Monday, February 25, 2013

L. M. Montgomery and her journals

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I would be reading L. M. Montgomery’s journals to take part in Caroline Starr Rose’s Readalong. You can head over to her blog to see the discussion about Volume I, but I thought I’d dwell on a few of my thoughts here. (Randomness alert!)

So, random LMM fact #1: Maud Montgomery was a flirt. Yep. I didn’t notice this so much the first time I read it. There were all these boys who ended up proclaiming their love for her, to which she invariably responded (Anne-like), “We were just friends!” Last time I believed her, but this time I knew where the relationships were heading...and she definitely led the poor lads on. But I have a theory, actually. I’m no psychologist, but I can’t help thinking that the fact that Maud’s father left her when she was a little girl had something to do with her difficulty trusting men in a serious relationship.... I think she craved love and affection and went out of her way to find it, but was scared of trusting too deeply.

Random LMM fact #2: Maud’s stepmother is probably one of the scariest villains ever. Makes Cinderella seem like a wimp.

Random LMM fact #3: This really deserves a post to itself (and probably will get one after I’ve read the other volumes)... Lucy Maud Montgomery had an oppressively difficult life and suffered from severe depression. I can’t say how much more this makes me love her, for responding to those difficulties by creating profound and beautiful art. This quote, regarding a reviewer’s statement that Anne of Green Gables was a book that “radiates happiness and sunshine,” impressed me deeply:
“When I think of the conditions of worry and gloom and care under which it was written I wonder at this. Thank God, I can keep the shadows of my life out of my work. I would not wish to darken any other life--I want instead to be a messenger of optimism and sunshine.” (October 15, 1908)

If something comes easily to you, you can’t really take credit for Maud Montgomery, who fought for happiness in her life, does deserve a great deal of credit for the joy she was able to give others through her writing.


  1. I've only read the first 150 pages (Just after college and her first teaching placement) but the boy chase/possible fear of commitment also occurred to me. Her depression hasn't yet become apparent to me but I have often wondered in these early pages what she is hiding (given her orphan status, years spent apart from her father.) She *is* a messenger of optimism and sunshine. How beautiful.

  2. Thank you for sharing! I certainly agree that LMM accomplished her goal-I don't think I've ever read a more "sunshiney" author :) Now I just want to jump up and speed off to the library to reread some Anne with an E.