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Reviewer: Skyrose Signed [Report This]
Date: 27 Dec 2008 9:27:30 PM Title: Christmas in Bizarro World

I was so excited when I found out you were going to do another 'Bizarro World' story! I enjoyed this one immensely.

I really like how you brought us up to date on Jake and Heather's relationship by letting us know other characters' reactions as they found out that Jake and Heather were a couple. I really liked Johnston's reaction and how Mimi and Stanley turned the table on Jake when Heather appeared by his side. I think my favorite was how April realized they were a couple when Heather showed up at the door after Jake's accident  and when Jake untucked the blanket and invited Heather to lay with him as they comforted each other.

Johnston was right in character when he was in the kitchen with Jake Christmas Eve morning when he voiced his approval by telling Jake "Don't mess it up" and how he followed it up with saying she was smart and not bad to look at. I also liked that Jake looked at what is father said in a different light than he previously had in the past and how he thought of Heather as 'beautiful' rather than 'not bad to look at' that Johnston had used.

I loved the description of kitschy flannel pajamas that Heather had on when she greeted Jake at her door.  I also liked Heather's love for all things flannel and how Jake would purposely wear flannel shirts just so that Heather will rest her cheek on his chest. I thought they shared a very romantic moment cuddled together under the nest of blankets sipping their hot chocolate.

Jake's thought that Heather should resent coming second to his responsibilities to the town was, I thought, telling of just how much he cares for her and Heather's understanding of how much Jericho needed him and her acceptance of coming in second, I thought , was telling of just how much she cared for him. I think it was this fact that made the forty hours Jake had arranged to take off all the more special. 

The scene where they hunted for a Christmas tree was great! It reminded me of all the visits we took to the tree farm, traipsing up and down the hills trying to find the perfect tree. The snow ball fight was a lot of fun to read. I just loved how it ended with Heather on Jake's lap.

I really liked the sense of family I felt during the time Jake and Heather were at the Green house and how everyone made Heather feel as if she was part of the family. I also like how you portrayed Jake's and Johnston's relationship in this story. I felt a closeness between them as they stood by the fireplace watching Gail, April and Heather decorate the tree and when Jake admitted that Heather 'kinda picked him' and Johnston replying that there was nothing wrong with that. When Gail explained the history behind all the ornaments really made it feel like a real life family enjoying Christmas. When Gail found the Christmas Cottage music box and Gail's tears when it still played I'll be Home for Christmas I found especially poignant. I just loved how Heather felt like she was part of the family and let her guard down to share memories of her childhood Christmases.

I liked all the detail that went into the church service and outside of the church after the service. My favorite parts were: Gail providing the candy canes that were passed out after the service to make everyone holidays a little brighter and Johnston following after Eric and Mary to wish them a Merry Christmas. I found the interaction between Emily and Heather interesting and wondered if Emily might have been jealous of Heather. I liked the details about Mimi and Stanley you provided - Stanley wrapping his arm around Mimi to comfort here when there was mention of the attacks and how whe let herself be comforted. Also, liked how Stanley lightened the mood with his talk about popcorn, especially the 'Astronaut popcorn'. I really got a sense of what point their relationship was at. The mention of 'Twister' and Jake telling Stanley that no way was he going to play group Twister just made me laugh.

I'm sure you won't be surprised to know that my favorite part of the story was the time Heather and Jake spent alone at her apartment after the service.  You could tell just how close Jake and Heather had gotten in the few months since they became a couple. I liked how Jake admitted to himself that doing things for Heather made him happy - 'lightened his mood' and how Heather told him what a wonderful day she had. I especially liked the comfortable silence they shared cuddled under the blankets drinking their hot chocolate. I liked the choice of the Christmas gifts they gave one another. Both were so simple but very meaningful especially Jake giving Heather his dog tags as an acknowledgement that he was home now and didn't need them anymore.

I like how Heather decided to tell Jake that she was ready for the next step in their relationship by singing Baby It's Cold Outside. You did a great job with how you switched the parts around and how you used the tone of Heather's voice to let us know what part was being sung. I also found Jake's embarrassment over his parents singing it very real (and amusing). I liked the image of Jake that came to mind as he was watching Heather sing only to him and the one of Heather when Jake told her that he would never say no. 

This was a great story and I'm looking forward to see where the story goes in your next installment. 

Author's Response:


Thank you for the detailed review, Skyrose!  I do appreciate the time you took to leave it (even if it took me nearly 2 mothns to respond!)  I won't respond to every point, but do know that I appreciate your feedback. :-)

I had fun imagining how everyone could find out about Jake and Heather, and with fitting her into the storyline after her exit stage right at the end of Black Jack.  Johnston's reaction was espeically fun to write.

I'm glad that you thought the family scenes were just like a real family.  I really wanted to envoke that feeling, so I will claim a little success here.

Since I figure I have to work around Emily (rather than drop her down a well, or send her out into the wilderness with Roger) I do have plans for her story arch.  Nothing that makes it into Bizarro World is without a purpose, I just can't say when that purpose will become apparent.  So how's that for teasing!

Lastly, I'm glad you enjoyed the last part of the story, back in Heather's apartment, on the couch.  It seems to be the constant of this series (having posted the next installment, that's become obvious to me!) so I'm going to see how I can work with that, how and where the two of them have their alone time where they can grow as a couple in Bizaro World.  Something for me to think about.... :-D

Reviewer: Penny Lane Signed [Report This]
Date: 24 Dec 2008 11:48:04 PM Title: Christmas in Bizarro World


I took a break from Christmas Eve chores to read the rest of this story, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first half!

First off, I liked how we got to see how the town is going about Christmas through the scene at the church. I got a glimpse of a few other characters, sitting with their friends or families, singing, receiving candy canes. And so like Gail, to provide whatever she can to liven up the darkest days of the year for the rest of the town. I liked all the little details here, like Bonnie sitting away from Stanley and Mimi (still ticked off at them and not yet bonding with Mimi over med centre volunteering), Allison is handing out candy canes (seems that she's getting more involved in her new home), and Johnston going to wish Eric and Mary a 'Merry Christmas' (Although things are still very tense and difficult in their family, he still wants to take this opportunity to interact with his son on the first Christmas after their world getting so uncertain.)

The part with Emily and Roger was interesting too. I kind of felt for Roger here, and wondered what was going on in the Emily-mind.

I loved getting to see Stanley and Mimi on Christmas Eve, even for this little moment we got with them! I think you did a great job capturing where they were at that point in the story. You made them funny (loved the image of Stanley openly enjoying his candy cane, and Mimi's proving how much chocolate means to her), but you also hinted at the deeper aspects of both these characters and the journeys each of them is on at that point, Stanley trying to provide comfort and certainty in a world in which he really doesn't know what's happening, and Mimi coping with her enormous loss, and starting to accept the good that's come into her life.

The Heather and Jake scenes were wonderful. As always, you capture a great dynamic between them. I thought their Christmas gifts were very well chosen. Simple and yet so meaningful, and probably more appreciated than most other gifts they've received in their lives.

I liked the discussion of the Christmas songs. I myself have about twenty favourites, several of which were on Heather's list so I'd say she has great taste! I have to tell you, I think my favourite part of the whole story was the 'Baby, it's Cold Outside' portion. Even among my favourite Christmas songs, that is one of my all time most loved! I thought you applied it so perfectly to this scene. I loved the reference to Johnston and Gail performing it originally (and Jake's embarrassment at his parents' portrayal of the Wolf and Mouse), and Heather's performance of both parts made me laugh, and the switching of lines was cleverly executed.

I loved how you used the song to lead up to Heather's decision to take the next step in her relationship with Jake. It was a perfect ending to this holiday romance, and I will be interested to see what happens next in Bizarro World!

Author's Response:


I'm glad the ending lived up to your expectations/hopes, Penny. I'm also very glad that yoo, as the champion of all thinkgs Richmond, approve of my characterization.  I certainly do think about what you will think whenever I write Stanley, Mimi and Bonie because I want to treat them with something approaching the same depth and dignity that you do.

Baby, It's Cold Outside was always a favorite of mine, but now it is definitely top 3 for me!  And, it totally seems like a jake and Heather song, too.  :-)

Thanks for taking the time to read and review!

Reviewer: Penny Lane Signed [Report This]
Date: 24 Dec 2008 1:50:13 AM Title: Christmas in Bizarro World


What a wonderful holiday story, Marzee!

I've only gotten halfway through so far, I've been reading in between holiday preparations (and actually at the same time as baking sugar pie), but I wanted to let you know how much I'm enjoying this story so far!

I was glad to see another installment of Bizarro World, and it was so interesting to see you dealing with Jake and Heather in a different universe than Different Circumstances. I loved reading about the different ways in which various characters found out about Jake and Heather as a couple. It was a nice way, I think, to show how things have progressed since your last installment and set the scene, so we know exactly where our characters are at this point in time. I loved Johnston's reaction, but my favourite was Stanley and Mimi turning the tables on them! You always handle familiar scenes, in this case, the huggy fake Marines scene, in such interesting ways!

You write a very romantic Christmas Eve morning. Although they're living in a strange world, Jake and Heather are also discovering so much about each other, so it's a hopeful day for them, amidst all the day to day struggling to survive. The tree-hunting scene was great! It reminded me of my own childhood treks to the tree farm, searching for the perfect tree and disagreeing with my fellow tree-hunters. Again, here, Heather is discovering something new after the end of the world. The snowball fight was wonderful. I laughed out loud as Jake turned the tables on Heather, and got rewarded with snow down his shirt.

I loved the warm family feelings in the scenes with the Green family. All the ornaments were great choices. I liked how Jake compared, in his mind, his father's reaction to April with the way he was almost flirting with Heather here. The whole scene reminded me of a real life family at work on a Christmas tree.

I also loved the little story about Johnston's school tour of town hall, and the kids who got themselves locked in the holding cell. And poor little Danny, though I laughed at the fact he seemed to have enjoyed his visit to the med centre, having ridden there in the cruiser, escorted by one of Jericho's finest. This was a good addition to the history of Heather's relationship with the Greens.

The Uno game was intriguing. Though I've never played, I think I understood the suspense of the scene, as Heather fell behind and tried to exact revenge, Jake enjoyed not losing as badly as her, and Gail, the unassuming face of neutrality, trampled everyone.

The menu choices were also interesting. I loved how Jake and Heather joked about the 'Chinese Chips', and how the family made do with the food from the food drop. Exactly how I imagine Christmas would be for the Greens, and the people of Jericho that year as they made do with what they had been given.

Great story so far, and I look forward to reading the rest soon!


Author's Response:



First, I hope the sugar pie turned out well, it sure sounds like something I would enjoy!  Second, thanks for the review.  I really used this story to help me get into the Christmas spirit, so it was especially gratifying to read your remarks on the romantic Christmas Eve morning, the family camaraderie and the "make do" Christmas menu.  Okay, the Christmas menu didn't quite fit my Christmas plans, but tree trimming and playing games with the family are both top on my list.  Snowball fights would be too, if only it snowed here. ;-) 

Reviewer: SherryG Signed [Report This]
Date: 24 Dec 2008 1:49:01 AM Title: Christmas in Bizarro World

I love this story!   This version of Jake and Heather is so different from the J/H in DC.   I love them both.    

This has the best mush.   I find myself reading it over and over and saying "aaahhhhhh".    I also love your Johnston and Gail.   They are just perfect.    

I can't wait for another trip into "Bizarro World"!


Author's Response:


Thanks, Sherry!  I really enjoyed the opportunity to revisit this universe and try my hand at a different version of Jake and Heather.  And I have to say, spending Christmas in Bizarro World really helped get me into the Christmas spirit.  I do hope you enjoy the next trip to Bizarro World just as well... I figure a little Valentine's romance never hurt anyone. :-D

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