The Blogging Article & L. M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon

Would Emily have blogged?

Would Emily have blogged?

I enjoyed interviewing writers in 2013, and intended in 2014 to add a series of interviews with bloggers, until I discovered this has been done with diligence by others, among them A Work in Progress, Stuck-in-a-Book, and Savidge Reads.

So instead I plan to write a short feature about blogging:  the blog as writing platform, the pros and cons, the acceptance or rejection by family, friends, and critics, and the courtship of marketers.  I will interview bloggers, writers, adherents, and critics, so listen up! you may receive a questionnaire in your mailbox.

And if any of you would like to be interviewed, please leave a comment or write to me at mirabiledictu.org@gmail.com

I love reading blogs, and would appreciate recommendations of new blogs.  Sometimes my favorite bloggers leave the net:  over the years a Texas housewife, a Cambridge photographer, and a PR writer/musician have ceased to blog, and two of the three deleted their blogs.

Certainly there are days when I wonder why I write online.  I could write this in a journal.

I look forward to exploring such issues, and hope you will help.

And now on to a review of L. M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon.

emily of New Moon trilogy montgomeryI have  long been a fan of L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables books, and first learned about her Emily of New Moon series in Perri Klass’s article in The New York Times (May 17, 1992) “Stories for Girls about Girls Who Write Stories.”

So I penciled it in as a book I would like to read, since I love stories about girls who write.  I read part of it some years ago, but didn’t enjoy it.

Now Virago has reissued the Emily books, so I gave Emily of New Moon a second look.  What an exuberant, comical novel!  Afterwards, I looked for Klass’s article.

She wrote:

 I had, of course, read and loved the Anne books, but the Emily books were something else again. I read them over and over, convinced that they were speaking directly to me, that they held some special message for a girl who wanted to be a writer. I had identified with Anne as she got into scrapes, dyed her hair green or baked liniment into a cake, but this was different, this identification I felt with Emily as she looked at the world around her and collected material, noted it all down in her notebooks and composed her stories and poems.

In 2008, the centenary of Anne of Green Gables, I reread the Anne books, astonished by how well they have held up.  They are not just children’s books: the series follows Anne through her marriage and early years of family life.  L. M. Montgomery is the Canadian Louisa May Alcott, and if she is not quite as good as Alcott, she is perhaps a little better than Maud Hart Lovelace, whose Betsy-Tacy series is very dear to my heart.

emily_of_new_moonEmily of New Moon is an engaging, wickedly humorous, moving novel.  Like Anne, Emily is an orphan.  When Emily’s father dies, she must go to New Moon to live with Aunt Elizabeth Murray, Aunt Laura, and Uncle Jimmie.  This middle-aged-to-elderly family doesn’t know quite what to do with her.

Emily is both dignified and hilarious.  She loves to write, and spends hours writing “letters” to her dead father on the backs of old letter-bills, because Aunt Elizabeth doesn’t see the point of buying paper.  Emily frequently experiences “the flash”–something she feels when she appreciates nature, beauty, or an idea.  When a teacher asks her why she is crying on the first day of school, she says with “the Murray dignity,” “It is a matter that concerns only myself.”  When Lofty John, a neighbor, pretends an apple she ate was poisoned for rats, she runs home and writes a letter to her best friend, believing she is dying.

I am going to die.  I have been poisoned by an apple Lofty John had put out for the rats.    I will never see you again, but I am writing this to tell you I love you and you are not to feel bad because you called me a skunk and bloodthirsty mink yesterday.

“Bloodthirsty mink!”  I love it.

Though Emily of New Moon is not quite as appealing as the Anne books, I enjoyed it very much and look forward to reading the others.

So, thank you, Virago!

5 thoughts on “The Blogging Article & L. M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon

  1. Montgomery seems to be turning up on blogs at the moment! She’s very hard to get hold of over here – I read the Ann books of course, but when I wanted to get hold of Jane of Lantern Hill I had to get a US friend to send a copy. Mind you, that was in pre-Amazon days – I guess you could get anything now!

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  2. Of course you write on line so you can reach us and share your valuable thoughts with other people. The reason that makes Klass love the Emily books makes your readers want to read you and by read by you. We cannot know why others gave up; it’s sad to think they did. I hope no one in their local homelife stopped them — as the reasons for this are often less than admirable or rational.

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  3. Karen, I wonder if Virago has spurred on others besides myself to read Montgomery lately? It is odd how sometimes a writer like this is revived and then suddenly bloggers are writing about it.

    Ellen, thank you! I know: we miss bloggers when they’re gone, even if it’s simply that they decide not to because they’re so busy.

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  4. I’ve just discovered your blog and I am delighted to see we share a love of many books and authors. I’m following you now, and I know I’m going to enjoy reading your archives and getting to know you 🙂

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  5. I’m glad you found us. L. M. Montgomery is such a wonderful writer, and it’s so cold out there (below zero!) that I may just curl up for the next days and reread Anne of Green Gables!

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