Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Salon: Reading Emily of New Moon (1923)

Emily of New Moon. L.M. Montgomery. 1923. Bantam. 352 pages.

Have you met Emily Starr? Fifteen years after introducing children to the oh-so-lovable Anne Shirley, L.M. Montgomery introduces another young orphan to the world: Emily Starr. While Anne Shirley had no memories of her parents, Emily Starr remembers her father very well. In fact, readers meet him as well. When Emily of New Moon opens, Emily is about to learn the devastating truth: her father has only a few more weeks to live. He is dying; there is no cure, no hope for a cure. After her father dies, the relatives gather together. They hated Emily's father and have had nothing to do with Emily all these years. But now there is one question to be settled: who will get the "privilege"of taking Emily Starr home to raise?! She goes with Aunt Laura and Aunt Elizabeth to Prince Edward Island.

How does Emily Starr compare to Anne Shirley? Well, she's imaginative, spirited, struggles to adapt to school at least at first, loves to write...but in many ways she is quite unique. While she doesn't automatically love Aunt Elizabeth and her new home, she does come to peace with her new life. And there are many things she LOVES. Aunt Laura, Cousin Jimmy, Ilse Burnley, and Teddy Kent come to mind! But Teddy Kent is not the only boy in her life, there is also that Perry Miller and Dean "Jarback" Priest!

I do love Emily of New Moon. I'm not sure I LOVE this book as much as I love the earliest Anne books (Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea), but, there are many things I do LOVE about it. It is always great to spend time on Prince Edward Island. And L.M. Montgomery's characters can't help feeling human. She had such a great gift for bringing all of her characters to life!

 Favorite quotes:
“It had always seemed to Emily, ever since she could remember, that she was very, very near to a world of wonderful beauty. Between it and herself hung only a thin curtain; she could never draw the curtain aside-- but sometimes, just for a moment, a wind fluttered it and then it was as if she caught a glimpse of the enchanting realm beyond-- only a glimpse-- and heard a note of unearthly music.”
“Ten good lines out of four hundred, Emily—comparatively good, that is—and all the rest balderdash—balderdash, Emily."
"I—suppose so," said Emily faintly.
Her eyes brimmed with tears—her lips quivered. She could not help it. Pride was hopelessly submerged in the bitterness of her disappointment. She felt exactly like a candle that somebody had blown out.
"What are you crying for? demanded Mr. Carpenter.
Emily blinked away tears and tried to laugh.
"I—I'm sorry—you think it's no good—" she said.
Mr. Carpenter gave the desk a mighty thump.
"No good! Didn't I tell you there were ten good lines? Jade, for ten righteous men Sodom had been spared."
"Do you mean—that—after all—" The candle was being relighted again.
"Of course, I mean. If at thirteen you can write ten good lines, at twenty you'll write ten times ten—if the gods are kind. Stop messing over months, though—and don't imagine you're a genius, either, if you have written ten decent lines. I think there's something trying to speak through you—but you'll have to make yourself a fit instrument for it. You've got to work hard and sacrifice—by gad, girl, you've chosen a jealous goddess. And she never lets her votaries go—not even when she shuts her ears forever to their plea.” 
“Tell me this--if you knew you would be poor as a church mouse all your life--if you knew you'd never have a line published--would you still go on writing--would you?'
'Of course I would,' said Emily disdainfully. 'Why, I have to write--I can't help it at times--I've just got to.”

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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