|Reviews for The Last Leaf, Extended Version by Ophelia Henry|
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 4 . 4/13
I find it tragic that Johnsy is bisexual, and yearning after another man; it’s not really her fault, but I think she should be honest with Sue, before someone really gets hurt. I think you dealt (and I like how you did it) with this very delicate subject matter very well, portraying her guilt and confusion over her lust for George very well, while intermingling it her love and desire for Sue. I think you gave it just the right amount of emotional attention it deserved.
(I also liked the hint of her having experienced some sexual encounters with men before; I think it shows that this desire for George isn’t coming from nowhere.)
I really liked the love scene, because it was tender and acquisitively detailed, without being crass or vulgar (despite the voyeurism present). I thought it really showed how much these two women love each other, despite their problems. I kind of hope they'll work out, after all, because I don't want to see either of them suffer :/
What I really liked is that Behrman stopped peeking when he realised that what he was witnessing was *real*, and not something he should be privy to. I think it gave him real character when he covered the peepholes and redeemed his earlier trespassing (it shows that he has decency).
| alltheeagles chapter 4 . 4/5
For the RG EF
I like the descriptions in this chapter, eg the appearance of the apartment and Benita’s teary eyes. They were very vivid and conjured up clear mental images immediately. That goes for the subtle description of Sue and Johnsy’s intimacy as well, which goes to show that less is more is definitely applicable here. I like how you’re introducing complication into the apparently straightforward arrangement that you had presented in the beginning of Sue and Johnsy the loving couple and Behrman the DOM. Now there’s Johnsy’s ‘I love Sue... don’t I?’ and Behrman’s attack of conscience. That makes the story more interesting and stimulates more thinking on the reader’s part.
Typo: actually had A very poor view
| alltheeagles chapter 3 . 3/20
For the RG EF
Again, I like how you provide background without telling too much but by incorporating the information into the plot; firstly about Johnsy and Sue's relative degree of sexual orientation and secondly about George's family history. I also like how smoothly Sue's musings flow into the Johnsy-George encounter to presumably set up a complication in the girls' relationship. I'd thought it was a case of Johnsy and Sue against the world, but in this chapter you make it clear that they are not that united after all.
| WaterBudget chapter 1 . 3/10
Hello, this is for the RG Easy Fix!
What I liked: the concise characterization of Sue and Johnsy just based on which part of the room they liked. I've never seen that done before.
What could be improved: The landlord peeping and creeping seemed sudden. Maybe add some sensory details: not just visual details, but consider sound and touch (scratchy wood floor, heavy breathing etc.). Also, I don't know if this would alter the entire course of the story, but what if the reader was not aware of the identity of the person watching Johnsy and Sue? (e.g. just a pair of eyes watching them from through the holes poked in the ceiling)
Overall: Too short a chapter for judgement, but I like the clear style and unique, creepy concept.
| alltheeagles chapter 2 . 3/10
For the RG EF
I like how you use Behrman's perspective to describe the girls - it gives you more room to go into detail over their faces and figures, which could otherwise be superfluous to the plot. I also like how you present his background and history in a way that is related to the previous events through his association with Mae. Again, I admire the coherence that is shown. On the crit side, I would like to point out that the last section after the line break should be more in the past perfect since the events referred to there all happened in the distant past. Eg Their wedding HAD BEEN, Mae HAD CONVERTED, etc.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 3 . 3/7
Hey there :D
This will be a bit of a shorter review, as I don’t have a lot of time, but I really wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying this story, even if I am reading it short bursts.
I really enjoy the characters in this chapter. While I don’t necessarily find Johnsy very sympathy, because she is cheating on Sue (no matter how she defines relationships – she should have told Sue about those views before), I do like her open-minded-ness. She’s intelligent, even if I feel she’s still a bit coloured by prejudices (like she assumed George was just another run-off-the-hill rich boy). But I’m sure I can grow to like her. I really like Sue: she’s so hard-working and earnest, especially in regards to her relationship with Johnsy. I really felt for her when she realised that she was losing Johnsy.
I really always feel sorry for lesbians who fall for straight/less sexually defined women. It’s difficult, and painful to read about, because – although rationally – you know that the person you love is inaccessible, you still can’t help but pine. It’s just … a horrid rollercoaster ride. I hope, for Sue’s sake, that Johnsy won’t be fickle, but so far … it’s not looking too good. Johnsy is already flirting with another man, three chapters in.
As always, I enjoy your simple writing. It’s just so pleasant and readable. I especially enjoyed this chapter, because you focused so much on little details and clever gestures, AND also managed to interweave all this with your introspection. Also, I just like how your writing flows (but I keep repeating myself).
I’m curious how George will tie in with the rest of the story. I’m asking myself if he will cause trouble for Sue and Johnsy or whether he’ll just deepen their relationship. I’m not sure, but I’m eager to find out. Hmm, I like that you’re building up this story slowly, but meaningfully. I feel like there’s a lot us in store, which is exciting (slow build-ups make me care more for the characters).
I liked the scene with the beggar girl, because it established George’s character more. While I’m not sure who’s right, in regards to the ‘don’t spoil them’ argument – and I’m not sure I feel like answering that question, I did enjoy that you raised that issue. It makes for thought-provoking reading.
| Ventracere chapter 4 . 3/3
Once more, you have my attention with your descriptions in the beginning. Jonesy's emotions carry through so easily as she cares for the child, and it is easy to understand and feel the emotion that is rushing through her at that moment. Great job there.
I will admit, I probably should have seen that coming in the latter half of the chapter. That said, I still feel that the lead up, as in before the act is more or less a little dry - I think that's what I'm going for? In a sense, you lose that emotion that you're carrying through in the previous half of the chapter and I don't think it comes through with just: "She had decided her feelings she had begun having for George were wrong" was a little too final. A little too clear cut and dry. That said, you went back and revisited how unsettled she felt afterwards, but it felt too rushed.
Behrman on the other hand... wow... Much... Weird. Awkward. What a character. Let's leave it at that.
| Ventracere chapter 2 . 2/23
Now that we see a little more about Behrman, I don't feel as if he is a "creeper" as much as I did before. He is still portrayed as a weird man with questionable intentions, but now I can better understand what he does and why he does.
You do a fantastic job setting up the setting of your chapters, and it makes it easy for me to read and visualize what is going within the piece. I particularly enjoyed the way you described/opened the chapter, setting up what the evening was like. I think it is really your style that draws me in. Like I said in the previous chapter, I found the level of diction/vocabulary that you use is more or less set apart from the more conversational, less formal way of writing found in a lot of stories. Because of the elevated diction, you present a more - I wouldn't say elevated society - sophisticated society, and enhances the time period that you're going for.
I don't see a problem with your syntax, and everything flows pretty well from one area to the next. This makes it relatively easy for the reader to get absorbed into the story that you're setting up. Nice job.
In terms of ending, I don't know why, but I guess it made me laugh when you had Behrman say "and the plot thickens." The plot did thicken, and I think it is a clever way to say exactly what the reader is thinking. Usually I'm too big a fan of stories that tell us instead of showing us what is going on, but here you have found a balance between the two.
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 2 . 2/18
I really love the fluidity of your prose. It's so detailed, but easy to read nonetheless. I appreciate that because I'm reviewing this on the brink of nearly being asleep (and only music keeps me awake). Things that stuck with me were definitely the details of the tavern, the furniture in the house of Johnsy’s parents and the way you described the paintings. I really like how lush your prose is too; it’s just so rich and layered, despite the simplicity (I like how you describe things cleanly). I like your dialogue too, because you to a good job of showcasing differences - like the reservedness of Johnsy's mother (she sounded very stiff), and the contemplative nature of Behrmann.
I really like the plot of this too – especially how you structure it, in those short vignette-like scenes. It makes for compelling storytelling, allowing us to see things as they were (and are now). I especially liked the focus on Behrmann, whom you depict as being more than just a pervert (an artist with a passion for beautiful women, but not lusty). I don’t think that makes his actions any more right, but you depict him as more than just a one-dimensional character.
I'm definitely intrigued by this man Johnsy was 'introduced' to by her parents though (the plot *definitely* has thickened*).
| Ventracere chapter 1 . 2/5
Little note: "pocked" should be poked.
I love your detail here! Your descriptions for the apartment are clearly presented and well done. It gave me an insight as to where and what you want us to see and picture. I also really loved your diction. It is full of color and well chosen. "Obsequiously" is not something I get to read every time or use to describe someone, so that was refreshing. Behrman, is a stunning character, or has the potential to be. He seems like he will end up being problematic, especially with the way you end the chapter. This is a successful hook, and you did a great job with illuminating the details that you want us to see, and I'm curious as to how this will play out!
| Jitterbug Blues chapter 1 . 2/1
Well, I didn't see ANY of this coming :D but I am excited and thrilled.
But first of let me tell you how I like how simple the writing style for this is, and yet how much detail it has, like the setting being established quite clearly (I like that you made it clear it was a haven for artists). I also like the detail you gave us on the women's clothes, because it gave us a certain idea at which time this took place, too.
I really like how you outline the two women's hopes and dreams. It makes me feel excited for the future chapters, and also makes me root for them already. I also liked how you showed their personalities too, and then linked them with a part of the apartment. I thought that was a clever way of telling us more about their personality.
I REALLY liked the ending. Just because it was so unexpected, but also touching. I like the idea of those two girls wanting to be alone together, just so they could express their affection for each other. It's sweet.
...Well, the part with the landlord spying on them was not so sweet, but I'm intrigued about that too. I'll be reading this, especially too because I've been a fan of your writing for quite a while now :)
| Cansei chapter 20 . 1/29
Ah, that was sweet, Mae honoring Behrman like that, his contribution to the human experience more than a leaf, and yes, in a way he had accomplished much more than he had first thought or tried to achieve by his "masterpiece".
They reopened the holes in the ceilings. Oh my. No comment. Heh.
I was still sad, though, seeing Johnsy having doubts about George's love, but it also made me feel like I was right on my analysis of George's feelings and reactions. But it's also very true for real life, you see, we never feel exactly sure of feelings of the people who claim to love us, do we? For that end, it was the first time I really felt connected to Johnsy. Though, it was still sad of having doubts like that because I believe George's love for her is much more deep and real than that. I hope in their future they would manage to work over this problem. They have a life time now :) together with their kiddo.
I think it was good that she didn't tell Sue about Behrman, perhaps she would do later but for her wedding day it wouldn't a good idea.
I like Sue's not-shown clearly skepticism to George's rather endearing gifts, they made me remember her letter to Johnny. Hope she will remember it some day because right now. High with her feelings, it doesn't look much she would. I mean, lol, they couldn't even wait a little to make a child. I really hope she will paint Bay of Naples someday.
| Cansei chapter 19 . 1/29
Oh, well, I do have a very sick mind, I guess. So Benita was seeing George as her late father...hmm...that might be, but I think I still have a thing with other thing, too, as little girls usually tend to be get fascinated with their fathers. Quite Freudian, yes.
Speaking of who, let's analyze George, too. [though I have to say the way the mother and daughter thought of him as their hero was kinda cute and very normal] Giorgio...The first time I read this I was a bit sad because I thought after the last chapter in which G. showed a lot of humility, he turned back to his excuses. I still think, even though it wasn't a conscious thought he felt repulsive with the idea of Johnsy being with another, perhaps another one than himself, and Sue even made things harder to accept for the social standards. But eventually, he did, and what he discovered about Behrman only helped him to canalize it in a more direct , approachable way. But even all of these don't explain about the other woman, because he was with her a way earlier than he learned about Behrman so it wasn't a good excuse for him being with her in a way different than other girls he paid after Behrman incident. As he said himself, he just thought Johnsy moved on with his life, so he tried to do it, like he had always tried to do in the earlier years...so I am not sure if he was all that much 'showing his heart' to her. But I liked that he showed her his "darker" side. His manhandling her wasnt all that good but given the situation and his character and his background was totally in character. He came dangerously close to be a stupid hilly billie, but you managed to keep him away from that and got him back barely in time, so kudos to you. It was really good, in a way disturbing but also very "manly" and hot. And I liked how you transferred the nature of the fight itself to sensuality of their positions.
Their first time for that point was poignant, too. Atypical as she is, Johnsy is still naive, in some ways, as these last chapters made it quite clear :) i liked their little talk during the act much, it was cute and this [i am a sensual artist] was so damn good.
Interesting chapter, i wonder about the ending.
| Cansei chapter 18 . 1/28
Mae, a woman of the world, truly. And I wonder if her name is a shout out to another Mae I love so very dearly. :)
Anyways, it was great that Georgie came to her "domain" and apologized (kind of-no excuse, heh) for his behavior.
His posture in the saloon was very good too, I liked the subtle humor like the crowd appreciating he didn't sit on a handkerchief, heh. Nice moment, good snark, he's not that kind of gentleman.
Mae's advise was really wise, telling him to show Johnsy more of his heart than his charms. Which George did at the end. His confessions and how her made him accept things and made him see his errors were heartfelt and I bought it as easily as Mae. But I appreciated that she didn't buy them that quick either, only when he showed her kinda his heart too.
His saying that Johnsy didn't have anything to feel guilty for, and he used it for his own was good too, as he accepted finally her relationship with Sue, too. Mae was right, in that point, Behrman and he were similar. Though, yes, George is much better, yes. Maybe because he is younger, duh.
I liked how Behrman's "masterpiece"was used. :)
Johnsy was a little easy to forgive him, but whatever...we all know how she was as it was said in the narrative, [she hated being angry with anyone] and we already know she's too much smitheened with him.
Benita was cute, little spy, heh. Though, I feel like she might turn into a voyageur quite easily too. That must be interesting, she apparently has a crush on George, and I feel like she might very well be interested seeing George and Johnsy having some quality time, with all of her innocence and natural desires.
| Cansei chapter 17 . 1/27
Hmm, very good chapter. It felt like a new beginning for Sue, and it was very good that she found a sort of closure with Johnsy with that later. I especially liked that it started with their first moment and ended with Sue saying they will be always unique to each other because of first love, but they knew it was the time for a change and they didn't fight it back. The backstory themes for both women were again very good, Sue doing all she could to get accepted Law school and also telling Johnsy not to be 'what she always scorned in her mother's life.' Very nice as both women are visionary in their way so it was good for her to remember that. I really hope she will paint Bay of Naples sometime even though it seems now "she has a new goal"
It was also a beginning for George too, he got the painting repaired, so I guess his time will come in the next chapters, but for a hint it was good. But poor Johnsy, needing to deal with his passive aggressiveness. Heh.
I liked how you used 'luxurious' in the description; first with the room then with Tilda. Traveling companion was a good cover, yes, but it's also very sad. Poor women, needing to hide what they are that way. It is hard for them in many cases, but it was even harder in those times.
Masterpiece...the professor saying about masterpieces was a masterpiece itself, too. Very very good.