Young Writers Society


12+ Mature Content

Under The Apple Tree - 2.2

by Elinor


“Alright,” Erin said, addressing the five of us. “This is everyone for today. Let’s get started. Does anyone have any thoughts about the book?”

“It’s very sad,” Louise said. “But good.”

No one said anything after that, so I supposed that I would say something. “I mean, this was my third time reading it, but I really liked it. But yes, it is sad.” I thought I would have something more profound to say, but nothing came. I figured that I’d hand someone else the floor and they’d say exactly what I was thinking in a better way than I ever could.

We talked a bit more about the book, about the characters, about why it all mattered. I don’t have to bore you with the details because you all know the story. Mysterious man consumed with what other people thought of him. Lots of surface level friendships, but barely anything meaningful. And of course, the lost romance. But I’m getting ahead of myself. In thinking back, because of this, it was interesting that it was the Great Gatsby and not some other book.

The one part of that afternoon that stands out in my mind, all this time later, is when Madison finally spoke up after not saying anything previously.

“Well, I was just thinking about that part when Nick told Gatsby that you couldn’t repeat the past. But what if Gatsby was right?”

“What do you mean?” Erin asked.

“What if you can repeat the past?” Madison said in a tone that was almost pleading.

I was floored. While I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that every person brings their own unique experiences and perspectives into the art they consume, I didn’t understand how someone could be so wrong about an author’s intent and yet be so confident about it.

“I think that’s missing the point of the book,” Kayla said bluntly. “Just a bit.”

Well, I wouldn’t have said it that way.

“What’s your problem with me?” Madison snapped. 

“I’m just saying, I don’t think you read the same book we did,” Kayla said. “Daisy obsessing over Gatsby is bad. That’s pretty clear to everyone who’s ever read it.”

“Don’t talk to me like I’m a child,” Madison said, raising her voice.

“Whoa,” Erin interjected. “Both of you, stop. If you can’t get along, I’m banning both of you from my house. I’m serious. How embarrassing when we have new people.” Then, she looked at me. “It’s not always like this, I promise.”

“It’s okay,” I said quietly. It was obvious there was some history that I didn’t understand, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to find out, at least not right at that second.

“Anyways….” Erin said. “What do we think about the film adaptations?”

Eager to move on from whatever had just happened, I defended my controversial opinion that the Baz Luhrmann version was not only a good movie but a good adaptation of the book. The older Robert Redford version may have been a more literal translation of the text onto screen, but somehow, it had lost a lot of the heart in the process.

Before long, Erin had released us all for the day.

We’d meet again in two weeks. Our next book would be Catcher in the Rye, which I’d never read. I knew that people only ever seemed to really love or really hate it, and I was curious to finally be able to form my own opinion. I had no idea which side I’d fall on, and there was something about that was exciting for me.

As we all left, I waved goodbye to Erin, thanking her for letting us into our home.

Laura and I walked out together.

I couldn’t stop thinking about that spat between Madison and Kayla, so when I was certain they were both out of earshot I asked Laura about it.

“Um, I’m not really sure,” Laura said. “I just know they don’t get along. Kayla kind of seems like she makes it her personality to hate everyone.”

I shrugged, figuring the rest of it wasn’t my business.

Then, Laura stopped me before I got to my car.

“Hey, I know this is kind of last minute,” she said. “But I was thinking of going to the lake house next week. My parents already said I could. If you’ll be around, you want to come?”

Oh, that’s the one thing I forgot to mention. Laura’s family had a lake house. “Yeah, of course,” I said. I loved the lake house. Everyone did. “Let me just check with my mom, but it should be fine.”

Then, we heard a voice. “What are you guys talking about?” We turned and saw that it was Madison. Had she heard the rest of our conversation? I wasn’t going to ask right now.

“Nothing,” Laura said. “Just making some plans to hang out.”

“Where?” Madison asked.

“Just my lake house.”

“You have a lake house?”

“Well, not me,” Laura said with a laugh. “My family.”

“That’s so cool,” Madison said. She started to open her mouth to say something, but then she was distracted by something.

A man, getting out of a car. That is how I first saw Brady. My first impression of him was that he was a normal, average guy. He had dark hair, a little naturally wavy. There was some stubble on his chin. He was well dressed but seemed comfortable in a button down shirt, dark jeans, and one of those canvas jackets. Madison would tell me later that he was Venezuelan, but had been adopted by a family in this town when he was young. I supposed he was conventionally handsome enough that someone would fall in love with him.

Madison’s eyes were on him the entire time. Shortly thereafter, he noticed her and gave her a slight wave. She waved back, and he approached her.

“How’s it going?” He asked.

“Good,” Madison said quietly.

“I’m meeting Erin for a drink,” Brady explained.

“Oh. Again?”

“Yes,” Brady said. Then, he turned to me and Laura. “You two of her victims?”

I had spaced out, still thinking about the spat between Kayla and Madison when we’d been inside. I hadn’t realized he was talking to me.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m Charlotte.”

“Brady.”

Then, he turned to Laura. “I think I’ve seen you before.”

“Yeah, I’ve been going a couple weeks now,” Laura said. “I’m Laura.”

“Charlotte. Laura. Good to meet you both. Well, don’t let Erin drive you too crazy,” Brady said. Then, he turned and saw Erin coming out the door. I realized that Kayla and Louise had probably long since left, and it was just the six of us.

She waved to Brady, and then turned to us. “I’ll see you all in two weeks?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Thanks for coming again, Charlotte,” Erin said, flashing me her perfect smile again. She didn’t acknowledge Madison, something that didn’t go unnoticed. Then, Brady and Erin started walking down the street, lost in a conversation of their own.

Madison, Laura and I were left standing in a semi-circle in the middle of the sidewalk. Something was off. It seems so obvious now, and I don’t know how on earth I didn’t see it. Maybe it was because, like I told you earlier, I thought that I could help her. All I had gathered at the time from the way she looked at Brady was that they knew each other.

After Brady and Erin had disappeared down the street, Madison’s eyes finally turned back to us. Laura opened her mouth to say something-- I knew, from the look on her face, that she was searching for an excuse to say goodbye.

And then Madison spoke.

“Hey, um,” she said. “Usually I walk over to O’Connor’s to have a drink. It’d be nice to have company. If you two want to come with me, that is.”

Laura and I shared a look for a moment. I certainly didn’t have anywhere important to be, except sitting at home with my mom.

“Sure, I’d love to go,” I said.

“Why not?” Laura added.

Madison gave us both a beaming smile. “Okay, great. Do you all want to walk?” I thought about it for a minute, and realized I had everything I needed. It was only five blocks to O’Connor’s, so Laura and I left our cars parked where they were, and walked.


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118 Reviews


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Thu Mar 10, 2022 7:31 pm
Coffeeboyjay wrote a review...



Hi Elinor,

First off Elinor my impressions of this novel are The characters I could say that Charlotte is one of my favorite characters in this novel I also have some lines from the novel that I keep reading I had spaced out, still thinking about the spat between Kayla and Madison when we’d been inside. I hadn’t realized he was talking to me.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m Charlotte.” but Elinor I really enjoyed reading all of these chapters I keep on reading this novel It's a amazing piece.

My compliment is Ellinor I hope you keep continuing your novel Under The Apple Tree find somebody that would love to join you doing your novel Under The Apple Tree cause me I would love to continuing reading this until you come up with a another one.

keep continuing Ellinor!!! :D




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Sat Dec 18, 2021 5:01 pm
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MailicedeNamedy wrote a review...



Hi Elinor,

Mailice here with a short review! :D

Story

I'm trying to be a bit brief here with the story and the run, firstly because I think that the conclusion of the chapter gave me the opportunity to focus on the characters again to get a final impression. (And also because I have never read The Great Gatsby, only the film adaptation by Luhrmann).

In terms of structure, I think it's good that we got a brief glimpse of Madison in a fairly quick degree and also how the other participants react to it. It seemed well staged at first glance, but I also thought the dispute was resolved a bit too quickly by Erin. I would have liked to hear some comments in the background. Here is the only point where I think you could add something:

The older Robert Redford version may have been a more literal translation of the text onto screen, but somehow, it had lost a lot of the heart in the process.

Before long, Erin had released us all for the day.

I feel like you wrote a paragraph here and then forgot to put it in because the transition is way too abrupt, which really makes me feel like something is missing here. I think it has to do with being more of a screenwriter, as you mentioned in your comment. This is probably where the camera would slowly fade out or something. In book form, I would definitely add a short paragraph or two in there about what else was talked about.

Brady's first appearance was fitting and I also liked the transition outside and the brief conversation with Laura. One small detail I liked is this:

Oh, that’s the one thing I forgot to mention. Laura’s family had a lake house.


I always find this kind of spreading in the story exciting in many books, because it reveals a character you already know more and more, just like in real life, where you don't know everything about your counterpart until a certain moment.

Characters

So Erin strikes me as someone who wants to avoid conflict and also doesn't have an opinion. He would rather try to stay out of it or settle the dispute than make a decision now. Hm... from a human perspective probably a good virtue, but also depending on the situation. I thought it was good that we only had this brief moment to find out. But it also shows a kind of weakness that he has there and I'm curious whether we'll find out how it was on other days or how it will be on other days.

Also then mentioning Charlotte as "new people" seemed to me like he was trying to drag someone else in to help.

Katy seemed quite direct to me. I just didn't immediately get the impression from her one sentence that she was trying to attack Madison or expose something. Perhaps what was missing was a brief comment from Charlotte that she thought Katy had spoken rather cheekily or in a tone of condescension, etc....

Madison, on the other hand, seemed quite aggressive. A bit theatrical and arrogant when it came. I think Madison has a special meaning with the words that you can repeat the past. At the same time, when Charlotte and Laura were out, Madison seemed quite "normal" and boisterous again, but still with a dominating tendency. That's just my impression, but I have to say I like the variety of characters so far and how it's currently determined with the synergy.

The end of the second chapter shed more light on the characters but also made new connections for the future and probably also the plot.

Have fun writing!

Mailice





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