|Reviews for The Last Leaf, Extended Version by Ophelia Henry|
| RisanF 6/15/13 . chapter 20
-"Now that's what I call a bride," George's ogling voice came through one of the many re-opened holes in the ceiling of her room.-
Wait, we've reopened the peepholes? Now that's saucy...
It's nice to see Sue show up again. At the beginning of the story, it seemed like Sue would be a major player in the love polygon revolving around Johnsy, but she sort of fades into the background as George becomes more prominent. On the other hand, this makes the story hard to predict. I tend to telegraph the beats in my own stories, so this is definitely a different way of going about things.
One minor criticism: I wished we had seen more of Behrman's interactions with Johnsy and Sue. Some sort of sweet moment between Behrman and Johnsy, perhaps, to make him feel bad for peeping on her.
Altogether, a very nice story. I'm impressed how you managed to tie it all up at the end, too.
| RisanF 6/15/13 . chapter 19
-Martha inched the door closed so Johnsy and George wouldn't hear it then turned toward her daughter. "You have to leave them alone, Benita, they need their privacy."-
I think you need a comma between "hear" and "it."
-He glanced at her and saw her stare, as cold as the window on which she was leaning. "When I left you were on the mend and Sue was here with you. For all I knew, you regretted having accepted my...rushed...marriage proposal, and the two of you were together again."-
Comma between "left" and "you."
You did a good job with the Johnsy/George fight, with good back-and-forth dialogue. and a lot of interesting little complications that haven't been discussed until now. It's also nice that Johnsy is showing a spine for once in dealing with George. "Finally" is just about right when it comes to this chapter.
| RisanF 6/9/13 . chapter 18
-"Mrs. Campbell," George began, bending low at the waist and exposing his neck for her metaphorical axe,-
I like this. :)
-To one who didn't know its history the painting might have seemed curious and nuanced. To George though, it all but shouted "This is for you, Johnsy". With a prick of jealousy and guilt, he added the chastisement, "George isn't here, so it's up to me".-
Period outside the quotes.
You've been doing a good job at reforming George for all the bad-will he's built up over the previous chapters. It's also good that different groups of characters are getting the chance to interact with each other (George and Mae). You've made an interesting connection between George and Behrman. I would've never thought to compare the two, but now that I think about it, they've both done some disreputable things (George with the women from his Men's Club, Behrman with his peepshow), and both have some sort of underlying charisma despite their transgressions.
(I have a brief question, concerning "Man of the World. When George was looking at the painting of Johnsy sick and bedridden, shouldn't he recognized that the little girl with ringlets was probably Benita? I understand if George couldn't tell for sure, if Benita was facing away or wasn't in the frame completely, but there's really no other child it could have been; Benita is the only little girl that's close to Johnsy)
| RisanF 6/6/13 . chapter 17
This chapter reminds me of a comment you once made about D&C, about flashbacks. I think the flashback at the start of the chapter should be in italics or something; it's a little confusing otherwise. Otherwise, I'd say this chapter is mostly build-up for what's going to happen next, with Johnsy actually showing some initiative about something (I wonder if Sue's gone for good, or if she's coming back in another chapter?)
| RisanF 6/5/13 . chapter 16
-The inefficient sun through the large, multi-paned window generated murky squares of light around the room.-
This is a little clunky. Try something like: "The inefficient sun shone (or something in place of 'shone,' if you want a weaker-sounding verb) through the large, multi-paned window, generating murky squares of light around the room."
-When the sun was bright, George had a strategic advantage in negotiation, as anyone seated on the other side of the desk squinted and shifted from the light.-
Interesting observation here.
-"….never respected privacy when it came to a choice between that and his need to create a masterpiece," Mae interjected. With a little smile she held up the roll of art and added, "I'd be willing to wager that some of these works of me I've never seen. I posed for my share, of course, but Frank didn't want poses; he wanted real."-
Mae seems to have a very mature understanding of a complicated individual.
-"Johnsy," George whispered hoarsely as the realization hit him, "he took care of you when I didn't".-
Period is outside the quotation marks.
I'm actually kind of surprised George still has Behrman's pictures. After last chapter, I would've thought he'd had burned them out of spite. Overall, a great chapter. Finally, George has the truth spelled out for him about Johnsy's illness.
| RisanF 6/2/13 . chapter 15
-Still those frustrations were minor to what he felt now, years later,when his brother was married with a mistress and his bleeding of their father's company had been stopped by George's wresting control of it from him, he finally had Johnsy for his own, she was more beautiful than ever and they had a wedding date set for the spring.-
There needs to be a space between "years later," and "when." I also think this sentence runs on for a bit long. However, I would like to hear more about George's struggle with his brother and the family business. This is the first time we've heard any details about the hardship he's had to endure.
-"I don't understand, Georgie," she protested, following him to the door for him to leave for the night.-
This sentence reads a bit awkward. Maybe try something like: "following him to the door as he prepared to leave for the night."
-George had no doubt that if that man weren't already dead, he'd have killed him by now. He felt no gratitude for Behrman's sacrifice in painting the leaf on the building. He hadn't seen Johnsy at her most ill and miserable, and couldn't imagine his lovely young woman ever being so low.-
There needs to be a section break here, since you're switching the viewpoint over to Johnsy in the next paragraph. I'm not sure if George's murderous thoughts are just him blowing off steam, or if he really is stupid enough to think something like that would end well for him and Johnsy.
| RisanF 4/3/13 . chapter 14
-George picked up a wrapped package outside the door as he went back in to Johnsy, dressed in street clothes for the first time in weeks.-
(I think you could probably change it to "WHO WAS dressed in street clothes for the first time in weeks." It'll make the sentence a little smoother.)
-She sighed in frustration. With a chuckle he said, "I never expected us to be able to wait until the wedding, but I didn't think you'd nearly kill yourself to protect your virtue".-
(I'm not really sure what this means. Also, watch out for the periods again.)
A lot of things seemed to have happened offscreen. Berhman's gone, and George owns the house. There don't seem to be any logical mistakes here, but it's a little sudden, probably because we're distracted by all that stuff with Tilda. I guess this was intentional, and that you were employing Tilda as a smokescreen of sorts.
Anyways, this is an interesting twist. I was half-expecting Johnsy to die, since she was so essential to all the characters (unless she dies later on in the plot...).
George comes off as more of a villain here. He's always been possessive, but now his goal in the story is to keep Sue and Johnsy from honoring Behrman, a character that's you spent a lot of effort into making likable. Maybe it's because George doesn't get along with a lot of the other characters.
| RisanF 3/30/13 . chapter 13
Did you change the summary? It looks different than what I remember.
The older woman snickered as she said, "well, while you're worshiping, I'll be in the kitchen, baking a cake".
Tilda blushed a little, saying, "It's for my husband's birthday. I make him one every year".
She continued aloud, "I'll leave the door open so I can hear you if you need anything".
(There's a lot of sentences like these where the period is outside the quotation marks)
It's a bit difficult to sympathize with George's fear of Johnsy rejecting him for Sue, since George has been such a dominating presence so far. Sue has already stepped aside, and hasn't been much of a threat to him. On the other hand, it is nice that George is finally showing some measure of humility in his relationship to Johnsy. It might clear things up if we heard more about Georgie's childhood with Johnsy and his brother.
BTW, did I miss something in the plot? Sue and George are talking about some sort of secret they're keeping from Johnsy, but I don't know what it is. I wondered if it might be whatever trickery Sue and Behrman did to keep the last leaf on the tree, but Georgie seems to be in on this one. It's fine if it's supposed to be a mystery (judging by the chapter title, it is), but I just want to make sure I didn't forget about something.
| Nesasio 3/15/13 . chapter 7
Hello! I have you down for a return so here's a very belated review!
I really like Benita as a character. Something about her seems very realistic. She's cute and young with a one-track mind like a kid but also practical about the closet things and taking things into her own hands.
The one thing I wanted more of in this chapter was description. When Benita goes looking for George, there's a description like "In her side vision she saw that the buildings were different. The vendors in front of them were different." I wanted to know more specifically how they were different to her. You have some nice details in the sentences before and after this bit (about Benita's posture as a show of her emotions, which I loved, and the detail about the different language she heard) so this felt flat to me. Really, though, it was the only part that was like that.
This was a nice, solid chapter. Nice work!
| RisanF 3/7/13 . chapter 12
I'm glad somebody finally called out Johnsy on her flakiness. I like Johnsy, but she really has been stringing people along for the entire story. I'm guessing the leaf stayed on the tree thanks to some slight-of-hand from Behrman. Kind of like how Dumbo thinks he can fly because of the magic feather (placebo effect).
One thing to note:
-"or just as a best friend who thought she was doing her a great favor in becoming physically close to her?"-
Too many "shes" and "hers", and it's difficult to tell what they're referring to. I understand it now, but I had to read over it a couple times. Maybe remove one of the "hers" from the phrase?
| RisanF 2/26/13 . chapter 11
-"The apartment took on characteristics of a hospital ward. The smells of strong medicine wafted through the space and it was quiet, with little conversation between the roommates. Sue sat in her office nook and studied and read the letters she received from Tilda James, still questioning her devotion to her former lover. Johnsy, in her small, sterile-looking white bed, coughed and sniffled and kept track of the maple's progress through drawings of it and the remaining leaves."-
This is probably the best paragraph in the chapter. Nothing's more pervasive than medicine smell.
I'm glad the plot's finally getting underway, and we're getting some good drama with Johnsy's illness and subsequent. Not a big fan of Tilda, though, who seems to be watching the situation like a vulture for the second Johnsy dies.
| RisanF 2/13/13 . chapter 10
For some reason, I'm imagining Georgie as Clark Gable...
I'm kind of waiting for Behrman to interact with the rest of the cast. He's been in contact with Sue and Johnsy for a few chapters now, but you've glossed over their interactions thus far, so I don't really know what his relationship with Johnsy and Sue is like yet. It's good that Behrman's trying to movie on with his life, showing some character. Most of this chapter seems to be about the characters moving on from Johnsy in one way or another, but I'm guessing this can't actually happen plot-wise, since Johnsy is the lynchpin holding the story together.
| RisanF 2/13/13 . chapter 9
-"with him holding her wrapped in her blanket"-
This reads a little clunky. Maybe replace one of the "hers" with something else?
-I think that will be its peak. Now I should get you back inside. It's not as warm as it was last week when we first sat out here."-
Missing quotation mark.
I can see the the significant of the title now, with the tree and Johnsy's sickness. However, I think Georgie chapters tend to be a little slow, since he hasn't really struggled with anything yet, and his presence tends to separate the rest of the cast. Maybe it's a good thing he's going to be away from the other characters for a while...
| msmtnest 2/10/13 . chapter 20
Re-read this lovely story today, glanced at reviews and realized that after being the first reviewer, I neglected to comment again.
Realistic characters, intelligent and natural dialogue, and well-researched historical details made it so enjoyable to read. Many reviewers have provided input to the tale, and you are always open to considering suggestions to make your writing better. Captivating story. At some point I was cheering for every character, each one human and flawed and noble. Behrman's impact on the community was indeed his masterpiece. Your sensitive depiction of it is at least a step toward the revelation of yours.
| RisanF 2/3/13 . chapter 8
Sue and Georgie get into their fight a little fast. I understand Georgie recognizes Sue as a rival, but nothing Sue did reveals that she's a threat, besides being a little frosty initially. The inner turmoil between Johnsy, Sue, and Georgie registers pretty well, though. Sue gives up on Johnsy a little too easily, but I'm guessing this is just Round 1 of Sue vs. Georgie.
(there's a few missing quotation marks in this chapter you should check up on)