Tuesday, August 16, 2016
REVIEW for L.M. Montgomery's Complete Journal - The Ontario Years - 1911- 1917
TITLE: L.M. Montgomery's Complete Journals - the Ontario Years 1911-1917
AUTHOR: Jen Rubio (edited by)
RATING: 3 Stars
I love LM Montgomery and actually read the "initial" Selected Journals, which were originally published a while ago.
My understanding is that this brand new journal, covering the Ontario Years, actually contains all of the original diary entries, written by LM Montgomery, while she was in Ontario, some of which never made it into the "initial" set of published journals.
As always, Montgomery's writing style is wonderful, I always feel as though I am transported when I read her writings, she can describe a scene, a situation or a regular boring meal and turn it into music, so why the 3 stars?
I have once stated that I am not sure I would like LM Montgomery if I actually got to really know her. She has always seemed a bit of a snob, which came out in the first journals, but is really obvious here.
Montgomery asked that none of her diaries be published until 50 years after her death in order not to hurt anyone mentioned in them (the idea being that they would all be dead by then). I can see why. Its amazing how many people she meets who are "not very bright", "are a bore" or "cannot entertain", who "are plain", etc.....Its awful. Yes, I know the entries reflect the time period, but WOW!
It takes away from the joy of reading these entries, it seriously does. Also, the tone of most of the entries is dark:
- she is very, very busy
- she is always tired
- she doesn't feel well, she is sick
- everyone is depending on her for, well....everything
- the war is horrible
- if only she could sleep for a month
fair enough....this is her diary and she is entitled to put in it what she wants.
Several years ago, the family (her heirs) actually came out and FINALLY admitted that LMM suffered from depression and these entries DO paint a picture of a woman who is unbearably sad, unhappy and alone, even when she isn't. It is painful to read as you want to reach out and help this amazing author who could dream up Anne and Gilbert, yet, lives in so much darkness.
But as I read this Journal, I felt angry in many ways, as it become apparent to me that one of the BIG reasons the original Journals were so sanitized was to "hide" LMM's illness from her readers, a huge disfavor to LMM's readers, who would have supported and UNDERSTOOD and continued to love her writing, I know I would have and it would have explained so much.
It is obvious that the original journals were extremely sanitized. In fact, in this book, LMM is very candid about why she married Ewan and what he meant to her - which comes as a big surprise since he has often been portrayed as one of LMM's huge problems - not so here and this comes directly from the author's own words.
Montgomery also spends some time talking about "all the men" in her life, which I thought was interesting (and quite honest of her).
Again, why only 3 stars?
1) I lost interest in all the war entries. I know they were part of LMM's daily life, but war does not interest me at all.
2) MORE IMPORTANTLY - I feel cheated and somewhat manipulated by the "initial" Journals. So much was hidden from the readers back then, the heirs, the authors of the "initial" journals crafted their own version of the LMM they wanted us to see, instead of being honest with the readers and giving us the real LMM. Now, they have decided to do so, a day late and a dollar short - not cool.
FOR THAT, I give this book 3 stars.