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.


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