Monday, October 3, 2016

"Rilla of Ingleside" by L. M. Montgomery

When I was a teen, this was one of my less-favorite Anne books.  I liked it better than Rainbow Valley and Anne of Ingleside, and I still do.  But overall, I don't like it nearly as much as the first five Anne books.

However, I actually think this might be one of the best-written books in the series.  It has a well-developed character arc for Rilla, it doesn't wander around on a lot of tangents, and the whole story is quite cohesive.

But I still only like it okay.  And it's totally because I don't care much for the characters.  Rilla is nice, and she does improve over the course of the book, but nothing about her really interests me.  I don't know that we would be friends, if we met -- aside from the fact we don't like babies much, we don't have a ton in common.  And I really don't like her teacher friend, Gertrude Oliver, at all.  She's gloomy and morbid and deliberately unpleasant sometimes.  She's like a warmed-over redo of Katherine Brooke from Anne of Windy Poplars, only without Katherine's salty charm and mostly concealed niceness.

I would have loved to read a book focusing on Jem instead, because he's my favorite of Anne and Gilbert's children, but he's not around much and only gets bits of page time here and there.  The whole saga of Dog Monday waiting for Jem to return is my favorite part of this book, and made me cry several times.

Random silly thing:  I first heard this book read aloud by my mom when I was like 9 years old, and I didn't know what a soup tureen was, so I decided it was a big bowl made out of an empty turtle shell.  And to this day, that's what I imagine first when I hear or read the word "tureen," and then I have to remind myself it's a big bowl thing on a stand with a lid.

Particularly Good Bits:

It does not do to laugh at the pangs of youth.  They are very terrible because youth has not yet learned that "this, too, will pass away" (p. 34).

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Good, but not something I love.  There's a bit of mysticism in this that some people might object to.

This is my 47th book read and reviewed for the Classics Club, and my 16th for the Women's Classic Literature Event.

And now it's time for Elyssa's questions for this book:

Q:  What do you think of Rilla? Is she like her parents? How is she different?

A:  As I said above, I don't relate to Rilla much, or even like her very well.  She starts out vain and flighty, and although she becomes solid and dependable eventually, she is still much more interested in fashions and people's opinions of herself than I am.  She's not as imaginative or enthusiastic as her mother, or as impetuously caring as her father.  But she does have her mother's stubbornness and her father's ability to love steadfastly.

Q:  After returning to Ingleside, Jem tells Rilla that Walter wasn’t scared at the front. Even though Walter was sickened by the thought of war, Jem said that he turned out to be a courageous hero. Why do you think that was? Anticipating a situation and actually being in the moment can be totally different experiences and sometimes bring out surprising reactions. Can you remember a time when this has happened to you?

A:  Just because you don't like something, or find it distasteful, that doesn't mean you can't or won't do it.  I don't enjoy cleaning up vomit, but I do it quite a bit now that I have three kids.

And yeah, a lot of times something I think is going to be hard or unpleasant ends up being less horrid than I'd anticipated.  Imaginations are pesky that way.  Childbirth, for instance, was not nearly as awful as I was expecting it to be.  Not something I'd want to do every day, but I've gone through natural childbirth three times and would gladly do so again.  But so many people talk about it as the worst pain possible, when for me, breaking both bones in my arm was far worse.

Q:  There wasn’t much to Rilla’s relationship with Kenneth Ford in terms of time spent together. How do we know that their relationship is going to last?

A:  I think they did get to know each other through the letters they exchanged during the war, and that's one of the best ways to truly come to understand another person, at least in my experience.  I fell in love with my husband while emailing him over the course of a summer.  I think that, plus the fact that they both remained constant over all that time and distance gives them a good chance of remaining together and happy.

Thank you for hosting this event, Elyssa!  I am planning to read at least one more Montgomery book this year -- in fact, I've already started it!  I might manage another as well, we'll see.  But with Elyssa's encouragement, I've completed my original quest, to read all 8 Anne books in 2016.  Hooray!


  1. I'm glad to know that it is good. I have only read the first six and Rilla drove me crazy. I know that she is six (?) but her lisp drove me nuts! How can you have a lisp, and a nanny named Susan, pardon me, "Thuthan" But as you liked it better than Anne of Ingleside, I might try it some day, if she dosn't have a lisp...

    1. MovieCritic -- yes, it's very well written. And I definitely enjoyed it. Rilla only lisps once in a while in this, when she's kind of stressed out or surprised. It's almost a bit of a plot point, actually.

  2. I was always a little disappointed in the final books in the series because Anne felt less real in them and really, I read the books for Anne. That being said, I agree that Rilla of Ingleside was a well done book. I do think a relationship can be developed through letters. My husband and I got to know each other by writing letters (before email, it was the olden days) and taking the time to write down your thoughts can really draw you closer. It has been years since I have read this. Maybe I should go through the whole series again.

    1. Jennifer, yes. Yes! I think my biggest reason for not caring much for these last 3 books is that Anne isn't in the much, nor is she always recognizable as Anne.

  3. Oh, I loved this book so much. My biggest disappointment was the thinning of Anne and Gilbert's characters, but I liked their kids enough that I enjoyed the story regardless. It was also perhaps one of the best WWI books I've ever read.

    Hmm, I see what you mean about the mysticism. It didn't bother me TOO much, but the story would have been better for its absence. There was definitely some mysticism in the Emily of New Moon books too, which actually bothered me more.

    Aww, that's funny about the soup tureen!

    1. Meredith, I did enjoy it. I probably should have said that -- it's not a bad book, it's not a hard book to read. It's just not what I want from a book, if that makes sense?

  4. This is my very favorite of all the Anne books, actually :-) Your post definitely made me think a lot about WHY it's my favorite, since we have such different reactions to it . . . I think it mostly boils down to Rilla herself--I relate to her more than any of L.M. Montgomery's other heroines, I think; and on top of that, I just really, really love her as a person. We're a lot alike in that we both thrive on responsibility and we both enjoy being in charge (Rilla more so than me, but still, I can definitely relate :-) ) And I admire her willingness to step up and tackle whatever challenge presents itself to her--whether it's raising an orphan baby or organizing an impromptu wedding, she's got it under control. And I love that about her :-)

    I just love Miss Oliver, to be honest--I mean, yeah, she can be annoying, but still, I love her. I know she's kinda morbid, but so am I . . . I mean, heck, why else am I sitting here in the twilight listening to Twenty One Pilots while I write this comment? I LIKE DARK STUFF SOMETIMES.

    And I actually really love the way she dreams about the future--I mean, I know it might make some people uncomfortable, but it never bothers me, mostly because it's not incompatible with my own personal beliefs (I think God uses dreams to communicate with people, in certain cases . . .)

    Plus, I really admire the way she tries to grapple with some of the Big Questions in life--like, why does God allow so much suffering and evil to exist in the world? Because that's all stuff I think about a lot, so I can relate.

    But yeah. Basically, it's one of my favorite novels and I really love it :-)


    1. Jessica, I know. Please don't throw things!

      Maybe one of the reasons I don't like Rilla as much as Anne is because so often in this book, I would (imaginarily) shake my head or roll my eyes and say, "Oh, come on, Rilla, that's obviously not a good idea. Be sensible!" And I never feel that way toward Anne. Yes, Anne was often heedless, and too intrepid for her own good. But she made sense to me. Whereas Rilla would get frustrated over things not going the way she wanted them to and wobble along, and I kept wanting to just step into the story and say, "Here, let me. It'll be so much faster."

      Not sure that makes any sense to you, lol. Hope it does at least a bit!

      But yes, we can agree that Susan is AMAZING. My favorite character in this book! Well, Susan and Jem are my two faves. And really, Gilbert stepped in and got pretty wonderful too at a couple points.

    2. No, no, I'm not throwing things ;-) I was just thinking a lot . . .

      It does make sense, yes--you see, that's almost exactly how I react to Anne. SHE DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO ME. She just doesn't. I cannot understand anything about the way she feels or acts or thinks, and she makes me really annoyed sometimes, too, the way she can't make up her mind . . . I know that's weird because everybody loves Anne, but I just can't relate to her at all.

      Which is probably why I relate to Rilla :-)

      Susan is actually my overall favorite character, too. I love her so much :-) "I will not say it is a judgment upon him because I am not in the counsels of the Almighty." YOU GO, GIRL.

    3. I wonder if this has to do with MBTI types and our brains just working differently? Charity has typed Anne as ENFP, but I can't find anyone who has typed Rilla. Still, maybe this is part of it?

      Susan rules.

    4. Actually, I was just about to say the same thing :-) ENFPs and INFJs have the exact opposite cognitive functions--Ne vs. Ni, Fi vs. Fe, Te vs. Ti, and Si vs. Se--so it can be EXTRAORDINARILY hard for me to understand ENFPs a lot of the time. And it's not just Anne Shirley, either--Jo March and Lizzy Bennet are ENFPs, too, and they're both way over *my* head :-)

      I've spent a ton of time trying to figure out Rilla's type--I'm almost sure she's an ENTJ, and if not that, she's an ESFP. But I really think ENTJ is the most likely. I mean, honestly, who but a Te-dom would think it's the most natural thing in the world to buy a book on childraising and then proceed to raise a baby EXACTLY according to the book, not willing to deviate in the slightest detail? Rilla's all about rules and structure, and she adores being in charge. Te-dom, says I.

      Now, I'm not a Te-user at all, but I am a Ni/Se user and so I think that's why I relate to her so much better than Anne. In general, Ne is a pretty hard function for me to understand :-)

    5. I don't spend as much time as I'd like understanding all the Ne vs. Ni and so on, but I do know that ENFP and ISFJ share Ne and Si, though we have them in opposite order.

      And just glancing down the list of characters Charity has typed as ENFP, there are a lot I "get." I don't identify with them, but I understand them. Beside's Anne, there's George Bailey (It's a Wonderful Life), Nymphadora Tonks (Harry Potter), Anna Bates (Downton Abbey), Gil Pender (Moonlight in Paris), Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing -- I've considered Beatrice as a middle name for a daughter, and I did give my first daughter the middle name Anne), and a bunch more. So... I guess I grok ENFPs okay?

    6. Here's a quick-and-dirty summary of Ne vs. Ni:

      Ni-doms see a hundred questions and comes up with a single answer. Ne-doms see a single answer and comes up with a hundred questions :-)

      I think that's something that happens a lot--we often tend to like fictional characters who use our inferior functions better than we do. So Si-doms like Ne-doms, and Ni-doms like Se-doms, etc. It's kind of similiar to the way I absolutely LOVE Parker (ESFP) from "Leverage," even though I know I could never, ever be like her.

  5. I didn't like Rilla of Ingleside best out of the Anne books and that was partly as others have said, that Anne and Gilbert's characters were barely mentioned / developed. It is supposed to be the Anne series after all, what happened to her? LM Montgomery also killed my favourite Blythe (RIP Walter) which I am forever mad at her for doing. I think Rilla is all right but like you, I'm not sure how well I'd get along with her in real life. I have to say though, LM Montgomery did a great job of painting the fear, grief, and raw courage and determination the Great War inspired in the people of that time. I felt - just a little bit - some of what they suffered and that is one reason I both enjoy but feel sad by this book.

    1. Elf, I must admit that I've never clicked with Walter, so I don't particularly sad over him dying. But I'm sad for the family as they grieve his loss.

      But yes, as a portrait of people enduring WWI, it is a very good book indeed. I just don't like it.

  6. You don't like Rainbow Valley?! That is one of my favorites. Anne of Ingleside is one of my least favorites.

    I like the whole perspective of the war and writing of Rilla of Ingleside; its definitely different. Its the characters, that I don't like as well . . . and I had forgotten about Miss Oliver. She gets waaay too much attention with her drama and dreams. I dislike her more than Rilla. And I don't see how she adds much to the story either. I wasn't ever a huge Katherine Brook fan but I could see how she fit into the story.

    1. Livia, nope, not so much. It's probably my least-favorite Anne book. Maybe tied with AOI.

      I think Miss Oliver is there to show us how demoralizing war can be for people left behind. She's probably very realistic, but that doesn't mean I have to like her.

  7. Oh my, I think I also thought of a turtle shell when I was young and read this and had no idea what a soup tureen was. I'm pretty sure I did, anyways....I can't quite remember.

    I LOVE this book, but I agree-a book focusing on Jem would have been nice, too! I loved him as a little boy. :)

    1. Natalie, oh my goodness, really? That's so funny we both thought a tureen was related to turtles somehow!

  8. When I first read the Anne books, I shared your sentiments about this one - I found it weird that Anne was only a minor character. My favourite books are defintely the first 5, but this one is by far the one that affects me most emotionally. I seldomly get emotional over books, but Walter's last letter and Jem's reuniion with dog Monday always have me in tears...

    1. Rose, yes, this was a very emotional read for me this time. Pretty much everything involving Dog Monday brought tears to my eyes, in particular.

  9. You know how much I love this book and I don't have time for a long comment, so I'll just say that I would've loved more bits about both Jem and Shirley.

    ALSO, I've been thinking of a soup tureen in exactly the same was as you used to! Maybe not consciously as made of a turtle shell, but now that I think about it, that's what I used to think, too. Weird, huh?


    1. Eva, HAHAHAHAHAHA! That is so funny. Something about the word "tureen" just must conjure up "turtle shell" in young minds, huh? Natalie just mentioned in the comments that she thought that too. I love this!

  10. I don't think I've ever read this one, just the first few about Anne herself. But I just had to jump in and giggle about your memory of soup tureens! Thanks for the smile. :)

    1. Kara, some people do really love this, so don't judge it solely by my dislike.

      However, soup tureens would be much more interesting if they were made from turtle shells, wouldn't they?

  11. I just discovered your blog, but I find it quite interesting, since you and I have read and loved some of the same books (Anne books, Jane Eyre, Lord of the Rings). So if you find a lot of anonymous comments cropping up on old posts of yours that I like, they'll be mine. :)

    On Rilla, it's not my favorite of the Anne books, but not for the reasons you mention. I liked Rilla herself quite a bit, particularly the way she grows up from being a rather flighty girl to a woman who can take charge and accomplish things (I love her determination in the war-wedding chapter). Her romance I find very, very sweet, and I love her budding relationship with Jims, particularly the moment when she realizes she loves him. And the chapter "Norman Douglas Speaks out in Meeting" always, always makes me laugh.

    What makes me struggle with this book is the darkness. It's a very vivid portrayal of lives on the home front and how it was often hard to "keep faith." Before I read this book, I tended to insert wars into nearly all of my imaginary stories, but reading this book made me realize just how horrific and painful war is. It's not all glory and righteous avenging; it's death of beloved sons and husbands and brothers. And I am haunted by Walter's death; yes, I loved him very much. The way it leaves Una almost hopeless is something I've always hated too. I wish it had at least developed their romance into something solid before he died. The book left me wondering if there was any real point to WWI, because the deaths and suffering would be infinitely easier to bear if I knew that they had really died gaining something greater, as they steadfastly believe -- if they really died for a purpose. It's not a question I've really been able to answer, and it also haunts me with wondering about the German soldiers. Surely they had wives and mothers and sisters too, yet their deaths really were basically pointless. That's really hard for me to bear.

    So this book has made me think a lot more deeply about the trauma of war and the sheer horror of it. For that reason, I always have to make up my mind to read it and prepare myself for the darkness. But I like it very much in spite of that. And the last chapter -- oh, that last chapter! It's SO perfect and makes up for so much.

    I am inclined to agree with you to a degree about Miss Oliver; I've always wished it was just the family going through the war and they didn't have this intruder of sorts staying with them, though I don't really mind her personally. I do really like Jem, and yes, I love every bit about Dog Monday. So powerful. I don't mind the mystical elements myself. I do wish they had included a bit more of Anne and Gilbert in it, but the tidbits we get are pretty tender, at least.

    All in all, this is not my favorite, more because it's dark than for any other reason, yet it's infinitely deeper than most of the other books, and I like it very much for that reason.
    -- Marcy

  12. Hello, Marcy! It's nice to "meet" you :-)

    I suspect that when I read this as a teen, I didn't like the darkness either. I remember being put out that it wasn't "fun." Now, I appreciate the darkness because I think it's important. Montgomery is trying to write an honest portrayal here of how awful war is even for those who don't fight in it. If we who have not experienced this level of war don't see and feel that vicariously, we will keep thinking of war as glorious and exciting.

    My favorite TV show, Combat!, is set in WWII, and I've loved it since I was 14. At first, I thought like you used to -- what amazing heroics, what thrilling courage! War is amazing! But I gradually came to see that this show is not glorifying war, but humanizing it. It's actually anti-war in that it shows the awful toll it takes on humankind. I think Rilla of Ingleside is striving to do the same.

    I see you've left me a bunch of comments! Thanks :-) I look forward to getting to know you better. Do you have a blog? If so, leave me a link so I can check it out!

    1. Thanks so much for replying, Hamlette! This is the first time I've commented on someone's blog and had them respond, so it really made me smile. I'm still smiling, as a matter of fact.

      And yes, yes, yes. You understand quite well what I was trying to say about the toll of war. Thanks for being so understanding. :)

      After reading a lot in your book and movie blogs since posting my comment above, I think I've figured out why I liked Rilla of Ingleside more than you. Your criterion for liking characters is that you could be friends with them; mine is that they have a growth arc that resonates with me or already have a level of growth that resonates with me. So you don't like Rilla so much because you couldn't be friends with her, whereas I like her because I understand her growth and really enjoy her arc.

      No, I don't have a blog. I can think of a lot of things I would say, but I'm still a teenager and don't have my own web accounts yet, so that will have to wait for a while. I just enjoy reading other people's blogs, especially if they have some things in common with me. After I'd posted all my comments on the Anne books, I felt a little bad about how long a lot of them were, as if I was using your blog to post my own thoughts since I don't have one of my own, so thanks for not seeming to mind that.

      On a related topic, I'm just reading Lord of the Rings for the first time, and I absolutely loved your read-along posts. They made me want to leave comments on all of the chapters (that I've read so far, that is), but I wanted to ask your permission first. I mean, if I gave myself free rein, some of my comments would be nearly as long as your posts, and I don't want to use your blog that way if you don't want me to. Also I didn't participate in the read-along, obviously, so if you want those posts kept just for the discussions of those who participated in the read-along, I'll totally understand. I just thought I'd ask.

      Thanks again so much for replying and being so friendly!
      -- Marcy

    2. Since you said you wanted to get to know me and I don't have a blog for you to do that on, I thought I would add a comment about a few things you and I have in common (besides a love for good books and movies) that really make me enjoy your writing. I have also been homeschooled (all the way, like you), and I wouldn't have had it any other way. My dream is to become a wife and mother and homeschool my own children. By the way, it's actually quite encouraging to me that you have the time to run these blogs and read books and see movies while homeschooling young children. Means I may have some time for that when I reach that place myself.

      Also, I am a rewatcher of movies to the enth degree. I never tire of rewatching some favorite movies over and over and over again, so I understand quite well how you like watching movies twice before blogging about them. My family always watches new movies twice (unless we really didn't like them the first time). I am also a rereader of books.

      And, like you, I love to write. I have too many ideas and tend to bounce around without finishing a lot of stuff, but I enjoy writing very much. Like you, I find it nearly impossible to kill characters. I found it quite encouraging that you can't kill characters easily either, both because it justifies me and because I don't like authors who can kill off characters too easily either.

      So there you go. That should give you a taste of who I am through things we have in common.
      -- Marcy

    3. You're quite welcome, Marcy! As you've gathered if you've been perusing my blogs, I am passionately fond of discussing stories, written and filmed both. But, being a homeschooling mom and so on, it does take me a few days to reply to comments sometimes. So if I don't respond for a while to something you say, don't be like, "Ack! Hamlette hated my comments!" Not at all -- I'll get to them eventually ;-) I fit my blogging activities into the nooks and crannies of the rest of my life (sometimes it takes me a week to write a single post, and sometimes I can crank one out in twenty minutes).

      And yes, my main problem with Rilla is totally that it doesn't fulfill my #1 need for a story. I don't want to be friends with the main character, and the secondary characters I do want to be friends with are so periphery that it doesn't really count. Good for you for figuring out what your main need for stories is -- that will really help you as a writer. I wish I'd figured mine out a lot earlier.

      Like you, when I was growing up, my ambition was to be a wife and mother and to homeschool my kids. I'm living my dream! It's an amazing blessing from God. But it's not easy. However, snatching time here and there to read and watch movies does refuel me creatively, which keeps me happier, and that makes me a better mom, if that makes sense. That old adage "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is terrifyingly true, and I take it as a reminder that I need to work at actively being happy to help those around me. However, I will freely admit that I have traded having a clean and tidy house for having the time to read and blog and watch movies. My house is perpetually cluttered and in various states of disarray, and most of the time I only clean when something is dirty, not to keep it from getting dirty. I can't do everything, it turns out ;-)

      Thanks for telling me a bit about yourself! You sound a lot like me as a teen -- voraciously reading and rereading, watching and rewatching, and then writing. I'm convinced the key to being any good as a writer is to consume a vast variety of stories, especially books, but also movies and plays and so on. It helps you discern good writing from bad, understand the rhythm of storytelling, develop an ear for good dialog, and so on.

      I still have difficulty in picking one idea to pursue from the multitudes in my brain -- I currently have two novels I could start writing, two other ideas for novels that I'm keeping on the shelf because I don't have time to figure them out yet, and several story ideas in various stages, including the one I'm currently writing. And a novel I'm editing slooooooowly.

      Killing characters is terribly hard for me! I hate doing it. So if you ever read something of mine and someone dies in it, you know that death reeeeally mattered to the story because otherwise, I would never have gone through with it. Even the villains, with a few exceptions. I *have* written a handful of villains I wanted to die, but I have a hard time writing truly bad villains too, so I end up being like, "Oh, this guy isn't really all that bad -- they should just go to jail, not get killed." I'm a softy, I guess. Nice to meet a fellow softy!

      Definitely leave me comments on my LOTR posts!!! I have made the lists of posts for all my read-alongs easy to use for that very reason, so people can go back through even if they missed a read-along when it was initially going. I'm planning to reread LOTR next year, so your comments will get me excited for that :-)

    4. So I just went over to your Combat! blog today and read some of your stories. I was quite intrigued! I can definitely see how the show would be your favorite if the episodes are anything as good as what you wrote. I am very curious about one thing though (forgive my ignorance in asking this; this is my first exposure to Combat!). Did you make up the story lines in some of your longer stories, or did you base them off the episodes and kindof write the episodes like they would have been if they had been chapters in a book? Or some of both? I'm talking about ones like "The Better Part of Valor" or "The Beaten Way of Friendship" or "Three by Moonlight." Either you are a genius for coming up with military plots of your own, or you and I have something very much in common! So I'm curious here.

    5. Marcy, wow, I'm honored that you went and browsed around my fanfic! Let me assure you, the show is even better. It's amazingly deep and rich.

      To answer your question, I made up all my own plots (and so did Thompson Girl, my cohort over there). There are some stories where I have used guest characters from the show and added to their story in a way -- I'm thinking of "Lucky You," which reuses Sgt Turk, a character from the ep "Bridge at Chalons." But the only story I have up there that retells an episode in any way is "Mrs. March," which tells one scene of the ep "Off Limits" from a different point of view.

      But both "The Better Part of Valor" and "The Beaten Way of Friendship" are my attempts to explore the past of my favorite character, Sgt. Saunders. The pilot ep of Combat!, "A Day in June," has a rather different flavor from the rest of the show, as you'll often find with TV show pilots. The writers and actors haven't figured out the fell and purpose of the show yet. If you watch C! in production order, Saunders goes from this very jokey, brash guy in the first ep to a sort of cocksure, gung-ho guy in the next couple eps (including "The Squad," which is the only ep Moseby Lovelace appears in), to a stern, serious, closed-down man in "Far from the Brave," one of the show's best eps. In that one, he is mourning his best friend, Grady Long, who never appeared in any other ep and who doesn't even get a single line of dialog. I feel like it's his friendship with Grady that helped him lose his jokey, brash persona and reveal his caring, thoughtful, intense self. But we never get to witness them together, we only see the ramifications of Grady's loss and hear from the other regulars about what close friends Saunders and Grady were. So "The Better Part of Valor" is my idea for why Saunders might have been pretending to not be the caring, deep-thinking individual we later know him to be, and "The Beaten Way of Friendship" is my attempt to explore how Grady's befriending of Saunders helped him lower those defenses. If you like "The Beaten Way of Friendship," you would probably also like "Fools of Fortune," which Thompson Girl and I co-authored, and which is on our "Rendezvous Point" page there on Fruit Salad. Grady plays a major role in it as well.

      So anyway, yes, I make up most of my own plots, all except "Mrs. March." Plots are hard for me, so I appreciate your praise there! I tend to just want to stick a couple people in a room and let them talk because I enjoy hanging out with them, but that doesn't work for wartime stories (though if you read through mine, you'll discover an awful lot of stuff that's just two people talking, lol).

      If you want to know what my writing was like when I was about your age, the three stories at the very bottom of the Hot Joe page, the Pvt. Puling Saga, were written when I was 19.

      And if you want to try watching Combat! some time, just search YouTube for "Combat! TV show full episodes" and you'll find oodles.

    6. Wow. I am amazed at the variety of plots you thought up! You were really quite creative. (And don't worry, I like scenes of people talking too. We get to know them better that way.)

      I will have to say, that's quite a transformation for Saunders to undergo in the space of a few episodes. Good for you for trying to come up with an actual plausible reason for it instead of just brushing it off as being the beginning of the show. I found your reason very plausible, and I really enjoy "The Beaten Way of Friendship." The way Grady persistently tries to make friends with Saunders is very cool. I've read "Fools of Fortune" and like it a lot too; stories where a person defies orders to do the right thing often resonate with me.

      Actually, I've read/skimmed all the fanfiction on your site, and in my opinion it's very good. I've experimented a little with this, enough to know that it's very tough to write another person's characters until you really get into their head and get to know them. You do a good job of differentiating all the different characters, and you made Saunders my favorite character too. (Do you pronounce the 'u' in his name or not?)

      Yeah, I've thought about trying to watch some of this, but I don't handle any degree of onscreen violence very well at all. I do much better with written violence (though I really don't even like much of that either) because then I can determine how much I want to imagine. I can't control it when I watch it. So I think I'll content myself with fanfiction for now.
      -- Marcy

    7. I just wanted to add that another thing I like about your fanfiction is that it never gets too dark. Reading yours sent me on a spree of reading other Combat! fanfiction, and some of it could get pretty dark. I know it's during WWII, which was a really dark time, but still I prefer not being depressed while I read. So thanks for keeping your stories from getting too dark.

      I also realized that I should have mentioned that I am a Christian when I was writing about who I am. I can't think why I didn't mention that, except maybe that if we weren't both Christians I don't think I'd have been interested enough to comment on your blog. Anyway, I am definitely a Christian too and have been all my life as far back as I can remember. It's an ingrained part of my identity by now.

    8. First, thanks for the compliments! You're right, it's hard to write characters you didn't create and get them to be the way they are in the original source. I'm actually not great at writing Lt. Hanley, which is part of why I don't have as many stories involving him as I do Saunders. I can get into Saunders' head very easily, but Hanley remains a cipher even though I've been watching this show for more than 20 years.

      And yes, you pronounce the 'u' in Saunders. Like "Sawnders."

      Combat! does have violence, obviously, but it's 1960s TV violence, so not graphic or sever -- lots of stuff implied, glossed over, etc. If you wanted to watch a non-violent ep just to get a taste for it, "The Party" is the most light-hearted ep in the series, taking place almost entirely behind the lines.

      And thanks. While I do delve into a few dark things here and there, I try to capture the tone of the show, which was serious, but not dark or depressing. It doesn't glorify war, but neither does it present war as something that destroys everyone's souls as well as their bodies. So that's what I try to do too.

      Finally, always good to meet a fellow sister in Christ!


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