This story of loss, love and healing was based on a true story of Neil Simon and his past wife. The main characters in this story was George who’s wife had just passed away and Jennie who just got out of a horrible marriage to man who never treated her quite the way she should have been treated. George was the opposite of Jennie. George lived in central park west in one of New Yorks oldest buildings the room’s were much higher and bigger his place was decorated in a traditional comfortable style large inviting arm chairs and sofa, book cases from floor to ceiling and many pictures of him and his wife his apartment as a kitchen and archway that leads into four other rooms. Jennie’s apartment was smaller flatter and not as interesting but it was the upper eighties off third avenue, it was very modern, bright, attractive and cheerful, she had a small kitchen and she lived alone so it was single bedroom. They were complete opposites, but they found something in each other that they didn’t have any longer since jennie had just got out of a marriage and George had just lost the love of his life.
George walks into his apartment late one evening after coming home from a vacation Leo his brother fallowing in after begins to realize that George as a lot of healing to do. His wife had just passed away from cancer and he went on a trip to Europe to try to get a little time to deal with his wife that had passed away. After he came home after those couple of weeks of being away in Europe, there were still letters coming in of condolences for his wife. George received a letter from a Mary Ann Patterson who was a hair dresser in the salon Barbara used to go to and he had never knew about her. Leo tells his brother that he feels that he should have stayed in Europe for another month just so he could be away from the whole situation for a bit longer. George got upset with Leo because he felt the Leo expected him just to come home and completely forget about his wife of twelve years and on top of his wife passing away his trip really didn’t help much “It was, perhaps, the dumbest trip i ever took in my whole life. London was bankrupt, Italy was on strike, France hated me, Spain was still mourning from Franco….why do Americans go to grief-stricken Europe when they’re trying to get over being stricken with grief” ( chapter two, copyright 1978, 1979 by Neil Simon page 4). When he was explaining his trip to Leo he would walk around Europe as if Barbara wasn’t dead, he kept thinking that this whole thing was a joke and Barbara wasn’t really dead, she was in London waiting for George, it was like a romantic fantasy: the whole world thinks shes gone but they meet in London and they secretly live there lives. George new that she would have thought of something clever and sweet like that, but Leo let his brother know that Barbara didn’t think of that he did. While George was on his trip he became very mad at Barbara “ How dare she do a thing like this to me? I would never so a thing like that to her. Never! Like a nut, walking up the Via Veneto one night, cursing my dead wife”(9). Leo his younger brother wanted to do everything in his power to help his brother become stronger but no matter how hard he tried it was like he couldn’t do anything he felt completely helpless and was angry he couldn’t do anything about the situation. But he was going to give his brother his time and then when the time was right he was going to let his brother have the time of his life.
Jennie Malone walks into her apartment in mid February on a bitter cold after noon, shes a very attractive women in her early thirties and right behind her comes in Faye Medwick, they had just come back from a trip. Faye was complaining that the cabi charged them way to much. They walk into Jennie’s apartment and it was like she never left she had someone come in and water the plants fill her fridge and turn on the heat before she got home. Jennie walked in her own house and could still smell his nastiness. “I can still smell the ghost of Gus’s cigar. God what a cheap thing to be haunted by…he probably came by to pick up the rest of his clothes”(pg.13). Gus’s was not a good person to jennie so when she came home and the smell of him was still in her house it was like horror was all around her. Faye began to discuss her relationship with her husband Sidney and gets distracted by a naked women across the way. She continues on about how wonderful womens bodies are and if jennie had ever fantasized about doing something with a women! Jennie was not about to deal with Faye trying to make advances at her. But Faye carries on and goes “It’s just that sometimes I watch Sidney drooling over those Dallas cowboy cheerleaders, and I was wondering what I was missing in life…Maybe I never should have left Texas”(pg.14). Jennie asked what had gone wrong?. Faye continued that her husband wasn’t as affectionate as the couple they had gone out to dinner with but they had also said that they didn’t realize how to enjoy other till now and they were married twenty years. Faye felt like she was walking on egg shells with her husband she can never be completely honest because she’s afraid of what he would say. Jennie tells her “Oh god that infuriates me. Why are we so intimidated? I wasted five lousy years living with Gus trying to justify the one good year I had with him…because I wouldn’t take responsibility for my own life. Dumb! You’re dumb, jennie malone! All of us…we shouldn’t get alimony we should get the years back. Wouldn’t it be great if just once the judge said, “i award you six years, three months, two days and custody of your former youthful body and fresh glowing skin”!. Jennie is very bitter and upset about her whole divorce and tells Faye to leave, so she can lay in bed and try to remember her maiden name.
George receives a phone call from Mrs Zorn she is wanting to have dinner with George and he doesn’t seem to to the right way to let her down easily. Leo rings the door bell and George lets him know whats going on. Leo thinks he should go on a date with her but George thinks other wise he lets her know that he wants to be honest and that hes not ready to go on dates yet “ well yes in a manner of speaking we are in the same boat…But we don”t necessarily have to paddle together.. I think we have to go up out own streams”(18) . She is very persistent and continues to wonder if eventually they could meet up and he said that maybe if he reconsiders they would be able to meet up. George is baffled he can not believe how many women are so frank about calling him and letting him know that they had just recently been widowed or divorced and they wanted a date with him. Leo tells him “Listen, George, next to Christmas,loneliness is the biggest business in America”(pg.19). Leo also let him know that George was probably not the only man she had called She was probably just at the Georges. George found that very sad of how lonely these women are, and Leo agreed with him but he also let him know that “It is my job to brighten up the place. I am God’s interior decorator, and he has sent me to paint you two coats of happiness”(pg. 19). George could not believe what he was hearing his brother was trying to set him up on another date. George let him know he wasn’t interested because the last date was a disaster. “Look at me, Leo. I’m a nice, plain, regular person who eats fruit and wears slippers. What makes you think I’m going to like a jazzy blonde who dyes a zigzag streak of dark blue in her hair? She looked like the cover of a record album.”(20). He was not going to except any dates from Leo any more but even though George had said No! Leo insisted and left the number there for him to eventually call, if he wanted!
Jennie is packing to go home to Cleveland and the phone rings, its Gus and they have a very short yet good talk since they we civil towards each other. Jennie thought it was necessary to let Gus know she was sorry, before the tears began to form. Faye walks in directly after and is ecstatic, “ well two miracles happened last night at “21” The producer of at the world turns saw me at the table called me today and offered me a part”. Jennie is very happy for her the continue to discuss the character she would be playing. Then Jennie asked what the second miracle was and Faye asked her if she remembered the man Leo Schneider who she dated when she first moved to New York who has a brother with is recently widowed. Jennie wasn’t listening “I am packing. If you don’t know this is packing, how will you learn to play a cello?”. Jennie was being sarcastic with Faye because she didn’t care the she met this man nor did she want to date around yet. Faye was being persistent and told jennie he was a novelist who wasn’t gorgeous yet had a very sweet look to him. Jennie said that what Faye was doing was very sweet and she appreciated it she just wasn’t interested. Jennie leaves to go home to Cleveland as the phone rings Faye tries to bargain with her. But she just will not have it!
After Jennie got back from her long trip from Cleveland, the phone rang immediately as she enter she picked up and it was George Schneider he had accidentally called Jennie he was meaning to call Mrs Jurgens the old librarian. As the continued to talk George told her he was meaning to call just not right now then they started to discuss what they did for a living and where they went to college and they realized they both enjoyed each others discussion’s. So, George decided to be a little spontaneous yet still placing the reason for wanting to see each other on Faye and Leo, saying “just hear me out. What if we were to meet for just five minutes we could say hello,look each other over, part company and tell Leo and Faye that they have fulfilled their noble mission in life”(pg36). And he asked if she wanted to meet, right now. She was a little hesitant but she agreed. As she was waiting she called Faye she was nervous and needed some kind of advice, yet Faye wasn’t much help since Jennie had to get off the phone so quickly because George was going to be there soon. He arrived, she pixed herself up quickly and opened the door and there he was standing there George thought Jennie was stunning and it seem like they instantly connected they continued to talk and had a glass of wine with each other and found they were both very fond of each other and George asked if she would like to go on a “real” date together and she simply said yes!
Faye was noticing something different about Jennie she had been spending a lot of time with this new guy. “Four nights in one week, he’s got to be someone special. Who is he, Jennie? Have I met him? Oh God. I hate it when I’m left out of things!(Jennie come out, shows off her new backless dress) Its gorgeous I love everything but the price tag.”(51) Faye wanted to know every detail but and Jennie let her know it was George Schneider and she was head over heals for him. She was so nervous to tell anyone because she was so nuts for him she thought they were going to think she was crazy and put her in an institution for the over- emotional! But Jennie cut the conversation short she would be late for there date if she didn’t.
During there meal George became ill and passed out, just like in the film Shadowland the main character Jack is a middle aged man who begin’s discovering the joy of being alive and happy juts like George was going through at dinner with Jennie as she began to rub his hand. She took him home and began to take care of him he was so embarrassed he didn’t know what to think. She made him comfortable took his shoes off but had to be gentle because George let her know his feet were very sensitive and she told him that she had dealt with sweaty feet before it was no big deal! George told jennie he was very grateful on how she took care of him, he never new fish could make him pass out. Then they began a conversation on it wasn’t the fish everything there feeling is mutual and its okay to feel like that, George couldn’t forget about Barbara and jennie was okay with that and let George know she would be with him every step of the way. He kept saying that this kind of thing doesn’t happen twice in one life time, George was just lucky enough to have love happen twice. They felt as if they could trust each other and as if they were in a relationship for years not only a couple weeks. George realized Jennie would do anything for him “George: Really? Would you Knit me a camel’s-hair overcoat? Jennie: With or without the humps?Why did it scare you so, George? We were sitting there touching hands, and you suddenly broke into a cold sweat”.(56). George learned that Jennie just wanted him to be happy as so did he for Jennie.
George realized after that night that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Jennie and they were to be married Monday a little over two weeks after they had met. He told his brother Leo about the great news but Leo was not very happy about the situation he felt that Georges heart had not healed yet and that it was wrong for him to jump into a marriage so soon after his wife Barbara had passed away. But George found nothing wrong with the marriage and he wasn’t going to end what he felt because his brother didn’t think it was right. George brought up the fact that Barbara and him got married only eight weeks after they were married, Leo begged and pleaded and asked if George could just give it one month and if him and Jennie feel the same that they should be married and live there life’s happily. Leo just felt that George should not be opening another door when the last door was not closed yet.
George tells his mother about Jennie and Jennie is ecstatic to finally talk her. The discuss the marriage a little and how he was nice to talk to each other finally. After the talk with George’s mother Jennie goes home to find Faye and she lets Jennie in on a little secret yet still keeping in a secret. She told Jennie that she was having an affair but would not mention the name. Jennie tells Faye that having an affair is a little extreme but she is a grown women and is capable of making her own decisions even if they may be a erratic. After Faye and Jennie ended there talk Leo came in to discuss how he felt about the George and her getting married he wasn’t happy about it and told Jennie how George feels about his wife who passed away and told her that he still feels that George needs some time for healing still. “No, maybe you’re right, Leo. Maybe George really hasn’t dealt with Barbara’s death yet. And maybe I haven’t asked enough questions. I can only deal with one thing at a time. Let me experience my happiness before I start dealing with the tragedies… even if there were no Barbara to deal with, this is scary enough. And I’m goddamned petrified.”(86) Jennie let Leo know that he wasn’t the only one scared and was dealing with this she was also. After there talk Leo went to see George but was hiding what he and Jennie had discussed.
George and Jennie got married and it wasn’t has happy as they both thought it would be. George was having a very hard time trying to figure out if this was right and Jennie couldn’t contain her happiness. As they left for there honeymoon in much distress. Faye and Leo even though they were both married decided to begin an affair. The reason why Faye picked Leo was because when she had first moved to New York he was her first man and made her feel at home.
When George and Jennie come back from there honey moon there was a lot of tension in the air. George didn’t want to be around Jennie and Jennie had no clue why. They begin to argue and Jennie finds out a lot of thing about George she read in a magazine once that you can tell a lot about a person by looking in his fridge which was empty and cold but she also realized that George was empty and cold himself. George wanted to know more about Gus Jennies ex husband and Jennie wanted to know more about Barbara they realized they had just got married yet they know nothing about each other. George compared everything the whole time they were together to Barbara’s and his marriage, and Jennie let him know that Barbara may have been a big part of his life but she was not going to change to be like Barbara because that’s what he wanted. “ Then what do you want? bitterness? Anger? Fury? You want me to stand toe to toe with you like Barbara did? Well, I’m not Barbara. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to re-create her life, just to make my life work with you. This is our life now, George, and the sooner we start accepting that, the sooner we can get on with this marriage”(102). George told Jennie he resents her for everything and told her he missed Barbara terribly and resent her most of all because he couldn’t tell her that. George told jennie he need to make a trip to California to do a movie on his book but he failed to tell her when he had found out two weeks ago. She was shocked and hurt and wanted to know why? He said “I had know reason to go two weeks ago”(117). There fight had pushed him over the edge and he need to go somewhere to clear is mind, so she helped him! She threw his bag out of the house and told him she didn’t understand. He let her know he was still crazy about her he wants he’s just stuck in a rut and needs to get out and staying here was not an option. So he left and came back just as soon. Jennie was almost in tears and realized that he was back he loved her and was really absolutely crazy about her. He apologized and she couldn’t believe he was home again. All she wanted was him embrace her and to let her know he was ready to move on with there marriage. She asked him “we’ll what are you waiting for your place or mine?” and he replies with “Neither. I think we have to find a new one called “Ours”.”(132) this part of the story reminded me of Noah and Ally in The Notebook because Ally came back to Noah because that’s who her heart belonged to.
Chapter Two was a love story of how to work at something you want just like any love. Thats why I compared it to The Notebook by Nicholas sparks and Shadowland by C.S Lewis they were love story where you had to work and dig and find what you wanted to make yourself happy in the end.