Emily of New Moon, L.M. Montgomery

When my life gets stressful, I don’t read new books.  Hence I am rereading a bunch of old things.  The Color Purple and now all of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily books.

I have to confess that I don’t understand the undying allure of Anne of Green Gables.  I don’t dislike those books or anything, but I can totally live without them – and God, how boring is Gilbert?  Is it just me?  Isn’t Gilbert dull?  Don’t we all sort of want to chuck Gilbert off a cliff?  When I was a little girl I read Anne of Green Gables and stopped and I nearly went off LM Montgomery for life.  Happily my mother said I should try reading Emily of New Moon, and I did, and it was brilliant.

It’s still brilliant.  I totally love it.  I like all the bits where people tell Emily she’s a good writer.  I know it’s silly, but I always read those bits several times when I’m reading these books, and they always make me smile.  I actually only just made that connection: I knew there were bits I reread a lot, but I just realized this minute that they were all the bits with people telling Emily she’s a good writer.  In my mind they were just the Father Cassidy bit and the Mr. Carpenter bit, but of course, that’s what’s going on there.  Huh.

Well, anyway, Emily of New Moon is one of my favorite books ever.  I will soon post happy posts about the two sequels and how much joy they give me.

While I’m on the subject, though, I have to say this: There are a whole bunch of books by L.M. Montgomery that are way better than those Anne Shirley books.  The three books about Emily Starr are better, and Jane of Lantern Hill is substantially better, and The Blue Castle is ten thousand bazillion times better and contains a scene that is one of the best scenes of all time and always makes me laugh no matter how often I read it.  So if you have only read the Anne books, you are missing out like whoa.  And even if you don’t think the other books are better, they are definitely worth reading – the aforementioned ones are all good, and A Tangled Web is very delightful and I have it in hardback.

  • Hey, Jenny! I drew your name for The Sonambulist. Send me your snail mail address, and I’ll get it in the mail soon. Hope you enjoy it more than I did!

  • It’s so nice to find someone like-minded! I completely agree that the Emily series is so much better than the Anne series. I felt L.M. Montgomery’s writing style is sassier and bolder even though they are both supposed to be “children books.” I wouldn’t bury Anne completely but have a new appreciation for the author after reading Emily. I just purchased Blue Castle and it’s next in line for me to read. Great site by the way!

  • jennysbooks

    I’m always so glad when I find other people who have managed to break free of the Anne-of-Green-Gables brainwashing!

    (Just kidding. Sort of.)

    Let me know how you like The Blue Castle; it has the best male lead of any of her books, not that that’s saying much. But I love Valancy to shreds.

  • I love your blog! I just started a book review blog and reading yours kind of made me feel like hiding my head in the sand. Lol! Your blog is similar to what I had in my mind and definitely not what came out.

    I’ve always preferred Emily of New Moon to Anne of Green Gables and wrote about it recently, which is how I found you. Now, I’ll check out the other titles by L.M. Montgomery you mentioned.

  • I always did love Emily so much better than Anne. I have to go and read her again, haven’t been in those book since I was a teenager.

  • I shall stand up here and admit to being on the Anne side and not getting the Emily bit at all. I do recognize that there are 2 sets of LMM fans and they are either Emily or Anne. And since we all love LMM, we can agree it’s her brillliance that allowed her to create two such different heroines (other than the orphan thing and the being so different from others around them and the writer thing too) for so many girls to identify with.

    The Blue Castle, as most fans can agree, is fabulous! There is a musical version of The Blue Castle that I make a point of telling everyone about because it is wonderful. It has been staged several times here on PEI. Emily has been a musical as well, that I didn’t care for as much, and now Anne and Gilbert, their love story based on the second and third books, was pretty good. We do a lot of LM stuff here on PEI.

    And, I shall pretend I never read that you said Gil was boring. Completely blocked from my mind, thank you very much.

  • jennysbooks

    If it will make you feel better, I think Teddy is even more boring than Gilbert. But maybe I’m being unfair to Gilbert. The other possibility is that I cannot let go of how damn annoying he was when they were children.

    Do you indeed live on Prince Edward Island? I’m so envious, I’ve been wanting to go there since I was a little kid. I loved the name – and it always seemed particularly appealing when I read Jane of Lantern Hill.

  • Yes I do live on PEI. It’s pretty rotten here right now as there is still piles of snow and we are about to enter mud season, but it will be marvelous once June comes.
    LM has done so much for PEI as so many people, like yourself, want to visit after reading her books.
    You’ll get here someday.

  • GRIN_n

    I’m not a huge Anne fan either. I found her irritating and kinda ridiculous. And Gilbert- god is he boring! I don’t understand the appeal.
    Then again Teddy isn’t much better. But Perry and Dean are good characters. And Ilse is delicious.
    I still enjoy the Anne books, the feel of the books, LMM captured the feel of the town? so perfectly. They’re light and happy and enjoyable.
    But Anne herself… I don’t really get it. Anne was rather unique and charming in the first book, but then she loses a lot of her charm- she becomes almost ordinary. My favorite characters were Marilla, Matthew and Philippa Gordon (from the third book). I also like Rachel Lynde

    On the other hand, I love Emily soooooo much more. I identified with her so much. I’m a total Emily girl, by far. I would choose the Emily books over the Anne books, but I do get why people like the Anne books. What I still don’t get is the love for Anne herself though. But then again I tend not to like popular characters.

  • GRIN_n

    Something I disliked from the Anne books is how Anne seemed to look down on people who “had no imagination” like she did. Ugh. How Diana was portrayed as “worse” and “more boring” than her. How Paul Irving was better than the other kids… ugh.

    I mean in the Emily books Ilse is never portrayed as less just because she and Em are different. Perry, neither.

    • Oo, yeah! That’s a good point! I am going to go ahead and latch onto that and use it as an excuse to dislike Anne. 😛

  • GRIN_n

    Jane of Lantern Hill is pretty good, buuuut I found it a bit childish. Well not childish- but yes written for kids, you know?? All I read lately is teenage or adult trashy romance novels, so such a change was weird and I couldn’t keep reading, lol.

    But I KNOW I’ll end up reading it anyway- it’s Montgomery. I’ll even force myself through the Pat books, despite the fact I hate Pat. With a fiery passion.

    I know everyone hates Kilmeny of the Orchard, but I enjoyed it. Also- Kilmeny was different from the other heroines, who are all rebelious and speshul. She was more… typically traditional wife? Haha, I don’t know how to put it.

    • I’ve never read Pat – I started the first one and didn’t care for it. One of these days. I don’t hate Kilmeny either, but I didn’t love the book, and now I can hardly remember anything about it except that she was mute, and eventually at the end she was able to talk. Something like that.