"Dog Eat Dog" by Joy Meehan

Discuss the May 2015 book of the month, Holding Fire.
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Scott
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"Dog Eat Dog" by Joy Meehan

Post by Scott » 01 May 2015, 14:40

Please use this topic to discuss the second story in Holding Fire, "Dog Eat Dog" by Joy Meehan.

What do you think of this story? What do you like most about it?

I enjoyed the descriptive and funny writing style. I like when a writer can really make me feel like I am there. I loved the switch from the third to the first person.

My favorite quote:
Why did she force us to draw caricatures of her that absolutely had to include narrowed eyes, pinched lips, a pitchfork and horns?
:lol:

What do you think?
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

"Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco." Virgil, The Aeneid

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Post by sahmoun2778 » 02 May 2015, 13:15

I also enjoyed the author's writing style. I really enjoyed that the story begins with a character that you think is going to be the victim, but then totally throws you a curve ball at the end. It was a short and rapid read but a really fun one. I'm surprised at how much I am enjoying these stories so far.

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Post by SparklingOne » 04 May 2015, 11:21

Below is the comment I meant to attach to your story but had put on someone else's instead.

Karma....wow! I think everyone has worked with someone that they wished had the tables could be turned turned on them in this fashion.
Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.
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Post by bookowlie » 04 May 2015, 18:26

I just finished this story. I thought the twist was very inventive, and I certainly didn't see it coming at all. I enjoyed the switch from Elaine in the first person to Pam in the 3rd person; it gave me a chance to see things from both of their perspectives. A few minor criticisms - I thought it was unrealistic to call the head of the company in the middle of the night and for security to make Pam get down on the floor.
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Post by khudecek » 05 May 2015, 07:18

bookowlie wrote:I just finished this story. I thought the twist was very inventive, and I certainly didn't see it coming at all. I enjoyed the switch from Elaine in the first person to Pam in the 3rd person; it gave me a chance to see things from both of their perspectives. A few minor criticisms - I thought it was unrealistic to call the head of the company in the middle of the night and for security to make Pam get down on the floor.
I have to agree with the minor criticism but I was under the impression that Elaine was a plant and didn't even belong there which made her a corporate spy of sorts.

Regardless, if you've ever worked in an office, which I did for sixteen years, there's always a Pam in the mix. I've known several of them, one of which was particularly evil since she was picking on a guy who had MS and told my boss that she didn't want me helping him anymore. That set me off and I told my boss that I wasn't going to stop and I wasn't going to be her hatchet man. My boss merely walked away. But, oh how I wish this woman had met someone like Elaine.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference
.

~~
"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost

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Post by lovejoybr » 06 May 2015, 10:08

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my story. I appreciate hearing all comments and feedback. There is some hidden symbolism in my choosing of the characters' names and I was wondering if anyone had picked up on it. Looking forward to hearing more from everyone! Cheers!

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Post by bookowlie » 06 May 2015, 10:47

lovejoybr wrote:Thank you for the opportunity to discuss my story. I appreciate hearing all comments and feedback. There is some hidden symbolism in my choosing of the characters' names and I was wondering if anyone had picked up on it. Looking forward to hearing more from everyone! Cheers!
Now I am intrigued!
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Post by memory » 06 May 2015, 12:52

I enjoyed this story and I really liked the twist from first to third person. I thought Pam deserved everything she got, but I thought Elaine was kind of an antihero because she was underhanded and sneaky herself.

A minor criticism was the wording seemed a little awkward at the beginning of the story where the author was setting the conference room scene.

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Post by Michelle-lit » 09 May 2015, 15:21

I was very intrigued that the writer decided to use the work force as her setting to discuss hate and anger and how it causes self destruction. I thought it was original to explore a manager's ambition and how ambition, if taken too far, can destroy oneself and cause harm to those around us.

I was slightly disappointed with the ending. For some reason I really wanted both Pam and Elaine to receive punishment. At the end I really just felt sorry for Pam and lost all disgust for her.

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 09 May 2015, 21:46

I loved this short story. I have no minor criticisms for this one. Those parts that seemed off to some of you rang true to me, somehow.

I loved the dual viewpoint as well--as a literary technique, brilliant. I did NOT find anything sympathetic about Pam at all, despite reading from her (albeit third person) perspective. I did see Elaine as an anti-hero, but I loved it. She may have been conniving, yes, but come on--Pam had it coming.

I'll be the next to say on here that I have had supervisors like that. Oh Lordy. Revenge on those types is pure fantasy from where I sit. Thank you for that story, LoveJoyBr.

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Post by bookowlie » 14 May 2015, 11:14

It's funny how many of us have known someone like Pam.
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" - Louisa May Alcott

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 14 May 2015, 12:09

bookowlie wrote:It's funny how many of us have known someone like Pam.
They slither among us, serpentine, scaly, and pure evil.

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Post by kio » 14 May 2015, 13:52

I mostly enjoyed the author's writing style and the humor. The story was well written and the main character seemed to pop off the page, but there were a lot of run-on sentences that kept distracting me. I liked how Elaine got her revenge. It would be interesting to see what happens next :) the best part is how many of us have wished we could do that to a Pam in our lives without having it back fire.
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Post by lovejoybr » 14 May 2015, 15:10

Several of the comments here are helping me see my characters through others' eyes. I definitely wanted to give Pam layers although perhaps I've made her too sympathetic. Having been in situations where someone was acting unfairly - unjustifiably hostile - I've wondered what makes someone hateful and angry? Hence, the birth of the character of Pam. In allowing her third person narrative to come forward, I wanted to explain - at least to the reader - the origins of her hostility: money and relationship problems at home, almost a decade of work ambition thwarted by an obtuse CEO. Accordingly, she had emotions and reactions with which anyone can identify; and this can surely make us feel sorry for her.

Pam, however, chose to let her hate and anger take over which was, ultimately, her undoing. As mentioned in this discussion, many of us have known someone like Pam, but what differentiates us from them, is how we deal with what is going on in our lives. Do we take our anger out on other people? Or blame the innocent for our lot in life? Do we roll with the punches or focus on what didn't go as planned? Pam had such disregard for the feelings of her team because they were simply standing in the way of her ambition. She was blind to their own motivations; Elaine's in particular. The choices Pam then made are what led to her downfall.

On the flip side, my intention was not to make Elaine come across as either sneaky or underhanded. Instead, I needed her to bide her time and gain Pam's trust (or least allay Pam's suspicions). Her allegiance, from the first, was always to her paycheque and the anonymous client to whom she was selling the company's secrets. I made Elaine an observer at first, on purpose. She was on the receiving end of Pam's malice but indirectly. Elaine needed to be powerful, but not overtly so. Also, despite her competence and intelligence, she was powerless to do anything about Pam - as is the situation of many employees under a bullying boss. And so, Elaine waited and watched until the perfect time to finish her own work while also, finally, being able to exact justice for her team.

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 14 May 2015, 16:59

I thought your insight into Pam was brilliant. I still hate Pam, but you did do a great job of explaining her mindset! Kudos for that!

You raise interesting questions in your second paragraph.

I wanted to add another praise for your story: there was somewhere in it where your descriptions of Pam were spot-on. I think it was the line you wrote about being slithery as a serpent. It just nailed Pam.

You never told us about the names! Didn't you say there was symbolism or something regarding the characters' names?

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