readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Summary: cut for spoilers )

Reaction: Was... was this an experiment of some sort? Was Ms Montgomery trying to see how much irrational behavior by everybody involved she could fit into a Girls' Story? Or how much gratuitous emo!whumping it would take to make us keep sympathizing with a thoroughly dislikable protagonist surrounded by even more dislikable antagonists? WHAT IS THIS BOOK, Ms Montgomery? Was 1923 just a terrible year for children's books? I didn't expect much from Charles Boardman Hawes, but I know L.M. Montgomery could write. She just hasn't done it here. O_O

Nobody had a consistent personality. Nobody's actions made any sense. In the third of the book I managed to slog through, there was no humor and very little of the eerie or macabre - and LMM's pairing of humor and horror has always been her strongest point with me. The author kept protesting that Emily was mostly happy and mostly loved her life, but what we saw was UNRELENTING MISERY; not a speck of happiness was portrayed that did not get ruthlessly smashed in a predictable manner.

Had somebody in Ms Montgomery's life recently died? Wiki claims she suffered from depression; had she just plain run out of cheerful? Was the collapse of the post-WWI idealism bubble on which she floats Rilla of Ingleside (her previous book) getting her down? Did the demand for more stories cause her to pull out an old pre-Anne manuscript and not rewrite it sufficiently? (It reads a whole lot like the stories Anne is said to have written as a teenager, down to the heroine's raven-black hair and violet eyes.) WHAT HAPPENED?

Conclusion: No stars. I feel like I'm giving out the low ratings with a bit of a free hand here, but there was nothing in this book that I could hang a star on. Even the descriptions cloyed, and the one sympathetic character was a Magical Intellectually Disabled Person whose "disability" consisted solely of sassing at the over-serious characters, writing poetry, and occasionally going a bit psychic. I could have borne him as a 1920s portrayal of a high-functioning autistic person, but his "disability" was supposed to come from a bump on the head which materially changed his personality, and just... just, no. No.
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Hitty: Her First Hundred Years keeps defeating my attempts to liveblog it - it's a very densely packed book, I could write a dissertation on it, but not in a week! - so while I figure out what to do with that, I'm stepping back a few years to 1923, the year when The Dark Frigate by Charles Boardman Hawes was the only book on the Newbery list.

In 1923, Canadian author L.M. Montgomery, already famous for the Anne of Green Gables series, published the unrelated novel Emily of New Moon simultaneously in the US and Canada. That means Emily is eligible for my "Mock Newberys of the Past" series under the same section of the Newbery rules which allowed Neil Gaiman's Graveyard Book, published simultaneously in the US and Britain, to win the 2009 Newbery. (I don't know if Emily would have been eligible at the time, but I follow modern Newbery rules throughout, not having a complete list of year-by-year changes to the Newbery rules to work with.)

Sooo I'm liveblogging Emily of New Moon as a Mock Newbery candidate opposite The Dark Frigate. MAY THE BEST BOOK WIN. ;P

and GO! ) And I am just DONE with this Emily-can-do-no-wrong, everybody's-picking-on-her, mess of a book.
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
The 1923 and 1924 Newberys had no Honor Books, so I'm going to lump them together, and 1925 - which had two Honor Books - as well.

(I really wish the history of the deliberations was public, you know? Or made public after a certain time, like census records are, when the particular award had ceased to be CURRENT DRAMA. I know that for the first year any librarian could make a nomination and anything nominated got onto the list, after which they switched to a committee format; but it's only a guess that for the next two years the committee worked on a "pick only one book" plan, till 1925 changed their minds somehow.)

1923 )

1924 )

1925 )
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Summary: Spoilers )

Reaction: There are no awesome ladies whatever in this book, only nasty and/or boring ones. The writing is a bit better than in "The Great Quest", but people are still given to doing things for either plotty reasons or bad excuses a lot more than for anything that makes sense. I did get all the way through it, mainly because the slave trade is not involved, thus racism is barely hinted at. But the protagonist is still a dope, just not quite as much of a one. And it's a lot more gory / violent in places. Plus, there's quite a lot of incredibly weird mental sophistry / gymnastics trying to defend the plotty reasons, and a fair bit of "making fun of less fortunate people is something all good and true men should do!" :P

Overall, I'd say he was becoming a better writer but still wasn't a good one.

Conclusion: Two stars. For having something resembling a coherent plot, and for not addressing questions of race at all.
readallthenewberys: animated gif of Snoopy writing a story with multiple strange subplots (Default)
[personal profile] justice_turtle
Pfffff, Dark Frigate. Charles Boardman Hawes. Don't I have homework due tomorrow? I'm sure I need to do the laundry. Pity I don't have a cat; I could vacuum it! ;D

It's a frigate. Of darkness. )

Blaaaaaaaaaah. Done. THAT WAS A LOT OF BOOK.

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