Reviews for Manning Up
xxDodo chapter 1 . 2/24/2012
Loved this! Virgil's emotions were awesome and perfect, and I especially loved the end - with the wrapping paper fight and Virge finally getting his alone time with Scotty :) Amazing!
queenb48 chapter 1 . 8/2/2011
That was a really heart warming story and I loved the quirky touches when it came to Virgil! ahh that put a smile on my face! Thankyou for the great read! Hope to read more like this! x
Loopstagirl chapter 1 . 6/1/2010
Oh wow, i completley adored this, i had this huge smile on my face the whole way through! Thank you for a great read! :)
Red Hardy chapter 1 . 12/16/2009
Boomer, you already know how much I LOVED this story! There is a small, elite group of writers in this fandom who make it very easy to get excited and enthusiastic about their stories and YOU are at the top of the list! Absolutely no one else can write the Tracy family quite the way you do. Another reviewer said something and I found myself nodding along in agreement – every time I read one of your stories, it immediately becomes ‘canon’ in my mind.

I had so many favorites in this story but one of the things I loved the most was getting the backstory on certain things you’ve mentioned in other ‘present time’ stories. I know in Friendly Fire, Gordon mentions John’s dip into the Milstein’s hog pond to Jeff and Ruth – much to their horror! LOL! – and I’ve always wanted to know the story behind it. John didn’t strike me as the type to simply leap into a pond of hog manure so I figured there had to be more to it than that and I was always wondering. And now I know! LOL! We also got the answer to how Alan almost came to slide into the corn shucker – another incident mentioned in a ‘present time’ story. Oh, and we found out the specifics of the Addie/Mickie/Virgil triangle that Scott teases Virgil about in What A Christmas (which I just re-read again yesterday!). I think this is one of the things that makes all your stories immediately feel like ‘canon’ – you never, ever forget the little things you dropped into previously written stories and, eventually, we find out the story behind the story! I really, really love that about your writing!

Okay, onto specifics, before I use up my word count! :p

I was laughing during the scene with the catfight between Addie and Mickie. Poor Virgil feeling so bad about his ‘reaction’. I don’t know any red-blooded male who’d react any differently to that scenario, no matter WHAT their age.

Really enjoyed the scene in the restaurant. You have a way of writing these scenes of normalcy that still draw the reader in and leave them hanging on every word. I think it’s because you use such great imagery that we feel as if we are right there, watching and listening, rather than simply reading. You make each scene come alive.

I also like that we found out Scott wasn’t 100% perfect as a teenager. I actually like that a lot. I’d hate to think Scott never felt he could simply be a kid because of the extra responsibility he took on when his mother died. I love that he still managed to get into normal teenage ‘trouble’ yet his younger brothers never knew so he was still setting such a great example for them to follow.

LOVED the ‘mini-Dad’ crack about Scott though! It fits him and I can so easily see his brothers using it to drive him crazy. And I love that he seemed secretly pleased with the ‘nickname’.

The scene when Scott first arrives at the farmhouse was perfect. No matter what ages you write the brothers, you always nail their personalities. Al and Gordon bouncing off the walls with excitement and John, at 13, trying to be cool and mature but you could just tell he was so happy to see Scott that he wanted to jump all over Scott too.

The scene with everyone putting lights up on the farmhouse was so well written I was getting cold just reading it! Your writing is always so vivid I feel like I’m right in the scenes with the characters. Gordon on the ladder, John straddling the dormer with Jeff in front of him, Scott and Virgil on the roof freezing their butts off… I could picture all of them with such clarity. And I got a beautiful image of the farmhouse all lit up!

Grandma’s explanation for not wanting them to go back to Hutchinson was good. I was wondering where she was going with that in the beginning, as it was obvious she was determined that they should not go back there again! I like to think, though, that when they are all older, they take Grandma there one day. She’s right in that when you are young and have such an amazing experience, you’ll never be able to recreate it; but when you get older and are better able to understand how magical that first experience was, I think you can go back and have just as good a time reliving the memories. Totally adored Grandma being so proud to walk down the street with her grandsons on each arm! What an amazing image I got of them.

I also really liked the ‘driving lessons’ for John and Virgil. Again, one of the things that makes all of your stories so enjoyable is the continuity. You give the family a history and traditions and we see them pop up again and again. I love that.

The confrontation between all the boys and Addie’s brother was brilliantly done! It had a perfect balance of description, emotion and dialogue. My stomach was in knots at what was going to happen. You drew out the suspense at just the right speed. And I have to admit, while violence isn’t an answer to anything, I loved seeing ALL of the boys jump right in without hesitation once Avery went after Virgil. The guy never knew what hit him! And I doubt he’ll mess with any of the Tracy brothers again.

Having said that – Jeff’s speech to all of them when he found out what happened was truly chilling, seeing it all laid out like that. And Scott is an adult now and would be charged as such if Avery wanted to press charges against him! John did have an excellent point that, sadly, some people just won’t respond to anything other than a fight; they don’t want to settle things non-violently. The other thing I truly loved in that scene was Jeff admitting he had made the second mistake. He’s such a great example to his boys!

Oh also, John’s reaction when Virgil pulled him away – exertion and fear – was perfect!

Loved, loved, LOVED the talk Jeff had with Virgil about the whole situation with Addie and Mickie and his reaction to it. It just fits perfectly with the way you have always written the characters and the world you’ve created for the Tracy family. It was really well done with being overdone. Now… I wonder where Virgil will be hiding his Playboy magazines where Grandma won’t find them! LOL!

Out of the whole story I think this part just made me melt:

Nodding his head, with his eyes examining his present, Scott softly said. “Yeah. Virg, this is beautiful. It’s perfect.”

“Lemme see, Scotty.” Still dressed in pajamas, Gordon came up and looked at the small watercolor over his brother’s shoulder.

Virgil waited for the smart aleck remark and was surprised when Gordon reached out a finger to touch it and said wistfully, “You paint so good, Virg. I wish I could paint like you.”

Yup, all warm and fuzzy now!

The airline tickets Scott gave to Virgil were an awesome gift. It was just what Virgil needed.

I really enjoyed seeing Virgil’s emotions changing throughout the story as he realized how his family was changing – and would continue to change – as they all grew up and went their own ways. It was a sweet coming of age story without being at all sad or preachy. In fact I found it to be very uplifting and happy! Another absolutely wonderful story! Boomer, you never EVER disappoint! Thank you so much for sharing your talents with us. :-)
quiller chapter 1 . 12/13/2009
Once again, Boomercat is back on form with a Christmas story that leaves the reader feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

Keep up the good work!

PS how about a nice story for Gordon next? - last ones you did for him you were bashing him on the head and making him feel miserable after his accident. Have you gone off the red-headed lad?
tanpopo no hana chapter 1 . 12/13/2009
Oh man, your stories always make me so happy! You have no idea :D. All you write kinda becomes instant canon in my head. The characterizations are just flawless and I love how you always manage to treat all of them equally. Despite this story mainly beeing about Virgil and Scott it never felt like the others weren't important. Often I think it's easy to recognize which brother in not particularly liked by an author, but with you I never get the feeling you like one of them better than the others. Though of course I know everyone has their preferences ;).

Anyhow, thanks so much for another wonderful story! I enjoyed every word.

And Happy Holidays!
mcj chapter 1 . 12/12/2009
Boomercat - I've just spent 45 minutes reading this well written story and absolutely have to comment.

Congratulations on your latest work. It has just the right balance of description and dialogue and the storyline is smooth and very well-paced. You take the time to develop the scenes around the plot and it is very effective in this case. I also think you write the characters at these ages extremely well. It would have been such a tumultuous time as they all started to grow and leave home and you write the varying childhood ages without any problem.

My favourite part of the story (well - character wise anyway) was when John backed the car out of the drive with everyone in the car. I remember my 3rd when he was at the wheel with the others watching and you described John's reservation to the wire - lack of dialogue and pure body language said it all. So true to reality Well done!

My fav part was when Jeff sat Virgil down after the fight with Avery. Great interaction between both characters even though it was difficult for Virgil. Poor Virgil having to admit his physical reactions to his Father (thank goodness Scott gave him the heads up to be honest - so to speak.) However,as always I note there maybe a story of the past there, somewhere. Did I read correctly that Jeff knew all about the need for respect from experience? LOL. You gotta write than one for me!

Boomercat, I like your no-holes barred writing style. It's graphic,unique and special and something for all writers on this site to aspire to. If only more "young Tracy" stories had this depth and quality.

Congratulations again. Awesome story-telling!

Yours in writing.

mcj
MichaelDavid1983 chapter 1 . 12/12/2009
Great story. I loved the life lesson in there. Keep up the great writing.