Thursday, October 16, 2008

Anne of Windy Poplars

Montgomery, L.M. 1936. Anne of Windy Poplars.

If one were to make assumptions, one might assume that I couldn't possibly love Anne of Windy Poplars as much as the other books in the series because of the lack of Gilbert. The book is comprised of just Anne's letters after all. And on top of that, the reader is left out of the romantic correspondence between the two. When Anne has a certain kind of pen...the reader is shut out of her world. But strangely enough, surprising even to me, I just adore Anne of Windy Poplars.

I think Anne of Windy Poplars is marvelous because it introduces dozens of new characters. All original. All full of heart. All human. L.M. Montgomery is great at characterization. She got that humans have a bit of it all...a bit good...a bit bad...a bit crazy too. And her characters are lovable. Especially the flawed ones.

This book is perhaps even more episodic than the previous Anne books. We've got Anne living in Summerside on Prince Edward Island. She's boarding with Aunt Chatty, Aunt Kate, and Rebecca Dew. (And who could forget the cat Dusty Miller?) She's still teaching, and she's got a job as principal at a high school.

I think what makes L.M. Montgomery so unique as a writer is that I care. If she writes about it, when she's storytelling, she's got a knack (that should be she had a knack because I *know* she's dead) for making me care. A knack for making me want to know more. She's got me thoroughly under her spell.

I've got many favorite "side" stories--including the story of little Elizabeth (with a dozen or so different nicknames for each mood but never Lizzie)--but I think one of my favorites is the story of Nora Nelson and Jim Wilcox. That and I love the story of Esme Taylor, Dr. Lennox Carter, and Cyrus Taylor. And then there's that one about Teddy Armstrong and his father. I get veclemped just thinking about it.

This book really is a treasure of good storytelling. My head knows that it doesn't particularly advance the story of Anne and Gilbert along very much. But my heart just knows that it has so many touching little moments of life that I really can't imagine reading the series and skipping it.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kim L said...

Even though this was a different book from the previous Anne books, I liked this one too. I love how there are so many wonderful characters!

PhiLiP s. SchMidT said...

One of the reasons why Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was heads and tails above the other incarnations of Trek was due to its glorious 7-year story arc.
Having said that, Ira Steven Behr, the executive producer of DS9, knew better than to serialize every episode.
Instead, viewers were treated to a mix of stand-alone episodes and mythology episodes.
Therein was DS9's grandeur.

And therein lies the grandeur of 'Anne of Windy Poplars.'
You are bang-on, Becky.
So WHAT if 'Anne of Windy Poplars' doesn't advance the book series' 'mythology'?
It is a stand-alone installment of the highest caliber, and I am quite frankly shocked at how severely I react emotionally to its characters.

I just wanted to take a strip off Mrs. Gibson for being such an unabashed control freak.
If I was Anne, I would have given that self-involved old biddy the tongue-lashing of her life over her treatment of her daughter Pauline.
But of course, I am not Anne, which I daresay is Lucy Montgomery's point.

And I confess that I wanted to see both Gerald and Geraldine strung up by their Buster Browns - the impudent brats! - for how they behaved when their mother was away.
I, the reader, had a premonition that they were an incorrigible pair, what with their "angelic smiles" when in their mother's presence.

I could go on.....and on, and on. But you get my point.
I can't help but think that God used Lucy Montgomery's characters to reveal to me the nest of serpents that resides in my own heart, since Anne's responses were far more Christlike than mine would have been under similar circumstances.

My two cents' worth.
PhiL >^•_•^<