Sunday, September 29, 2013

Still Sad About Walter + Comfort Food

Well, I'm still sad about Walter. In light of mom's last post, I was reading about "In Flander's Fields" and I actually think now that Walter's poem "The Piper" was perhaps supposed to be a fictional version of "In Flander's Fields." According to Wikipedia, it was written by a Canadian soldier and first published in a London publication, and was used to recruit soldiers and sell war bonds.

I've probably read this book about 50 times and I'll probably read it at least that many more times. I don't know what it is with me and the Anne of Green Gable books - I like them more than anyone I've ever met, and have read them more than anyone I've met. They're like comfort food to me except it's a book instead of food. I looked up comfort food on Wikipedia and I do think it describes how I feel about the Anne books, which I've been reading since about the age of 10:

Comfort food is traditionally eaten food (which often provides a nostalgic or sentimental feeling to the person eating it), or simply provides the consumer an easy-to-digest meal, soft in consistency, and rich in calories, nutrients, or both.

Comfort foods may be consumed to positively pique emotions, to relieve negative psychological effects or to increase positive feelings.

One study divided college-students' comfort-food identifications into four categories (nostalgic foods, indulgence foods, convenience foods, and physical comfort foods) with a special emphasis on the deliberate selection of particular foods to modify mood or effect, and indications that the medical-therapeutic use of particular foods may ultimately be a matter of mood-alteration.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Of course Walter had to die.  I should have seen it coming more clearly.  I knew the Blythe family would lose someone.  They couldn't get by unscathed.  I would like to slap Irene Howard.  That would make everyone feel better.

I like how  everyone just keeps going everyday.  They don't have a choice about the sun coming up, but they do have a choice on how they will face it.  I'm beginning to think the war will not end!  The United States needs to get into gear and end this thing.  Looking forward to the last chapters.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oh My! 
Well ladies, I finished this book a couple of weeks ago but decided to see how the rest of you responded before tossing in my cynical veteran's view.  Sorry, reading this was like reading a 30s Shirley Temple script...silly nonsense.  I've never been a teenage girl; but I've been around quite a few and none of them were remotely similar to Rilla.  I grant you young girls (and boys for that matter) fantasize and dream of the perfect romance.  They respond openly, however, with anger, confusion and rebellion.  All normal transitional stuff.  As a veteran of combat, men rarely talk to their women (or other noncombatants) because there is no way to describe the situations and how you (the individual soldier) reacted and responded.   I have read a number of very well written personal descriptions of combat situations and not one of them contains the emotion(s) of the actual moments.  I don't profess to understand the fear and pain of the mothers, sisters and loved ones at home and in the same vein of thought, noncombatant authors should not project their emotions (no matter how true to their gender and experience) as an understanding of those of the soldier.  I've vented.

On the other hand, I liked LMM's writing style.  The Canadian politics and views towards America at the time were very interesting.  Most of my reading has been from the American perspective so this was a bit enlightening.  While Rilla's maturation and perspective change was well portrayed, I found it to be a flight of fancy. I doubt any upper middle-class teenage Canadian girls in the second decade of the twentieth century would respond even remotely like Rilla.  Having said all this, it is fiction, so enjoy the rest of your read.

Monday, September 16, 2013

"Response to Flanders Field"
Yes, Walter had to sign up.  Montgomery's portrayal of a war torn family, country and world  is heart rendering.  It speaks to all the women and families left at home to deal with the reality of daily living and the heartbreaking yearnings of women, all women, all around the world in all countries, in all wars.  This is so real to us because we love Anne and her family, Rilla, Walter, Shirley, Dr. Blythe, all of them, even the caddy shallow girls.  So you know the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, read this: 
"Response to Flanders Field"

In Flanders Field again the sound
  Of marching men and guns resound.
And from the sky the larks have flown
 To leave but airplanes weirdest drone.
Ye, who are dead can rest no more,
 Your countries are again at war.
The ones you loved like you will fight
 For freedoms cause.  To make it right
To live and work as we see fit.
 The war you fought was but a bit
And was not won but simply ceased
 Until they could, once more in peace
Regain their power and rule the world.
 But we, united, flag unfurled
Have caught your torch, will hold it high
And though we suffer, though we die
See this war through.  Once and for all,
 To rise again as enemies fall.
Rest now in peace ye Flanders dead.
We march with firm but solemn tread.
And as we march our hands we raise
In true salute and silent praise.

Not word perfect but it fits, doesn't it?


Sunday, September 15, 2013


Rilla had to grow up so fast.  Why shouldn't she have been vain and full of dreams when she was fourteen?  Being fifteen and going to parties was all any of them lived for.  But I do feel that her dream days were taken from her very suddenly and harshly.  Poor Rilla.  But she is so strong and determined.  It is during trials and hard times that we find out who we really are and find our strengths.

I was so happy when she brought that baby home with her and cared for it so vigilantly.  And when she continued with the concert even though her heart was broken.  Her strength has made me want to do better.  And in the end, I think that is what it is about.  We all strengthen each other by the way we live.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Living in War

It is interesting to me how the Blythe family and everyone else, live and breathe the war each day. They know all the principle players and geography.
Although I was sad Walter went to war, I appreciated why he made the choice, and how Rilla found the strength to continue with the concert.
This book portrays such humor, tenderness and faith and strength , it shows the good and bad in people, under stressful and politically charged situations.
Like Shyla , I too love this book.

We do what we have to

In Chapter 9, Susan says "[w]hen we have to do a thing, . . ., we can do it."  I think that's one of the great messages in this book.  Walter doesn't want to go to war, but he has to, and he can.  Rilla doesn't want to take care of a baby or grow up, but she has to, and she can.  And like Walter says in Chapter 15, nothing can "take away the happiness we win for ourselves in the way of duty."  I find that to be true.  When we do difficult things that are our duty, there is that feeling of self-respect, of a certain kind of peace, and a feeling of something that rises about life's tragedies in a way that makes you feel a little invincible.  Not invincible from sorrow or from physical death, but invincible from feeling that the pains of our earthly life is all there is, because we know that there is something more that matters - doing what we believe is right and good without regard to the physical and emotional toll it might take on us - being right with our souls and with God.  Have I ever mentioned that I love this book??

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Master Blender

It's no secret that I love LM Montgomery and the Anne of Green Gables series. This is certainly one of my favorite books and I think an impressive feat of the author. It still has a lot of the tone and style found in the other Anne books - including light-hearted moments. But it is also a weighty book that very seriously addresses the war. Montgomery does a great job blending all of this together. And then the book is powerful because it just seems so real. Yes, Rilla, is a very self-centered young girl. I was that way as a young girl too! But eventually you learn you have to step up. Rilla is beginning to realize that. And the rest of the book, how it portrays waiting at home during the war seems very real to me, which is not surprising since it's written by a person who did just that. I can't think of another book I've ever read like this - that solely addresses the waiting-at-home perspective of war. Because of the way she blends together such serious issues with factual events with still telling the story of a young girl growing up and with her light-hearted style and loveable characters, this is probably her most impressive book.
Rilla is such a girl!  Such a self-centered, innocent, naive young woman who only sees beauty and selfish discontent in her ordered glorious world.  It's sad already!  And Susan Baker and Miss Sophia are Marilla and Rachel Lynde of the this generation?  Does every life have similar characters with strong influence in a person's life.  Geez (sp), I've spent too much time with Tenn today.  How sappy.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

War !

I am enjoying the story, and the starry eyed way L. M. Montgomery writes.
I feel like dog Monday and just want to wait till everyone comes home.
I am also waiting for Rilla to realize she loves babies.
It is interesting to me to see the war from the perspective of the women and family left at home.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tidbits and Quotes

Here are some tidbits, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Prince Edward Island on November 30, 1874. Her mother died of tuberculosis when Lucy was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife’s death, Hugh John Montgomery gave custody over to Montgomery’s maternal grandparents.  During her teaching years, Montgomery had numerous love interests. As a highly fashionable young woman, she enjoyed "slim, good looks," and she won the attention of several young men.

Rilla of Ingleside is the only Canadian novel written from a woman's perspective about the First World War by a contemporary.

And here are 2 quotes I found on the internet:

On the 5th of August, 1914, L.M. Montgomery wrote in her journal:
"Good God, I cannot believe it! It must be a horrible dream. It has come up like a thundercloud…It has come. Britain or Germany must fall. But the death-grapple will be awful beyond anything ever known in the world before. Oh, if I could but waken up and find it all a dream….Already Canada is ablaze. Volunteers are being called for Red Cross and patriotic funds are being started. The bottom has fallen out of the world’s markets. Civilization stands aghast at the horror that is coming upon it."

In my latest story, “Rilla of Ingleside,” I have tried, as far as in me lies, to depict the fine and splendid way in which the girls of Canada reacted to the Great War – their bravery, patience and self-sacrifice. The book is theirs in a sense in which none of my other books have been: for my other books were written for anyone who might like to read them: but “Rilla” was written for the girls of the great young land I love, whose destiny it will be their duty and privilege to shape and share.
– L.M. Montgomery, from “How I Became a Writer,” 1921