The Anatomy of a Fall

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Fanfiction
Title: The Anatomy of a Fall
Author(s): novembersmith
Date(s): June 2010
Length: 107,525 words
Genre: slash, High school AU
Fandom: Bandom, MCR
External Links: Livejournal masterpost
AO3 page

Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

The Anatomy of a Fall is a popular bandom AU, written by novembersmith. Its main pairing is Frank/Gerard. It was created as part of 2010 bandombigbang and posted along with two mixes by galaxyaway and queen_of_goat as well as art by arabel, formerlydf and sunlit_paradox.[1]

On the AO3, this fic was once (November 2015) the highest hit and kudos count of any completed fanwork tagged Frank Iero/Gerard Way.[2]These records have since been beaten.

Summary

According to its writer:
The unholy union of a high school AU and a ghost story. Gerard's life takes a strange turn when his family moves to a small town in Vermont and he discovers the locals aren't all what they seem to be. Also includes: unexpected nature walks, murder, pining, improper treatment of crime scenes, a number of bone-related puns, high school bullies, and a short-range shrub named Ferdinand.

Themes and Tropes

The story deals with themes such as bullying, illness, violence, homophobia, death and grief.

This is not the earliest example of the Ghost!Frank trope, but it is the most popular.

Fan Reactions/Reviews

There were 356 comments on the original LiveJournal post for the final chapter. Some examples:

this is one of the best things i've ever read, full stop. it was beautiful and completely heartbreaking at times and you totally made me cry at the end when frank's mom showed up, and i NEVER cry at fics so that was a real first.[3]
Everything about this was so great. The atmospheric descriptions were so evocative of fall and the forest. All your characters-- even the smallest parts-- Donna, Pete and Gabe and Brendon, and James and his tie, omg. The friendship dynamics between Gerard, Ray, Bob, Patrick, and Ryan was also perfectly done. (Oh RYAN.) Gerard and Mikey's relationship and brotherly communication style was a thing of beauty. And now we get to Frank. I just... I don't have the words. There is no way anyone couldn't fall in love with this Frank ("the epitome of cool!"). I was so afraid this fic was going to break my heart but it didn't, and I'm still amazed you managed that. I mean, it was pretty heartbreaking, but it ended so happily...[4]
Gerard's voice was pitch-perfect, from his rambling asides to how he was completely fascinated with every aspect of Frank's ghostliness except for how he got that way. Oh, Gerard. That was just gorgeous and so revealing about the kind of boy Gerard was in this story, and fits so perfectly. I love how oblivious he was to Frank's ghostliness, how easily they fit together, how smitten Gerard was, how well he handled finding out that the boy he really, really liked was dead.[5]
I adore how you described Frank, the rustling leaves, the shadows - you made him feel like a ghost, even when he was just chattering away like a normal teen, all handsy and corporeal.... My favorite part, though? Was this: "I’m Special Agent James Dewees with the FBI." I squealed at my computer screen, I think, it was seriously undignified. But I just loved how perfectly it fit, that I could see with that one line how everything came together, how Frank's death had affected Dewees, how he must have rushed back, and how everything clicked into place and slid into that one moment of resolution. DEWEES! HE SAVED THE DAY! ♥[6]

There were 202 comments on the AO3. For example:

This fic broke me. It broke my heart, it broke my soul. It made me laugh and it made my cry, a lot. And I think my love of this story centers on this one thing: Frank's dead. Yes, he has a happy ending, because Gerard is there to love him as long as Gee's alive, and most probably into the afterlife as well. But he's dead, and nothing can ever change that. All of his young potential, his innocence and his opportunities, gone.[7]
All the characters are just so brilliantly drawn, and all their relationships are so vibrant and real, and your prose flows so well, and the banter between the boys is so hilarious and adorable, and the tension and tragedy is so vivid, and when I was reading this, I was just so struck by the joy of a story really, really well-told--it made me appreciate the sheer glee of good writing in a way I don't often step back and think about. I wanted to roll around in this forever, and so the fact that I got to roll around in it for 100000 words was such a gift, seriously.[8]
Holy fucking shit. This was unbelievably fucking awesomely fucking amazing. I don't know how to fucking compute this. Holy fuck.[9]

The fic was later uploaded to Wattpad by another fan, where it received 200 thousand hits (although the final chapter has only 18K) and fans left comments like this:

THIS WAS SO GOOD I LOVE THEM AW[10]
Ahhhh second time i have read this and honestly still my favourite fuhk this is such a good book i love it so much dare i say i like it more than Asotm *gasps*[11]

In the aoaf, taoaf, anatomy of a fall, and the anatomy of a fall tumblr tags, fans continue to react, reflect, and create art in response. Some comments:

woah i think Anatomy Of A Fall is my favourite of the holy trinity of frerard fanfics (that, ASOTM and TDK)[12]
Honestly theres a holy trinity of frerard fics and its ASOTM, Anatomy of a Fall, and Unholyverse[13]
listening to the podfic version of The Anatomy Of A Fall for the millionth time and i just love the different things i notice about this story every time i go through it. this time through i’m kind of hung up on the first time frank takes gerard to the old graveyard out in the woods…[14]

Related Fanworks

On top of the art and mixes posted along with the story, AoaF has inspired many works, for example:

References

  1. novembersmith, Bandombigbang masterpost, posted June 17, 2010 on Livejournal. archived.
  2. As of 1 November 2015, the fic had 64536 hits and 1342 kudos. See the tag filter.
  3. LJ comment, Archived version, liescontinue, 18 Jun. 2010.
  4. LJ comment, Archived version, tabula_x_rasa, 18 Jun. 2010.
  5. LJ comment, Archived version, nokomis305, 19 Jun. 2010.
  6. LJ comment, Archived version, ataratah, 19 Jun. 2010.
  7. AO3 comment, Archived version, akamine_chan, 27 Sep 2011
  8. AO3 comment, Archived version, brynnmck, 26 Jul 2011.
  9. AO3 comment, Archived version, Flame Kat, 17 Oct 2015.
  10. comment by x0x0frnk, 10 June 2017.
  11. comment by MemeQueen2101, 30 July 2017.
  12. untitled tumblr post, Archived version, shitty-teen, 20 April 2014
  13. untitled tumblr post, Archived version, crvidae, 30 Oct 2016.
  14. untitled tumblr post, Archived version, softfrerard, 15 February 2017.