The Official Writing Challenge
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Loved the story. Sometimes God uses painful situations from our lives to reach out to others. Thank you.
This is a great story. I was caught a tad off guard by the sudden change in storyline from the backyard to the phone call, but once I realized what was happening I settled back into the story and enjoyed it. There's an important message there too. You did a great job in bringing that out.
A very timely story and a reminder for your readers to set aside insignificance and reach outside ourselves. Good job.
You did an excellent job with this! I suspect that the next big hurdle in Melissa's life will be when she realizes the company of her old friends pales beside her new life in Christ.

I loved this - great job!
None of us really enjoy the heartaches we go through, but we do become more sensitive to others feelings because of them. We need to share what God has brought us through with those who hurt. God bless you.
I enjoyed this story very much. I was a little distracted by the hops in Point of view, but your message came out loud and clear. Thank you for sharing this with us.
This is wonderful, from beginning to end! A double space or a line to separate the "scenes" would help the reader. You really packed a lot of story into the word count, and a good story at that!
:) I liked this. You captured the "girlfriend talk" well.

As others have mentioned, a division when you switched to Kelli's point of view would have helped. At first, I thought Kelli was another one of Melissa's daughters.

Great job over all. Keep writing!
So very true!Seems those who have already "been there" are the ones who best understand and can help.

I also found it a bit hard at first to follow the plot.
It would help to put a little spacer line inbetween segments.

I like how you touched on the shallowness of vanity.
The story has an excellent message. I love it. Always look for ways to tighten your story. I felt as if the main thrust - the contrast between the two groups of characters, could have stronger if more time could have been devoted to the Barkers. Awesome creativity.
I think most of my sentiments have already been covered by the other comments. Nice message.

The only other thing I saw and questioned was "The Barkers smiled and waved as they headed for the salon." I had to read that again. It reads like the Barkers themselves are going to the salon, when it was really the girlfriends. I knew what you meant because of the context, though.

I'm glad you submitted this!
You did a wonderful job of capturing the dialogue (or at least what I expect it to be like)of some "catty", gossipy women. I was so caught up in the story as it progress, I wasn't too sure it was headed, but then you reeled it in with a sincere heart-felt conclusion that made absolute sense.
You wrote about real life and real people even if this is fiction. I liked it and I followed you though I had to think about at certain points. I knew what you were saying and who was saying it, but as already stated it could have been clearer. This is a creative piece that packs a puunch. Good work.
A really great read here, with a powerful message. I agree with the others: giving more identity to the speakers and changes of scene would have cleared up the wee bit of confusion I felt. However, all in all, a great story, and I enjoyed being drawn into it, and loved the positive ending.