Few TG stories have just the right measured balance of
melodrama, description and characterization. Amanda Stones sole work "A New
Beginning", a refreshing work in the genre, is one that does.
Its description of the waning days of an amazing
Michigan towns summer as seen through the eyes of young Jamie brings all of your
senses into the prose. You can smell the lingering rain, feel the heavy air, and hear the
cicadas and sense that you are in the hands of a marvelous writer.
After this opening paragraph, which works perfectly at
drawing the reader into the story, we get the well-woven back-story of our hero. Soon
things grow complicated though.
A perplexing disease swiftly shatters the quiet, Americana
monotony. Fear descends upon the townspeople as the infectees pile up. But young Jamie
isnt fearful of the contagion, in fact he welcomes it, because, as we discover, it
promises to deliver him what he most desires.
The question of whether hell get infected turns out
not to be as pertinent in the story as how he and his family will deal with his eventual
infection. There are several tense moments because of the infection and, later, expected
discovery waiting game, especially involving Jamies mother who is never actually
named. A clever move that automatically makes his mother the allusion to anyones
Once the story moves beyond the setup and complications,
things begin to smooth over. Red herrings of potential conflict are filleted and we are
left with a mellow tale of mother/daughter bonding. Occasional glitches of grammar are
present, but easily overlooked since youre already one with the tale, as are the
reliance on descriptions of clothing and transvestitism that pale in comparison to the
dynamics and particulars of the town.
Ultimately, this work is about fantasies fulfilled and the
lifting of hidden secrets by the love of family. And while similar things have been
written, especially ones including an understanding mother and a son who longs to be a
girl, this one is the most endearing that Ive ever read.
My only major quip is with the ending, which compresses all
the events after the main action into a pair of paragraphs when they could be another
story on their own, which is a little frustrating, but easily forgiven.
"A New Beginning" which is, as Ive said
before, Amanda Stones only story thus far, has its kinks, but also its
delightful touches and attention to detail. Such artistry and emotion is often only seen
in professionally published material.
Clearly, Amanda Stone is a new talent with the ability to
weave scenery as lovely as a hanging tapestry. And that makes you wish you could escape
into the threads of the fabric and into
.a new beginning of life.
"A New Beginning" brings to Crystal's Story Site
the one and only submission from Amanda Stone. I cringe to myself slightly as I notice
this, seeing how difficult it is to review an author's work from just one sample story.
Luckily the size is just over a 100k.
Amanda gives us a sweet and sentimental story concerning a
transgendered boy, his family, the local community, and a wasp. I make it sound very
simple and it is as far as plotlines go, but Amanda seems to have a talent for description
and she uses that talent well.
I actually read the first paragraph and thought to myself
"Uh oh we've got a real novelist here instead of a storyteller." I consider
novelists a type of person that will take ten pages to set up one little insignificant
scene, but she proved me wrong and took off like a bat at the end of the page.
It seems a small town is being plagued by one or more wasps
that have the ability to change the gender of any male they sting. All of you TV fans out
there don't worry; this is not a magic story. There is a perfectly rational explanation
for how this is accomplished; you just have to wait till the end to find out what it is.
The rest of the story tells how Jamie deals with being stung and how he/she reveals his
condition to his family.
I find that her lead character, Jamie, is very a
sympathetic young boy who is very much loved by his mother. It makes me wonder if some of
the interactions are brought out from Real Life.
I find Amanda's descriptions and content well thought out
and her mechanics lacking only in very few instances. There are only a couple of
"big" paragraphs, and the dialog is very natural, not at all fake or
unbelievable, as we are used to seeing.
I think realism is becoming the catchword as of late. I'm
sure we all would like to believe that whatever we read would be possible in some way,
shape, or form. So, the closer to reality we write...well then, the more the story will be
received. I'm sure there are a number of biologists, or geneticists out there that will
say the plot is bunk, but I find it fascinating and pretty well thought out.
I noticed that this story was submitted in September of
last year. I only hope that Ms. Stone will grace us with another so that we can sample her
prose in better detail.