Saturday, July 03, 2010

Rereading Anne of Ingleside


After this latest reread, Anne of Ingleside remains my least favourite Anne book, and my least favourite but one L.M. Montgomery novel. Anne's children are noxiously cute and her perfect motherhood cloying. But I'm glad to have dipped back into it all the same for the dark undercurrent in it that intrigues me. I remembered the story of Peter Kirk's funeral, and of Anne and Gilbert's anniversary reunion with Christine Stuart as strong points of the book. But I don't think that I'd noticed before that most of the rest of the episodes in it, even the cutesy kid ones, are also tales of disillusionment. I'm looking forward to reading The Blythes are Quoted with this fresh in my mind and thinking about these books together as examplars of what editor Benjamin Lefebvre terms Montgomery's "late style." Also, speaking of style, this time around I appreciated how well structured Anne of Ingleside is, weaving deftly through seasons and years and in and out of key moments in different characters' lives, and thereby painting a rich picture of the Blythe household and the broader Glen St. Mary community. Finally, the meeting of Susan Baker and Rebecca Dew, two of my favourite characters in Montgomery's oeuvre and indeed in literature generally, is in itself worth the price of admission. What fun Montgomery must have had writing that bit of dialogue and the correspondence that followed. On now to a reread of Rainbow Valley.

11 comments:

Benjamin Lefebvre said...

I often wonder whether Montgomery meant us to read the Anne books in chronological order or in order of publication: in other words, Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside after Rainbow Valley and Rilla. After all, the end of Anne of Ingleside anticipates a key plot moment in Rilla of Ingleside. What do you think?

Kerry said...

They've always worked in chronological order for me, but then I was about 11 at the time. Ingleside was my very favourite. Once again, perhaps because I was 11. But I've never forgotten about Jenny Penny, and Delilah...

Anna said...

Hmm, you've made me think that I should read the Anne of Green Gables series again. It's been such a long time I'd nearly forgotten about those books.

I remember being completely immersed in those books at the time. I've never read Ingleside though. Maybe I should start there ... thanks for reminding me!

Avid Reader said...

I just finished this one earlier this year and was disappointed. I love the Anne books, but I felt like Anne was almost absent from this book and I missed her. Great review!

Melwyk said...

Least favourite but one? Which is your least favourite?

Willa said...

I've also read them in chronological order - and am re-reading them that way at the moment. But I like your point Benjamin. Will keep that in mind :-) My favourite Anne book used to be Rainbow Valley when I was a child. However, at the moment I am inclined towards preferring Anne of the Island.

Teacher/Learner said...

The Anne books are often criticized for the same reason you mentioned, Kate (being too idealistic and "pretty"). I still love them :oD I've only read the first in the series but I've always wanted to finish the rest. Thanks for the reminder!

Stephen said...

This is one of my favorite books. I cant stop to repeat it all over again.

Anonymous said...

What I love about LMM's work is the way it pays homage to the beauty of imagining things. Anne was always going out into the great outdoors to dream things up, even to think about the awful things that were happening (to re-imagine them). We all need that on some level: that sharp intake of fresh air that invigorates us and reminds us of a million thoughts and places from before or just from our heads. A logical extension of this need is to pour those words out onto a piece of paper and to construct a picture of the world that is honest and true.

beej said...

I love Rilla of Ingleside best precisely because it feels the least like Anne books. Don't get me wrong: Anne's the kindred spiritest of kindred spirits and i feel as Race of Josephy with her as one possibly can. What i mean is, Rilla isn't as perfect(ly good) as Anne. The "dark undertone" of it, and the very steady, gradual development of Rilla into a mature, level-headed young girl are both superbly done. I love all the Anne-centred books. But i love Rilla of Ingleside best because it's most Akin to Life.

HiromiP said...

I am currently rereading Anne of Ingleside right now. And just as Benjamin Lefebvre mentioned, if we should read it according to publication dates instead of chronilogical order... I didn't like Anne of Windy Poplars (ahem -Willows) the first time but the second time, I loved it. Reading Ingleside for the second time, after reading the series, I realize this is the last "interaction" we will read of Anne and Diana Barry-Wright, it's actually heartwarming and sentimental, knowing it's the last of what we will see of the famous friendship... if I'm not mistaken. So far my absolute favourite book of the series is Rilla of Ingleside, just like Beej, I don't know why this book had such an effect on me, even though the Beloved Anne is not so much in it. I guess it speaks volumes of how Anne's love and legacy lives through her children. Its also so tragic, but in the end very touching that Anne and Leslie's family is eventually joined together by marriage (how beautiful knowing this after reading Anne's House of Dreams again)I can't wait to get to Rilla again soon.