The 100th anniversary of the publication of the still-popular Anne of Green Gables (50 million copies sold to date) is being greeted by a flurry of activity, including a new edition of the novel; a prequel, Before Green Gables (2008), written by Canadian Budge Wilson; and, now, this new biography of Anne’s creator and alterego, Lucy Maude Montgomery. Gammel, a Canadian academic and editor of several earlier collections of Anne-related essays, is clearly a fan, and, frankly, her prodigiously researched and breathlessly written study will have its primary appeal to other fans. Her revelations “for the first time” of the inspirations for Anne’s face and the character itself provide persuasive answers to some lingering questions about the genesis of the fiery redhead. But they will be of interest principally to what Margaret Atwood has tartly called “The Annery.” General readers will be interested, however, in Gammel’s careful deconstruction of the context—early-twentieth-century popular culture—for Anne’s creation and the complex personality of the woman who found refuge from her own unhappy life in the creation of Anne and her beloved Avonlea. --Michael Cart
"Drawing on a vast array of neglected and unknown sources, this groundbreaking study establishes new connections between Montgomery's isolated life in Cavendish, P.E.I., and the metropolitan existence that she consumed vicariously through magazines published in New York, Boston and Philadelphia. Looking for Anne is a highly readable, top-rate study that [provides] a new spin on Montgomery's text."— Globe and Mail (click here for the full article, "Eternally Anne")
"Rather than simply rehashing available material, Ryerson professor and noted literary researcher Irene Gammel … explores the social and literary influences that guided and inspired Montgomery in creating her impetuous heroine. … Even more fascinating is the amount of inspiration Montgomery found in the myriad of current magazines and journals that made their way into her hands via the desk of her grandmother the town postmistress." — Quill and Quire
"Looking for Anne is a fascinating and wonderful book. It brings forward an amazing wealth of new information, filling in many gaps (some of which I didn’t even know existed!), and is presented in a captivating narrative that is very well organized and a great read. The research is fabulous…. It’s rather like the Road to Xanadu.”— Carole Gerson, Simon Fraser University and co-editor of History of the Book in Canada
"... The material is incredible, the interpretive work unsurpassable. "— Holly Virginia Blackford, Rutgers University-Camden.