TheUnderStudy's Rec of the Week: 4/30/12

May 01, 2012

The Wednesday Dinner Thing by gjficfan
Review by TheUnderStudy

Rating: M
Genre: Friendship/Drama
Characters: Edward & Alice

Summary: Four couples, unwitting neighbors, try something new: making friends. There will be laughter, there will be tears. What there won't be is canon couples! AU, AH, OOC, non-canon pairings, multiple POV. A/Ed, B/Em, R/C, Es/J. Rated M for language and lemons.

Most know that I am a lover of non-canon pairings. I will read just about any combination out there. Up until this fic, I had not seen any multi-chapter Alice/Edward fics. So, when this one popped into view, I could not pass it up. How often do we get to read an entire story that has no canon-couples? Almost never.

Alice and Edward are the main focus of this fic. They are high school sweethearts that have been married for five years now and are starting over in Seattle in upscale neighborhood, Twilight at Forest Crossing. Alice, in true characterization, has a bit of a shopping problem that her husband, Edward, discovers. The first chapter gives us a look into the world of “Eds” and “Taz,” affectionate nicknames that they have given to each other. We learn that Alice’s obsession with shopping goes deeper than one would expect. Her brief reflection on her past clearly shows how she lacked a great deal while living with her grandparents. It is mentioned that there is no memory of her parents. However, she does remember the slew of shrinks that tried to break through her sadness as a young child.

What we do garner the most from this first chapter is that Edward is definitely her savior. From whatever past the reader is eager to learn about, you grasp that Edward was a major part of the reason she is where she is today. Alice cares deeply for him and it is very much so evident in the way she speaks of him.

Edward has a real knack for understanding people, almost as if he can read their minds. He could have easily been one of the psychologists I so despised. He was a physically beautiful man, tall and lean, a born model, but he'd kill himself before he'd ever go down that career path. His true passion is music: singing, writing, playing, composing. I've lost track of how many instruments he can play. Again, the multiple Edwards, all forming my very singular Eds. 

When Edward devises a plan to help Alice reduce the amount of items she has bought unnecessarily, she reluctantly agrees. They plan to stage a very lavish yard scale for their seemingly snooty community. It is this very yard sale that the Wednesday Dinner crew meets and is formed. What is great about this story is that we get a viewpoint from each other characters. Alice and Edward are the backbone of the story, but even they are but a fragment of the true nature of this story. Friendship.

We meet young couple Emmett McCarty, who is currently suffering from a heavy loss and his supportive antique book dealer girlfriend, Bella Swan. Their story is one of healing, trust, and finding love all over again. I love how she has written Emmett in this, vulnerable and sweet, yet unyielding and determined.

I settled in to watch the game but unsurprisingly there was a rain delay. I aimlessly flipped through the channels, annoyed. I decided to go get some chips and a beer. When I stood, I noticed Alice's gift bag on the table next to the doorway. I'd already taken out the hair stuff, but I forgot those books were still in there. I wondered if she'd read them already. Instead of walking to the kitchen, I grabbed the books. 

Both book covers had clouds in the background. I guess it would be inappropriate to have pictures of big sunny skylines on books about dealing with grief. Curiosity got the best of me and I opened the first one to the table of contents. Looked like a bunch of lame-ass personal sob stories. Sorry Tiny, I wouldn't be reading that one. I figured the other would be the same, but it was a little different. It did have some stories, but it also had exercises to "help me cope". Had to roll my eyes on that one. 

This feelings shit was exactly why I didn't want to go talk to one of those psychs in the first place. I feel fucked up that my brother died, and especially about the way he died. Was he too drunk to feel anything? Did he know he was drowning? I cringed just thinking about it. Just as I was about to toss that book aside too, I noticed something about using a journal to write down your feelings. That really did make me fling it to the side. Why in the hell would anyone want to take everything they were upset about, write all of it down, and keep it forever? It made absolutely no sense to me. 

Things for Emmett get worse before they get better, but it’s nice to see his character with a lot more depth than being big jock and jokster. I have never seen Emmett written with so much heartbreak and hope. It’s compelling to see. Also we have always seen Bella as the quiet and shy girl, but with Emmett falling apart, she stays strong and pushes him when she has to. I love her determination in this story.

Connected to Bella is her partner in dealing, Carlisle Cullen. Carlisle, I admit, is a bit of a egotistical snob. I love it! It of course tappers off, especially as we get to know him. His POV provides so much insight later in the story and I almost feel bad for hating him as much as I did. He is married to the blonde bombshell Rosalie Cullen. Her introduction into the group is harsh at first, but it is a part of what makes this story so funny. The beginning is filled with jealousy and misunderstandings. It is those very things that eventually bring them closer.

The last couple is that of Esme and Jasper. Their relationship is the newest of all our couples, but no less wonderful. Esme has had her tragic past, but the TV design star has found new life with Jasper. He is the country boy we all love with the power to tell Esme what she’s missing and be able to be the sweetest man on the planet. He is also an intellectual hottie that can make statistics sound sexy. Once their relationship begins to flourish, the passionate nature of the two of them explodes even more than it had before. I am enamored with the way Esme always speaks of him.

With Jasper's sexual history, he absolutely could not be jealous about Marcus. Yet, he clearly was. He couldn't or wouldn't admit it though, and he'd been the same way when I first told him. I loved moments like these, when he showed his real emotions, and human nature overrode all his carefully developed psychology training and resolve. I'd certainly been jealous of his past, and it made me a little happy that he was even the tiniest bit jealous of mine. 

Once our Wednesday crew’s stories begin to intertwine and Alice begins to poke her nose all around, we get a group of strangers who swiftly become friends. They cry, laugh, live, and learn together. There is lots of drama in the story, but nothing too tragic that the humor is out of place. It all ties the story together, creating this new family that has bonded over a yard sale, a love for books, grief, triumph, and the need help the one you love.

Gjficfan is an excellent writer that incorporates all those funny moments with friends that we retell over and over and the realistic struggles of acceptance. Over a tradition of a Wednesday dinner, these people grow tremendously. She makes you feel like you are one of the group and reminds you of those similar moments you have shared with your family and friends.

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention the lemons. Yes, there are a few in this story, but not so many that it overpowers the meaning behind it. We get a little loving from each other couples. Even one between our main couple happens in the first chapter. My dear gjficfan does not disappoint, but each one is done differently each time.

Do not sleep on this fic. It is worth the read. As I stated in my final review of the story, “I am so glad that I was able to fall so in love with your characters: The Edgy Carlisle, the Healing Esme, the Emo Whisperer Jasper, The Bombshell Roadie Rose, The Love Bucket Emmett, Alice "The Glue" Masen, Way to your Heart Swan, & The Magician Edward.” Read and discover exactly what I have.

1 comments:

  1. gjficfan said...:

    WOW! I'm at a loss for words, TheUnderStudy. Thank you for this incredibly moving review of my story. And thank you Indieficpimp for posting it.

    This story really kept me focused through some very dark hours. I have truly appreciated every review I've received, and TheUnderStudy's reviews were always so thoughtful.

    I am very touched by this review, and I can't believe the amount of time that you must have spent on it. Thank you doesn't seem like a big enough phrase to share my appreciation for your heartfelt words, but it's all I have to offer.

    So again, I sincerely thank you for taking the time to do this! And I appreciate your continued support of the story.

    Also, I was previously unaware of this blog, but I think it's a great thing. To the administrators, you've clearly put a lot of time into this site and I for one am very thankful.

    ---gjficfan

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