Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Emily of New Moon

Emily of New Moon. L.M. Montgomery. 1923. Bantam. 352 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: The house in the hollow was “a mile from anywhere” — so Maywood people said. It was situated in a grassy little dale, looking as if it had never been built like other houses but had grown up there like a big, brown mushroom. It was reached by a long, green lane and almost hidden from view by an encircling growth of young birches. No other house could be seen from it although the village was just over the hill.

Premise/plot: When Emily Starr's father dies, she goes to live with Aunt Elizabeth, Aunt Laura, and Cousin Jimmy at New Moon on Prince Edward Island. She makes friends (Ilse, Teddy, and Perry) and pursues writing as she faces the ordinary and sometimes not-so-ordinary challenges of growing up.

My thoughts: I do love Emily of New Moon. This Montgomery novel has so many cats and kittens! Another plus, in my opinion, is Emily's pursuit of writing. Writing is part of who she is. She can't quite decide if she wants to write poetry, to write novels, or to write both. But one thing is certain: she will write no matter the cost. 

How does Emily's personality compare to Anne Shirley's? Both have a fierceness to them. Anne is definitely more prone to making mistakes and getting into TROUBLE. Emily actually reminded me more of one of Anne's daughters than Anne herself. Though I can't remember which one at the moment. (I'm thinking of a moment in Anne of Ingleside or maybe Rainbow Valley?)

There's something cozy about reading this one even if there's some sadness to it. In addition to the sadness, there's also a touch of creepiness. Though I wonder if Dean Priest came across as super-creepy to the original readers in the 1920s.

Favorite quotes:
“A living present is so nice,” she told Ellen, “because it keeps on getting nicer all the time.”
But Emily had inherited certain things from her fine old ancestors — the power to fight — to suffer, — to pity — to love very deeply — to rejoice — to endure. These things were all in her and looked out at you through her purplish-grey eyes.
“I wish people could remember from the very moment they’re born,” said Emily. “It would be so very interesting.” “I dare say we’d have a lot of uncomfortable memories,” said her father, laughing a little.
Death isn’t terrible. The universe is full of love — and spring comes everywhere — and in death you open and shut a door. There are beautiful things on the other side of the door. I’ll find your mother there — I’ve doubted many things, but I’ve never doubted that.
“She will love deeply — she will suffer terribly — she will have glorious moments to compensate — as I have had. As her mother’s people deal with her, so may God deal with them,” he murmured brokenly.
“I don’t want to learn sense and be done a world of good to,” cried Emily with a quivering lip. “I — I want somebody to love me.”
“I don’t want any of your pertness, miss. You are not to kiss cats at all.” “But Aunt Elizabeth, I didn’t kiss her on her mouth, of course. I just kissed her between her ears. It’s nice — won’t you just try it for once and see for yourself?”
I read the story of Red Riding Hood to-day. I think the wolf was the most interesting character in it. Red Riding Hood was a stupid little thing so easily fooled.
I like Perry but in a different way from Teddy. Isn’t it funny, dear Father, how many kinds of ways of liking there are?
“I see you have a cat.” “Wrong.” Father Cassidy shook his head and groaned dismally. “A cat has me.”
“Keep on — keep on writing poetry.” “You mean — ?” Emily was breathless. “I mean you’ll be able to do something by and by. Something — I don’t know how much — but keep on — keep on.”
I think maybe I’ll write novels when I grow up as well as poetry. But Aunt Elizabeth won’t let me read any novels so how can I find out how to write them? Another thing that worries me, if I do grow up and write a wonderful poem, perhaps people won’t see how wonderful it is.
Things that were inside of you were not to be read about.
I can read all the books in Aunt Nancy’s bookcase except the row on the top shelf. I wonder why I can’t read them. Aunt Nancy said they were French novels but I just peeped into one and it was English. I wonder if Aunt Nancy tells lies.
To love is easy and therefore common — but to understand — how rare it is!
“I’ve had only books for companions most of my life,” he said. “Is it any wonder I talk like them?”
“The happiest countries, like the happiest women, have no history,” said Dean. “I hope I’ll have a history,” cried Emily. “I want a thrilling career.”
“Kittens don’t want to be worshipped,” she said. “They just want to be cuddled.”
“I wouldn’t want to be anybody but myself even if I am plain. Besides,” she added impressively as she turned to go out of the room, “though I may not be very good-looking now, when I go to heaven I believe I’ll be very beautiful.”
Outgrowing things we love is never a pleasant process.
“For heaven’s sake, girl, don’t write what you can’t understand yourself. And this — To Life—’Life, as thy gift I ask no rainbow joy’ — is that sincere? Is it, girl? Stop and think. Do you ask ‘no rainbow joy’ of life?” “No — o,” she answered reluctantly, “I do want rainbow joy — lots of it.” “Of course you do. We all do. We don’t get it — you won’t get it — but don’t be hypocrite enough to pretend you don’t want it, even in a sonnet.
“Why, I have to write — I can’t help it at times — I’ve just got to.”
There are those who must lift their eyes to the hills — they can’t breathe properly in the valleys. God help them if there’s some weakness in them that prevents their climbing.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Paula Vince 4:27 PM  

This is one of my favourite series growing up. Yes, Emily is great, and so are Ilse, Perry and Teddy. I do agree with you about Dean though. He was so intense, in his creepy way and what he said by the cliff side. If I were Emily, I'd want to run and not look back.

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