2024 Reading Challenge

2024 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 0 books toward her goal of 39 books.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

REVIEW for The Gift of Wings

Thank you to Jessica who made my day when she sent this to me!!!

TITLE: The Gift of Wings

AUTHOR: Mary Rubio

GENRE: Biography

RATING: 5 stars

I am a huge fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery and of her novels. I think I can safely say that I have read every biography or LMM related book available on the market (and then some). Mary Rubio is one of the most well-known LMM scholars and I actually had the opportunity of meeting her in PEI quite a few years ago.

LMM has always been an enigma and through the various biographies written about her (including her very own journals), you always get the feeling that you are still missing huge pieces of her life - that she is still, somehow, managing to remain a mystery.

All of this changed for me when I starting reading The Gift of Wings by Mary Rubio. This is, withouth a doubt, the most comprehensive book ever written on Maud and FINALLY answers so many of the "mystery" questions that have surrounded Maud's life and death for the last 60 years.

The Gift of Wings gives a wonderful glimpse of Maud's life as a youngster and how much she loved PEI. As I was reading, I could actually feel myself in PEI - in the 1800's. The book continues with the story of Ewan (Ewen) and Maud's meeting and subsequent wedding as well as their many moves and the birth of their children (including a third child that did not survive).

Throughout this book, you will find some little gems that had never previously been revealed. This is due, in large part, by the fact that Maud's son Stuart - met with Rubio on many occasions, before his death to talk about his mother and to give Rubio full access to all of Maud's journals and various writings etc.

It is amazing to me to think what would have happened had all of these precious papers been left to Chester, Maud's other son. There are some great black and whites shots of Maud, her friends and family. What I also loved about this book is the fact that Rubio really dug deep into the family aspect. She honestly describes Chester (wow!) and Stuart as well as the problems Maud had with Ewan and medication.

Although there is, of course, a huge section on Maud's writing, I don't have the feeling this book was yet another narrative on all of Maud's writings.

FINALLY, this book also announces and clarifies that the "mystery" cause of LMM's death was potentially suicide - although there is some speculation that Maud may simply have accidentally overdosed on the drugs she has become addicted to (prescription). NOWHERE in any other biography has this ever been mentioned in such a forthright manner. I always felt odd that this somehow was the worst kept secret and yet, never admitted to.

There is also a very interesting look at Maud's problem child - Chester. Having said all of this, I always thought that although Maud would be the person I would most love to meet (which dead person would you love to talk with) I also always felt that while I would highly respect her as a writer, I probably would not like her as a person. She sounded incredibly vain and not particularly open to honestly discussing feelings, etc. Although I understand that the time period was different, Maud got very despondent over war, Chester, money, etc. These are still issues that we face today and somehow I feel as though she tended to amplify in her own mind how horrible her life was. It seems to me, she was not living anything that other people were not living - and she had more money than most. Still, this book is addictive and I could not put it down - which is a miracle since the book has over 600 pages.

This is "the" LMM biography. I suggest you buy it and savour it.


cindysloveofbooks said...

This is on my Xmas wish list. The books sounds really good. I am a huge LMM fan too. When we were in PEI 8 years ago we did the whole Anne and LMM thing. It was so much fun. Great Review!

Melwyk said...

I so agree with you! This is a stunning book and it is certainly the most comprehensive bio I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

What an enthusiastic review! I don't know much about LMM (and it's been ages since I read her books), so this might be a good overview for me.

avisannschild said...

Great review, this sounds like a good book.

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