Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Salon: Reading The Story Girl (1911)

The Story Girl. L.M. Montgomery. 1911. 220 pages.

This children's book by L.M. Montgomery focuses on a family of cousins. Beverly (the narrator) and Felix are visiting their aunts and uncles and cousins on Prince Edward Island while their father leaves the country on business. The cousins are Dan, Felicity, Cecily King and Sara Stanley (aka The Story Girl). Two non-relations complete the group, Peter Craig, a hired boy on one of the King farms, and Sara Ray, a neighbor girl prone to excessive crying. Each child is unique, and they don't always get along with one another. Some are very stubborn and opinionated. The book chronicles their adventures and misadventures May through November their first year together. The Story Girl has many, many admirers. She charms just about everyone with the sound of her voice. She's a natural storyteller and she uses that to her advantage plenty of times. (For example, she makes friends with more eccentric 'characters' in town; she gets money out of a man who never ever contributes to any cause.) But she also uses her stories to amuse and entertain her friends on a daily basis. Sometimes these are true stories based on family history, the community, etc. Other times the stories are more imaginative and might-have-been-true stories. A couple of ghost stories, a couple of love stories--including a story on how kissing was discovered.

My favorite chapters were about 'the judgment day.' They read one day (Saturday perhaps?) in a newspaper that the Judgment Day is the next day at 2PM. They believe it. They worry that tomorrow really is the LAST DAY. Some are full of regrets, some make resolutions. They take great comfort in being together until the very end. I really enjoyed this section because Peter decides to start reading the Bible beginning with Genesis. What he discovers after spending hours in the Word is just how much he LIKES reading the Bible and how interesting it really is. Though the judgment does not happen, though life soon returns to normal for just about everyone...Peter keeps with the Bible.
I also enjoyed the 'dream books.' Each decides to keep a special book to record ALL their dreams. They get together daily and share their dreams, each trying to out-dream the other. Then a few of them get the 'clever' idea to eat disagreeable foods so they have more interesting, more troubled dreams...

I liked these stories, these adventures. I liked seeing the children with one another. Loved their conversations and arguments.

Favorite quotes:
“There is such a place as fairyland - but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
“Well, I don't know," said the Story Girl thoughtfully. "I think there are two kinds of true thing - true things that are, and true things that are not, but might be.” 
"If voices had colour, hers would have been like a rainbow. It made words LIVE. Whatever she said became a breathing entity, not a mere verbal statement of utterance. Felix and I were too young to understand or analyze the impression it made upon us; but we instantly felt at her greeting that it WAS a good morning--a surpassingly good morning, the very best morning that had ever happened in this most excellent of worlds."
"It's no wonder we can't understand the grown-ups," said the Story Girl indignantly, "because we've never been grown-up ourselves. But THEY have been children, and I don't see why they can't understand us." 
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


A Homemaker's Utopia 10:29 AM  

Great review Becky..Loved your blog..:-)

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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

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