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Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Story of L. M. Montgomery and Her Literary Classic Paperback – September 15, 2009
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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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Interesting and well-researched.” ―The New York Times
“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
“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.
Top customer reviews
This was a very interesting book, retreading things I did know but putting them in a new light. Anyone who grew up reading Green Gables, or the Emily Series should pick this up.
The second was that I expected a biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery's life, but I really didn't get a sense of who she was. This book ends near the publication date of "Anne," so I don't know anything about Maud's marriage, move west, birth of her 2 sons (I don't even know their names!), and when she and her husband die.
This is more of a scholarly look at the life of the book, instead of it's creator, so I was disappointed in that. There are also some allusions to lesbianism, but they're unfounded. No facts are brought to bear on that allegation. It just seems too "fashionable" to publish some "dirt" on this pastor's wife. It's speculation - looking back on 100 years of history - and I didn't like it. (The same thing was said when the author alludes that Hans Christian Anderson was a homosexual.) If you're going to make such statements, at least provide me with FACTS, not speculation. It's tawdry.
But I can't put it down! It reads like a mystery about how Maud was inspired to write Anne. It also has reflective commentary on the themes in the Anne books, which is interesting to think about in terms of what Anne meant to me while I was her age. And the reliance on Maud's diaries for piecing together history is intriguing to me, as someone who has sporadically kept diaries.
Overall, I am thoroughly enjoying the book -- it is my guilty pleasure every day.