|Reviews for The Devil and Mrs Black|
| I see chapter 1 . 8/11
First chapter i thought: I think this Bella you wrote here has Aspergers Syndrome. Everything fits.
| Kafkaienne chapter 6 . 8/12
The following review is written by a person whose mother tongue is not english. I had fun writing it, but I don't say that my interpretation of your story equals "the truth" or is the only right way to interpret it. That both said, the following interpretation may be full of grammatical and spelling errors, but it is the content I wanted to convey -And i hope what i wanted to say is comprehensible.
Okay, now I would say: I am really thinking your Bella is autistic. Autistic people often are described as seeming to be "heartless" or like a "robot", thus with the exact same terms you used, because you often can't see their emotions manifest themselves in their facial expressions or their body language. But they are not dead inside, they just maybe feel so compared to emotional (neurotypical) people, because they don't really understand their own feelings and have a rational instead of an intuitive approach to dealing with them.
Less likely your Bella could have an antisocial disorder (socio-/psychopathy) but there are several points against it and just one in its favor: the latter being her ability to lie seemingly flawless. But it is only seemingly flawless, because the only times we learn that she is good at lying is when she tells us herself, so she thinks she is good at it, its her individual view of reality. I think the parts where she is brutally honest (for example: Edward: do you think i would make a good husband? -Her answer: no), and the parts where she just can't care less about weaving a net of lies so she could be received as more charming, instead just letting things progress (not necessarily in her favor), because she isn't too emotionally involved, speak for themselves.
Second: autistic people have problems knowing their own feelings (understanding them for what they are), so to me it doesn't seem anomalous, that she felt sad upon Jacob's and Edward's death. She couldn't grasp the idea of one of them dead until it had already happened. When it did, she understood better what she had lost on an emotional level.
Third: Autistic people are not bad actors per se. In fact, they may become quite good at playing "their part", because they are pressured by society to act in a certain more social/emotional attached way, especially women.
Fourth: She let herself be taken: She may not know it, but I think what Edward did to her could be classified as rape. She didn't encourage him. She didn't want it. But i think she is so detached from her own feelings, and autistic people don't understand and often can't cope with spontanous emotional outbursts from neurotypical people directed at them, so they may run away, or just do nothing, because they don't have the time to estimate what a) their feelings are regarding this situation b)how to translate them into an appropriate reaction. In tune with this comes the next point:
Fifth: Her lacking intuition. Even at the beginning of your story her insecurity is very prominent; it affects her trust in her own perception, her ability (or better lack thereof) to decide by herself what is an appropriate social reaction in every situation, and her believe that others know better what is good for her than she does herself. This last point is the most important thing speaking against the theory of her truly having antisocial disorder: As i understood it, people who have that would not be unsure of themselves in that way at all.
Your Bella gets no enjoyment from manipulating people. Even if she tries to she is not very good at it. See the Jasper-End: her reaction seems forced and moreover an over the top imitation of what she thinks would be an appropriate social reaction when trying to act seducingly, as if she really wanted to desperately convince herself that she is the cunning woman, who had/has a grand scheme. What she is, is a rational being, that maybe doesn't dwell on emotional heartache too long, because it is inefficient, and instead tries to make the best out of the situation.
She is not really interested in messing with people; not just because she can, or just for fun, or even for personal gain that isn't "vital" -but socio-/psychopaths would be. She is not actively manipulating people at all, when she "doesn't have" to: with the police it was an emergency reaction to save herself, not a grand plan to get rid of both Edward and Jacob. In fact, Bella is very passive through all of your story: She just takes what people throw at her and then works with it, trying to make the best out of the situation (very rational). She doesn't complain about her boss Edward's unfair behaviour towards her when she has to work a lot more, just because HE wants to manipulate her for his personal gain.
So as a conclusion SHE is the victim, even if she and EVERYONE ELSE is unconscious about it. She is the victim even in her relationship with her husband Jacob: I don't say he is a bad guy, but to marry a woman who tells him that she doesn't love him and for him then to completely ignore her feelings and marry her despite that -remember: She is autistic, when he, as a member of society, tells her that it is okay that they marry despite her not loving him and she just doesn't know any better -then if you really want to blame someone, he is the most responsible candidate.
I don't like the blame game, because while their deeds maybe bad for Bella, your Edward and Jacob here are not "bad" people, if there even is such a thing as an objective "good" or "bad", which i doubt there is. As i see it Jacob and Edward really really wanted to believe that Bella could one day love them. They both acted selfishly, Edward more so then Jacob, but that is what they essentially are: Selfishly emotional neurotypical people who don't WANT to wrap their minds around the fact that Bella's brain is just not wired that way. I say want, because they really just ignored all the very obvious signs, because they choose to, because it was more convenient for them that way. They didn't ask her for what she wanted, or when they did and it didn't benefit them, they even went so far as to ignore it. They just took her non-protesting for an excuse to continue.
Even the people who encouraged her to marry Jacob didn't try to understand her or encourage her to try to understand herself better. They had no empathy for a different being -which is quite funny, because one of the traits of autism is less cognitive empathy. As I have learned from statistics and experience with autistic persons: Its the other way around, too, like you showed here. The neurotypical people can't really grasp her way of rational/systematical thinking, she can't really grasp their way of emotional thinking. Their is no better way of thinking. There is just a more common one, which works a lot better in this world designed by neurotypical people for neurotypical people.
I for example can understand why your Bella doesn't want any kids, here a some of the reasons why this may be the case: From an autistic point of view it is very hard to relate to a being you can't communicate verbally precise on a factual level with. In addition she is a rational being first, not an emotional one: She may just not see the point in having a child. Look at it from a more rational/systematizing point of view: A child costs money, costs you a lot of time, is a huge responsiblity for a long time, always will come with some kind of problems you have to solve (like going to the doctor when it's ill, helping when it's in school with homework, helping the child when others kids are mean, etc.)
So in my humble opinion your Bella is definitely no devil.
And in the end, this is what makes the only devil in this story perhaps ignorance and intolerance to accept people as unique individuals and not judging them for it, because lets face it: Their is no objective truth for what is right and what is wrong.
But this is truly a drama/tragedy, from one point of view or the other. Your genre classification is very accurate. I feel for Bella, especially because she doesn't seem able to do so herself. She is and always will be misunderstood and lonely, even if she's with other people, as it seems, and that in my opinion is truly tragic. So according to my interpretation, i would tell her: She is such a good liar -at least when it comes to convincing herself, that she time and time again fools herself into believing her own lies, because for her it's easier that way.
| gi-freakazoid chapter 6 . 5/14
That's left as an open ending, but it was a refreshing read.
| kalzMarauding chapter 6 . 9/24/2014
Damn she's a bitch. But I liked the story!
| missalishacullen chapter 6 . 8/10/2014
I love every single chapter . The story is sooo powerful and it almost made me cry. Good work on the story and I also love you other story The accidental nanny.
| That'sMzPeachesTYVM chapter 6 . 2/24/2014
She fell in love with her independence and herself.
| That'sMzPeachesTYVM chapter 5 . 2/24/2014
She loved herself.
| That'sMzPeachesTYVM chapter 4 . 2/24/2014
Her internal emptiness is going to kill them all.
| That'sMzPeachesTYVM chapter 3 . 2/24/2014
You have to know what love feels like first, right?
| That'sMzPeachesTYVM chapter 2 . 2/24/2014
he is trying to seduce her slowly.
| That'sMzPeachesTYVM chapter 1 . 2/24/2014
| EdwardsSnack chapter 6 . 7/27/2013
That was unlike anything else I have ever read. And I enjoyed it immensely! Thanks so much
| Little Miss Melby Sunshine chapter 6 . 4/3/2012
Loved it, every last chapter. It was definitely interesting, and I enjoyed it so.