Reviews for With Arms Wide Open
Mendys chapter 25 . 3/29/2014
Seeing Dinah happy and somewhat settled BEFORE turning back up in Ross and Vanessa's (and by extension the rest of her family's) lives does my heart good. It really annoyed me how she was practically set up to be despised by Matt and Blake, and then having her parents both eventually choose their respective spouses over her, in canon, because I thought Matt and Blake both behaved horribly mean-spirited towards her (and don't get me started on the way they both shunned Amanda on sight).

I found Phillip's conversation with his baby cousins pretty amusing, because I'm sure Roger would have the same conversation with them regarding Phillip, that he doesn't have horns and a tail and carry a pitchfork no matter what their cousin Phillip has to say.

Roger's decision to let go of Hart was a major one and I think it completely fits in this context, because Roger already has Holly and Blake and Jack and Blake's kids. It's not that Hart couldn't FIT, but Roger isn't fixating on the things he doesn't have anymore because there are plenty of things he does have. I think that Hart's feelings and the way he expresses them are completely justified, because he did open himself up to Roger in the beginning and only turned against him when he realized that Roger set into motion the chain of events that led to the death of Hart's beloved grandfather, and then Roger chose control of Spaulding Enterprises (via Jenna) over him. That had to have hurt Hart deeply, considering he didn't have much in the way of family and having Roger turn against him over a lie (Jenna claimed that Hart tried to seduce her and Roger chose to believe her and keep control of her and, through her, Spaulding over believing his own son).

Your characterization of Adam and the brief glimpses into HIS journey has impressed me. There's still a bit of distance there, but Adam is starting to believe in Roger again and both men are now open to each other. It's also very telling that Hart cares more about Adam's feelings and happiness than the fact that Adam is opening himself up to Roger again. Hart's hatred of Roger isn't completely all-consuming, or he wouldn't be able to accept the new relationship Adam and Roger have been slowly building.

I kind of wish Dinah would make Blake work harder to earn her trust, especially after the less than cordial welcome Blake gave her after finding out she was involved with Hart. But I was so happy to see Ross actually remember that Dinah is his daughter and actually make sure that she knew that she was the boys' big sister that I can let that go.

I got a really good friendly vibe between Hart and Faith. It was very telling that she was really the only one he wasn't scorning (aside from Adam, of course) when she was being neutral at worst regarding Roger. I'm not entirely certain WHAT it's telling, but it would seem that he has a healthy amount of respect for her. I don't know what place it would have, but I'd love to see more background on them, since they probably would have had a good deal of interaction back when Hart lived in Springfield.

I would love to see some more of Faith and Roger and this new understanding when you revisit this universe. Something tells me the snark factor would go through the roof, as well as Alan's blood pressure.

I really, really enjoyed this story. Please don't take TOO long in revisiting this timeline!
Mendys chapter 24 . 3/22/2014
I still feel bad for Barbara. She's still holding onto this stuff while Blake and Holly have moved on and I'm not entirely certain that any of these Norris women (Barbara, Holly, Blake) have the right idea.

Personally, I've always thought that, aside from the very early stuff, there was nothing Roger ever actually had to move on from because he was the one who was inflicting all of it. He gets no sympathy from me.

Barbara does need to let go all the stuff that happened in the '70s, despite the pain it caused EVERYONE involved.

Blake needs to understand that life was happening before she can remember , including all those horrible things her father did to her mother (and Roger was a right dirty bastard not only to Holly, but to a lot of other people, including his own father), and it's left a really bad taste in my mouth that she can't understand that Holly's family (her mother and brothers, the people who have known and loved her ALL HER LIFE) can't just wave a magic wand and get over how badly Roger hurt Holly, especially since Roger and Blake never had to deal with the aftermath themselves; no, that was the BAUERS and BARBARA who helped Holly with the aftermath.
Isabella GL chapter 25 . 8/12/2013
Wow. Hart was cold, but I guess we can't blame him for not trusting Roger yet. Good story, I enjoyed it very much and look forward to the sequel!
PriscillaPal chapter 25 . 8/4/2013
Hart makes me utterly and completely sick!

It hurt my heart to read how much Roger was dreading the christening, only because he didn't know how Hart would react. Hart needs to grow up. What really ticked him off was seeing how many other people, didn't go ape crazy, at the thought of Roger being in the same room with them. So he then ruins Roger's time at his grandson's christening by acting like a fool.

And that nonsense about 'I don't want to see you if I'm visiting Blake'...I thought 'Go to hell, Hart'! I don't even remember what Roger did to that boy! Honestly! I know Roger stole Hart's grandfather's land and who knows what else. But whatever the 'what else' was, if other people can get over what he's done to them, Hart can. Or should be able to. Bleh!

What I wanted someone to do, was to list every frickin' think Blake, Ross, Vanessa and a few others in that room, have done, then maybe Hart wouldn't have such an attitude. Or maybe he would.

At the same time, Hart is very real. Meaning he reminds me of more than a few people I've run into in my life, that can hold a grudge. Roger is doing the right thing. Sometimes you have to move on and leave the other party alone. What I am pleased about, is that Roger's life with Holly and Jack, his grandsons, his new friends the Greenbergs and the cautious optimism of the town towards him, will leave him little time to be pining for Hart.
Isabella GL chapter 24 . 7/24/2013
It's nice to hear about all these other characters! Did I miss something though? How come Hart didn't know Ross?
Mendys chapter 23 . 7/17/2013
Yay! All the babies are here!

I love that even the evolved Roger is still territorial and that Ed realizes it for what it is. Roger may be truly grateful that Ed was there to deliver the twins (and I believe that whole-heartedly), but I also believe that he wouldn't miss the opportunity to remind Ed that this is HIS family.

I've got to say, I'm not crazy about "Gigi," and not because of the OLTL youngster. I don't see why "Grandma" or "Grams" or even "Nana" would have a negative connotation. I didn't mention it before because I was hoping Blake would get over it, but it just really grates on me for some reason.

I loved the delivery! I'm glad the twins were healthy enough to not have to go to the hospital (though IRL I don't think any doctor would allow that) and my Bloss were able to enjoy them.

I really liked the Roger/Adam conversation. Great stuff, and they're inching ever closer to a real relationship without Adam having to complete roll over and capitulate. I think he's been treated better by the rest of the family than Barbara has.
PriscillaPal chapter 24 . 7/13/2013
Okay, I have to say this chapter was beyond great! And I say that because it is so rare to read fan fiction that makes you FEEL.

I went into this chapter, ready to hate Dinah and Hart. I never liked the characters together or even separately. And I really disliked Dinah once she married Roger. But you know what? I love Dinah in this story. And I think I loathed Blake even more than I usually do.

That part about Dinah shrieking and waking the babies...was it really necessary for Blake to threaten to throw Dinah out of the house? There were a million other things she could've said, like 'could you please keep your voices down' or something civil. But if Blake knew anything about being civil, she would've never pursued Ross to get back at Holly. But that's water under the bridge...

What really struck me, is that I had never thought about the fact, that Hart is perilously close to having a non-existent relationship with Peter. He's not in the danger of having Peter hate him, like he does Roger, but he needs to be a more constant presence in his son's life. I'm glad to see he's making an effort.

And Dinah's explanation as to why Blake bugs her, makes sense. I was glad to see Hart was there for her as well. I was just never more aware, after reading this chapter, how much this story is not only about Rolly, but it is about a family on the mend. Roger's side of the family trying to mend after all that he's done. Holly's side trying to accept her relationship with him. Ross is trying to parent a grown woman that he needed to be parenting from the get go...it seems like a big mess.

I can't wait to see how Hart and Roger react to each other at the christening.
Mendys chapter 22 . 7/13/2013
Honestly, I think Holly is wrong. It's NOT all up to Barbara. If Holly and Blake expect Barbara to bend, then they also have to bend. I'm glad that Holly didn't give Barbara an ultimatum, or at least it wasn't as much an ultimatum as I was expecting, because of the way Holly has been looking down her nose at the Springfield residents who dare wonder whether Roger has really changed as much as Holly says he has.

Holly needs to accept that it's going to take Barbara a little time, but it doesn't mean Barbara is unwilling to try or to change her way of thinking. I just wish that it wasn't Barbara making so many concessions, because it really makes Holly come out looking worse here. I would have liked Barbara to say something like, "I am willing to work towards accepting that you're happy with your life and I WILL accept it. Maybe not all at once, but I WILL. But you need to be willing to accept that it will take me a little time."

I liked Ross and Blake talking about the twins and I agree with them: I'd be uneasy thinking like Roger and I'd take it as Roger thinking more like Ross.

I know I sound kind of negative, but I really did like this chapter. You've got the dysfunction that still exists in this extended family down to a tee and I like the way you're dealing with it.
Isabella GL chapter 23 . 7/11/2013
Great two chapters! I loved Blake's delivery, which was so typical of her in so many ways, and the fact that Ed and Maureen were there was great too.

I also liked th reference to Daniel and that it was the first time that Roger had spelled out that he still loved Holly. I remember how excited I was to hear it at the time, it had been a long time coming, and i think it's the first time maybe that he really meant it.

Nice too for Barbara to finally come around a little. How will this all end?
PriscillaPal chapter 23 . 7/2/2013
You know what I got out of this chapter? How having a loving family and being part of their lives, has changed Roger. I know it does no good ,to keep saying that this is the life Rolly could have had, before it was snatched away by a low rent, untalented Head Writer, that shall remain nameless in this review.

But that's still how I feel. I also feel this author has in her own way, corrected that misjustice.

But what I mean about Roger is this: now he has the security of knowing that Holly does love him, that he does not have to lie to her and a a cute son is part of this package as well. His daughter has given him more grandchildren and he his getting along relatively better with Ross than he has in the past. I think on some level, Ross and even Ed, are seeing a different Roger. Not one they trust 100%, but they do see a man that they can now give the benefit of the doubt.

And Roger's calling Adam was fabulous. He didn't push Adam and his father even took time to congratulate him. Baby steps there. One would hope that Barbara gave a good report to him of her visit to Springfield as well.

I think we need to see a Thorpe Family reunion, with Adam and Hart spearheading it. That would really be something.
PriscillaPal chapter 22 . 6/18/2013
If I was Barbara, I'd be kind of embarrassed. I mean she surely couldn't have expected for both Holly and Blake to clear the air with her, while Roger and Ross were there. But Grandma is willing to give it a try. Let's just hope neither man does anything that makes Barbara say, 'I told you so'. There is nothing worse than hearing that from a relative!

I liked the fact that Blake revealed to Barbara that she did not know her parents were in therapy. I think to Barbara, the fact that Roger and Holly had sought professional help and hadn't even told their own daughter, made it appear as if Roger and Holly were truly serious about making things work.

The most interesting part of this chapter, was Barbara's talk with Ed. It was almost as if Barbara was trying to get Ed to say something bad about the whole situation, but Ed would not go there. He kept it positive for the most part, and I do believe that he was the biggest influence with Barbara. I think she decided to at least listen to what her daughter and granddaughter had to say, because of him. But this was a very deep chapter. Now I wonder what will happen when Adam chooses to grace the Thorpe's with his presence? Or better yet, what will Barbara tell him about her visit?
Mendys chapter 21 . 6/10/2013
I've held off on reviewing because I wanted to really think and reflect on this chapter. It was well done and I'm starting to see where Holly and Blake are coming from. I realize that Roger does have a place here, but this is about Barbara and I hope Roger continues to just steer clear of her.

Blake is really bothering me here. She either has selective memory or a very faulty memory, because I remember A LOT of very loving family moments between Holly/Barbara/Chrissy and Barbara and Chrissy while Holly was in prison. Lots of hugs and kisses and Barbara never entered or departed from visiting Holly in prison without a hug and lots of support. So this new history just doesn't wash with me. I've got DVDs from when Holly was in prison right as Roger was returning to Springfield and Barbara was a WONDERFUL, loving grandmother and a supportive and loving mother. Now, maybe things changed after Holly, Chrissy, and Barbara all left Springfield, but I find it hard to believe that Blake can't find ONE good, loving memory of her grandmother.

I loved how Ross was taking care of Blake, even though I think a lot of the stress Blake was having this chapter was entirely self-inflicted.

I also love the care that you're taking with all these relationships and I really hope that Holly and Barbara, and Blake and Barbara, come to some understanding without Barbara being forced to swallow all the trauma and upheaval Roger caused in all of their lives. It's fine that Holly and Blake have moved past it, but it's completely unfair to force Barbara to (when Barbara suffered every bit as much as Holly and Blake did at Roger's hands, being forced to simply watch Roger do those evil, hateful things to them and then he got away scot-free? If I were Barbara, I'd be reeling over the complete injustice of it, if that was my daughter and granddaughter) and it's monstrous of both Holly and Blake to even insinuate that if Barbara doesn't toe the line, she'll never see either of them or Jack or the twins again.

I also don't see Barbara leaving Holly's without once referring to Jack by his given name rather than "that child," or leaving Blake's without a single congratulatory word about the twins, no matter who their fathers (Jack and the twins) are, but that's just my opinion.

I'm looking forward to seeing how things are resolved! I can't see Barbara not coming to some sort of terms with Ross (who is reasonable enough to meet her halfway or even a little more than halfway, certainly more reasonable than Holly and Blake are right now), because Roger may have evolved and changed a little bit, but all Barbara has to do is talk to ANYONE in Springfield and they'll be falling all over themselves about how well-respected and well-liked Ross is. Hell, if Barbara will listen to anyone, she'll listen to Ross's best friend, ED! Or maybe even Hope Spaulding, who might be looking more kindly on even Roger these days, since he helped save her daughter's life at the lighthouse, but Hope would definitely talk up Ross to Barbara.
Isabella GL chapter 21 . 6/9/2013
Yes, Barbara is as disagreeable as ever! But Ross might be on to something, surely there are reasons explaining why she's so sour. I'm looking forward to see if they will be able to get trough to her in the end!
PriscillaPal chapter 21 . 6/2/2013
This was an interesting chapter. Because the usual disapproval of the family unit that Roger, Holly and baby Jack have put together, usually comes from a distance. Meaning people are coolly polite, but you can sense they think that Holly is out of her mind.

Then Barbara comes to town and doesn't pull any punches. She browbeats Roger in his own home, even going so far as to accuse him of not knowing how to take care of his own son, and some imagined infidelity. Then Holly comes home and has to answer for why she's chosen Roger again and to have his child.

On the surface, one could say Barbara is wrong and just being plain rude. You don't come to someone's home uninvited and act like that. But when you think about it from her point of view, while I still think her approach is wrong, I can actually see where she is coming from as well.

This man married her daughter, cheated on her and then sexually assaulted her. He went to trial, was found guilty no thanks to Rita Stapleton's confession, Roger freaks out and tries to kill Ed but Holly ends up shooting him instead. There is a trial and Holly goes to prison when all the while Roger was not dead. Not to mention that jungle drama that took place.

So yes, I can see where Barbara is coming from. To her it should be common sense, that her only daughter would never want to be in the same room with Roger ever again, much less have his child.

But I think Holly and Roger are doing the right thing. The only way to change Barbara's mind is to show her. And it might take years. I think in this case, honestly, either Roger has to go several years without ending up on the news, or he has to donate a kidney or something life changing, to impress Barbara. The real problem here is actually VERY real. A bad first impression is very hard to change. And Barbara just can't, at this point, see anything redeemable about her 'son-in-law' at this time.

I honestly wish that the writers that ruined GL back in late 94', could've had the creativity and foresight to write THIS story! Because Barbara's attitude is not only affecting Roger and Holly, but Ross as well.

I am not a fan of Ross or Blake's, but how Barbara feels about Ross is much more unfair than how she feels about Roger. There is no way Ross could've really known Roger was that bad. And when he did learn of it, he certainly didn't become buddy-buddy with the man. Ross should be cut some slack.

It will be interesting to see if Barbara, before she leaves Springfield, can give Roger a goodbye hug!
Cynthia chapter 21 . 5/30/2013
I think you do a good job with Barbara here, keeping a nice balance between the fairness of (some of) what she says and the unfairness of her inability to see Holly as a growing, changing person.

Sounds like a "showdown" is coming up, indeed.
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