Sunday, August 27, 2006

L.M. Montgomery

I loved Anne of Green Gables as a kid. Adored Anne-with-an-E Shirley. I tried reading the sequel but was a bit bored with old Anne; when I was older, then I returned to the series and flew thru them. I didn't read Emily (she's on my to be read pile, I swear.) I liked Kevin Sullivans's various adaptations, including the Story Girl/ Road to Avonlea series (but let's not mention that horrible Anne Goes To War movie, OK? I'm pretending that doesn't exist.)

I started reading L.M. Montgomery's journals when they were first published. Wow. That was when I fell in love with not only Anne, but also her creator. I like the journals because they give a "real life" glimpse into life at the turn of the century; I also liked seeing how the fiction of Anne and Emily and others were created. Most importantly, Maud isn't Anne; and critics of LM Montgomery tend to forget that.

Any-who, I was reminded of all that when I saw this over at Kate's Book Blog: L.M. Montgomery in Response to Her Critics. It's the perfect look at the person behind the books; and also a great response to the type of criticisms still being made.


Nancy said...

Liz, her journals are fantastic. But Montgomery's life was tragic in many ways, and only got more so over the years. The first time I read her journals I realized, as you say, that "Maud isn't Anne," and that her ability to write as she did was in many ways remarkable.

I discovered Montgomery's journals by accident one day in the college library, almost hidden on a low shelf. I was a lit major writing a thesis on turn-of-the-century books for girls, and these journals were such a FIND for me.

Emily is fantastic -- I hope you get to that part of your pile soon!

Little Willow said...

Anne Shirley rules.

The first two movies were fantastic. The third - we share the bah! sentiment there.

I recently read Lucy Maud and Me by Mary Frances Coady, which is a fictional account of a young girl's friendship with a late-in-life Lucy. Appropriate for elementary school and up.

Clare said...

Liz, I devoured all of L.M. Montgomery's books when I was young and have reread most of them over the years. I have dipped into the journals, but they're definitely on my list to read further. The Emily books were by far my favourite. I just reread Emily of New Moon for a children's lit course I'm taking, and it has lost none of its charm. Also good are The Story Girl and The Golden Road. Road to Avonlea, the TV series, was based on those books and was a huge hit here in Canada, but I much preferred the books -- not as sweet. For anyone who is interested in scholarly treatments of L.M. Montgomery, or just a more in-depth look at her work, check out the institute at

Melissa Rabey said...

[sigh] Anne! Loved loved loved Anne, in part because she seemed so different from me. Not just the historical stuff, but her personality and outlook were different from mine, and that was eye-opening.

I read the Emily books years ago, and frankly, they didn't do much for me. But I keep promising my best friend, who completely and totally identifies with Emily, that I'll reread them.

I haven't read much about L.M. Montgomery herself, so I'll have to give her journals a try at some point!

Anonymous said...

Liz, Emily is just as wonderful as Anne, more so for me because I feel I have much more in common with Emily than Anne... anyway, I had no idea L.M.'s journals were published. I'm def. going to dip into those. And the third movie - agonizing. I thought it would be more in the way of Rilla of the Valley but... ug, no!


Anonymous said...

Hi Liz,
All of LMM's characters are wonderful in their own special ways. I think you'll really like Emily. She's the character that's most like Maud herself and a lot of the events in the book actually occurred in Maud's life.