Writing a Life: L.M. Montgomery.
Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston.
Grades 9 and up / Ages 14 and up.
If her novels contain hidden rebellion, her journals pulse with open resistance, resentment, and depression at the structures of daily life that caught her ambition in cobwebs. She felt trapped in her marriage, confined by motherhood, and bound by the need to present a smiling face of domestic happiness in accord with the romantic novels she was producing. She was fettered by her own popularity and by the need to maintain her success in order to supplement her husband's income as a poorly paid country parson. And she was caught, perhaps unawares, in another trap; her own facility in creating narratives. To keep her secret journal going, she unconsciously adapted her life to her narrative skill. Gradually she began to make life-choices shaped to fit the kind of story she was prepared to tell in that journal.
So Montgomery's gift for storytelling both twisted and reinforced the tangled threads of her life. She never undervalued that gift; it helped her endure considerable trials, which she was then able to convert into amusing anecdotes and engaging plots. For her writing was a refuge, a solace, and a joy. . . . Her words have brought pleasure to many, for through them Montgomery created a circle of friends, a ring of laughter, and a sense of place.
To an avid L.M. Montgomery fan, this biography provides an unusual glance into the popular writer and the private person. The contrast between the painful events recorded in her journal and her optimistic novels and characters give the reader an understanding of both Montgomery as she was, and as she wished to be. To anyone unfamiliar with Anne, Emily, Pat, and Montgomery's many other characters, this biography will encourage reading and study of this well-loved Canadian author.
Deborah Mervold is a Teacher/Librarian in Shellbrook, Saskatchewan.
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