Interview with Test Reader #2

An interview with Test Reader #2 about the novella in progress. This is that discussion!
So, you’ve read through the majority of the book, and you’re a woman, roughly the same age as the protagonist when it starts. What are your thoughts on her?

To me, she starts out as this ordinary girl, strong for the most part, confident enough in her own looks, abilities, etc., to make her way decently through life. Then by the end, she’s this poor jaded broken shell of her former self. But she’s still confident, in a different way. It’s almost beautiful how she retains her confidence throughout the entire story. I admire her, in so many ways, and at the same time, I hate her, and want to tell her how to fix her life. But it’s wonderful.

As we know, this story takes place over the course of 14 years. What are your thoughts on how the protagonist changes over that period of time?

She changes so dramatically. Every time you come back to her, she’s different, in many ways.  And I’m ok with that fact. At first, her changes are entirely for the better, but by the end, they become this terrible fact of life that changes must occur, which I guess is an odd way of viewing life. The protagonist forces you to really see yourself, for all the good and bad. And it works.

At one point in time in the story, there’s a rather severe shift in gears and the tone changes in a major way. What are your thoughts on section? 

I like the shift, for the most part. It reminds you that the protagonist is in fact just a human woman, with feelings and blood and sweat and tears, and not something more, which is how I started to view her. I saw it as a way with her coming to terms to the fact that she lost all control and she becomes ok with it. I actually saw it as the moment she became broken, and not the moment she became fixed.

Who was your favorite character throughout the narrative?

The protagonist. By far. She has this dimensionality that’s incredible. I can see myself in her, I can see my best friend, my sister, and mom. I can see my husband, my father, everyone in her, in some way. She’s the every man’s man. You can relate to her anger, her sadness, her disgust. It’s amazing.

What character did you like the least?

That’s a very difficult question. As a human being, I despised Ray. But as a character, he was WONDERFUL. At first, I was angry that he wasn’t explained. As the story got on further, he was the character I loved to hate. I despise him with my entire being, but I can’t help but want to know what he’s doing, and why he’s doing. I can’t really give a good answer to this question because every character was relevant in my mind, and I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t feel it was true.

What was something about the story that you really enjoyed, and wished there was more of?

I want more of a lot of the story, but I have to admit if there was any more that was placed in front of me, the story wouldn’t be so wonderfully tantalizing. It was the perfect amount to make me crave more and not be dissatisfied that I wasn’t getting information. I love the violence, the descriptiveness of the writing, the plot development. I love it all.

What was something about the story that you disliked, and wish there was less of?

I know it’s so cliche to say there’s nothing you disliked about a story in order to save face or feelings, but I honestly can’t answer this question. There is nothing I disliked enough to mention in actuality. There are parts I’m not fond of, or passages, but not in the way that I want them lessened or removed. I simply am irritated by the emotions, or moods. But without them, the story simply wouldn’t be what it is. And I’m quite satisfied in it’s ability to give me a story, draw me in, and spit me the hell out.

For you, what was the most defining moment of the story?

To be entirely honest, the first section of the book, in meeting the protagonist, and when she wakes up in the desert with Ray were HUGE. They set the tone of the protagonist and her relationship with Ray, all the good and bad. I also enjoyed the bits about her coming into her own. But the first section of the book sucked me in, and I was hooked.

What would you think of more stories, but not necessarily related to THIS story, taking place in this particular world?

AMAZING! Short stories, please please please. If you were to give me sections like 1966 or 1969 simply on their own, about other characters, and just leave it where you left it, I WOULD LOVE IT. Spin a wonderful web in this universe, please.

In your opinion, what do you think is the appropriate reading age for this story, and why?

Older crowd. Meaning, above 16? Language and violence do not make happy children.

On the subject of gender, do you feel that this is a story that is appropriate for both men and women to read, and enjoy? Or do you feel it is more geared towards a specific gender? And why?

I love that I didn’t even know the main character was a female until she used a pronoun! I could have placed anyone in that spot and never know the difference. I think it can relate to either gender entirely. It has things both men and women enjoy, and it’s thrilling. That’s all that matters.

Overall, how was the experience of reading this book different from other books you have read in the same genre?

More concise, more to the point. Less fluff. And that’s a good thing. It’s not romanticized. It’s laid out in front of you, and you can make your own decision regarding. It’s a true life story (you know what I mean) in that there is no soft edges. It’s just there. And that makes it wonderful.

And finally, are there any other thoughts you had about the story? Anything goes!

I want more about the protagonist so bad, but at the same time I really don’t. Same goes for Ray. And to me, they are the only characters that matter. Everyone else is a way to prop up those two, and their very strange connection.

Oh, and AMAZING JOB.  

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