|Reviews for The Last Leaf, Extended Version by Ophelia Henry|
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 14 . 1/14/2015
Hard to comment on this when it's been six months since I last reviews - I checked the dates, just to make sure. It's not impossible though :) I quickly remembered why I loved this story, and what makes it so interesting to me: it's this whole mixture between historical fiction, drama and this whole getting together/falling apart of couples.
Anyhow: I'm kind of sad about Behrman? I won't deny that I feel more like George, who's disgusted about the pictures, but you cannot deny that the old man's last acts were noble, and that he did he save Johnsy's life. But yeah: I cannot deny that I sympathised with George as he inspected those pictures of his fiancee and felt ... weirded out (but also: and I will comment on this here - there was definitely a touch of the erotic here, definitely a sense of jealously and a desire for him to take over Sue's place :D Yeah, I liked that XDDD).
Hmm, not really much else to say - I guess I'm eager to see how this will eventually evolve? I could keep on reading, but I really should study :) Thanks for an hour of distraction though :)
| crypticperson019 chapter 21 . 1/9/2015
Wow, your style of writing really emphasizes originality through every aspect of this story. It sports an elegant flow from chapter to chapter. Really good job, I'm impressed.
| alltheeagles chapter 21 . 12/7/2014
RG Multi-chp #1211, no. 3 of 3
As per your request, reading this chp out of order.
I thought Berhman was reformed and had become the girls' guardian angel of sorts but here he is being all lecherous again, which makes me wonder what happened in the interim. I don't know if this is supposed to make me dislike him again, or if it's just to show how human he is, but the actual effect is that I'm a little disappointed in him.
So anyway, if the actual purpose of this chapter was to let us know that the girls had made up after some kind of fight (assuming that the noises are making up noises and not a catfight to the death), then I like how you do it indirectly through Berhman's eyes. That allows you to establish the fact without going into details of their feelings yet. I can't say more on the inclusion of his memories though. I think I need to read this in the right sequence in order to do that.
| alltheeagles chapter 13 . 12/7/2014
RG Multi-chp #1211, no. 2 of 3
Yay, George is back! It seems that things are on an upswing now, gearing towards a happy ending. I like this new uplifted mood, all that anxiety and drama was getting to me. My complaint of sorts: Johnsy’s reaction to her having made George sick with her kiss. I mean, considering that she herself was so sick she thought she won’t make it, isn’t she even a little alarmed, or sorry at least, that she made him sick with the same thing? But nope, she just continues flirting. It subtracts a little from her character. Well unless, you meant for her to be a little shallow airhead... The last bit with the dramatic dialogue was kind of funny, given that Johnsy was naked throughout it all. It was hard keeping all kinds of weird images out of my head!
| alltheeagles chapter 12 . 12/7/2014
RG Multi-chap EF #1211, no. 1 of 3
Well, I must say that the confrontation between Tilda and Johnsy delighted me. Much as I sympathise with a dying person, I think the talking-to was good for her, because she really does need to come to terms with her role in Sue’s life. That way, they can both move on. I’m not so sure I like how meekly Johnsy is giving in, but I suppose that just reflects how her feelings for Sue were as Tilda described them, a friend who thought intimacy was the doing of a favour. I kind of identify with that, even if I’ve not had that actual experience.
| French The Llama chapter 1 . 12/7/2014
I love the twist at the end of this chapter. You set up a seemingly normal situation, which made the twist more chilling and unexpected. I think the characters seem a little stereotypical just from the first chapter though, with Johnsy being the 'soft' artist, Sue the organised 'hard' to-be-lawyer. I can imagine that the contrast between them would create an interesting relationship as it's developed in later chapters, though. This is very readable, so I plan to read on!
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 13 . 9/1/2014
Plot: Things are reaching a conclusion, I think – I feel like this chapter marked a sort of climax in many ways: Georgie and Johnsy are reunited, and there is no doubt that things will only be better for them for now on (I hope :3). I guess what bothers me a bit is that a lot of the important developments – forgive me if this wasn't the case or you mentioned it somewhere earlier (I do have a sketchy memory) – happened off-screen. I felt a bit cheated in this case, because I would have liked to have seen Georgie's internal conflict and his struggles; like this, his sudden appearance and statements, make him seem a little fickle and even cruel. I guess I would have just like more build-up for this, or a few more hints :3. It just kind of made it seem like Georgie suddenly came to the conclusion that Johnsy needed to be courted more, and needed so much time to think, while he knew Johnsy was waiting for him/was sick. I would have liked to have seen the angst especially, because the following plot events in this story – Johnsy and Georgie making up/getting engaged again – seemed a bit rushed. I just felt that it was too sudden, and I think that is mostly due to the off-screen happenings. Otherwise, I am happy with the general developments of Georgie acknowledging that he'd been a bit too fast before, and Johnsy assuring him that she had always wanted him. I do find it a bit hard to believe, because of her long-term relationship with Sue, but I can roll with it. At least, I feel like the plot is reaching a satisfactory conclusion. I am glad that Tildy and Sue are most definitely an item now, even though not much is mentioned in this chapter.
Characters: I felt irritated with Johnsy again in this chapter. It's always a win or lose situation for me when it comes to her. Sometimes, she can be nice and even considerate, but in this chapter, she seemed selfish again. I didn't like how she dismissed her earlier relationship with Sue by stating that she had always wanted Georgie, and how she had wished she had known this at seventeen. It just seems to be like she's become so … one-sided, even ashamed of what she had shared with a person who loved her a lot. I understand that it was only a phase for her, but I really cannot get behind her being disgusted with herself/being so worried what Georgie thinks of her. But enough of the negativity – it's nothing against you or the story, I just don't find Johnsy to be particularly likeable XD. I ...like that Georgie seems mature now, with him having actively thought of what his and Georgie's relationship started out like, and thinking carefully whether he can give her what he needs. He seems more considerate, and I also think it shows how serious he is about her. I like that he's playful and nice, still being sexually open, without being disgusting about it.
Relationship: I cannot deny that Johnsy and Georgie love each other; I might not always like it, and I find them a bit irritating (not as interesting as say Sue and Tilda), but they love each other, and I can believe that, in this chapter, they have come to show just how much they adore one another. Georgie wants to work for Johnsy, wants to be worthy of her, and Georgie is desperate to show him just how much he means to her. This makes them an intense and passionate couple – and I think this shows in their sexual tension as well. I like how this chapter has scenes of Johnsy wanting Georgie to see her sitting in a bath-tub and how he compliments her on the sight. They are very comfortable with each other, and I like that, because it shows an honesty towards one another that they don't necessarily share with others (Johnsy definitely wasn't this honest with Sue). They are adorable, I will say that much.
Scenes: I liked the brief moment Johnsy and Tildy shared together – with Johnsy teasing Tildy about the cake and her staying alone with Sue. It showed a bit of playful humour and made me grin, because Johnsy was likeable in that moment with her wicked humour. I liked that Tildy was a bit bashful in this scene, because of the cake. It was adorable. I liked that the scene 'ended' with Johnsy making clear that she only wanted Georgie. I liked the whole scene between Johnsy and Georgie after he'd told her everything – their engagement was sweet, and while I did say that it felt rushed, I also think it was satisfactory and cute.
Enjoyment: I will always enjoy the chapters with Sue and Tildy more, because they are my favourite characters, but – on the whole – I liked this chapter. It was an easy read in terms of writing stlye, and because of the recent developments, I feel like wanting to know what will happen. In particular, I am hoping to see more explanations from Georgie, and hope to see what their married life will be like :)
| Timbo Slice chapter 3 . 9/1/2014
Setting: I love the realistic use of the time period for this story as it's woven seamlessly into the plot. The ending of the chapter showed that well with the sights and sounds of the open market and you used vivid yet simple descriptions to bring it to life.
Characters: johnsie seems like she is the antithesis to an early 20th century woman because she comes across as rather assertive and selective in her partners. Granted I'm not the most knowledgable on 1900s society but I loved her perspective on life and her comment on struggles to george was meaningful.
Writing: the writing flowed seamlessly with no apparent grammatical hiccups and your prose was simple yet effective in conveying the early 1900s society. This may sound kind of weird but I also appreciated the fact the gay couple was lesbian this time around because male slash seems to be running wild (homomania?) on this site and it's refreshing to see a gay relationship from the tender gender perspective.
Interaction: I like the dynamic interactions between sue and johnsie because they are obviously dealing with the issues of their relationship and that gives the story an organic feel, like it's moving forward in subtle ways. I also like johnsies approach how she deals with George in somewhat of a stern manner and with sue is much more affectionate.
| alltheeagles chapter 11 . 8/25/2014
RG EF stuff
Oh, I like how you’ve done the plotting! George’s absence and silence leading to depression... I think Johnsy’s reaction is altogether realistic, which I like, and the added drama is great! Not too melodramatic either – nice! I also like Berhman’s role – it’s like he’s redeeming himself, and after that he can have the happines he seeks with the lady who’s always seen him for who he truly is. It makes sense that it should be him doing this and not Sue, who’s perhaps too wrapped up in her own troubles (and being comforted :P) to be having bright ideas like this. I like Tilda’s forthrightness too, and her lack of illusions about the state of Sue’s feelings about her. The ending gave me a warm fuzzy feeling... :)
| Timbo Slice chapter 2 . 8/22/2014
I liked how this chapter was more character driven towards Berhman while still adding little tidbits about johnsie and her parents, you juggled the scenes expertly with your clear prose and even made creepy ol Berhman a sympathetic character, so kudos.
On the other hand, while you gave Berhman some redeemable qualities I still don't think he is justified in his vouyerism, no matter how sentimental he feels about his dead wife and no matter his intentions because it's still an invasion of privacy and confidence and he fact that he even seems justified in doing it kind of paints him as obsessive, pretty much just a slippery slope of portraying his character with real motivation for his actions.
| Timbo Slice chapter 1 . 8/18/2014
For such a short chapter I particularly loved your attention to detail, everything from the style of the prose to the descriptions of the characters clothing just rings with the air of early 1900's New York which really helps your eye for realism and story development.
I thought the characterization of the women were also pretty well do was you manage to convey their differences through the actual writing rather than just telling us and they seem to give off an "opposites attract" vibe, with one being an artist and the other an aspiring lawyer yet they are like two peas in a pod.
I liked the cliffhanger at the end with the seemingly innocent Berhman being a creepy ass peeping tom and it makes me wonder what kind of...activities...he's going to catch the duo in.
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 12 . 8/6/2014
Plot: It's difficult to talk about plot in this chapter, without mentioning the relationships, but I think two very important matters happened in this chapter: for one, Johnsy finally got over her depression and decided to live again (I thought it was great that the single leaf served as a metaphor for her strength of will), and secondly, Tildy finally made it clear just what Johnsy had to do. I cannot tell you how glad I am that someone finally did that, because it allows the plot to advance, without ignoring previous plot threads or character motives; I think it helps the plot to solve any loose ends, before moving onto what will be – I am sure – the reunion of Johnsy with her lover. So, while you could say that plot-wise 'little' happened', I actually think that's wrong, because this chapter was all about new beginnings, and breaking off old ties: I felt that important things were said in this chapter that can only mean the development of new relationships and plot happenings in the next chapter. So what I'm trying to say is that I enjoy how you're telling the story slowly and through key happenings like this that might seem small, but still really do a lot to advance the story forward. I still really enjoy the realism of the plot: it's a story about people coming together in many ways, and how relationships evolve: it's maybe not always very happy (it's sad to read about Johnsy's feelings maybe always having been schoolgirl infatuation), but it's honest, and I appreciate that greatly :)
Relationship: I really enjoyed the relationship between Johnsy and Tildy; it's definitely marked by antagonism and some dislike on Tildy's side, but you can also tell that there is some grudging, mutual respect at the end. I like that the both of them know they will never like each other (and Tildy expresses that clearly), but how they also connect and nearly seem at peace with each other, because of their shared feelings for Sue. While Johnsy's feelings may no longer be romantic (if they ever were), I feel that she understands that Tildy is the best thing to happen to her, and I'm glad she respects Tildy for being honest with her. That being said, I respect Tildy for being honest with Johnsy, despite the jealousy and annoyance she feels with her. It says a lot about women that they are able to put aside their differences in order to please Sue; it just shows how important Sue is to be both of them.
I like that Johnsy finally acknowledged that she loved Sue, but that she could not give her what she needed. I think, while it was sad that she might have only been physically intimate with Sue in order to please her, it shows just how much she cares when she admits that she has to let Sue move on. But Tildy, I think, is the one who really cares, by stating that she loves her passionately and that she wants her to be able to move on. It's not only her actions though that prove her love, but also her being there for Sue by taking care of Johnsy. That speaks volumes!
Scene: The scene between Johnsy and Tildy was excellent, because of its honesty. I had been waiting for someone to acknowledge just how much Johnsy had hurt Sue, and I was glad that it was Tildly. I was glad that it was bluntly handled, and that Johnsy accepted it, without trying to defend herself – I am glad it ended with the mutual conclusion that Sue would finally get the happy ending she deserved. I also liked the scene where Johnsy woke up and not only talked about the leaf, but asked for supper. It was a small, subtle scene but you could feel the relief that Sue was going through at that moment, and the joy. It was nice to finally see her freed from her burdens. However, the scene was also interesting because of Tildy's presence, and the clear jealousy she felt – by observing everything carefully, and keeping her distance until Sue left the room. I thought it was a great set-up for the scene between Tildy and Johnsy.
Character: I really love Tildy; she's so honest and reliable, with the maturity that only a woman of her experience and years could have. She seems to see things very clear, and is not afraid of making a move when she has to/telling people when it's time to finally make a statement. She's very bold and maybe even a bit too direct, but I think that makes her a great partner for Sue, because you know she will never play her for a fool. She's very reliable in that sense, and I feel that her reliability also shows by her taking care of Johnsy in the end, even if she doesn't like her at all. I can only repeat myself: Tildy is a great woman, who not only cares for Sue, but has the ability to care for others, despite her own personal feelings.
Johnsy redeemed herself for me in this chapter, by stating clearly that she knew that she'd hurt Sue, and showing the awareness that Tildy would be a good partner for her. I like that she seemed less self-absorbed in this chapter, and that she also thought of others.
| Hedonistic Opportunist chapter 11 . 7/12/2014
Writing: I thought the writing was just as strong as it was in the last chapter - beautiful imagery that served to enhance the emotions in this chapter, and also created a certain atmosphere. I especially your focus on leaves in this chapter, because they were connected with Johnsy’s well-being and also showcased her state of mind. What I also like about the writing is that it’s very fluid and easily readable – I know I say this every time, but not all writers are consistent and you are one of the most consistent ones I know out there :3 Hmm, I also marvel at how you manage to carry off omniscient POV – you’re one of the few authors I know who doesn’t make it awkward or unbelievable. I feel that it’s never jarring and actually serves to showcase everyone’s thoughts and feelings quite well. I also like the use of the present tense since it makes everything feel more immediate – you feel like being involved in the story.
Characters: Johnsy irritated me again in this chapter. She’s becoming far too self-absorbed for her own good, and while I felt she was trying to make amends to Sue by telling her to go out and have some fun, I still think she was selfish, sullen and really need a reality check. It’s a bit bratty of her indeed to be so dramatic just because of her lover not writing to her, or saying that she’ll die just because he’s not shown up yet. Sigh. For all that, I have to commend Sue for showing so much patience over her, and taking her so much. She’s truly a good friend, and I admire her for her being so kind-hearted. Tilda was also awesome for showing up and helping her out – even if she doesn’t like Johnsy. It shows how caring she is though, because she’s willing to do anything to help Sue out :3
Relationship: It seems, sometimes, that Johnsy has forgotten that she and Sue were lovers. She’s treating her just as if she were a friend now, and it’s a bit irritating, because you’d think that she’d be more caring (and doesn’t she have any remnants of desire left for her?). Haha, this is not a crit at you though – I just think that she’s become so engrossed by George and what he means to her that she really doesn’t see anything else but him anymore. That shows that she is truly in love, even if it’s hurtful and irritating to others, but I guess that’s what it means to be desperately in love. What I definitely was happy to see was Tilda and Sue growing closer and finally becoming intimate. I think Tilda is exactly what Sue needs – a woman who is willing to be there for her, and give her the emotional support she needs.
Scene: I enjoyed the kiss between Tilda and Sue. It was very delicately handled, but with just the right amount of detail. You could sense the desire and passion they felt for each other, and I liked that there was a suggestion of more. What I also liked is how this scene bled so well into the ending, thus making it very hopeful and good for Sue (I feel like this concludes her plight quite well - -she has found someone she can move on with). I enjoyed the scene with Johnsy and Benita too, because you could tell how fond both women were for each other, and how – despite my earlier rants earlier – Johnsy can be caring and warm. She definitely cared about seeing the other woman, and I liked that she said she’d fight on – even if it was only to pacify the other lady.
| Highway Unicorn chapter 17 . 7/8/2014
I really liked that we got to see what's going on with Sue because it's good to keep up with her (since she's one of the MCs) and I found what she's doing very interesting. I thought that opening scene, where she was posing to make money, pretty cool/interesting. And overall, it seems like she's pretty happy...at least, it *seems* that way.
I also enjoyed the fact that you added Johnsy's reaction to the letter because it really gave us an insight to what she was feeling, especially a lot about George. As it came off to me, she seems a bit disappointing in him. AH. Only a few more chapters left! I wonder how this will all go down! :D
| Highway Unicorn chapter 16 . 7/5/2014
: O I'm nearing the end of your story! Only what, four more chapters after this? : O
I really enjoyed this chapter because I felt it was really well-written, one of your best chapters, imo, in this novel. The sentence structure was strong and the diction smooth. The tone was also pretty awesome as well, since it went from anger, to despair, to utter fear and guilt.
And that ending line was quite powerful. This whole time George despised that man...but upon finding out that he helped save Johnsy? The reaction was raw and strong.
I also liked the reaction George had towards Mae, the initial one, because it was sure a pure hatred and I felt it was well written. He just couldn't wrap his head around why Mae was defending that man...very powerful indeed. :D