Peer Review by thechosenonemico (Philippines)

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The Lonely Pyromaniac

By: Harlow


FREE WRITING

    I don't remember when the burning started. Maybe after the divorce, maybe after my brother's suicide, maybe after I crumbled under the stress of life. I can’t remember the last time I saw my family.  Ma kicked me out when I burned the sitting room rugs to rags, and had me institutionalized when she found the matches. It's my own damn fault if you consider I had 'em lined up in order by burn damage on my charred mahogany desk.
    Ma forbade my friends from seeing me the month before I was institutionalized, so they all think I hate 'em. In reality, I might've needed them, but it's too late now. I’ve got friends, actually; my matches and the gasoline. They've always been there for me. Even now in a Manhattan cold alley, they're here. They help me burn bits of aluminum to throw at the alley cats and allow me to relieve myself from the wildfire of life.
    The aluminum was the only thing lighting since the old wood and paper in the dumpsters was rain-soaked. I was going to go try to sleep tonight, but that'd be useless; I haven't slept in days. I would've tucked into bed, but then I saw it. The rain poured slick on a beat up Caddy, so I didn’t expect it to light. That night, I didn’t really expect anything else to light, but I had to try. I had to. I drenched the cracked red leather seats in gasoline and poured some in the dents on the roof. I lit my cigarette first; a good smoke gave me a good mood. I lit a second match to flick at the car and watch with a euphoric delight as the orange flames enveloped the car and licked at the wet sidewalk. This was thanks to my only friends.

Made some changes based on comments and peer reviews. Don't forget, there's also "The Prettiest Wallflower" if you want a change of pace.

Love,
Harlow

Message to Readers

footnotes


Peer Review

The voice of the speaker is chillingly captivating. I am impressed with how you interlaced the words coming out of the speaker's mouth with a sense of casualness, because it smartly amplified the strength and power in the character's words. For example, the part "Ma forbade my friends from seeing me the month before I was institutionalized, so they all think I hate 'em. In reality, I might've needed them, but it's too late now" became twice as poignant because of the distant, sort-of-apathetic feel in the voice of the character. The same with the part "They help me burn bits of aluminum to throw at the alley cats and allow me to relieve myself from the wildfire of life," which became much more terrifying because of its casualness.


I personally find this story and its main character quite enthralling, and It would be great if you could transform it to a longer one. If you choose to do so, I hope to see you maintain the distinct voice of the speaker and deepen his/her back story.


Reviewer Comments

Beautiful work! I hope this peer review is helpful, and I am looking forward to seeing your other works.