Monday, November 21, 2016

"The Blythes are Quoted" by L. M. Montgomery

Until earlier this year, I didn't know The Blythes are Quoted existed.  I had heard of The Road to Yesterday, which a lot of people who loved the Anne books didn't like, so I never bothered to read it.  But I didn't know until recently that The Road to Yesterday is actually an abridged, altered form of Montgomery's final book, The Blythes are Quoted.

I say "book" and not "novel" because this is not a novel.  It's a collection of short stories and poems framed as things that happened around Ingleside to people who know the Blythes, and as poems written by Anne and Walter that Anne reads aloud in the evenings.  The Blythes don't appear in the stories, but they comment on the poetry, either in words or thoughts.

The stories are an interesting mix -- many of them had been previous published, but Montgomery reworked them to include mentions of the Blythes.  My favorite was "A Dream Comes True," and it was possibly the most straight-forwardly happy story in the lot.  Most of the stories have happy endings of one sort or another, but many of them also delve into the ideas of disillusionment, despair, regret, spite, and the constant misunderstandings between generations.  

But I liked the stories better than the poetry, overall.  Some of the poems, I skimmed.  Some, I read more than once.  My favorite was probably "Come, Let Us Go."  But again, the tone of the poetry overall was one of regret and loss, a wishful look back at a happier time.

This is not a cheerful book.  It's an interesting book to study -- I enjoyed thinking about what Montgomery must have been trying to say with the collection, and I'm glad I read the book.  But overall it has a feel of disenchantment that did not appeal to me.  

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for discussions of marital infidelity (NOT Anne or Gilbert, stop freaking out!), illegitimate children, and war.



This is my last book read and reviewed for the Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge, and closes out My Year With Anne.  I'm so glad I re-read this series and discovered the ninth book.  My thanks to Elyssa for hosting the challenge!  It's been fun sharing thoughts on the books with others.



This is my fifty-first book read and reviewed for the Classics Club, and my nineteenth for the Women's Classic Literature Event.

11 comments:

  1. "NOT Anne or Gilbert, stop freaking out!" HAHAHA. :-)

    I personally thought this book was very boring, but I loved the commentary of the Blythe family. (Especially when they briefly talk about Walter. *cries*)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Naomi, I wasn't bored by it, exactly, but I did have zero trouble putting it aside to read other things a few times. Took me a while to get through. The commentary was my favorite part, I think.

      Delete
  2. Very cool to read your thoughts while I'm in the middle of reading this book. I really loved the story "a commonplace woman" as well as walter's war poem at the end... Sorry for the lowercase. I'm on my phone.) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jillian, I look forward to your thoughts on it when you finish!

      Delete
  3. I think I had too high expectations for this book; I wanted more of the Blythes! And I'd read at least half of the stories in some version or other. I wasn't happy with all the mentions of the Blythes; I can understand how Gilbert and Anne repeated family and friends names, but in later stories grandchildren had repeated names, a bit redundant ala Wuthering Heights.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Livia, yeah, they're just not represented much. I do admire Montgomery trying a totally new format, though.

      Delete
  4. Awhile back I read through some reviews on Goodreads for this and wasn't very intrigued. I wanted to end on the happy, cozy Rilla of Ingleside rather than finish my Anne adventures with something so dark.

    Do you think it'd be worth checking out from the library, though, just to read Walter's poem and some of the better stories?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meredith, IMHO Walter's poem is better imagined than read -- it fell far short of my expectations. Some of his other poetry is cool, though, as is some of Anne's. I wouldn't say it's a totally dark book, but a fairly bleak one in many ways. But I find ROI bleak too, in many ways.

      Delete
  5. Ooh I read this book a few years ago just so I could say I'd read all LM Montgomery's prose works. I have to confess, I mostly skipped the poetry and focussed on the short stories which I can't really remember now but do know they were a bit darker than some of her earlier works. Weren't some of them very similar / identical to some of her short stories from her earlier collections? I don't think of it as a *real* Anne book any more than I'd think of the two Chronicles from Avonlea as Anne books since Anne or her family are not the main characters. Nice to be able to say you've read it though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Elf, how cool you've read all her work! I have yet to read about 10 of her books, and I've only read one other collection of her short stories besides this.

      Yes, according to this book's editor, many/most of the stories and poems here were published elsewhere in slightly different forms.

      It's nice to have read it, as you say. I want to read the two Chronicles of Avonlea for the same reason.

      Delete
  6. I didn't realize that The Road to Yesterday is connected to The Blythes Are Quoted. Of course, I've read neither yet. I plan to read some of Montgomery's short stories in January though, so The Blythes might go on the list too!

    ReplyDelete

What do you think?

(Rudeness and vulgar language will not be tolerated.)