Peer Review by Ash (United States)

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Borrowing Voice: Off the Page by Jodi Picoult

By: Jess

PROMPT: Borrowing Voice

"You are the only one who was willing to hear me out. My daughter... she's in trouble. No one will help me. I'll give you anything Prince Oliver, just please, find her," the old man begged.

Oliver was hesitant. 

"I"m.. I'm not a fighter. I'm not even a king yet. Can't you find someone else?"

"Like I said before, no one will hear my plea."

Oliver sighed. This was his duty to take care of his kingdom and everyone in it. One day he'll be king and everything he'll do from then on would be permanent. He would have no mother to erase his mistakes. Oliver pictured this girl, young and beautiful being carried out by a knight in shining silver armor. The knight took off his helmet and it was him-- Oliver. Now, Oliver could picture their whole life together, him and this princess. Him as king, her as queen, ruling the kingdom as one.

"Earth to Prince Oliver, are you there?" the old man asked, snapping his fingers in front of his face.

"Yes.. what's your daughter's name again? Juni--juni what?"


"Ah okay. I will find her, and I will bring her back to you in 5 days time. My prince's promise."


"No you are not. I refuse to let you out of my sight. Now get back inside, Oliver. You are barely win a fixed fight, how will you ever go on this perilous journey?" Queen Maureen said as she walked briskly with her head held high.

After Prince Oliver packed his things, he told the Queen (aka his mother) and they've been discussing it for 10 minutes now.

"But mother, I'm not dad. I will not die in battle. I will not let this quest go unfinished. I will, however, promise to be safe and come back healthy and in one piece. I've already made my prince's promise." Oliver reasoned.

Queen Maureen chewed her bottom lip and looked him in the eye. There was so much determination in Oliver it was sure to show through to her. Finally, she sighed and said," Fine. If you want to go out into the world and get hurt it's your choice." Queen Maureen held his face in both hands and continued. "But you are my son. My only son. So take this." She took off a compass around her neck and put in his hand. "It was your fathers. Just in case you want to give up and come home to your sweet mommy, this compass will point you home. Please be safe. I love you."

"I love you too, mom. This isn't goodbye."

They let go of each other and Oliver went down the dirt path to follow the old man's map. He looked back and waved. There were tear in his eyes now, but why was he crying? This wasn't goodbye, was it?


Message to Readers

This idea was taken from Off the Page by Jodi Picoult.

Peer Review

The dialogue between the old man and Oliver has a particularly strong voice. Although it's written in "Ye Olde English," it doesn't feel forced and it flows very naturally.

It's written in a semi-medieval setting and I feel like I'm transported back to that time. As such, the tone is very serious, especially with Oliver: he's very naive and idealistic. Even the sarcastic comments that his mother says appear to be delivered very seriously but with a smile. The style is fairly formal as a result.

Reviewer Comments

I really enjoyed the piece. Just a few minor issues with tone and grammar.