Monday, July 4, 2016

"Anne of Ingleside" by L. M. Montgomery

Erm.  So, my memory of this series just gradually becoming less and less enjoyable is kind of true when it comes to this book.  Not that it was bad, or completely boring.  It was just kind of... flat.  Some of Anne's many kids have adventures (her daughter Diana has basically the same adventure twice), but none of them are as winsome as Anne.  They're more like each one embodies a small piece of Anne's personality, and what makes me love Anne so much is that she's complex.  But the kids aren't all that complex.  Sigh.  Also, way too much gossip.  So many chapters (or it felt like so many, anyway) of old women telling what are supposed to be humorous tales of weird things their neighbors or relations have done.  Felt like filler.

However, the last 3 chapters, where Anne suddenly succumbs to melancholia and convinces herself that Gilbert no longer loves her -- that part was intensely awesome.  She and Gilbert have been married for 15 years, and Cowboy and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary, and... I have no fears about my husband having ceased to love me, but I know there are days where everything just grates on me, or where he's tired from working overtime and doesn't say much, and... if several days like that piled up, I could totally see something like this being possible.  That last section was far more believable and emotionally engaging than the rest of the book combined.  And... it centered on Anne.  Not on her kids.  If Montgomery hadn't relegated Anne to being a side character in her own series, this book might have touched me a great deal more than it did.

And then there was Aunt Mary Maria.  But the less said about her, the better.

Not looking hugely forward to Rainbow Valley, I must admit.  Though I did always get a big kick out of the minister's children and their graveyard picnics.  So I'll survive it.

Particularly Good Bits:

Her heart sang all the way because she was going home to a joyous house... a house where every one who crossed its threshold knew it was a home... a house that was filled all the time with laughter and silver mugs and snapshots ans babies... precious things with curls and chubby knees... and rooms that would welcome her... where the chairs waited patiently and the dresses in her closet were expecting her... where little anniversaries were always being celebrated and little secrets were always being whispered (p. 14).


She would hold all the threads of the Ingleside life in her hands again to weave into a tapestry of beauty (p. 55).

"I have never altogether liked cats myself, Miss Dew, but I maintain they have a right to wave their own tails" (p. 60).

Walter was again sitting on the steps with eyes full of dreams.  Dusk had fallen.  Where, he wondered, had it fallen from?  Did some great spirit with bat-like wings pour it all over the world from a purple jar? (p. 213).

"An imagination is a wonderful thing to have... but like every gift we must possess it and not let it possess us.  You take your imaginings a wee bit too seriously.  Oh, it's delightful... I know that rapture.  But you must learn to keep on this side of the borderline between the real and the unreal.  Then the power to escape at will into a beautiful world of your own will help you amazingly through the hard places of life.  I can always solve a problem more easily after I've had a voyage or two in the Island of Enchantment" (p. 244).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G for good and clean, if not particularly delicious.


This is my 42nd book read and reviewed for the Classics Club!  And my 11th for the Women's Classic Literature Event.

14 comments:

  1. This is probably my least favorite of the series. It also happens to be the last Anne book she wrote. Both Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside were written/published before this one.

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    1. Becky, yeah, I just recently learned that she wrote them "out of order," so that probably has something to do with this being the least-good (so far). As my dad always said, it just seemed like she was running out of creative juices.

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  2. *If Montgomery hadn't relegated Anne to being a side character in her own series, this book might have touched me a great deal more than it did.*

    Really great line...

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  3. Personally, Rilla of Ingleside is my favorite Anne book (I relate to Rilla far more than Anne) and since I love all of Anne's children in that, I love reading about their younger years in AoI. (Especially Walter. I know you don't really get why everyone loves him, but I DO! :))

    So, yes, this is one of my favorite Anne books.

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    1. Eva, I know a lot of people love Rilla, so I'm going to be interested to see if I appreciate her book more now than I did as a teen. I know I liked Anne's House of Dreams way more this time around, so it might happen.

      I do get why people love Walter. I just like Jem better, that's all.

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  4. This is my least favorite in the series-although I did find the end chapters about Anne and Gilbert much more interesting than the rest of it. I do like Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside,though. I feel like the character developments are much better in those- especially Rilla's.

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    1. Hayden, I'm really hoping that's the case for me too. I'd hate to end the series on a downward slope!

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  5. I have exactly the same opinion of the book. The last few chapters are amazing, but the kids just aren't very interesting. I like "Rainbow Valley" much better--the minister and his children are all interesting characters, perhaps because they have their own storyline and aren't just there because they're Anne's children. Faith in particular is wonderful, and as much as I love "Rilla of Ingleside", I wish we had a book with more focus on Jem and Faith's romance.

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    1. Ashley, I agree! Jem is my favorite of Anne's children, and I remember always wishing for more about him and Faith.

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  6. Umm, yeah. This is my second-to-least favorite of the Anne books. There's too many individual adventures, too much repetition, and nobody is filled out enough for me to really care about them all that much. Besides, it leaves a plot hole that still bothers me. Jem refuses to love a dog as his own . . . until Dog Monday. WHAT CHANGED? When I learned that she wrote this one after Rilla of Ingleside, I understood how this hole might have been left, but it still bothers me. I want to know how Jem came to love Monday so much. It would have been a healing story after his episodes that wind up heartbreaking.

    I do love your last quote. And Nan's imagination of the GLOOMY HOUSE I found quite fascinating; I could easily imagine something similar, though I would locate it somewhere else than on earth. And I have always loved the last chapter so much. Anne's fears that Gilbert doesn't love her get a little dragged out for me, but I'm quite willing to endure them for that splendid last chapter when they reaffirm their love so splendidly. I'll always love anything with Anne and Gilbert together. Still, the rest of this is so scattershot with so little that I really care about that it's my next to least favorite book.
    -- Marcy

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    1. Marcy, it didn't bother me that Jem changed his mind about loving dogs, possibly because that has happened to me. I didn't like dogs much at all, and then we got one named Lucas, and I really liked him, but then when we got a dog named Westley, I loved him whole-heartedly because he and I just clicked. Kind of like meeting six people, and one of them you know instantly is, well, a kindred spirit. Kind of inexplicable, really.

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    2. Okay, I surrender. I've never owned a dog or really loved one, so if you who have changed your mind don't find Jem's changing his strange, I will understand much better. Or maybe not understand, but I won't object. I still wish the story had been included, though, because I think it would have been really sweet.
      -- Marcy

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    3. Marcy, perhaps it's a bit like falling in love -- you can meet a hundred guys or dogs, but only click with one.

      The inclusion of the story would have been nice -- in replacement of Di's second I-trusted-a-manipulative-jerk adventure, for instance.

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