swan_bite: Anna eating some cotton candy and looking smug about it (x-mas Jared)
[personal profile] swan_bite

easy on the clutch
in which sam turns sixteen in panabaker, new hampshire, and dean teaches him to drive.
sam/dean (supernatural)
31,000 words
I loved this story and could not give less of a shit that there's no clutch in the Impala, because as the author says, this story is not really about driving. I'd read the fic a while ago, but I must say I loved it more than the first time. Back in the day, when I first read it I totally expected fics to be like this-- well-written, with fleshed out characters, and plots that jived with the way I look at canon. And yeah, fics that said something about life in a way. Now, I can appreciate this much more, having read many fics where nope, nothing like that seems to happen and the writer uses their fic to push a particular agenda, rather than trying to discover/reflect something. This story could have gone on forever and I wouldn't have minded. I just wanted to live in that sad, poignant little world where the boys stuck out like sore thumbs, Sam was becoming a man and Dean was thought of as the creepy older brother rather than as the bad-boy cool one.

Gushing in bulletsies:

* I really like when Dean and Sam know each other (duh) and yet, are still a mystery to each other as well. Irreplaceable Intimacy + Insurmountable Differences = Delish Conflict. It's the kind of conflict we see on the show, where Sam goes to Standford and becomes a stranger, and then Sam drinks blood and becomes a stranger, and then Robo!Sam and he becomes a stranger and here he is in a Pre-Standford fic, the first of such metamorphosis becoming a stranger to Dean who no longer knows how to be his big brother/father/mother. I was reading "Practical Magic" (totally different from the movie, by the way) at the same time, and it reminded me of how Sally felt about her teenage daughter Kylie.

Sam is harder, though. He's always changing—body shifting right in front of Dean's eyes, muscles rippling up out of nowhere, veins in his forearms surfacing overnight. The baby fat's already hollowing out from his cheeks and the bones in his face are sharp and angular now, so his smile almost looks too big.

* I loved how seemingly throw away lines worked as their philosophy of life, or something really profound about them as people-- without being written in a really formal, pretentious, Profoundy McProfound way, you know? I just hate the self-consciousness of "OMG THIS SHIT IS SO INSIGHTFUL!" The insightful moments were made more insightful because they were just there, not emphasized by anything and so they felt more real.

Sam wipes his hand off on his thigh and tries to remember what Dean looked like when he was Sam's age. He wonders if Dean had an awkward phase where he didn't know what to do with his elbows and where his voice came out of his throat all wrong.

Sam always saw Dean as older and bigger and cooler, though, no matter what, so it doesn't surprise him that he can't remember a Dean who was uncomfortable in his own skin.

* A good writer can take a cliche and twist it around until I'm scratching my head wondering why writing can't be more filled with tropes and cliches and stereotypes. Like, Dean is usually seduced in a lot of Pre-Standford fanfic so that nobody can accuse him of creepiness. Here he is also seduced, in the sense that he would never have taken the first step --though he so wanted to-- toward Wincest if Sam hadn't hurled him into it, yet it really doesn't feel phony, but like trufax and that's all on the execution.

* The female OC's were awesome, and by awesome I don't mean perfect, I just mean fleshed out girls who were perfect for them in that moment in time. I specially liked Holly because she had her own agency, she wasn't waiting around for Dean to get his shit together and start giving a shit, and she wasn't about to start giving a shit either.

* In Pre-Standford fics what happens to SPN fanfic readers is like what used to happen to like, audiences in Shakespeare's time? It was all about the dramatic irony. The audience would know the history of the characters, so they'd know everything that was gonna happen even if the characters did not, and Shakes could play emotionally with that. The author here superbly introduces D.I. these during the boys' conversations, where they talk about what will happen after they kill the Demon, their version of Happily Ever After: a longass roadtrip with maps and books instead of weapons. Talking about a time when they could see America instead of just wondering through it like zombies.

All in all, highly rec'd.

Rating: \o/ \o/ \o/ \o/

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-09 10:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] yourperiphery.livejournal.com
I'm kind of out of fandom (though I still love the show more than ever) but I got this in my email today and wanted to pop in and say thank you, so so so much. This was my favorite thing I ever wrote and I'm so glad you liked it. Thanks for the thoughtful review!!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-12-09 11:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] swan-bite.livejournal.com
aw, that's wonderful. i was gonna leave you a comment soon because the point of my holiday reading list is to intro readers to awesomesauce fics, yes, but also to leave comments to the authors who wrote and so generously post them. <3 glad it got to you and if you celebrate or just enjoy them, happy holidays!


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