Saturday, March 2, 2013
Title: Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Life and Times of L.M. Montgomery
Author: Irene Gammel
Genre: non-fiction, biography
I read the Anne of Green Gables series as a preteen and teenager and I always wondered about Lucy Maud Montgomery; imagine my surpise and delight when I stumbled upon her biography in my local library.
In this biography, Irene Gammel recounts how life events and literary magazine subscriptions shaped the plot and structure of Anne of Green Gables...Maud's mother died when she was a toddler and her father left her in the care of her grandparents, the Macneills, who weren't very loving. In the book, Matthew Cuthbert is introspective, kind and gentle; the antithesis to Maud's real-life, grumpy and stern grandfather. Marilla Cuthbert was practical and stern; Grandma Macneill was rude, mean and ungracious. Maud developed a lifelong friendship with her cousin, Frede, which was the basis for the "bosom friends" concept between Anne and Diana. Maud loved to flirt and spar with intelligent males which is reflected in the love/hate relationship between Anne and Gilbert.
Maud suffered from seasonal depression in the winter and loved to garden and commune with nature. Writing the flowing descriptions of Prince Edward Island's flowers and landscapes helped her survive the extra long and harsh winter that took place when Maud was writing her manuscript. Maud felt more spiritual when taking a walk through her beloved fields and woods than in a traditional church service. This marked her as odd amongst her traditional, Presbyterian family members and neighbors.
Maud (and Anne Shirley) were prone to melodrama, and unfortunately, Maud was insecure and later in life suffered an unhappy marriage and an exploitative book publisher.