The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery – Volume 1

I bought this book 4 years ago while visiting the birth place of L.M. Montgomery, beloved author of ‘Anne of Green Gables’, on Prince Edward Island, Canada. That trip was the fulfillment of a life long dream to visit the place that inspired the books that have had such an influence on my life and character. I not only love the Anne of Green Gables books and films (1st and 2nd only, I despised the 3rd for it’s blatant digression from the books) but have at times considered myself to BE Anne – a confession, you will understand serves to convey the depth of my love for ‘all things Anne’.
So alas, I have no answer for why these journals have remained untouched on my bookshelf for so long. Fancy sways me to believe they waited until this time in my life where they would have the most effect – and that they have.
For anyone who has a love for the Anne of Green Gables books these journals will expand that love, for those who don’t, it will inspire it. Each entry is a treasure, capturing the beauty of a time long lost, in surrounds so exactly and poetically described you feel as though you are there. But the value of these journals lies well beyond these descriptions. What ‘Maud’ captures, unknowingly through her honest dialogue with her journal, her trusted friend, is the passage from girlhood to womanhood. Seamlessly Maud’s entries glide from those of a young, energetic, passionate youth, to those of a strong though lonely, talented authoress. However the beauty of the works revelations lie in the more subtle details. Heartache, death, duty, necessity, travel and love are exposed as the experiences that force the passage. Once a carefree girl, eager for fun and full of joy she becomes lonely, depressed and unhappy. She isn’t completely defined by these traits, there is much about her that remains less depressing ie. her writing, her activities, her garden and her love of beauty but a transition has taken place. As women we all go through it but I admit in my life I ask myself ‘Why have I changed so much?’. I notice and can’t help but feel sad at the absence of elements of my former self. I felt great comfort from Maud’s journey, I learnt that while you lose some treasures of youth, you gain so much as you journey towards womanhood. Knowledge, inner strength, confidence and wisdom. Although at times she covets the joy of her youth, she herself says she would not return to it.
Many of the entries are quite heartbreaking. From the death of parents and childhood friends to the sadness of living with grandparents so different from herself with little desire to understand her. Her love life has your head spinning at times. In her youth she was much sort after and had many young suitors confess their love. As she grows she questions her ability to feel love and in course consents to marry a man, who she believes she can come to love, though quickly realises he repulses her completely. The depth of her turmoil over this situation is quite consuming. The modern reader can’t help but hope for a hint of passion in a book and through Maud’s brief relationship with the son of a family she boards with you get your fill! Being on the receiving end of such confidences makes you feel quite privileged. Remembering this isn’t fiction but a young women’s actually experiences.
I have truly enjoyed reading the journal of an author who has given me so much. And with many more volumes I hope to get to some of the others next year.
Rated: 5 Stars

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