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Old 02-17-2020, 07:20 AM   #31
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I feel the same way about how Montgomery developed Anneís story in later books. I read the first three books at aged 10 & 11, and loved them. I later read the rest of the series as a teenager, and was very disappointed. She just didnít seem like Anne at all.
Oh, Victoria, I meant to say upthread that while I loved Anne of the Island, I thought Anne of Avonleawas much weaker. It covered only two years with no plot whatsoever and Davy and Dora bored me. The Cousin Olivers of Anne of Green Gables! And some of the later books, I wonít name them, were seriously bad by any standard, although two of them had merit while flawed. But I also know you canít blame a working stiff for cranking out what will sell!
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Old 02-17-2020, 07:39 AM   #32
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This is probably my favourite line from the book:

It says a lot about Anne, and indeed it exposes the ambiguity of the character: sometimes it is unclear whether Anne is truly upset, or happy, or whatever, or whether she is making the most of the dramatic moment. Sometimes, it seems, that even Anne doesn't really know, as with her ongoing grudge against Gilbert.
Yes, I agree, and overall I think itís well done. Itís part of what makes Anne interesting, as opposed to a Pollyanna, say. But I also think the Haunted Wood incident, an explicit example of this, was overdone. Did LMM think the reader wouldnít get it? Or was it just another vignette to pad out the book? Probably some of both, but I thought it a clunker.

In fairness to Anne, some of her incidents were entirely Marillaís fault. What was with Marillaís failure to label things properly and store them in the appropriate place? That accounted for both the cordial incident and the liniment cake incident. If Anne had done either, Marilla would have been quite stern!
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Old 02-17-2020, 08:18 AM   #33
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Yes, I agree about the Haunted Wood. Certainly children can work themselves up to being scared, and I think that's probably what was meant, but it didn't really come over very well.

One thing that jarred for me was the insistence at the end of the liniment cake incident that Anne didn't make the same mistake twice when it seemed to me that the liniment cake and the cordial incidents were effectively the same. And there were various others where the real mistake was Anne letting her mind wander, a mistake that happened repeatedly.

Mind you, repeated or not, it did all lead up to the very funny line:
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“Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:02 AM   #34
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Oh, Victoria, I meant to say upthread that while I loved Anne of the Island, I thought Anne of Avonleawas much weaker. It covered only two years with no plot whatsoever and Davy and Dora bored me. The Cousin Olivers of Anne of Green Gables! And some of the later books, I won’t name them, were seriously bad by any standard, although two of them had merit while flawed. But I also know you can’t blame a working stiff for cranking out what will sell!
Yes, Davy and Dora felt out of place to me too, but I still enjoyed the book. However my sister, who has read all things Montgomery, told me LM didn’t like the second book herself, and worried when it was published that “it isn’t any good”. Apparently she felt the first book of Anne and the first book of Emily were the best of the two series.

She had many people financially depending on her, even cousins, so did have to write what would sell. But her publishers also pressed for more Anne books, when she would have preferred to explore new directions.

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Yes, I agree about the Haunted Wood. Certainly children can work themselves up to being scared, and I think that's probably what was meant, but it didn't really come over very well.

One thing that jarred for me was the insistence at the end of the liniment cake incident that Anne didn't make the same mistake twice when it seemed to me that the liniment cake and the cordial incidents were effectively the same. And there were various others where the real mistake was Anne letting her mind wander, a mistake that happened repeatedly.

Mind you, repeated or not, it did all lead up to the very funny line:
She did have some very funny lines, didn’t she? I think from a child’s perspective, mistaking cordial and mistaking liniment could be seen as two separate mistakes. But I agree that the author borrowed from herself.

Speaking of overdone, I found Anne’s despair over Diana’s future wedding a bit hard to swallow this time.

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......It says a lot about Anne, and indeed it exposes the ambiguity of the character: sometimes it is unclear whether Anne is truly upset, or happy, or whatever, or whether she is making the most of the dramatic moment. Sometimes, it seems, that even Anne doesn't really know, as with her ongoing grudge against Gilbert.
Yes, having Anne cling to her grudge against Gilbert seemed more manufactured this time around. Surprisingly the grudge worked when I was young, though, and was a chief source of suspense and agony. Would he return her true feelings when she finally revealed them?

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....In fairness to Anne, some of her incidents were entirely Marilla’s fault. What was with Marilla’s failure to label things properly and store them in the appropriate place? That accounted for both the cordial incident and the liniment cake incident. If Anne had done either, Marilla would have been quite stern!
The whole amethyst brooch incident too! It was terrible. But they also reveal Marilla’s character development. Imagine the challenge of her and Matthew adopting an orphan when they’re 60ish years old. Who worried about storage and labeling when they didn’t expect a child to ever step inside the house?

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Oh I do envy you the opportunity of having a Francophone education, Victoria! Well worth having the occasional wobble in English spelling or grammar.

And I agree with issybird - never regret that your nomination was successful. Even where we don’t enjoy the book as much as you do, the discussion is interesting, and can lead in all sorts of directions, as with your Acadian history find.
Yes, I was made welcome and was very fortunate. Crossing the language lines was a rare privilege at that time. The other two English kids found the transition too difficult and left a few months later, so no more were admitted. However, they made an exception and allowed my two younger sisters when they reached school age.


If anyone is interested in more background, I’m told that this is an excellent, very well researched biography. I haven’t read it myself, because I really want to keep Anne and the Montgomery of my youth https://www.amazon.com/Lucy-Maud-Mon...al-text&sr=1-1

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Old 02-17-2020, 11:26 AM   #35
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....Iíve found with some childhood favorites, the love remains for always. Even though as an adult reader I see the flaws, I can reread it with dual eyes, both critical eyes and the eyes of love, and itís fun. Love does not alter. However, what I feared with Anne turned out to be true; a good memory collapsed under the weight of the reread.
issybird I have to ask, because Iíve followed your discussion with Catlady regarding movies and books about Little Women in another thread. Have you reread it, and was it able to survive the test of time?
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:07 PM   #36
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issybird I have to ask, because Iíve followed your discussion with Catlady regarding movies and books about Little Women in another thread. Have you reread it, and was it able to survive the test of time?
Wow, Iíve been thinking about this since you posted and I could go on and on, so people should feel free to skip my witterings here.

The short answer is no, I havenít reread it. As with Anne, I donít need to; I read it so many times as a girl. Also as with Anne, Iím aware of issues I now have with the text, so itís probably just as well I donít revisit.

The basic outlines and issues in the two books have a lot of similarities. Although Anne is a generation later, both feature feisty surrogate heroines with literary ambitions. Admittedly, Little Women is more serious and much grimmer and doesnít have the laughs or cheery outlook. I donít want to be too spoilery for those who will go on with Anne, but ultimately both Jo and Anne are broken by societal expectations and the imposed need to be ďgoodĒ; for which read selfless and subsuming their personalities to a manís ambition and womanís destiny as a wife and mother. Faugh!

And yet when I read them, I was able to take what I needed from them, about being true to yourself and wanting to be in charge of your own destiny. There werenít a lot of serious girlsí books which provided that same ďscope for imagination.Ē So I know Iím better off not reading about how Professor Bhaer humiliated Jo and destroyed her confidence and kept her from what was turning into a lucrative career (and she needed the money as she supported her family!) and Jo married him anyway.
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:22 PM   #37
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I think I read somewhere that LMA didn’t want Jo to marry anyone, but no doubt the publisher and the public expected it. The Professor was the only vaguely appropriate male she had to hand.
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Old 02-17-2020, 05:32 PM   #38
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Wow, Iíve been thinking about this since you posted and I could go on and on, so people should feel free to skip my witterings here.

The short answer is no, I havenít reread it. As with Anne, I donít need to; I read it so many times as a girl. Also as with Anne, Iím aware of issues I now have with the text, so itís probably just as well I donít revisit.

The basic outlines and issues in the two books have a lot of similarities. Although Anne is a generation later, both feature feisty surrogate heroines with literary ambitions. Admittedly, Little Women is more serious and much grimmer and doesnít have the laughs or cheery outlook. I donít want to be too spoilery for those who will go on with Anne, but ultimately both Jo and Anne are broken by societal expectations and the imposed need to be ďgoodĒ; for which read selfless and subsuming their personalities to a manís ambition and womanís destiny as a wife and mother. Faugh!

And yet when I read them, I was able to take what I needed from them, about being true to yourself and wanting to be in charge of your own destiny. There werenít a lot of serious girlsí books which provided that same ďscope for imagination.Ē So I know Iím better off not reading about how Professor Bhaer humiliated Jo and destroyed her confidence and kept her from what was turning into a lucrative career (and she needed the money as she supported her family!) and Jo married him anyway.
Thank you - Iíve been wondering for a while. I havenít reread it either, for similar reasons.

What you say about the disappointing paths of Anne and Jo, and yet being able to take from them what you needed is so true. Of course, both authors were female and subject to the same social expectations as their characters. And as authors, each had qualms about what theyíd written, but financial pressures propelled them to keep writing. So even though Anne hasnít stood the test of time for many, she was absolutely her own person. There had to be something quite authentic at the core of both books, to have fed so many generations of young women.

Rereading Anne has me wondering about the influence of contemporary boysí books. Would the adventure stories like Tom Sawyer have inspired young men in similar ways?
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Old 02-17-2020, 06:02 PM   #39
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Yes, Davy and Dora felt out of place to me too, but I still enjoyed the book. However my sister, who has read all things Montgomery, told me LM didnít like the second book herself, and worried when it was published that ďit isnít any goodĒ. Apparently she felt the first book of Anne and the first book of Emily were the best of the two series.
Iíve been corrected by my sister. Apparently LMM had been ill and was exhausted, but her publisher pressured her to hurry the second book to print anyway - thatís why she was worried it wasnít good enough.

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I think I read somewhere that LMA didnít want Jo to marry anyone, but no doubt the publisher and the public expected it. The Professor was the only vaguely appropriate male she had to hand.
Thatís interesting; I wonder if she faced any pressure to have Jo marry Laurie? That would have been the usual path of things.
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Old 02-17-2020, 11:35 PM   #40
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I had find memories of the Anne books, though I didn't reread or plan to discuss. I popped in here to say that Little Women was not the end of the March family story - it continued in Little Men and Jo's Boys and Jo
Spoiler:
actually did have success as a writer in the latter book.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:38 AM   #41
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Thanks 4691 mls. I for one read them all a great many years ago, and probably my fellow New Leaf Book Club members did also.
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Old 02-18-2020, 01:47 AM   #42
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Victoria, I think this was the article I read, when I was reading about the new film:
https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/12/...urie-amy-bhaer
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Old 02-18-2020, 06:28 AM   #43
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Thank you - Iíve been wondering for a while. I havenít reread it either, for similar reasons.

What you say about the disappointing paths of Anne and Jo, and yet being able to take from them what you needed is so true. Of course, both authors were female and subject to the same social expectations as their characters. And as authors, each had qualms about what theyíd written, but financial pressures propelled them to keep writing. So even though Anne hasnít stood the test of time for many, she was absolutely her own person. There had to be something quite authentic at the core of both books, to have fed so many generations of young women.
I agree entirely. I want to add in this context Anneís ferocious temper. Just how satisfying was it when she thwacked Gilbert across the head with her slate? The thwack heard round the world, it seems to me; when would there be another literary instance of a girl refusing to be harassed? And really, Gilbert got off lightly; in the context of our own times he comes across as an abuser in training.

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Rereading Anne has me wondering about the influence of contemporary boysí books. Would the adventure stories like Tom Sawyer have inspired young men in similar ways?
Iíve also been thinking about Tom Sawyer in this context (and coincidentally currently listening to a different book by Mark Twain). Tomís also an orphan who gets into scrapes and struggles with authority, but I donít get the same sense of a moral judgment attached to his behavior and a need to reform. Heís just a bad boy. Boys will be boys, as with Gilbert teasing the girls. Penrod is another example, although not an orphan. So mostly I see the boysí books as an encouragement to act out, but girlsí books as an encouragement to be good, unfortunately. Boysí books had a lot more scope, it seems to me, with the whole adventure genre which was closed to girls and wherein the boys could be noble; girls needed to be noble on the domestic front.
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Old 02-18-2020, 08:47 AM   #44
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Rereading Anne has me wondering about the influence of contemporary boys’ books. Would the adventure stories like Tom Sawyer have inspired young men in similar ways?
I did read Tom Sawyer as a lad but my reaction to it then was quite lukewarm—despite the praise heaped on it my my grade school teacher. In fact, while I was a voracious reader my diet was about 90% science fiction. Andre Norton was a great favourite and her work is (IMO) eminently rereadable yet. The Tom Corbett books are cleverly plotted for the most part and though they tried to have a basic valid science fiction background they have certainly dated in that respect. One interesting aspect to them is the presence of a top notch scientist who is a woman and the adverts in the original publications were addressed to “boys and girls”. I take a little nostalgic space trip in them from time to time and rather enjoy that but they don’t replicate the fascinating excitement of my childhood experience. I devoured those old Groff Conklin science fiction anthologies from our public library and have collected them since. Some of the stories which I found fascinating I now realise are pretty low-grade while others that my young self thought rubbish are, in fact, true trail-blazers.

These books and others of that sort did give me an abiding interest in actual science and I did get a minor in Biological Science for my primary degree (my major was English). How much this is the case for others who shared this type of experience I don’t know though one person in my immediate family has gone along a similar path in the sense that her childhood reading had a lasting effect on her later interests.

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Old 02-18-2020, 05:21 PM   #45
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Victoria, I think this was the article I read, when I was reading about the new film:
https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/12/...urie-amy-bhaer
Bookpossum I loved reading this article! Thank you for posting it. I don’t usually like it when Directors change someone else’s story, but I found this Director’s decisions very satisfying. She’s definitely altered the ending as it’s written but I think she could make an argument that she’s being faithful to the actual character of the sisters, and saying explicitly what Alcott wanted to say, but could only imply.

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Originally Posted by issybird View Post
I agree entirely. I want to add in this context Anne’s ferocious temper. Just how satisfying was it when she thwacked Gilbert across the head with her slate? The thwack heard round the world, it seems to me; when would there be another literary instance of a girl refusing to be harassed?

I’ve also been thinking about Tom Sawyer in this context (and coincidentally currently listening to a different book by Mark Twain). Tom’s also an orphan who gets into scrapes and struggles with authority, but I don’t get the same sense of a moral judgment attached to his behavior and a need to reform. He’s just a bad boy. Boys will be boys, as with Gilbert teasing the girls. Penrod is another example, although not an orphan. So mostly I see the boys’ books as an encouragement to act out, but girls’ books as an encouragement to be good, unfortunately. Boys’ books had a lot more scope, it seems to me, with the whole adventure genre which was closed to girls and wherein the boys could be noble; girls needed to be noble on the domestic front.
Excellent point about that thwack issybird. I hadn’t thought of it that way, and I can’t think of a parallel, outside of today’s “me too” phenomenon. Now that you point it out, I see how remarkable it was.

I agree that most of the boys’ adventure stories have far fewer strictures. Luckily, I didn’t see myself excluded from them, so was able to read the stories and imagine myself and pretend to be in the boys’ shoes.

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Originally Posted by fantasyfan View Post
I did read Tom Sawyer as a lad but my reaction to it then was quite lukewarm—despite the praise heaped on it my my grade school teacher. In fact, while I was a voracious reader my diet was about 90% science fiction. Andre Norton was a great favourite and her work is (IMO) eminently rereadable yet. The Tom Corbett books are cleverly plotted for the most part and though they tried to have a basic valid science fiction background they have certainly dated in that respect. One interesting aspect to them is the presence of a top notch scientist who is a woman and the adverts in the original publications were addressed to “boys and girls”. I take a little nostalgic space trip in them from time to time and rather enjoy that but they don’t replicate the fascinating excitement of my childhood experience. I devoured those old Groff Conklin science fiction anthologies from our public library and have collected them since. Some of the stories which I found fascinating I now realise are pretty low-grade while others that my young self thought rubbish are, in fact, true trail-blazers.

These books and others of that sort did give me an abiding interest in actual science and I did get a minor in Biological Science for my primary degree (my major was English). How much this is the case for others who shared this type of experience I don’t know though one person in my immediate family has gone along a similar path in the sense that her childhood reading had a lasting effect on her later interests.
Thanks for sharing your experience fantasyfan; it’s interesting to hear about the differences and similarities. Like you, my young reading life was hugely influential. Through Anne and Jo, I thought writing would be my destiny and went on to major in English literature. Though I didn’t write, books have been a lifelong gift from Alcott and Montgomery.

I enjoy fantasy and science fiction now, but didn’t realize they even existed until I took the English degree. So other than LOTR, I’ve only read contemporary works. It’s interesting to hear about earlier authors who were inspiring young minds. I’ve made a note of A Norton and the others and it will be fun to look them up.
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