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Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
30 posts | 3 read | 1 reading
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review
TheAromaofBooks
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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Panpan

In the end, the only reason I really enjoyed this one was because of the absolutely fantastic discussions with @BarbaraJean !! The book itself was... frustrating. I really wanted more about LMM's craft and the way her skills developed (considering she was almost completely self-taught) but instead Waterston chose to dwell a LOT on (very) tenuous connections between LMM's writing and her real life, some of which made sense and others of which ⬇

TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) were simply nonsensical. There was a lot of potential here, and this book did make me want to reread LMM's novels in their published order (especially the Anne books, which I always read chronologically) to see if I could notice the development of her writing and tone.

Learning more about LMM's life has in general made me respect her even more for her ability to craft such delightful, lighthearted, warm, cozy, welcoming stories ⬇
8mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) even when her own personal life was full of difficulties and complications. Waterston preferred to draw out all the small bits of drama and bitterness from LMM's books and emphasize them disproportionately, which I think does LMM's writing a great disservice.

So I didn't really enjoy this book, but I did LOVE our discussions, so in the end I did feel like I benefited by take more of a deep-delve into LMM's writing, even we spent most ⬇
8mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) of the time agreeing with each other about how wrong she was 😂

#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead
#BookSpinBingo
#ISpyBingo - Reflection @Clwojick
#SummersEndReadathon @TheSpineView
8mo
TheSpineView Great job! 8mo
BarbaraJean I'm so glad we read this together! Thank you for hanging in there with me! 8mo
57 likes5 comments
review
BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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Panpan

If you saw my chapter-a-day posts for the #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead, it will be no surprise that for me this was largely disappointing. Each chapter focuses on one book by Montgomery, mostly through a biographical lens, connecting the story or its writing with events in LMM's life. Overall, I really didn't connect with Waterston's analysis. I debated (a little) about giving this a “Pan” because there‘s some great scholarship here. There are some ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d)…interesting observations on structure within a couple of LMM's novels, and some of the biographical connections were fitting and illuminating. Waterston‘s stated goal is to look at LMM‘s life alongside her fiction, which is valid, but unfortunately most of the biographical connections I thought were a HUGE stretch or carried way too far. Certainly LMM drew from her own experiences and many parallels to her life can be found in her work.⤵️ (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d)…But not everything MEANS something. I don't agree that every negative character is a self-portrait of LMM's darker side, or that just because a character's name sounds like some other character in LMM's work or elsewhere that there is necessarily a connection. So much of what I love about LMM‘s books is found in their humor, beauty, and joy, and Waterston seemed to miss all of that. ⤵️ (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean What WAS a delight was discussing this daily with @TheAromaofBooks! In I Capture the Castle, Cassandra exclaims: “Oh, it is amicable being with someone who knows the poems you know!” Well, it was amicable chatting with someone who hated the passages I hated.😆 Sarah, thank you for reading this with me! I thoroughly enjoyed our discussions in spite of not thoroughly enjoying the book. (And yes, that is my entire collection of LMM Bantam paperbacks) (edited) 9mo
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Karisimo I love your picture though! 9mo
LeahBergen And now I‘m glad I didn‘t get to this one! 😆 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I had SO much fun reading this with you! I realized when I went to rate this on GR that I was inclined to give it a higher rating because our discussions made me view this book more fondly than it deserves 😂 This book was honestly such a disappointment. There was so much potential, and Waterston just kept letting me down! I genuinely appreciate your commitment to the daily posts. Knowing I was going to have a chance to whine about what I read ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) really kept me going!

Your Bantam collection is delightful!! Those are the editions I grew up reading and I love them SO much!
9mo
BarbaraJean @Karisimo Thank you! @LeahBergen You dodged a bullet with this one! 😅 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I gave it 2 stars on GR, which is pretty low for me--I just went to look and saw you rated it the same! I respect all the research that went into it, I just disagreed with almost all of her conclusions 😂
I do so love these copies. These are the first editions I read, as library books, then later owned. I should find matching copies of Jane, Story Girl, & Tangled Web one of these days. I don't care about Kilmeny or Chronicles. 😂
9mo
TheAromaofBooks Something about that swooshy font on the covers - I love it!! 9mo
lauraisntwilder The picture is lovely, but I'm sorry the book wasn't great. A good discussion always helps a bad book. 😊 9mo
32 likes11 comments
blurb
BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Anne of Ingleside & Conclusion

I was going to do the conclusion tomorrow, but I just wanted to be done with this book!

I found Waterston‘s analysis of Anne of Ingleside to be a mixed bag. Her discussion of the symmetrical structure of the novel was fascinating, identifying paired or opposing themes that mirror each other throughout the book. Some of the biographical connections were illuminating, while ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d)…many continued to be a stretch. She casts Aunt Mary Maria in such an ominous light, as if she‘s intentionally inflicting harm on the family—I read her as annoying, bitter, and petty, but not intentionally malicious. I disagreed with W.‘s emphasis on the vignette where Anne is commissioned to write a poem as an obituary. To say that LMM is “bitter enough about the writing life to debunk the whole business of writing” is a rather extreme⤵️ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) interpretation of what to me reads as a funny and disappointing little event in Anne‘s life. I also don‘t read Anne‘s jealousy at the end as mocking or “funny for the reader.” Or as a reference to Ewan being displeased at LMM‘s fame. Ugh. I just get so tired of Waterston‘s dubious connections to LMM‘s life, as well as the way she overdramatizes scenes that seem minor and then dismisses others. As to the conclusion, I didn‘t hate it, but⤵️ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d)…I didn‘t find much that was meaningful, either. She harped on the island theme a LOT—OK, it IS her title and a linking thread, but it still felt over-done. And in emphasizing the “commentary on life and art” she sees in LMM‘s work, I think she completely missed several other key themes in LMM‘s books: love of place, human foibles, and “kindred spirits” among them. That emphasis is probably part of why I had difficulty connecting with⤵️ 9mo
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BarbaraJean (Cont‘d)…her analysis so very often. Never mind my issues with her biographical stretching and weird obsession with names. 😂 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I also read the conclusion yesterday in order to finish this one off 😂 No surprise that I had many similar thoughts about her take on Ingleside as you did. I actually really did enjoy her commentary on symmetrical form of the novel - like when she pointed out the four houses being central to House of Dreams (set in Four Winds), it's something that I hadn't consciously noticed before, but definitely adds background structure to the story. ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) But seriously, how does she take a funny story of Anne writing an obituary and turn it into an entire existential-writing-angst plot?! I have always found that story kind of hilarious, more a story about Anne's tendency, even as an adult, to find the sunny side/rose-colored glasses/poetry vs the more prosaic attitude of most people!

I felt like Rubio had also gotten on this kick about Aunt Mary Maria being this “evil side“ of LMM ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) blah blah blah, which I just find ridiculous. To top it off, W also once again completely misrepresents a part of the story by stating that “Anne stumbled on a way of ridding the house of Aunt Mary Maria“ as though she had planned the birthday party in a malicious attempt to convince her to leave, when it's really a classic story of attempting to do something kind and welcoming for someone and having it completely backfire - except in ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) this case, the backfire is a good thing!

It also felt odd that emphasized that Gilbert is the “bringer“ of these “dark“ aspects of Anne's life (Aunt Mary Maria and her jealousy of Christine). Aunt Mary Maria perhaps, although I see that as a continuity of Gilbert's black/white character that always does “the right thing“ (e.g. operate on Leslie's husband in House of Dreams), but I don't think Gilbert “brings“ Christine into anything ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) that is 100% in Anne's head, all Gilbert did was casually mention Christine was going to be there.

In the conclusion, it felt like W did a great job summarizing all the interpretations of the stories that I had disagreed with 😂 especially about how LMM's characters end up with their lives “dominated by a male artist's successful career“ - I'm not sure Valancy would consider a life of luxury, travel, and companionship to be “dominated“ ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) by Barney's career; we have literally zero evidence that Teddy's career ended up more successfully than Emily's; and it just felt weird to drag Miss Lavender into things since she isn't even a main character??? Her depiction of Anne in Windy Poplars as a “troubled school principal, lonely letter-writing fiancee, and worried colleague“ also felt unnecessarily negative.

So all in all... this book brought up a few interesting points, but ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (contd') what it mostly did was provide a framework for our absolutely delightful conversations that I have most thoroughly enjoyed. It's also made me want to reread LMM's books in published order to see if I can notice her writing style evolving as she goes. I may have more to say later but I've already gotten carried away and have to go to work!!! 😂 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I feel like Waterston has a singular talent for taking LMM's light little vignettes and funny characters and turning them into meaning-laden millstones around LMM's neck. I thought the ending of the conclusion was hilarious and ironic--after summarizing all her interpretations that load up LMM's characters with darkness, depression, and negative associations, Waterston closes her book with “let's call it magic.“ 😂 😂 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks The Aunt Mary Maria solution was, in my mind, another hilarious example of how Anne stumbles into mishaps with the best of intentions. I don't think W. actually meant that Anne planned the party maliciously, but the way she worded it was unclear. Her description of Gilbert being the bringer of “dark“ elements was also such a stretch, and it frustrated me for the same reasons--the results in both cases are completely accidental! ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) In neither case did Gilbert intend for what happened to happen--for Anne to feel jealous over Christine, or for Aunt Mary Maria to be so awful and stay FOREVER. I completely agree with your frustrations on the “dominated by a male artist“ interpretation as well. Waterston seems to read a completely different tone into LMM's books than I do. One of the things I love the most about LMM's writing is its sense of joy and humor and beauty. ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) And Waterston overlooks ALL of that, in addition to loading up her analysis with forced connections to the sad and dark parts of LMM's life. That's just not how I read these books (or how I want to read them, either). THANK YOU for hanging in there with reading this daily!!! I have also found our conversations delightful, and am glad to have read this book with someone who has the same frustrations with Waterston as I do!! 😂 9mo
25 likes15 comments
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Jane of Lantern Hill

Sigh. Add fat-shaming to the list of my frustrations with Waterston: “As Montgomery grew older (and fatter), she perhaps dreamed more about food.” What even is happening? Why is that comment even here?!?

W. makes a valid point about Jane‘s second PEI visit being a bit over the top—I agree that the lion episode is kind of the final straw in far-fetched-ness. But then there‘s an ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d)…immediate pivot to a very odd comment saying in this section LMM “seems to mock her own achievement and ridicule her own narrative.” Which—what? Did I miss something? I don‘t even understand where that leap came from. Because Jane has this series of “fabulous—and unlikely—successes,” LMM is mocking her own achievements? More ridiculous stretches claiming every important character represents LMM and everything parallels LMM‘s life. 🙄 9mo
CSeydel Good grief! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Oh my gosh WHY. Sometimes Waterston makes me feel like I'm losing my mind! I absolutely love Jane of Lantern Hill, so (this will shock you) I have some thoughts 😂 I actually did think a lot of what she had to say was interesting, especially about the parallels of LMM moving to Toronto and actually creating a home there that she loved. And I agree that the second summer Jane is on the Island starts to feel a little ridiculous. I also thought the⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) footnote talking about the heatwave Toronto was experiencing while LMM was writing was interesting. (Although another footnote stating that Valancy's middle name was Victoria with a whole little commentary about it was just bizarre, since Valancy's middle name is actually Jane...????)

I was frustrated by W's portrayal of Jane's mother as “a social butterfly, rather like ... the giddy flappers in A Tangled Web, or Valancy's socialite ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) socialite cousin.“ I've always felt that Jane's mother had love self-esteem and was easily bullied/convinced that Jane's father didn't really love her, not that she abandoned her husband for the frivolity of socialite life. At the end of the chapter W talks about Jane's near-death experience drawing “butterfly Robin“ back to her marriage, as though she just flitted off to have some fun, which I think really devalues Robin's character. ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks However, I did like W's comparison of Jane to some of LMM's other heroines - Jane is sturdy, practical, down-to-earth. The line of Jane saying that she owes God an apology is actually one of my favorites in LMM's writing. I also liked the line, “Feminists might deplore the implication of domestic subservience as happiness. But Jane - and many of her readers - accepts the idea of nurturing as a new part of her destiny.“ For once, I feel like W ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) actually understood something about this story - Jane doesn't find happiness because she's destined to be a drudge of a housewife someday; instead she finds joy in being able to DO things, especially things that help other people. While I picture Jane someday falling in love and being a delightful wife and mother, I can also see her no-nonsense attitude pursuing a career.

One final thing I thought was a little odd - why the dig about ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) Gilbert's illness?? I've always thought him getting sick because he was so overworked and exhausted felt completely reasonably (especially coupled with the presumed emotional difficulties he was going through believing that he and Anne would never be together). It felt like a weird thing to bring up out of the blue. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Oh, I was SO frustrated with the way W. dismisses Robin! I don't read her as a “socialite“ at ALL--certainly not “giddy“ or an echo of horrible Olive in Blue Castle. Her insecurities are manipulated by her domineering mother. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I had the impression that Robin was expected to go out to all these social events--her mother demanded she be a “social butterfly“--not that it was necessarily her choice. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I also liked W's analysis of Jane's difference from LMM's other heroines. I didn't like the way she projected feminist impressions of the text, partly because it felt like a straw man--“domestic subservience“ isn't what is pictured here at all. Jane doesn't cook and clean and keep house because she's subservient, she genuinely enjoys being useful and is happiest when she has work to do. W. seems to understand that even if she ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd)...presents a lousy imagined criticism of the text in order to poke holes in it! And yes, that comment about Gilbert was weird! Gilbert's illness makes sense to me within the story, not just as a plot device. I also thought W's wording about Jane's illness was strange: that she “deserved“ to get sick after walking 5 miles in the rain. I get what she meant, that it was a natural consequence of those actions, but it was an odd word choice. (edited) 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Anne of Windy Poplars

More of the same old Waterston here. More tenuous claims of parallels, places where she doesn‘t seem to “get” the book she‘s analyzing. And I felt like she contradicts herself in two subsequent paragraphs above: first Katherine Brooke is a picture of Isobel Anderson, and then Katherine Brooke is another LMM self-portrait. I don‘t buy either parallel. Katherine Brooke ends up as a ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …quite sympathetic character, and I don‘t think that‘s the direction LMM would have gone with a parallel to the obsessive and unbalanced Isobel. And the LMM parallels are even more of a stretch. I‘d say Anne‘s struggles with the Pringle clan are a better parallel to LMM‘s frustrations with “forces working against her,” from parishioners to literary critics. Also, I completely disagree that there are “no more funny ‘scrapes‘”! ⤵️ 9mo
BarbaraJean W. describes an episode I‘d call a “funny scrape” (Cyrus Taylor‘s sulks) on the very next page. I did find the origins of Windy Poplars super interesting, though—how LMM first wrote stories with a new Anne book in mind, then worked them into a novel. It explains the book‘s episodic nature, and also shows how LMM‘s editing & writing evolved—here, she works related stories into a cohesive whole, rather than shoehorning Anne into existing material. 9mo
julieclair Unfortunately, I have fallen way behind on this buddy read. 😔 But… I love that whenever I do catch up, I can still participate in the discussion! Litsy is the best! 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks I marked this same page! After reading about Anderson in Rubio's biography, I don't feel that she's anything like Katherine, especially considering she acts literally the opposite towards Anne than Anderson does towards LMM. I marked the sentence about Anne not getting into “scrapes“ as well. While I do feel like Anne is more mature in this book (which makes sense), she still has the ability to get involved in hijinks for sure. ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) I'm sure you noticed the part where W talks about Anne's nonexistent writing career AGAIN when she was pointing out that because this book takes place between two already-written books, LMM couldn't mess with any continuity, including “no rebirth of Anne's writing career“ - but supposing that Anne HAD writing ambitions, I don't see any reason why those wouldn't have been able to happen here. The reason they didn't is because - they ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) don't exist!

However, I did think it was interesting to contrast this story with the Chronicles - interconnected stories purposefully written to include Anne vs previous short stories rewritten to wedge her in. Transplanting Anne into an entirely different community works for this book, I think. While Anne dearly loves Green Gables and Avonlea, I think her childhood also helped her learn that her “home“ is people, not places, and she ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) has cultivated the ability to find “home people“ wherever she lives. I hadn't really thought about it before, but she moves around much more than other heroines (granted, she also encompasses more page time than other heroines). Overall, I think Windy Poplars actually does emphasize Anne's actual passion, which is people and helping them (rather than observing and writing).

One thing W didn't get into that I thought she would is that ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) there are differences between the British and American editions of this book, including the title. My understanding is that the American edition actually toned down some of the stories from Mrs. Tomgallon and the other woman she meets in the cemetery who tells all the tales about the people buried there. I was a little surprised that W didn't talk about that, even when mentioning that the original title was Windy Willows. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks @julieclair - As you can see, we've gotten quite into this discussion, so you are VERY welcome to come back any time and we'll be happy to talk about it some more. Barbara and I could probably use a third perspective since we mostly tell each other how right we are in our opinions 😂 9mo
BarbaraJean @julieclair I second @TheAromaofBooks - please do chime in when/if you read more of this! You are of course welcome to agree with our strong opinions on the content (we've had a lot to say about stuff we don't like and I don't think we've even covered all of that comprehensively 😂) but a different voice is always helpful to broaden the perspective! 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I love that idea, that Anne demonstrates that “knack“ for connecting with and helping people here. That's a clear theme linking the various episodes. Anne herself (& the broader story of her struggles & successes) serves to link together the stories--it makes such a difference from Chronicles to have a framing story woven throughout! Probably also helps when you have a congenial publisher who isn't squirreling away your material ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd)...so he can make an exploitative buck off you later. But I digress. 😂 The idea that Anne finds her “home people“ in each place is a lovely one. She really does create home wherever she finds her kindred spirits, or “the race that knows Joseph.“ Katherine Brooke resents and envies that--another clear difference from Isobel, who was grasping and possessive about LMM, rather than pushing her away out of self-protection, as Katherine does. ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean I was also surprised at the lack of comment on the title--W. presents “Windy Willows“ as an earlier version of the title, but I had thought that was another difference between American and British editions, along with toning down the family scandals and salacious graveyard gossip!

I TOTALLY noticed the return to comments on Anne's writing. I thought W. had a valid point on the constraints of writing a novel where the timeline falls between two ⬇
9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd)...already-published books. Then she quickly pivoted from an interesting & valid discussion to rehash a point I disagreed with 😂 Honestly, I don't see a problem with a “rebirth“ of Anne's writing in WP, if LMM had gone there. Anne could have continued writing her “little fancies“ & even been published without upsetting the established narrative. As long as she wasn't portrayed as suddenly becoming famous--unlikely in the timeline anyway! 9mo
julieclair @TheAromaofBooks @BarbaraJean I am very much enjoying reading your strong opinions, even though I have no idea whether I share them, having not read the material! 😂 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I've always enjoyed the framework of this book, a balance between Anne's letters to Gilbert and a third-person narrative. In some ways, this is the most personal view we get of Anne - much more of her actual feelings about things via the letter.

And yes, we definitely couldn't have had Anne become a famous novelist during this time, but I see no reason why, if writing was genuinely important to her, she wouldn't have continued to send off ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) little shorts.

LMM is so amazing at creating entire communities of people - “clans“ with their ins and outs, and I think she establishes that interconnectedness so well here. Most of her novels still tend to be episodic, but she manages to create a narrative framework/group of people that keeps all those threads together.
9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Yes--LMM creates such believable little communities & all their quirky interactions! LMM is such a great observer of human nature. Growing up in a small, interconnected (quite literally with its Tangled-Web-like intermarrying!) community like Cavendish likely nurtured that talent & offered plenty of material. I 💜 the framing narrative in WP--it's what stands out to me about this book, so much so that I forget how episodic it is! 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Mistress Pat

I‘m not enamored with Mistress Pat as a novel—and I‘m also not enamored with this chapter. Waterston does more over-interpreting here, and while I agree that the ending of Mistress Pat is “troubling”—I find it very abrupt and bizarrely deus-ex-machina—her characterization of other LMM endings was maddening. Sigh. @TheAromaofBooks This is the one you bailed on before the ending, right?

TheAromaofBooks This is the only LMM book I haven't read. I didn't enjoy Pat of Silver Bush, and everything I read said this was more of the same and also worse 😂 So I actually was interested to read the more detailed synopsis of the story that W presented here. It sounds like the Pat/Jingle relationship was a lot like Emily/Teddy. I'm not sure I would consider the ending of this book to be “a snug happy ending“ as W states, despite the resolution of Pat's ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) romance. But the paragraph that really set me off in this chapter was towards the end where W states that the ending of LMM's earlier books “had been at best ambivalent, and in tone subdued,“ implying that none of the “happy endings“ were actually happy - that Anne was merely resigned to her future with Gilbert (seriously?!?!!?), this whole thing once again that Emily “switched her ambitions into submission to Teddy's career,“ which as ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) we've discussed isn't remotely supported by the text, and that Valancy “settled in ominously with old Doc Redfern as a father-in-law. What?! What exactly about Dr. Redfern makes him an “ominous“ figure!? He seems like a genuinely kind, generous, sweet old man who is so excited to see his son happy and settled????? I actually agree that the ending of Mistress Pat is not great, but I thought W's reasons for it being not-great didn't make ⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) a lick of sense, and then she threw in a bunch of absolute nonsense about the way earlier books ended as well! Seriously, has she even read these books!?!?!?!?

Also, speaking of poor reading comprehension, I just reread what you originally said where you mentioned this paragraph, and I just misread it 😂 So maybe I should be cutting W. some slack?? ... nah 😆
9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Pat/Jingle is VERY similar to Emily/Teddy, if you add a parade of suitors that Pat turns down for frivolous reasons, and replace creepy Dean's possessiveness & control with an older-ish love interest who takes Pat on her own terms instead of manipulating her into a relationship. Jingle is a LOT like Teddy, but better. At least in the first book. Mistress Pat kind of ruins him for me. It ruins a lot of things, honestly 😂 ⬇ (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) The ending of Mistress Pat is SO contrived, it is very far from being snug and tidy! It is happy, but not convincingly so, because it's far-fetched and rushed. I feel like LMM wrote herself into a corner with such a static character who had dug in her heels about change and rejected so many suitors because they would take her away from Silver Bush. There weren't many realistic ways out of the dilemmas LMM wrote Pat into. ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) Also I just have to say YES WHAT THE HECK about the way W. mischaracterizes basically all of LMM's significant love-story endings. I just DON'T understand her view of LMM's happy endings. W. seems determined to cast doubt on every single one of them. The Doc Redfern comment made me so mad!!! And where does she get that Anne was “resigned“ to being with Gilbert?!? 😡 😫 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Apparently since Anne couldn't get her brilliant writing career off the ground, she just had to “settle“ for Gilbert! 😂 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Gilbert is CLEARLY Plan B. 😂 😂 9mo
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blurb
BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Pat of Silver Bush

I appreciated the focus on friendship in this chapter—Waterston draws out the connections between LMM‘s deep friendships and Pat‘s friendships with Bets and Jingle (I loved that LMM had a “secret field” with friends!). That focus reminds me that there is more to this book than Pat‘s obsessive fear of change and love for home. And most of the connections W. makes were helpful ones ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …other than the commentary on Bets‘ death, which in some ways was apt (Frede and Laura both were clearly on LMM‘s mind) but in other ways ran too far with the idea (“she is offering an appropriate warning to readers who felt as deeply as she did not to trust fate to dole out anything but a tragic fate to one‘s friends” 🙄) 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Weirdly, considering this is one of my least favorite LMM books, I actually really found this chapter interesting. Most of W's connections felt less tenuous here. While I always think of Emily as being LMM's closest biographical character, I can definitely see a great deal of her in Pat as well after reading more about LMM's life and her yearning for home, belonging, and connection. The discussion about things that were changing back on the ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) Island at this time, plus an overall nostalgia for a world that has been completely upended after the War and the beginning of the Great Depression, put this book into a better context for me, something beyond Pat just being obnoxiously obsessed with her home and things staying the same. Pat as a young character still feels a bit ridiculous to me, but Pat written by an adult who is somewhat homesick for the warmth of her childhood ⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) community and connections, makes more sense.

While viewing Bets's death as a “warning“ definitely felt rather ridiculous, the decision to kill her off being influenced by the death of close friends in LMM's life did make sense to me. That's always felt like such a bizarre plot choice, but I think LMM was feeling isolated and abandoned, and that ends up being how she somewhat leaves Pat as well. 😕
9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Yes, I thought the historical and biographical connections were very relevant here. They helped to provide context for why LMM says that “Pat is more myself than any of my heroines.“ That never made sense to me--like you, I see far more connections with Emily--but this chapter fleshed out the context in a way that clicked for me. The context of post-War upheaval and the Great Depression also made me realize one of the reasons ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean I found Pat so comforting when I first read it in late 2020. Talk about a year of upheaval! A story of a cozy home where a character longs for all her dear childhood places to stay the same & all her beloved family to remain with her always--that resonated with me quite deeply at that time! And while LMM's life circumstances are definitely mirrored in that particular plot choice, I think there's also a need in the plot to force change for Pat. ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean It makes sense to me that one of the ways LMM chooses to bring change and growth for Pat is through a life circumstance she herself was struggling with at the time. SOMETHING had to change, and while I was heartbroken for Pat about what that change was, I think it did have to be something deeper and more painful than, say, one of her beloved trees being cut down, etc. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks It's true, losing a critical person in Pat's life I think forces her character to start to realize that change is inevitable. I think the reason Pat's story somewhat frustrated me was that it felt like she was never given any encouragement or healthy ways to deal with her genuine fear of change, but reading this chapter made me think more about the way LMM never was really given those tools, either. She struggled with her mental health all her ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) her life, but without any real guidance on how to deal with her emotions and fears. So in a way, Pat's situation seems a more realistic reflection of some of LMM's feelings and the difficulty she sometimes had with knowing what to do with them. 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead: Magic Island - A Tangled Web

I don‘t have much to say on this chapter—a bit scattered, but that makes sense for a book that weaves together so many disparate stories! I DO want to know if the above is true or just speculation. If it‘s true, I want to know who might correspond to whom and why—especially which of the CAA members she lampooned! But my guess is that it‘s just Waterston speculating again.

TheAromaofBooks Yes, she once again seemed to be using her name-method for this assumption - these names sounded like ones from her childhood SO 😂 I thought it was interesting that W. seemed to think that LMM “telling not showing“ at the beginning of the novel, where she goes around the room and talks about the various characters, was poor writing. Maybe it's because I actually don't mind some telling in my books, but I've actually always rather enjoyed this ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (Cont'd) big set-up scene, where you get little hints of what is to come and who these people are. This is probably petty, but I also thought it was weird that W. kept emphasizing that they wouldn't find out what happens until “next Hallowe'en“ when Halloween is literally never mentioned? Aunt Becky does say “the last day of next October“ but the Hallowe'en emphasis felt like W. was trying to make this scary or something?? I also felt like W. ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) missed what I consider one of the critical factors of this story - W. says that things like swearing, drinking, being single - “these and other behaviors that offend Aunt Becky will stand in the way of gaining the coveted jug.“ But what actually happens in the story is that these things MIGHT stand in the way - Becky is even more devious in that she refuses to tell the clan any definitive ways they can earn the jug. She may have already ⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) written down a name or she may have given Dandy the freedom to choose, or she may have said that it can be so-and-so if he hasn't gotten drunk in the last year. It's the lack of knowing what they can or shouldn't do that gives this entire book its sense of unease and tension. If everyone just knew they had to follow some rules, they would. But it's very different to try to decide if you should give up something you enjoy because it MIGHT⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) benefit you! And then, of course, W. tells us what books this one is like because only in Pride and Prejudice has a woman ever realized the guy she's dating is a jerk 😂

I always have mixed feelings about this book, I think because there are so many different storylines. Some of them I love, some of them I'm ambivalent towards, and some I actively dislike (especially the Sams), so I always end up not being able to decide if I actually ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) like this novel or not! I thought it was interesting when W. pointed out that LMM went from writing about her youngest heroine to-date in Marigold, to writing a book emphatically for adults. The humor here is much darker and there are just as many not-happy endings as happy ones, which I do think reflects some of the struggles LMM was having. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks This is one place where I actually would've enjoyed some speculation on who LMM might have been parodying! I thought the “telling not showing“ criticism was odd as well--my creative writing professor in college said that “telling“ USED to be the trend in literature, but if we were going to write contemporary fiction, we needed to “show not tell.“ Waterston's criticism felt to me like she was misapplying modern standards backwards. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Personally I felt the big set-up scene was needed, because there are SO many characters. I bookmarked it to refer back to! And YES to Waterston (again) seeming to miss the point of the “trial“ year. It also bugged me that Waterston suggested that Aunt Becky may or may not be alive during/at the end of that year. I was fairly certain she KNEW she would die soon, which made the uncertain stipulations that much more devious! ⬇ (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) Like you, I found Tangled Web to be a mixed bag. I LOVED some of the storylines, hated a few, and have completely forgotten several others. I think it's a fascinating book and really well done, though. LMM weaves together all the threads very intricately (her construction is not nearly as tangled as the title... 😂). At this point I'm finding it fascinating to consider the novels in the order they were written. ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) It makes SO much sense that Blue Castle was written before this one. This one seems to follow on from Blue Castle as a development in LMM's writing for adults. Blue Castle brings in some darker/edgier themes, and this one goes much further. Even Marigold falling in between those two shows a progression in LMM's writing, I think--with the way Magic for Marigold explores ideas of child psychology and even perspectives on parenting. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Yes, watching the progression of her books has been SO interesting! She's so committed to continue writing books that bring joy, but you can see where the struggle of her real life is starting to influence her writing. While The Blue Castle is possibly my favorite LMM, the Stirlings are rather dreadful, and the beginning of that book can be hard to read. (I've sometimes wondered if that is why that book didn't sell as well at the time - it's a ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) very different flavor from her other books, and has a sad start.) Marigold is a lovely story with some wonderful adventures and characters, but there is a still an undertone of wistfulness and loneliness. Tangled Web enlarges on some of those themes - there is a dash of bitterness in every story here, and while the overall story has a great deal of wry humor, I wouldn't consider it as lighthearted as her earlier books. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Oh, the Stirlings are TERRIBLE at the beginning!! And Valancy is so trapped that it is quite bleak. I do think the Stirling clan is a great example of LMM's skill at both characterization and caricature. And that beginning section provides such a great setup for when Valancy finally lets loose. That whole family dinner scene is HILARIOUS. Tangled Web is definitely NOT lighthearted. It's funny, but the humor is so much darker. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I completely agree about the beginning of The Blue Castle - it sets up everything exactly right. You NEED to understand what Valancy's life is like - so dreary and downtrodden. The whole first chapter or two where she is reflecting on the picnic that isn't going to happen, and how she already knows what everyone would have said if they had had the picnic because it's always the same - that's honestly brilliant writing. You get such a grasp of her⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) weariness! The family dinner is one of my favorite chapters of any book ever. It makes me laugh every time. Her bewildered family, and Valancy's dawning realization that they actually can't stop her from saying and doing what she wants - it's absolutely amazing. BUT all that to say, I can see LMM's contemporary readers picking up The Blue Castle, expecting another fun and fluffy little story, and being somewhat turned off by the ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) bleakness of Valancy's situation. That book takes a little bit to draw you in, I think. 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Magic for Marigold

I found this chapter far less frustrating than the previous few. The discussion of prevailing attitudes about childhood development and psychology was super interesting, and provided a perspective on the text that I hadn‘t considered but found valuable. I hadn‘t thought about how unique it was that LMM chose to begin the story when Marigold is 4 months old and conclude when she‘s ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …the age when LMM usually begins her heroines‘ stories. The singular focus on child development does exclude a lot of what I loved about this book, though: the realistic and relatable portrayal of Marigold‘s emotions—what it FEELS like to be a child!—the beautiful descriptions of nature, and that tender, gorgeous scene of the night of Old Grandmother‘s death. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I found all the psychology stuff to be very interesting as well!! This was definitely a period of time where I think even the concept of “childhood development“ was new and changing. Have to say that I rolled my eyes when W. compared this book to “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man“ based on... them both starting with “Once upon a time“ ???? What even. 😂 Also, was Uncle Klondike “elderly“ when he married Dr. Marigold?? I just always felt ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) like they were both middle-aged, but maybe I've just never paid attention?? This is another book of LMM's that I like but don't love, so I don't feel strongly about it. I did think that W. could have done more with the ending of this one, which I think is possibly the weakest out of all of LMM's books, with Marigold basically deciding she'll just sit around and wait for a boy's “spare time“ - it always felt like such an odd ending to me! 9mo
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BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Hahahaha...I wrote a very similar comment in the margin about the James Joyce comparison! And re: Uncle Klondike--I can't find any specific age references just flipping through the book, but Waterston talks about the wedding of “elderly Miss Lavendar,“ and Miss Lavendar is in her 40s. 🙄 😠 I'd bet money that they're in their 40s or 50s at the most! I loved Magic for Marigold; this was my first time reading it & I thought it was ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) ...charming and sweet and funny. It doesn't have the depth of so many of LMM's novels, though--and the ending is crap. 😂 If Waterston was going to discuss female agency, women who define themselves in terms of the men in their lives, or giving up something for a man, I feel like the ending of Marigold would be a much better subject for that discussion than the ending of Emily! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I'm not sure why I've never loved Marigold as much, maybe because she IS a younger heroine? I always enjoy it when I read it, but I never yearn to revisit it the way I do so many of LMM's other books. But the ending always annoys me. I think it would have been such a stronger conclusion to have Marigold find a genuine female friend, instead - an exchanging of her imaginary friend for a real one would have made more sense to me! 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I wasn't expecting to like Marigold as much as I did; I'm not sure why it charmed me so much! Marigold's emotions and reactions were so relatable to what I remember feeling as a kid, and that scene with Old Grandmother before her death is just so beautiful. I agree wholeheartedly about the ending, though. It's awful. You're absolutely right that her finding a female friend would have made for a much stronger ending! 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Emily‘s Quest

Eh. I just don‘t connect with Waterston‘s reading of Emily. Parts of this chapter feel off-base to me (notably the above assumption that Emily will set aside her writing career, which I don‘t see supported in the text), other parts discuss connections that aren‘t new and don‘t really add anything to the analysis (Jane Eyre and the “psychic call”). I did think the above quote ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) contrasting Dean and Teddy was both fitting and hilarious, though: “Teddy will be the opposite: he will never be truly involved in her concerns because he is so absorbed in himself.” 😂 But the thing about Emily replacing Teddy‘s mother?! I don‘t even know. I wish Waterston would do more with her material, honestly. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I actively dislike this book 😂 so it was hard for me to tell how well she was comparing things. But I agree, I didn't see any reason in the book that Emily would stop writing, and she again acts like Anne would have been this amazing author if she hadn't let “romance“ distract her. (I've actually been contemplating Anne more, and in some ways, I feel like her ambition/love was actually teaching? That's where she really seemed to come alive, and ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) raising her family would really have just been a different facet of that passion.) There was also the bizarre line claiming that having children/motherhood is “the ultimate obstacle in the path of a woman writer's ascent of the Alpine Path,“ an attitude with which I heartily disagree - I'm really quite tired of society telling women that children are this horrible burden that will weigh you down and prevent you from achieving your goals ⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) How about telling women that they are strong, capable, and intelligent, and that they don't have to choose between motherhood and dreams? Montgomery didn't, actually, although I may have disagreed with some of her parenting choices, she was very successful while balancing so many different demands on her time. Anyway, got a little ranty there, but it just seemed like such a strange thing to say! 9mo
rubyslippersreads I‘m struggling with the tiny type in this book, but I do want to catch up on at least the Emily chapters. (Although it sounds like I might just get mad.) (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks 😂 I‘m trying hard to get something out of this book, but mostly it just makes me want to re-read the books so I can vindicate my opinions that Waterston is off-base! I‘m on board with the idea that Anne‘s vocation was teaching more than it was writing—then extends that into motherhood. The text really reflects that & it‘s a fitting tribute to Miss Stacy as the teacher who inspired Anne, as well as to LMM‘s teacher, Hattie Gordon. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I also was frustrated by W.‘s characterization of marriage and motherhood necessarily being considered obstacles that couldn‘t be overcome—LMM clearly climbed her Alpine Path as a wife and mother, so why is it necessary that Emily‘s career be cut off because she marries Teddy? Waterston projects circumstances onto the text that are not in the text nor are they present in LMM‘s life. Emily may have gone on to be a famous writer ⤵️ (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) whether she had children or not, or she may have given up writing in favor of having children—we aren‘t told either way. LMM‘s life as a writer AND a wife and mother seems a reason to discuss quite the opposite of motherhood as “the ultimate obstacle.” 9mo
BarbaraJean @rubyslippersreads Join us in our ranting! 😂 I‘m overall disappointed with this book, honestly. I wanted more textual analysis, more examination of LMM‘s writing. The author‘s approach is different, interested primarily in drawing connections to LMM‘s life—which is fine, but so often a stretch or just odd in her speculations and conclusions. Your mileage may vary! Looking back, there are some good bits here and there but also lots of frustration. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I feel like Waterston is so obsessed with drawing parallels between LMM's life and her writing that she feels like she HAS to show how EVERY heroine LMM creates is actually “a side“ of LMM's personality. But I feel like it's possible for LMM to use stories and pieces of her life without each character being some kind of mirror into her soul or whatever. Like yes, she drew a lot from her hometown and childhood to write Anne, but I don't exactly ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) feel like she IS Anne, or that Anne is some “secret“ side of LMM per se, which means I also don't feel like Anne “has“ to have dreams of being a writer.

As for Emily - I can't imagine her giving up her writing! She really is portrayed as having that be her main passion in life, and I genuinely think that if she had to choose between writing and Teddy, she would pick writing. I feel like that is one of the things she learned from her ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) relationship with Creepy Dean, that she literally can't live without writing - we're told/shown that multiple times throughout the series, that when Emily stops writing it literally makes her physically ill. To assume that she just drops the whole thing as soon as she gets married is more than a stretch to me - I feel like it ignores all of Emily's character development over the course of the trilogy! 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks While I generally don't approach fiction through a biographical lens, I don't think it's wrong-headed to draw parallels between LMM's life and writing. But it's exactly what you said: Waterston looks for “revelations“ about LMM everywhere. OF COURSE LMM drew from her life, but that doesn't mean everything is an exact correspondence between life and fiction. I've loved the little glimpses of LMM's life, like with Gog and Magog ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) and how some of the cats in the books have the same names as LMM's cats. But Waterston takes everything five steps further to say it all MEANS something, and it just doesn't! And it doesn't have to! And YES, your points about Emily and her writing are spot on. Not only does the ending of Emily's Quest NOT imply that Emily will give up her writing, the rest of the text supports the exact opposite: that she is incapable of giving it up. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I definitely think many of the thoughts/actions/dreams of LMM's heroines are drawn from her own life, especially Emily, but it seems silly to then turn that into the assumption that EVERYTHING has deep levels of meaning/every thought of every heroine is something LMM felt/though about her own life. It's like W's weird thing about all the names rhyming or having parts of other names in them, so that MUST be who they represent! It just seems like ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) a bit of a stretch sometimes 😂 I'm still not over Mary V-AN-ce being a “side of AN-ne/LMM“ 🙄 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Sometimes a pen is just a pen... 😂 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - The Blue Castle

I was gearing up to be really annoyed at this chapter, since this is my favorite LMM book. And maybe I just prepared myself really well, but it wasn‘t terrible. It wasn‘t great, but it wasn‘t terrible. It was not nearly as off-base as the cover images in the top row, but definitely not on par with the cover images in the bottom row (I‘ve apparently developed a new method of ranking things) ⤵️

LeahBergen The one at the centre top REALLY misses the mark. 🤣🤣 9mo
BarbaraJean Notable moments:
The LMM quote about re-reading: “My only guard against misanthropy this past week has been the re-reading of four old favourite books.“
Waterston's suggestion that Rochester and Heathcliff were “macho models for Barney“ (um... no thank you?)
The quote about the drunken fiddler: “...it sounds awful, but he *was* drunk and he *was* funny“
The off-base assertion that Valancy is “in search of a mate“ when she runs away from home
9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) The closing LMM quote I just love: “I have enjoyed writing it very much. It seemed a refuge from the cares and worries of my real world.“ 💜 9mo
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BarbaraJean @LeahBergen I imagine the discussion around that one: “Hey, we need a quick cover for this one. It's called The Blue Castle and there's a female lead. Also it's by L.M. Montgomery, didn't she write something about a redhead? Put a redhead on there. In a crown.“ And they ended up with The Blue Castle if it were Game of Thrones. (edited) 9mo
TheLudicReader I love all the different covers. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I had the same feelings about this chapter!! I was scared going in because I love this book SO much. But weirdly I found myself... almost bored? It felt like ten pages of nothing, really. I've always felt like this book was about Valancy finding romance, but not necessarily with a person, if that makes sense. Romance in the sense of adventure, discovering the beauties and mysteries of nature, experiencing the world, meeting people. She says quite⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) plainly that she “wants to live“ and that's what makes this book so delightful. The love story is one of my favorites, but it's also just one aspect of Valancy's life-discoveries. I've also never exactly thought of Barney as “macho“?? Much less as self-absorbed and melodramatic as Rochester and Heathcliffe! Good grief! I did love the quotes about the way LMM loved this book and reading, and the drunken fiddler made me giggle (and think ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) about the Little House story where the drunk guys walk down the street kicking out all the screens in all the storefronts, and how Laura knew she shouldn't laugh but couldn't help it😂). This wasn't a bad chapter, but I honestly felt like there was a lot more to explore as LMM branched out into a solidly “adult“ novel. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I agree--she did so little with the content, and there is SO MUCH to discuss with this book! I love your thoughts on Valancy finding romance but not necessarily with a person. She does find love with Barney, but absolutely--she finds far more than only that. I was annoyed by Waterston saying Valancy was “in search of a mate.“ She finds love, but neither Barney nor some imagined lover is the reason she leaves home! ⬇ (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) More than anything, I think Valancy is in search of freedom: to LIVE, free from the stifling expectations of society in general and her family in particular. All the things you mentioned are part of that freedom: the romance of adventure and beauty and experience beyond the narrow world she's been trapped in her whole life. She finds a lot of that with Barney, but also with Cissy & Roaring Abel! ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) That reference to Heathcliff & Rochester as “macho“ models for Barney just...😩 Did W. even read the same book?? Was it Rubio who made a comment about “sexy Barney Snaith“? Barney doesn't feel “macho“ or “sexy“ to me (actually I wouldn't use those terms about any of LMM's male love interests), and the NAME “Barney Snaith“ is SO far from a “sexy“ or “macho“ name, at least to my ears!! I love your comparison to the Little House scene 😂 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I think one of the reasons I love this love story so much is that Valancy and Barney feel like genuine kindred spirits, with a romantic relationship built on friendship and laughter. And I think that kind of companionship was what Valancy wanted more than romantic love, although that was obviously a bonus! 😂 I totally agree with not thinking of Barney as “sexy“ or “macho“ or remotely like any of the “supposedly romantic but actually creepy“ ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) comparisons that W suggests!!! I feel like he is just a regular guy who wouldn't necessarily catch anyone's eye besides Valancy's, because she's his match, you know? Like my husband isn't objectively super sexy/macho, but >>I 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Yes! That‘s exactly why the Valancy/Barney romance works so well, I think. Valancy proposes because she genuinely enjoys his company, and that‘s why he accepts. And the depth of companionship, friendship, and romance follow. It‘s what I imagine as the click between Anne and Gilbert that in retrospect is not really on the page at all, my brain just fills it in 😂 That‘s another thing I love about Blue Castle—in Barney we finally ⤵️ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …get a fully-fleshed-out male romantic lead, without any drama or weird paternalism or creepiness that LMM so often inserts. Comparing him to Heathcliff or Rochester (both “romantic” leads that I kind of hate, TBH) misses all of the things I love about Barney! His only drama is that he‘s secretly a millionaire and Valancy‘s favorite author 😂 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I also just realized that Litsy cut off my comment the other day, where I just pointed out that I personally find my husband to be a super cutie and I think that's how a lot of relationships work for us regular-looking people 😂

I have a huge soft spot for Barney, and really can't stand Heathcliff or Rochester (and don't consider their “love stories“ particularly romantic lol), so that maybe why I was more sensitive to the comparison! 😆
9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks “For us regular-looking people“ 😂 Definitely! Another reason I was bothered so much by the “sexy/macho“ adjectives goes back to Anne, but it's applicable here, too--Anne always has this romantic ideal, which Royal Gardner LOOKS like, but really isn't, not for her. It's important to me that both Gilbert and Barney are differentiated from a traditional romantic ideal. With both, romance is deeper than storybook drama and passion. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Oh yes!! That's a great point! I think Anne and Valancy both go through a realization of the difference between dreams and reality. The both have spent so much time dreaming, Anne because she has always been someone who idealizes and romanticizes; Valancy because she's lived in a dream-world so long to avoid the drudgery of her real life. Valancy is weirdly the more practical one, I think - she's much quicker to recognize that princes and castles⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) aren't likely to appear in Canada. A rough-around-the-edges jack-of-all-trades with a sense of humor may not look like her dream-prince, but he still gives her what she genuinely wanted under the “prince and castle“ trappings - freedom, companionship, laughter, security, love. There are some good discussions about freedom and what it really means in that book!! Anne also does a great job with realizing “romantic ideals“ may not be as ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) comfortable to live with as a genuine friend. I don't think Gilbert is someone to make a lot of romantic fuss, but when she recognizes the true loyalty and intense feelings beneath his surface, I think she realizes the value of that kind of love as more substantial and long-lasting than Roy's flowers and fusses. 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Emily Climbs

Absent clear parallels to LMM‘s life, Waterston turns to a meandering speculation on names and their potential associations with people in LMM‘s life, authors, or fictional characters. She identifies some recurring images throughout the book, but I didn‘t get a lot out of her analysis of those patterns. I also don‘t necessarily agree with her conclusion that this book shows ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …LMM‘s ambivalent concepts of womanhood, artistic calling, and the established social order. I‘d argue that it wrestles with redefining all of those things. That‘s not ambivalence; it reflects struggle with societal change.

But we also got a couple appearances from Edwin Smith! With far less heavy-handed speculation than Rubio, though I had to laugh at the footnote above. 😂
9mo
Bookwormjillk I read that as Marco Rubio and I was so confused. TGIF it‘s been a long week 🤣 9mo
BarbaraJean @Bookwormjillk 😂 😂 I don't think I'm interested in Marco Rubio's take on L.M. Montgomery--or much else. 😂 9mo
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BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder I feel like you would appreciate these references to Edwin Smith... 😁 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I was honestly so confused about all the name “connections.“ Literally everything sounded like a stretch. By her logic, my mom named me Sarah because it ends in the “ah“ sound, just like her name and her mother's name 😂 I also think it's kind of random that both these authors make such a fuss about Edwin, yet emphasize how all the rumors were “baseless“ and there is no way that she could have actually had an affair. I genuinely don't think she ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) did, but I think it's kind of ridiculous to go on and on and on and on about their “secret“ friendship and how close they were but insist that it would have been IMPOSSIBLE for them to have an affair??

My other favorite line in this chapter was how Emily was trapped in the close by “the convention of female beauty“ since she was wearing ugly clothes when these gossipy women stopped by. I'm don't think anyone likes to be caught by ⬇
9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) unwanted, judgy company while wearing grubby old work clothes??? I could have let it go, except she goes on to say, two sentences later, that “when Evelyn Blake adds a moustache to Emily's sleeping face, her horror attests to her entrapment by the conventions of female attractiveness.“ Is Waterston out of her mind!? I don't think this has anything to do with Emily being female, or society's “conventions“??? Most people just don't like to⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) have unknown things scrawled all over their faces while out in public!??! Oh my GOSH 😂

I did think that her assessment of the themes of being trapped was interesting, and much more reasonable than her insistence that any time Emily was uncomfortable about something it was only because people were so judgy about how women look 🙄
9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks When she started with all the name stuff, I readied myself for this being a chapter of her just making up crap. 😂 The themes she drew out were actually interesting, but I completely agree: it's typical Waterston, reading things into the text that are only very tenuously connected to her thesis. There MAY be some basis for attaching societal expectations of beauty to the closet scene--I'm guessing that a man in his ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) grubby work clothes wouldn't have the same instinct to hide in a closet, and that does say something about expectations around female appearance. But I certainly wouldn't take it as far as W. does, saying that Emily hiding in the closet shows her being “trapped“ by conventions of female beauty. And the mustache thing was just total crap. No-one wants someone writing things on their face, unbeknownst to them or otherwise! That's not ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) ...a female beauty standard, that's being made to look ridiculous, which is a natural aversion for anyone. 9mo
lauraisntwilder @BarbaraJean Ha! I love your note. "Understatement!" I would say so! 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Emily of New Moon

Well, I wouldn‘t have put it that way AT ALL, but Waterston talked me into it. There actually is a lot about power in Emily of New Moon. I would have characterized it very differently—as a book about beauty and passion and fighting for the creative life in the face of misunderstanding—but she‘s not all wrong. (And yes, I picked this photo because of Emily and her father‘s “mushroom house” 😁) ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) This is another one of LMM‘s novels where the biographical context is appropriate and Waterston (mostly) doesn‘t stretch the interpretation to read personal context into every little narrative choice. I hadn‘t thought about the re-copying of LMM‘s journals coinciding so closely with writing Emily, but it makes a lot of sense! And I loved the parallels between Emily‘s and LMM‘s views of God and the church. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I overall didn't have a lot of issues with this chapter, but that could be because I don't really like the Emily books very much, so I don't have a lot of emotional baggage attached to them 😂 I did feel like the sweeping statement that this is “the most powerful of all her novels“ was a bit... subjective lol I was also genuinely confused about why she dragged Wordsworth's poem about daffodils into the conversation about “the flash“ ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) Did LMM herself say that that was what inspired the term? Because W says it connects to the poem, the immediately explains how Emily's “flash“ is completely different!? It left me perplexed, as a “flash across the inward eye“ as the poet remembers some flowers he saw in the past doesn't exactly seem like the same kind of “flash“ Emily (or LMM) experiences? 9mo
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BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks You don't like the Emily books that much?! 😱 They've been among my favorites for a long time, although the recent re-read soured me on the last two because I'd forgotten how creepy Dean Priest was. 😬 I didn't get her Wordsworth reference, either. Other than that he used the word “flash,“ the poem doesn't seem to connect with Emily's “flash“ at all. And I don't think LMM was inspired by Wordsworth, at least not that I remember! ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean I'd think that if LMM had said Wordsworth was the source for the term, Waterston would have mentioned it here. And I don't remember seeing that Wordsworth was a particular favorite or influence on LMM, either. Honestly, the word itself seems like the only connection, so--?? I mean, Waterston didn't get McCrae's usage of poppy symbolism, so I don't feel like I really trust her poetry references... 9mo
TheAromaofBooks When we read the Emily books together that was the first time I had ever read them!! So they definitely lack the nostalgia factor that I have for so many of LMM's other books. Emily kind of aggravated me as a MC - she just doesn't have a sense of humor the way so many of LMM's other heroines do, so I ended up finding those books kind of depressing haha And I did NOT like the final Emily book at ALL. So overall I'm the least familiar with these ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) and the Pat books. (I didn't even end up reading Mistress Pat lol) 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Rilla of Ingleside

This chapter opens with two things that really annoyed me: this awful cover of Rilla (which, oddly, looks as if someone has colored in the letters of the name Rilla?!?), and Waterston‘s assertion that the poppies in McCrae‘s “In Flanders Field” suggest “full sensuous natural life.” Just: no. Use of the poppy to symbolize sleep and death goes WAY back. Opium, anyone? This interpretation⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …is bizarre. She claims that: “Like the poet McCrae, Montgomery used the poppy as a symbol of vibrant life”—which, okay, MAYBE you can convince me LMM does that, but I HIGHLY doubt that‘s what McCrae was doing. To ignore that poppy = sleep/death all the way back to Greek mythology is baffling. So I went into this chapter already annoyed, and Waterston didn‘t dig herself out of that very well. What I liked out of her analysis wasn‘t new ⤵️ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d)—acknowledging that this is one the few accounts of war from a female perspective, and that the voices of women are given center stage here. I hadn‘t thought about the absence of LMM‘s usual descriptive passages, which makes the narrative much more direct, so that was interesting, along with the discovery that LMM‘s half-brother was wounded at Courcelette, where LMM sets Walter‘s death. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I ended up feeling somewhat ambivalent towards this chapter. I didn't feel like she really brought anything new to the table, but she didn't enrage me as she has in some earlier chapters 😂 I rolled my eyes at the poppy stuff a lot as well. The REASON McCrae used poppies was because his readers would already understand their symbolism?! He wasn't making up something new. It was just such a weird interpretation. 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Further Chronicles of Avonlea

Reading about L.C. Page publishing this without authorization and against LMM‘s wishes made me angry about the whole Page affair all over again. But other than that and my frustration over Waterston‘s downplaying the racism throughout “Tannis of the Flats,” I didn‘t find a whole lot remarkable about this chapter. Again, tracing the common themes LMM uses in these stories ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …and elsewhere in her fiction is interesting, and I found the biographical parallels here to be much less of a stretch than elsewhere. I do find it fascinating to see what material LMM uses and reuses, and the way certain themes really do echo her life. But my mileage varies widely depending on which of the stories we‘re talking about, so I‘m also just not as invested in this content! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I'm overall fairly lenient to racism/sexism in older books as a reflection of their time, but Tannis felt over-the-top in this aspect, mean-spirited and purposeful, rather than just ignorant and incidental. That's what bothered me when I read that story for the first time, and I felt like W weirdly blew it off. I have trouble remembering most of the other stories (as usual) but L.C. Page... GRRRRR that guy makes me SO mad! I've tried to look up ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) information about Eleanor Porter, who wrote the Pollyanna books, since she is always mentioned as someone else he exploited, but haven't been able to find much. I know that her books went on to be written by others after she died (the entire Glad series) and it looks like later ones are still published by Page, so he probably did some kind of terrible trickery where he stole the entire trademark. That guy was such a sleeze! W and Rubio ⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) have both mentioned Marshall Saunders as well. I've only read one of her books, Beautiful Joe, and have never really thought to look up any others. I had no idea she was Canadian before reading these books! Interestingly, my 1922 edition of Beautiful Joe says that it was originally printed by the American Baptist Publication Society?? Which feels random 😂 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Yeah, I agree with you about Tannis and Waterston's treatment of it. Tannis felt different--it wasn't just fleeting problematic racist terms or even just a few comments that could be dismissed as “of the time.“ The racism was thoroughly woven into the whole perspective of the story, and I agree, it was weird the way Waterston almost defended it. ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks That's so interesting about Eleanor Porter and Marshall Saunders! I actually haven't read anything by either, but I want to now. I wonder if there's so little about Page's exploitation of them, and so much about LMM, simply because LMM took action. If Porter and Saunders just put up with it, it makes sense that there's not a lot said (or even known) about the terms of their contracts or what nonsense Page pulled with them. ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean Page probably obtained the entire Pollyanna trademark, with a shady clause in her contracts or buying future rights for far less than he made from it. Today's chapter mentions that he bought LMM's rights to all her books with him for $18,000, which seems huge for the time, but was basically a pittance given what he earned on film rights to Anne, etc. No doubt he did something similar with Pollyanna. Despicable man! ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean The Baptist Publication Society thing is very random! So much so that I started poking around for publication info on Beautiful Joe... Goodreads (not the best source, I realize) shows an 1894 edition published by the American Baptist Publication Society, and two from 1893: one published by Charles H. Banes and one by Grosset & Dunlap. No L.C. Page to be found! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I'm wondering if Page jumped on Saunders after the success of Beautiful Joe? It was wildly popular at the time (Wiki says it's the first Canadian book to sell over a million copies), but she originally wrote it as part of a human society contest! So I don't think she really set out to be a famous author at the time haha It's an engaging book, very similar to Black Beauty in tone/theme, the “life story“ of a dog that looks at the treatment of ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) dogs, horses, and pets at the time. Consequently it is rather sober in tone, but still an interesting book. I really love Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter. Porter herself only wrote one sequel - the rest of the series was written by various other authors, with mixed results. I loved the next four books, written by Harriet Lummis Smith, but then another writer took over and her books were TERRIBLE. I only made it through 1 1/2 of them 😂 ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) One of these days I might skip ahead to some of the ones written by other authors, but Elizabeth Borton's interpretation was so awful I couldn't deal with it LOL 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I came across this on Wiki when I was looking for info on Marshall Saunders: “Margaret's house was always filled with pets including at one time 28 canaries. She had a tendency to name her pets after the locations where they had been found, and once had a pigeon named 38 Front Street, and a dog named Johnny Doorstep.“ 😂 😂 I really do need to read Pollyanna. That's a big hole in my classic children's literature reading! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks That's really fantastic about Saunders. I knew Beautiful Joe was based on a real dog, but hadn't realized quite how many pets she had! 😂 I really like Pollyanna but it is SO hard to separate book-Pollyanna from Haley Mills, and book-Jimmy from Kevin Corcoran, which honestly annoys me more than it should! 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I still can‘t get over the dog named “Johnny Doorstep” 😂🤣 9mo
TheAromaofBooks 38 Front Street is also a mouthful of a name for a pigeon 😂 9mo
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Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Rainbow Valley

Belated post—I read this chapter late last night but didn‘t post anything!

This chapter was kind of all over the place. The parallels between LMM as a minister‘s wife, and this book‘s focus on the Meredith family were apt. But I thought it was strange that Waterston claims much of the book concerns “male experience” and that we see the world largely through the eyes of Rev. Meredith. ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) Yes, the romance in the book involves him, but the eyes through which we see the romance are those of his children! The adults are peripheral characters—it‘s the Meredith children who take center stage. Waterston does acknowledge that much of the novel is a series of “scrapes” like Anne‘s—which is where I find the charm of this book. The romance is sweet, but secondary. Also: the above comments on Mary as “an evil child” were bizarre ⤵️ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …and felt out of place entirely. Especially since there‘s a quite poignant description of Mary‘s view of God in just the next paragraph. Again, Waterston and I seem to have very different experiences of LMM‘s books! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I am also confused by her obsession with every character with a name remotely “Anne“-sounding MUST be a reflection of another facet of Anne/except she actually means LMM??? Very strange, and I feel like saying the last name “Vance“ means this character is a side of Anne AKA Montgomery is just... a bit of a stretch 😂 While we do get a couple of chapters from Rev. Meredith's perspective, we also get chapters from Rosemary's as well, and of course ⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) the majority of the book rotates between all the children of Rainbow Valley, so I don't think I can agree that this book is all about the “male experience.“ The whole thing about Mary Vance being “evil“ was frankly bizarre. Mary is actually a sturdy, good-hearted young woman who has taken some hard knocks, but is still loyal and trying her best to be a good person. She isn't cruel, she just hasn't been given the same moral framework of ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) the other youngsters in the story. I always thought she provided a way for the Rainbow Valley kids to begin to explore what they believe and think is right as individuals instead of just “because our parents say so,“ a critical part of any child's journey to adulthood. I just have no idea how you come up with a word as strong as “evil“ to describe poor Mary! 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Hahaha—yes, her obsession with soundalike names is weird. And if Vance = Anne = LMM herself, what does that say about the Mary Vance, emanation of evil theory? 😆 I love what you said about Mary offering a way for the kids to explore their own ideas & beliefs. I think that‘s exactly right. Mary challenges their assumptions because she‘s had a VERY different life & a very different experience of both religion and right & wrong. ⤵️ (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean Mary makes them examine their inherited assumptions and consider what they really think, now that they are beginning to encounter a different set of experiences. There are so many threads in this book that deal with the kids (as well as some of the adults!) working out what they really believe when they are confronted with a world that is more complicated than has been assumed. I think characterizing Mary the way W does misses that entirely. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks And maybe calling Mary “evil“ is W's heavy-handed way of saying that she's a sort of representation for WWI in the sense that, in the same way that Mary causes the Rainbow Valley kids to think about their beliefs and morals, WWI has done the same for a generation of people. It's easy to say “this is right, this is wrong“ but harder to apply that when faced with a situation completely alien to anything you have ever pictured. The RV children face ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) that on a smaller level, but I think part of the reason that it resonates is because we have all had to face similar situations, where we get hit with a different perspective/situation that makes us reassess what we had believed before. Sometimes you adjust, and sometimes it strengthens your beliefs, but either way it can be a very disorienting experience, and I think LMM captures that so well. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks The WWI connection (which Waterston does raise regarding Mary) makes sense, but I still think pinning that on Mary is an odd interpretive choice. I agree that Mary serves a similar function as the war, of making the characters re-evaluate their beliefs. I really like that parallel. That is a MUCH better analysis than saying Mary Vance represents the “emanation of evil“ that society picked up during WWI. 🙂 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Maybe we need to write our own book of LMM interpretations! 😂 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I think it would be a step up from Waterston! 😂 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Anne‘s House of Dreams

I was much more on board with today‘s chapter! I actually found a lot of the biographical context appropriate here, rather than a stretch. The discussion of LMM‘s two “visions” during this time was fascinating and that does seem mirrored in the text. And it was heartbreaking to read quotes from LMM‘s journal that were then echoed in Anne‘s words following the loss of little Joyce.

TheAromaofBooks I thought this chapter did a much better job actually sticking with analyzing the writing instead of just extrapolating nonsense 😂 I liked the way Waterston pointed out the four winds/four houses, the slow building to the halfway mark, and then the way that Joyce's tragic death is used for each of the three new main characters to relate to Anne differently than they did before. I've always thought the way LMM introduced grief into Anne's is so ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) thoughtfully done. Knowing that LMM also suffered through the stillbirth of a child makes this entire part of the story even more poignant. I've always read the Anne books in chronological rather than published order, so I don't think I've ever gone straight from Island to House of Dreams - I think I may actually read them in published order next time just for interest. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I have to say, because obviously I can't be COMPLETELY happy with a chapter 😂 that I did roll my eyes a little at the idea that Miss Cornelia was a way for LMM to reflect her “undercurrent of anger“ at “living in a situation that her husband blithely assumed was acceptable to her.“ I just... this annoyed me a little in the Rubio biography as well. No one forced LMM to accept Ewan's proposal. And while he definitely suffered from many mental ⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) health troubles that no one could have foreseen, LMM definitely COULD foresee what being married to a minister would entail! I feel like Ewan is frequently framed as this villain for expecting her to be a minister's wife, when accepting his proposal of marriage involved accepting the position of being a minister's wife. Yes, she probably did feel some societal pressure to get married and maybe felt like he was her last chance, but it ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) seems so unfair to blame Ewan for the fact that she had wifely/ministry duties to accomplish when LMM freely made the choice to marry him. I'm sure she was frequently frustrated by not having enough time to write, but aren't we all frustrated by not having enough time to do the things we love because we have so many “duties“ in the way? It's not a situation unique to LMM, or to women, or to minister's wives. It's just part of life. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Hahahaaaa--yes! Honestly, analysis of the writing is what I want, so Waterston's whole approach rubs me a little the wrong way. Back in my English major days, I had it ingrained in me to leave out speculations that aren't actually based in the text. That whole postmodern “the author must die“ thing. I do think there is some merit to considering biographical details, but Waterston veers wildly afield from just “consideration.“ 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I also appreciated the way she discussed the structure of the book, and thought it was appropriate to comment on the move from despair to joy in LMM's “visions,“ because it's IN THE TEXT. I had never thought about the four houses/four winds, but the beginning with the houses really does set up the characters & structure of the novel to come. I think this is one of LMM's best books, so I really enjoyed the analysis of LMM's craft. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks The Cornelia comment: 😂 Yeah, another stretch there. Just because Miss Cornelia is anti-man doesn't necessarily carry DEEP MEANING about LMM's dissatisfaction with her marriage and duties as a minister's wife. It's funny to think about how LMM would react to this book. Waterston's analysis at times reminds me of bits and pieces of the Emily books, where her relatives were all convinced things were about them. 😂 9mo
TheAromaofBooks It definitely feels like Waterston is determined to make everything negative, that every little “happily ever after“ LMM hands out is actually secretly a revelation of something bad or simply her feeling pressured to pander to her readers. Her snarky commentary at the end of the chapter about how it was impossible to believe that Miss Cornelia would ever get married, and how Leslie wouldn't actually have a happy marriage because she would have to⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) listen to “pompous“ Owen. Just... different people love different people, and even though Owen wouldn't be a good match for me, with his poetic, flowery way of talking, it's obvious that it appeals to Leslie's sense of romance and beauty, and I'm not sure why we have to assume that Leslie's marriage is going to be an unhappy one. And I always assumed that a large part of Miss C's negative attitude towards men was because Marshall has ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) stubbornly insisted on not cutting his hair all of these years, even though doing so meant he couldn't marry her! 😂 I don't know, I enjoy this book when Waterston sticks to actually looking at LMM's writing, but I feel like she really goes out of her way to interpret absolutely everything that happens in a negative way, or to assume that any happy moments are LMM being “ironic,“ and that gets on my nerves haha 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks That comment about Leslie having to listen to Owen “pompously“ describing roses to her really bothered me. I loved the Lesiie and Owen romance! For Waterston to say that LMM was mocking the convention of the happy ending seemed really off-base to me as a comment on House of Dreams. Leslie and Owen's romance felt very sincere to me, and I think Miss Cornelia's happy ending is just intended to be funny. Although I STILL ⬇ 9mo
BarbaraJean (Cont'd) have a hard time making Miss Cornelia and Marshall Elliot into a couple in my head. It does not compute. I always read Miss Cornelia as being in her 60s, and Marshall as in his 40s, and have to re-evaluate my entire picture of those characters when it comes around that they're getting married! And it's not like I haven't read it before... I know these things... I just can't get it through my head. 😂 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Anne of the Island

Well. I‘m super not a fan of this chapter. I wholly disagree with Waterston‘s conclusions in the above paragraph. It really bothers me to reduce Anne‘s college years to “finding a mate and a home”—dismissing the self-knowledge that Anne gains, the camaraderie of Patty‘s Place, as well as Anne‘s educational accomplishments. Don‘t get me started on her Freudian take on the harbor scene…⤵️

BarbaraJean I feel like this month‘s buddy read is just a litany of things I don‘t like about Waterston‘s analysis of LMM‘s novels!! I am actually enjoying looking at LMM‘s fiction through a more scholarly lens, even if I don‘t agree with Waterston‘s approach or interpretations a good part of the time. For later reads, I need to find a good LMM scholar I agree with…😆 9mo
TheAromaofBooks This chapter made me the maddest yet! 😂 I marked that paragraph as well. How could anyone arrive at such an ignorant conclusion about this book!? I absolutely LOVE Anne of Island, in huge part because it feels like Anne is really discovering the joys of female friendships as an adult, which is completely different from the friends you have in school and grow up with. There is a lot of romance in this one, but I think that also comes with the ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) age of the protagonists, and the guys are just as likely to find their life-mates at this age as the girls??

I was borderline offended by her description of Gilbert's proposal as “stiff and pallid“ - I actually got my copy of Island out to reread that part. To me, it comes through as heartfelt and simple. The reason Anne thinks of it as “horrible“ is because she knows how terribly she is hurting someone for whom she deeply cares, not ⬇
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) because she is disinterested in romance or marriage. The entire story arc with Roy is Anne discovering that romance doesn't always look the way we expect it to. I just...!!?!? I was mad during this entire chapter! 😆 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Also have to add an additional comment because I see you also marked her theory on Anne's “flash“ “dimming down“... which considering Anne never talks about anything remotely like the flash (like Emily does), it seems quite odd to talk about Anne's diminishing. I don't know... I feel like Waterston and I are reading different books?? 9mo
willaful @TheAromaofBooks Infuriating! I haven't read the book in decades and I still have a gut twist remembering that scene. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks @willaful Absolutely agree re: Gilbert's proposal. The reason Anne calls it “grotesque“ is that she knows she's hurting Gilbert. Her romantic notions of eloquently declining a proposal are completely destroyed by the reality of an actual person she cares about. A page or so later, Waterston comments about Anne's “queasy attitude to proposals and marriage“ and I just lost it. In her generalizing, she completely misses the point! ⬇ (edited) 9mo
BarbaraJean It's not Anne's attitude to proposals/marriage, it's her response to these very SPECIFIC proposals. Like you said, it's as if Waterston read a completely different book.

I marked that passage about Anne's “flash“ because I thought it was crap. 😂 I don't for a minute think LMM was externalizing worries about her own writing! Those parts about Anne as a writer were interesting, b/c we'd just been discussing Anne's ambitions. ⬇
9mo
BarbaraJean I think you and @julieclair were spot on, that Anne's ambitions lay elsewhere. She didn't have a “flash“ like Emily, or a compulsion to write. To me, it's a stretch to say LMM was projecting her writing worries onto a character for whom writing was not a driving goal. It's more likely that LMM was demonstrating Anne's growth: she was growing out of melodramatic writing (a la “Averil's Atonement“) as she outgrew her misguided notions of “romance.“ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I totally agree!! I think it was in today's chapter that Waterston points out Anne saying something like “oh I just write little things for children“ which of course W extrapolated into an entire thing, but the truth is - that's actually exactly what Anne wrote! We never hear of her attempting to or even wanting to write a novel, and I think if LMM had had her be the one who wrote Captain Jim's life book, it wouldn't have made sense. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks In general, I think Island is such a delightful book of Anne growing and maturing, tempering some of her romantic notions with reality, while still remaining true to her optimistic and happy self. She's always dreamed of having beautiful proposals, but instead she has a series of rather ridiculous ones, all of which add humor but also work to teach Anne that the real world doesn't always follow our idealistic dreams! 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: The Golden Road

I didn‘t agree with Waterston‘s take on everything in this chapter (but she also didn‘t do as much stretching here, I thought!). Tracing the theme of marriage was fitting, and this time both textually and contextually based! I agree that this book is more complex (and interesting) than Story Girl, with a more fleshed-out framing narrative… (Continued) ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …but I don‘t think this is squarely for young readers, either. The nostalgia of an adult looking back on childhood is too strong! I think LMM had a mix of elements going on here that likely appealed to a wide audience rather than boxing it in for one age category. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks Reading this with you is so fun, since I always agree with everything you say 😂 I thought it was odd that she said that the chapters about Cecily were the ones that were especially supposed to be for younger readers. I guess I can see the appeal, but at the same time, I think Montgomery does such a good job of writing about themes that appeal to all ages. Cecily overcoming fears and dealing with embarrassment is still meaningful for me as an ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) adult. In general, I think people/critics (like that guy who was so demeaning towards Montgomery from CAA) act like if it's something a child can understand, it's somehow not worthwhile for adults to consume. But I think most truly inspiring life lessons CAN be understood by all ages. It's one of the aspects of Montgomery's writing that has always appealed to me - that I was able to read and love her stories as a child, yet still find ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) the characters relatable and engaging decades later. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks It is so gratifying to have my opinions validated!! 😂😂 I did think it was odd that she made such a point about Golden Road being more relatable for younger readers. There were several points where I was especially conscious of it being written/narrated by “older” Bev, which was relatable for me as an adult, thinking about what I remember from my own childhood! I agree—I love the layers to and universality of LMM‘s writing. 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Chronicles of Avonlea

This is a bit of a whirlwind, speeding through quick comments on each story in Chronicles of Avonlea. I thought it was interesting to look at the stories in the order they were written, and to consider the thematic groupings LMM used, but overall this felt a bit thin on the analysis/commentary—just lots of “LMM also used this in X.” Did anything in particular stand out to anyone else?

TheAromaofBooks Nothing really jumped out at me here, possibly because I've always found the Chronicles to be a bit “meh“ on the whole. A fine short story collection, but nothing magical - probably because Montgomery was forced to wedge Anne in where she didn't belong! I did think it was interesting to read which characters changed to Anne and how that also changed subtle parts of the original tales. I did feel like Waterston kind of acted like Maud chose the ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) stories for the collection, but didn't Rubio say that she sent Page a whole bundle of shorts and he picked which ones he wanted her to edit? (I thought that was what led to the whole Further Chronicles debacle?) I also thought it was odd that she acted like the reason Page chose the word Chronicles had some biblical application, when it literally just means “a narrative record“??? Sometimes Waterston seems to enjoy a good stretch 😂 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Yeah, this wasn't a chapter that made me want to go back and re-read the book 😂 I got the same impression from Rubio, that Page chose the stories from a whole bunch that LMM sent (and then hung onto the extras, leading to the later debacle). Waterston did make it sound like LMM had more of a hand in what was chosen for this collection... but I guess she chose the ones she sent to Page initially, so there's that?! 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island Chapter 4: The Story Girl

Thoughts on this chapter? For me, it‘s fascinating that LMM felt so much fondness & affinity for the characters in The Story Girl when I feel that so much more for the Anne books. But this chapter really illuminates LMM‘s feelings for me, describing how much of her own family, family stories, and nostalgia for her beloved PEI (that she may well soon have to leave behind) ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d) …are woven throughout the book. I still take issue with some of the ways Waterston applies biographical details to elements of the narrative (I don‘t buy that all the women characters exemplify aspects of LMM‘s self image), but her discussion of the contrasting tone between the framing narrative and Sara‘s stories was interesting. (edited) 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I totally agree with your comments!! I've always been somewhat ambivalent towards The Story Girl. I read it every now and then and find parts of it amusing, but I've never connected with the characters like I do with so many of her other books. It has been so interesting to me to find out that this was Montgomery's favorite of her books! I did appreciate some of the connections Waterston made between aspects of the story and parts of Maud's life⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) that she was nostalgic about, but I do also think Waterston tends to extrapolate a LOT. I'm not sure every single character/place/phrase/event is fraught with layers of complicated meaning! 😂 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I really want to tell Waterston she doesn‘t have to assign some biographical connection to every single element of each book. These are not allegories of LMM‘s life. Not everything has to MEAN SOMETHING. 😂 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I'm reminded of Maud talking about how everyone always hopes/fears that she's “putting them in a story“ - apparently Waterston thinks she definitely put EVERYONE in a story! 😂 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Chapter 3: Kilmeny of the Orchard

Kilmeny is one of my least favorite of LMM‘s novels, so it‘s fitting that I didn‘t connect with this chapter. The discussion of LMM‘s literary influences was interesting—the Brontes, Scottish/Highland traditions, etc.—as well as the threads of theology (predestination) vs. psychology. But I still find Kilmeny to be a very problematic story, and wish Waterston had taken the time to ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Cont‘d): …wrestle with those problematic elements (especially since she made that “dubious model for young girls” comment in the AoGG chapter)! I think Kilmeny presents a much more dubious “moral of the story.” (edited) 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I totally agree! It's interesting to me to see what points Waterston does or doesn't make about various stories. And while she did talk about how this was a revision from an earlier short story, I didn't feel like she very much emphasized how much Montgomery's writing had changed since her original version of this story - it's so much more immature than the two Anne books she had written at this point. 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead - Magic Island: Anne of Avonlea

Waterston‘s discussion of the educational ideas LMM would have been exposed to was interesting background for the ideals Anne brings into her classroom (and the argument about discipline that she has with Gilbert and Jane).

I don‘t agree with Waterston‘s comments about Paul Irving, though—I‘ve never sensed any mockery in the way LMM describes poetic young Paul! (Continued) ⤵️

BarbaraJean And I can‘t believe Waterston closes by calling Miss Lavendar “elderly.” She‘s in her 40s!!!! Apparently I‘m elderly. 🙄 I did love the inclusion of the above quote from LMM‘s journals. It perfectly encapsulates the view I‘ve gotten of the contrast between LMM‘s life and work. (edited) 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I'm honestly not sure how well I am going to get on with Waterson's interpretations 😂 I totally agree with you on Paul. He never seemed like he was being set up to make fun of at all. I also thought it was weird that acts like Maud's long engagement is reflected in the Anne/Gilbert relationship, pointing out that “Gilbert is not particularly ardent“... A&G aren't in a romantic relationship at all throughout Avonlea????? ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) I also rolled my eyes when she tried to say that Anne composing her little garden story while on the search for a platter that Davy broke was totally a reflection of the way that women were prevented from “fully concentrating on their literary work“ by “domestic duties“ when (a) I never feel like Anne is trying to be an author, she just enjoys writing sometimes, (b) Maud herself actually always set aside chunks of time specifically to ⬇ 9mo
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TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) write, regardless of what else was going on, and (c) there are plenty of men who also had to work their writing around other duties and responsibilities?? It just felt like SUCH a stretch to act like Montgomery was specifically making this important point in this one little story. 🙄 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks Hahaha—yes, that comment on Anne writing that little garden story irked me. Although later in the novels I was disappointed when Anne comments that she‘s not really a serious writer—kind of implying it was a silly thing to pursue. Anne seemed to be a talented writer and it bothered me that she downplayed her abilities. Maybe it‘s in House of Dreams, when she says she‘s not the right person to write Captain Jim‘s life book? ⤵️ 9mo
BarbaraJean All of that to say, I think there are moments where LMM does comment on women as writers and I don‘t always like the implications (or the way they land with me, anyway), but I don‘t think Waterston‘s particular example had anything to do with a commentary on women having dedicated time for writing!! 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks And I also thought that Anne/Gilbert parallel was an odd one when discussing Anne of Avonlea. Windy Poplars, maybe, but that was written much later in LMM‘s life and so the biographical parallel doesn‘t work as well. “Gilbert is not particularly ardent” made me laugh!! Gilbert is off the page SO MUCH that I don‘t think we really can even gauge that. (edited) 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I've never really thought a lot before about Anne's actual ambitions - she works very hard to pursue her education, but I feel like we never have any idea of what she wants to do with that? I realize the options at the time were limited for women, but in some ways I feel like Anne was just living out Maud's dream to go to college without a specific destination in mind? 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks You know, I hadn't thought much about Anne's ambitions, either. Now I want to go back and re-read with that in mind! I'd always thought her ambitions were to be a writer (i.e. the story club, feeling her dreams were cheapened by the Rollings Reliable contest, etc.), but now I'm wondering how much of that is my own assumption and not actually in the text. She certainly doesn't have Emily's ambitions as a writer. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks There's also Anne's career as a teacher - but I read that more as earning her way. Earning a living seemed to be the main reason for going to Queen's, although Anne did care about her own education. She also has high ideals about teaching, but then, it's in Anne's nature to have passionate ideals, career ambitions aside! Maybe my frustration over her abandoning her writing dreams came more from my own projections onto the text. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I think I hadn't thought about it as much until I read the Emily books, where Emily is SO passionate about becoming a writer, which I think is much more reflective of Montgomery's feelings as well. Compared to Emily, Anne never seemed to portray the same kind of passion for writing. Even though she did write at various times, I'm not sure she actually wanted to go to college to become a better writer in the way that Emily did. ⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I also can't remember a time when I didn't know how the Anne books turned out, because I first read them when I was pretty young, like 10-11. So maybe I've just never paid attention to what Anne's dreams were, since I already knew she was going to be a teacher, be a principal, marry Gilbert, and raise a family? All this Montgomery nonfiction is really making me want to reread her novels!! 😂 9mo
julieclair @BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I think that Anne is more of a dreamer than she is a writer… lots of fascinating and creative thoughts, but no burning desire to write them down. As a dreamer, she can easily compose her garden story while also performing the “domestic duty” of searching for a platter. I agree that this was a fairly weak example for Waterston to use in trying to say that Maud was making a Women‘s Rights statement. 9mo
BarbaraJean @julieclair I like “dreamer“ as Anne's career ambition. 😆 I think you're right, though--her writing was more of an outlet for her dreams and fancies than it was a passion for writing itself. Her dreams and her imagination were more the point! 9mo
TheAromaofBooks @julieclair @BarbaraJean - Yes, dreamer!! I love that!! I've also actually always loved the scene of Anne writing while stuck in the roof in the rain. To me, it's illustrative of one of Anne's “scrapes“ that always seem to happen when she's trying to do the right thing, and the fact that genius always seems to hit at the exact wrong moment, far more than it's a statement about the oppression of women 😂 9mo
julieclair @TheAromaofBooks @BarbaraJean Yes, her heart is always in the right place! I think that‘s why we find her so endearing. 💙 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead

After Rubio‘s biography I‘m a little wary of Waterston‘s approach of examining LMM‘s fiction in light of biographical details. But overall I liked her analysis of AoGG, especially the 4 (relational) plot threads she identified: Anne & Marilla, Anne & her imagination, Anne & her kindred spirits, and Anne & Gilbert. And I really liked the above summing-up. What did you think of the intro & first chapter of Magic Island?

julieclair I thought the introduction was helpful, as it gave a good overview of her development as a writer, the parallels (or lack thereof) between her fiction and her journals, and how she reacted, both personally and professionally, to changes in the times and her life circumstances. 9mo
julieclair I enjoyed the scholarly deconstruction of AoGG in Chapter 1. This was a new perspective for me, as I have always read the Anne novels simply for enjoyment, not study. I do wonder whether I will understand the chapters on the books I have not read, as there are so many references to specific characters‘ personalities and plot lines. 9mo
BarbaraJean @julieclair Yes, I think so far she strikes a good balance between textual analysis and bringing in biographical info. I‘ve never read LMM‘s books this way, either, and it‘s refreshing to read this more scholarly view after having read in the Rubio biog how LMM‘s work was dismissed as sentimental, for children, etc. Nice to have the books taken seriously as literature! 9mo
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BarbaraJean @julieclair For the books you haven‘t read yet, you could always skip over those chapters and come back to them later after you‘ve read those books! I‘m kind of wishing I‘d saved this book to read along with a re-read of each of the novels. 9mo
julieclair Good thought about skipping those chapters. I‘ll see what I think once I get to one. 9mo
TheAromaofBooks I found the AoGG chapter to be a little scattered, as though Waterson couldn't decide how many of Montgomery's life details she needed to include, but still interesting. While I liked much of what she had to say, I had to disagree with the line, “[Anne's] decision to stay home and help Marilla presents a dubious model for modern girls.“ I'm a little over the concept that if a story doesn't pressure young women to pursue a career at the sacrifice⬇ 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (cont'd) of everything else then it's too “old-fashioned“ - Anne's does NOT give up on her dreams or her plans for the future. Instead, she maturely accepts the “bend in the road,“ and recognizes that there is a season for everything. She is willing to place her personal ambitions on hold while she accepts other responsibilities, and I genuinely can't see that being a “dubious model“ in any way! (edited) 9mo
TheAromaofBooks (apparently still complaining haha) It's not as though a male counterpart of Anne's got to go on to continue education and career while Anne had to stay home, which I could see as reflecting “the pressure of societal assumptions about the nurturing roles proper to women.“ Anne is literally the only person who can fill the role that she chooses to fill, and she does so without diminishing her self-worth or her values in any way. 9mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks I agree with you on that little comment about Anne's decision to stay with Marilla. I've always read the ending as a testament to how far Anne & Marilla have come. Yes, Anne is staying to help and care for Marilla, but there's also an element of companionship there (seemingly unlikely when you look at their rocky start). Also: if Anne had been a boy as hoped for, that boy would also likely have stayed home to care for the farm. 9mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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#KindredSpiritsBuddyRead So… I missed that there‘s an intro and conclusion!! To prevent confusion and having to redo the schedule, for today, read the Intro and the AoGG chapter, then we‘ll tack on the conclusion as an extra day at the end. Sorry I missed this!!

TheAromaofBooks No worries!! The introduction is fairly short. 😂 9mo
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LitsyEvents
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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Repost for @BarbaraJean

Our September #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead will be Magic Island by Elizabeth Waterston. The book discusses all of LMM's novels, plus Chronicles/Further Chronicles of Avonlea. Since it examines one book per chapter, we'll discuss in a chapter-a-day format, with Sundays off for catch-up days. Above is the daily schedule, from Sept. 1-26. I've tagged those who were interested, but all are welcome
...

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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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Our September #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead will be Magic Island by Elizabeth Waterston. The book discusses all of LMM's novels, plus Chronicles/Further Chronicles of Avonlea. Since it examines one book per chapter, we'll discuss in a chapter-a-day format, with Sundays off for catch-up days. Above is the daily schedule, from Sept. 1-26. I've tagged those who were interested, but all are welcome - please comment if you want to be added to the tag list!

julieclair I finally managed to find a copy! Good old eBay, lol. Looking forward to this one. 😀 10mo
TheAromaofBooks I am so excited about reading this one!! Although I have a feeling it's going to make me want to reread all the novels 😂 Maybe next time around we should do them in published order?? 10mo
BarbaraJean @julieclair Yay! I found mine on AbeBooks—no library copies to be had! @TheAromaofBooks “Next time around”—😆 I have to admit that after we finish out the rest of the LMM-adjacent books scheduled, I HAVE thought about going back through for another re-read!! I‘d also thought about doing a buddy read of the journals, but I don‘t think I can handle that right now. I‘m curious, but not a sadist 😂 10mo
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rubyslippersreads @BarbaraJean I‘d be interested in a buddy read of the Journals. I‘ve read Volume I of the originals, but none of the rest, and none of the revised ones that came out later. 10mo
rubyslippersreads I‘m looking forward to this, especially the Emily chapters. 10mo
BarbaraJean @rubyslippersreads Our current list of books for this buddy read takes us to February... maybe we can see how people feel at that point about reading the journals. I'm definitely interested in reading them at some point. There are the “Selected Journals“ (5 volumes) and the “Complete Journals,“ which as far as I can tell only go up to 1933 (7 volumes so far). I'd be interested in either. 10mo
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LitsyEvents
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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Repost for @BarbaraJean
Hello, #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead-ers!

💡Reminder: We‘ll discuss the 2nd half of Gift of Wings on 8/26
📣 Announcement: September‘s book is Magic Island (tagged)
❓Question: Instead of a month-end discussion for Magic Island, how do you feel about doing chapter-a-day? Each chapter covers one of LMM‘s novels, so an overall discussion might be a bit unwieldy.

Original post - https://www.litsy.com/web/post/2618245

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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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Hello, #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead-ers!

💡Reminder: We‘ll discuss the 2nd half of Gift of Wings on 8/26
📣 Announcement: September‘s book is Magic Island (tagged)
❓Question: Instead of a month-end discussion for Magic Island, how do you feel about doing chapter-a-day? Each chapter covers one of LMM‘s novels, so an overall discussion might be a bit unwieldy. We could do Sept. 1-24, or take Sundays off for catch-up & go till the 28th. (Continued) ⤵️

BarbaraJean (Continued) Please comment to let me know 1. If you want to be added for the Gift of Wings discussion (I currently have @TheAromaofBooks @lauraisntwilder, and @rubyslippersreads on that tag list), 2. If you‘d like to be tagged for Magic Island, and 3. If you‘re in for Magic Island, if you‘d prefer chapter-a-day or the usual month-end discussion. 10mo
lauraisntwilder I think I'm going to sit out on Magic Island. I haven't read all the novels yet so I don't think I'm ready for it yet. (I do want to do the October one though!) 10mo
BarbaraJean @lauraisntwilder Totally understand! I'll look forward to having you jump in again in October. And at the end of August to discuss the rest of Gift of Wings! 10mo
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TheAromaofBooks I am definitely planning to read this, and am always down for a chapter a day reading, because that's how I usually end up reading nonfiction anyway haha I don't have my copy of this one yet to say for sure, but it does sound like each chapter may be worth its own mini-discussion. 10mo
julieclair 1. No need to tag me for A Gift of Wings. 2. Please do tag me for Magic Island! 😀 3. I think a chapter a day sounds sensible for this format. 10mo
rubyslippersreads I‘d like to be tagged for Magic Islands, and a chapter a day sounds great. 10mo
BarbaraJean @TheAromaofBooks @julieclair @rubyslippersreads Sounds good! I‘ll post a chapter-a-day schedule for Magic Island once I get a graphic put together! 10mo
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BarbaraJean
Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery | Elizabeth Hillman Waterston
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My L.M. Montgomery/ #KindredSpiritsBuddyRead book haul keeps rolling in… 😍 I‘m really excited about both of these, and sad that I somehow left Fragrance of Sweet-Grass off the list for the year. I guess we‘ll have to continue into 2024 a bit!