maturity doesn't come with age, only with experience. Could Evan have possibly meant physical aging?

"She knew how big a part of his life Susie Raynor had once been"

:D It's great to see Susie back. And I'm quiet complacent with her storyline in this fic. For once, everything in Susie's life is just the way she wants it. She's managed to destroy any kind of pseudo relationship she had with Evan and she's found someone that tells her that he loves her. Everything's perfect. I'm itching to know what happens with Susie, I want to be the one that taps her on the shoulder to say: "I told you so."

:D Sam, this fic is getting just that little bit more interesting with every chapter. It's great to see that this chapter's a little more Tom focused because Tom's the only person I can clearly see in my head and he's just about the most compelling in this fic. I really enjoy your portrayal of him although I do find it a little hard to comprehend but that's nothing new. Heelers managed to ruin every idyllic image I ever possessed for it.

I'll make sure I get to the next chapter soon.

jakc
jakc chapter 2 . 5/5/2007
Säm (I hope you don't mind the 'ä'), This review might be a little dishevelled. It's a great testimony to the fact that my ideas are non-linear and should most probably be apologised for. :D

The title of this fic got me. I love the colour white, colour is a bit nonsensical. Shade. I love the shade. Purity, I think is the generic notion about the colour but I like the Hindu significance more so than anything. It's their colour of mourning and I think it's quite fitting, particularly to this fic.

"the clean white sheets"

There was a white curtain in there somewhere as well. I saw it blow in the breeze. Sheets and curtains must really stop being white out of context. I have to remember that! What I did like about your white sheets were that they were white for a purpose. To contrast with the fact that everything else is impure. Amy more so than anything.

"the mid-morning sunlight drifting in through the open window"

Do you have the same affinity that I have for light? That to describe an object be it inanimate or animate without light seems like a mortal sin? I love light too and without it everything is amorphous.

"The bloody chair just happened to be hers."

The chair. I have to say I wasn't terribly worried about the chair or Amy. It felt strange not to feel sorry. I remember watching a documentary by Richard Moir and his battle with Parkinson's and my entire body ached watching his inevitable struggle. But that wasn't the case with Amy and it feels wrong. Maybe because a wheelchair never triggers the obvious thought of disability in my mind. I thought it would for Amy though and I felt it would be her tipping point. Her reaction to her chair was empty almost as if it didn't exist. That worries me.

"His precious Amy"

I smiled when I saw this line. Madam came to mind and her fierce feminist view about man's possession of woman. She sneers at the French word for wife (femme- (rhymes with 'thumb')- woman) for it means that a man has 'a woman' and possess her solely. I like Madam's argument because it makes me laugh. There is something exclusive about being someone's and it certainly doesn't feel derogatory in this case at all.

n.b. The AJ relationship didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I still can't see it in my head (much like you wouldn't see a purple rhinoceros) but it doesn't matter much.

"with a sort of love and care that he failed to understand"

I have a question with this quote. Alex could never understand the concept of love (with its varied meanings). But did the love and care refer to the maintenance of a garden or was the garden an analogy for a human relationship?

"at the very least, it would give him some sense of normality, something he was lacking especially now that Evan had moved out"

Funny that Alex should mention that. Evan possessed the ability to distinguish between reality and illusion. Everyone around Evan felt the sense of normality he reflected. But it begs the question: what is normal? (Please don't answer that, I was just being cheeky. :P)

"Amy needed someone to look out for her these days"

Really? My ignorance is a shining beacon...

"He wasn’t a religious man – he couldn’t go back to there, he just couldn’t when he didn’t believe any of it anymore"

I loved this quote. It reminds me of the strength you need in order to believe something unexplainable. Tom's a weak man in many facets but his loss of faith in God always felt too obscure.

"pen poised"

I heard my physics teacher's voice in my head: "Pens poised girls!" That made me laugh until my stomach hurt.

"Neither of them really knew why they tried to keep their relationship secret... they were just trying to keep their relationship secret for no real reason, it made it feel just that bit more exclusive."

Secret relationships seemed to be a very prominent feature in Blue Heelers. I can't agree with the fact that it happened for no real reason. My theory is that something secret stays secret because if it were known it would have to be real.

"That and the fact that Amy was coping with it far better than he could have imagined."

Again, the tipping point was simply a figment of my imagination I suppose. But figuring out humans was something I was never particularly good at.

“The harder we try, the harder we fall.”

He's right. The more force applied to an object the greater the impulse. The greater the impulse the harder it hurts. But the poor man's a pessimist. You just need to apply that force over a long period of time and it might not hurt as much.

Poor Tom.

“Standing up again.”

I liked this line because it was ironic. You probably did that on purpose. Coming from Amy it was almost laughable. You don't stand up if you can't. I think Tom should be in the wheel chair instead.

"She was too good a copper and a person to be wasted on that damn chair."

Amy is too good a copper but she isn't wasted. I don't approve of the stigma associated with wheelchairs. Somehow they make you less of a person.

“You’re like my father, Tom,”

I wonder if Amy knows what a father's love feels like? I've always wanted to know that. Can a child who's never had a father ever understand the concept of a father's love for his child? Can it be experiential?

"chasing Tess Gallagher like a little lost puppy"

Poor puppy. All grown up and looking back at his hackneyed bone, his life. I miss Jones' passion for life, when he thought he was invincible and omnipotent.

"the baby that she couldn’t quite get used to. Her baby."

Susie trials in life were always self inflicted and her pregnancy doesn't surprise me, neither does her complacency with her relationship or her abusive fiancé.

P.S. I've figured out her niche. She, like Hamlet, is the perfect existentialist. Someone for whom life has so little intrinsic meaning that she must create it for herself. Although existentialists have it in them that they take responsibility for their actions. Susie has never been that decent.

"everything in her muddled head would be just a little clearer."

I wonder if it will. I think Susie finds a great excuse in her muddleheadedness.

I thought I'd end on the note that I actually really enjoyed these first two chapters. It's a testament to the fact that your writing always exceeds itself with every fic. Well done.

jakc
Brindabella chapter 2 . 4/26/2007
Aw even better chapter here, you so have to keep going! It'll be like another Tall Soldiers! :)

I can't believe you made Susie preggers to an absuive boyfriend. She fell for that? Never would Susie Raynor fall for that! But it's so so interesting to read. I agree...she doesn't seem ready for motherhood in this fic.

Also was surprised that Kelly and Matt were married. Hehehehe made me laugh, but I loved it :)

You gotta keep going mate! I am going to put you on my author alerts to make sure I know exactly when you post up a new chapter!
Brindabella chapter 1 . 4/26/2007
Aw loved this chapter Sam! Loved it! You have totally made me an Amy Jonesy fan! I think my next fic is going to have to be AmyJonesy!

Ah loved the pillow talk comment from Amy - that totally cracked me up.
random-lobster chapter 2 . 4/23/2007
WOW! this is so FANTASTIC! I can't wait to see how the get together goes! Poor Susie! I am adding this to my favourie stories list!
panthersfan chapter 2 . 4/17/2007
great story and can't wait till the next chapter! great stuff Jen :)