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Old 02-01-2010, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any Lucy Maud Montgomery fans out there? (She wrote Anne of Green Gables, and many other books.)

I am reading The Blythes are Quoted, her newly discovered and recently published last book. It is much different than anything else she wrote, and reflects the despair she lived with at the end of her life.
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:11 PM
 
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Yes, huge fan. Earlier today, I responded elsethread with a suggestion to read some of her stand alone works - A Tangled Web and The Blue Castle.

A very long time ago, I read The Road to Yesterday, which was an abridged, re-arranged version of The Blythes are Quoted. I enjoy her short stories as much as her novels.

It saddens me greatly to know that she was so unhappy in life.
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Old 02-01-2010, 06:10 PM
 
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Didn't she kill herself? Anyway. I found Rilla of Ingleside pretty bleak and depressing - not sure if I've read The Road to Yesterday, but it rings a bell.

I enjoy her books. I kinda cringe at the fantastical cheesiness, particularly Anne's habit of rapturously gazing off into the distance with her lips parted and then wittering on about fairies. But for a writer who can be so lalala at times she can also be hilariously shrewd at skewering human nature. It's an odd combination. I like her short stories especially, the Chronicles of Avonlea-type ones. I've read a fair few of her standalone works - the Emily books are good, but the last one leaves a slightly sour taste in my mouth. Too cynical. I do reread the Anne books every few years, anyway. Great fun. I can't wait until DD's old enough to read them!

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Old 02-01-2010, 07:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Didn't she kill herself? Anyway. I found Rilla of Ingleside pretty bleak and depressing - not sure if I've read The Road to Yesterday, but it rings a bell.

I enjoy her books. I kinda cringe at the fantastical cheesiness, particularly Anne's habit of rapturously gazing off into the distance with her lips parted and then wittering on about fairies. But for a writer who can be so lalala at times she can also be hilariously shrewd at skewering human nature. It's an odd combination. I like her short stories especially, the Chronicles of Avonlea-type ones. I've read a fair few of her standalone works - the Emily books are good, but the last one leaves a slightly sour taste in my mouth. Too cynical. I do reread the Anne books every few years, anyway. Great fun. I can't wait until DD's old enough to read them!
From what I understand, there's a fair amount of circumstantial evidence, including her journal entries near the time of her death, to make the case for suicide. I don't think it's conclusive though - no one can know for certain. There's no doubt that she suffered from depression and was deeply unhappy.

I really admire Rilla of Ingleside, although I can't read it without weeping - especially the Dog Monday scenes. I believe it is the only contemporary account of the World War I "Home Front", and as such the depictions of the life of the families of soldiers have historic and literary importance.

I prefer the Emily books to the Anne books. They all have their charm though. It's been a long time since I read Pat of Silver Bush and Magic for Marigold, so I don't recall them well. I know I was impressed as a young teenage feminist that Montgomery included a female physician character at a time when it must have quite rare for women to be doctors.

I'm a little sad that my 13 y.o. dd isn't a fan. I gave her a boxed set of Anne books a few years ago. I think she read the first, but no others until this year. She read Rilla for a history project - the assignment was to research WW1, and to read one fictional account about war.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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Ah, I'd never thought about Rilla of Ingleside being contemporary to the war! That's cool. The war was foreshadowed in Rainbow Valley, IIRC - when was that written? I liked some aspects of Rilla (reread it quite recently on Project Gutenberg) but thought it tried to cram too many years of war into a short book, and the romantic in me hated to see the idealistic and cheerful Anne turn somewhat bitter and bleak. There are some characters you just don't want to follow into middle age and cynicism, you know?

The Anne books are kind of sneakily feminist. I never really picked up on it when I read the books as a kid, but Anne was a blimmin' genius. She taught herself Latin and Greek, was a schoolteacher at 16, got scholarships galore, was a published author - she certainly isn't made into a bluestocking or a swot, and her intelligence is somewhat compromised by the aforementioned wittering on about fairies, but in real life she'd be hailed as a prodigy and Renaissance woman. Plus the whole flatting-student-away-from-home thing is surprisingly modern. And she could cook. So that's cool, I guess. Of course as a teenager I was more interested in her relationship with Gilbert.

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Old 02-01-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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L.M. Montgomery and the Anne and Emily books got me through middle school!!!!

Gosh, I haven't re-read them in a long time. I gave my books away to the girls I used to babysit. They are definitely stories that stay with you. One of my favorite things she wrote was about "kindred spirits." I don't know why but it stays with me.

I really haven't read a lot of her stand alone works. I did read a collection of short stories, but I don't remember the title.

My 6 year old DD appears to have the makings of a reader, unlike her brother. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will be able to share these books.

Anyone recommend a couple of the stand alone books? Titles please?
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:14 PM
 
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The Blue Castle is a fun read. Rainbow Valley isn't usually boxed up with the Anne set, so you may have missed it - it comes after Anne of Ingleside and before Rilla of Ingleside, and is about Anne's children and the children of another family. It's quite sweet. I can't remember much about Pat of Silver Bush or Magic for Marigold either, but I have read them.... and there was another rather soppy one about a deaf woman who fell in love with some chap, but I forget the title. *googles* No, wait, she was mute and it was called Kilmeny of the Orchard. There's also The Story Girl, that's a classic! And she wrote several short story colections, mostly PEI-themed.

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Old 02-01-2010, 09:37 PM
 
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I love the Anne of Green Gables series. I've never read any of her other works, though they are on my 'list of to-reads' I found the books toward the end (before Rilla) get a bit on the idyllic side and the constant quoting of other works drives me a little batty. One of them, I can't remember which now, seems almost like a collection of short stories or anecdotes rather than a complete novel to me.

As for Rilla. . . funny, I didn't find Anne to be cynical. Bleak? Maybe. But she'd lost two children by that point (Joy and Walter) and still had another son out on the battlefield. The Dog Monday scene is definitely heart-wrenching. It makes me tear up even now thinking about it. But I don't know. . . in some ways I find the book to be a little more realistic and hopeful than others in the series.

I very much agree that LMG has a shrewd sense of character. . . that was one of the things I really enjoyed about the works I've read: She's really good at painting a complete picture with just a few brushstrokes.

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