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March 2, 2017
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“How My Best Friend Ruined My Sweatshirt” by Ryla is an unbelievably well written story about a former friend that later became a loathsome enemy to Ryla. It begins with how she is relentlessly attempting to wash her sweatshirt, followed by a flashback of how her relationship with the best friend matured and soured, later tying back to the present with the sweatshirt. The characterization and figurative language blew me away, going hand in hand to emphasize the one-sided friendship Ryla had.
     

First of all, the characterization of Ryla and her best friend was incredibly thorough. Through descriptions like “I didn’t realize I was falling for her,” “I liked the idea of something marking her as mine,” and “I didn’t know any better” say that Ryla is naive and a little selfish. Her best friend is characterized as cold and manipulative through quotes like “she teased me,” “she dictated my future,” and “while I was trying to get her attention, she was giving it to someone else.” While Ryla’s best friend remains static and despicable, Ryla herself changes a great deal over the course of the story. She slowly becomes aware of her relationship’s dynamics and realizes the meaning of her best friend’s behavior, and this change causes me to keep on reading. When Ryla turns her innocent love into passionate animosity, it feels satisfying and justified to the reader that Ryla finally stands up for herself. The personalities the author describes are so polarizing that I could not stop reading, rooting for one character and booing the other. Indeed, the emotion and connotation attached to them makes the story very interesting.
     

These feelings are further strengthened by the impeccable use of figurative language and creative comparisons, too. There are so many examples of ingenious craftsmanship, like Ryla using the skin to reveal her long lasting obsession to her friend, the center of the universe and giving scraps out to an alley cat to paint a clear picture of Ryla’s relationship, and ice to portray the emotional loneliness Ryla felt without her best friend. These descriptions enhance the writing, adding to Ryla’s voice and authenticating her experiences.
     

Not only does the story describe a complex and astonishing struggle between prioritizing yourself or someone else, but the ending feels finished. To reiterate, the story starts and concludes on Ryla trying to wash her memories of her best friend out of the sweatshirt. Reading the introduction entails confusion because of how unknown the circumstances are, but the intense feelings of the author prompt the compulsion to continue reading. Then the flashback happens, which is essentially the bulk of the narrative, slowly coming back to the present as the timeline progresses. At this point, the reader is well acquainted with Ryla’s feelings thanks to the meticulous characterization, but the washing of the sweatshirt feels distant since it is all the way at the beginning. Then, the story comes full circle by referencing back to this introduction and leaving no gaps in information to throw off the reader. The short, repeated sentences, “And then again,” at the conclusion leave off with strong emotions that makes me mind-boggled and astonished, partially at the fact that I forgot about the initial part of the story. Reading the introduction over again with this new chain of events suddenly clarifies all the questions at the start, as well as adding re-readability to the story by providing a seamless transition from the resolution to the exposition. Without a doubt, being caught up in Ryla’s coming of age and jumping on the ride there is an exotic, one-of-a-kind experience.






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