DCIB Book Club: Anne of the Island! My Favorite Anne Book

I am SO EXCITED to talk about this one. I remembered it has Ruby Gillis, but I forgot it also has the John Douglas-Janet Sweet romance. Either of these sections on their own would make it one of the most thought provoking Anne books, but the two together, plus Anne’s own maturing idea of romance, plus Phillipa Gordon’s romance and character, make it just a feast for discussion.

Plot summary:

Anne goes to college in Nova Scotia and makes friends with Phillipa Gordon, a rich pretty girl who everyone underestimates. She is aware that Gilbert is in love with her but avoids facing up to that reality. Gilbert finally proposes and she turns him away, although losing his friendship breaks her heart. Shortly after she meets Roy Gardner, rich and handsome and romantic, and starts seriously seeing him. Meanwhile back home Diana gets married and has a baby, Ruby Gillis dies, and Jane Andrews ends up marrying a millionaire. At school, Phillipa falls in love with a minister student, poor and ugly, and shocks everyone when she agrees to marry him. Roy proposes to Anne and she shocks everyone including herself when she turns him down. Finally, Anne returns home after graduation to learn that Gilbert has caught typhoid and is dying. She realizes in a flash that Gilbert is the love of her life. Once he recovers and proposes again, she accepts him.

There are so many interesting things to discuss in this book! First, Ruby Gillis. Shallow, pretty, lighthearted, manmade, and then dying. What is most tragic to you in how her story is presented? That she so desperately wants to live and do so much more with her short life? Or that she is so afraid of death almost right to the end? Or something else?

I feel like this version of death is, yet again, part of Montgomery removing the curtain from the every day life of women. Women are the nurses, the confidents, the ones who are there for the whole messy end of things. Anne’s journey from girl to woman includes this first brush with the intimate part of death. The perfect conclusion to the story is not Ruby’s mother giving Anne her unfinished work, but Mrs. Lynde saying “there’s always a big of work unfinished”. Mrs. Lynde knows life and knows death, we saw that again and again through out the series, that’s part of her wisdom as an older woman and now she is welcoming Anne into that same world.

The John Douglas/Janet Sweet romance, and Mrs. Douglas’s uniquely horrible and ugly soul. What is your explanation for her behavior? That she was scared? That she enjoyed torturing others? That she was simply very very selfish? Or narcissistic?

In case you don’t remember this short story dropped into the middle of things, Anne spends a summer boarding with a lovely middle-aged woman Janet Sweet. After prayer meetings, she is always walked home by John Douglas. They are invited to tea at his house and Anne meets John’s small soft invalid mother who teases John about when he will propose to Janet Sweet. Anne encourages Janet to turn John down for a walk in order to push him along, she does, but John’s look of misery is so horrible Anne regrets what she did. Finally John’s mother dies and John comes the day of the funeral to propose. And reveals that for 20 years his mother had held him to a promise not to marry until she died, rejecting all his misery and begging to release him, and at the same time letting the world think she was for the romance.

It’s just such a horrible HORRIBLE story. Montgomery describes Janet’s sobbing misery over why she has not yet received a proposal, John Douglas’s quiet face that is twisted into pain when no one is looking, and the odd air feeling of poison in the room while Mrs. Douglas fusses and teases at the tea table seemingly not saying anything wrong. I don’t know what to do with this story, but it sticks with me. The quiet unhappiness of two quiet people, and the gleeful joy in their misery from this evil evil old woman. Did it stick with you? What did you think of it?

Phillipa Gordon as a character, and her romantic life. Did you like Phillipa or find her wearing? Do you believe her sudden switch from shallow to deep? And do you believe she could be both dress/dance obsessed and a successful student?

Telling you now, I really really like Phillipa! I like that she is so shallow and unapologetic about it. And I really like that she wins the mathematics prize. The “feminine” virtues of charm and appearances are so often considered a sign of un-intelligence. But, why? Why can’t the same skill that helps Phillipa with her fine sewing also help her succeed at college. And I also really really like her emotional intelligence. She is the first person to tell Anne that she and Gilbert are destined for each other, she calls Anne out for “leading on” Roy Gardner (which she absolutely did), and she realizes she is in love with Jonah within days of meeting him and promptly adjusts her life plan to accommodate this new reality.

The Anne-Roy-Gilbert love triangle, does it work for you? Is Roy Gardner too perfect a character? Is there too much treading water before Anne makes up her own dang mind?

Again, gonna say right out that I LOVE how this is handled. I remembered the overall broad strokes, but I really appreciated the small touches on this read. The Gilbert-Anne romance doesn’t come out of nowhere. For the first third of the book, Anne has this push-pull within her where she doesn’t want Gilbert to be too romantic to her, but at the same time feels her heart flutter and her cheeks blush when he does. After Gilbert proposes, Anne sobs and suffers as her heart truly breaks over not seeing him any more. When Roy appears, there are hints through out that Anne is falling in love with a fantasy, is sort of ordering herself to fall in love. He writes a poem which one part of her brain knows is dull bad poetry, but another part of her brain orders her to find romantic. With Gilbert, it was uncontrollable feelings. With Roy, she is making herself feel these things. And in the end, we learn that Roy may have been making himself feel these things too. His sister explains that Anne is the third woman he has declared himself to be in love with, which retroactively explains how he could be so “perfect” in his courtship, so smooth and assured and quick to do just the right thing just as Anne imagined it.

Maybe it all gets back to control? Anne as a lonely orphan, and an independent woman living in an extremely patriarchal society, wants to feel in control of her destiny. We have that little reminder in this book when she visits her birthplace and gets a copy of her parents’ love letters, two young people who were swept up in their love and ended up dead, leaving Anne behind. Love, romantic love like that, means death and sadness and tragedy and a baby left alone. With Gilbert, she is never in control. Right from their first meeting he had the ability to make her lose control, to give in to her emotions. She didn’t want that kind of love, she didn’t want Gilbert to make her heart flutter when he touched her hand, she wanted Roy where it was all very simple and clear. Until all of a sudden Roy proposed and she realized she would rather stay single than live this dead perfect life. And then Gilbert’s brush with death shows her that she isn’t in control of her feelings at all, it’s already too late to try not to give her heart away.

Okay, quick fun questions:

Do you think Anne’s white silk with tiny rosebuds embroidered on it, or Anne’s green tulle with lace cap sleeves, would have been prettier dresses?

I can’t resist the green and red hair, I think the green dress

Which is your favorite cat, Dignified Sarah-Cat, Joseph sleepy lazy of many colors, or fighter Rusty?

Joseph!!!! Cuddly and sleepy, I like it.

When you first read the book, did it fulfill your romantic needs for Anne-Gilbert?

Nope! It did NOT! But on rereading, I understood that it’s not a romance novel, it’s a coming of age novel. Anne is always going to marry Gilbert, that’s inevitable, but it’s the journey that is interesting.

12 thoughts on “DCIB Book Club: Anne of the Island! My Favorite Anne Book

  1. I’m so sad that this is the last book of Anne series I have read. I will stop by the discussions though :). Also I have read this book many years back and this is definitely the most foggy out of the three. Yet like you this is my favourite out of the three. Also I love that Anne finds out about her origins and she comes to her own in this story.

    Ruby Gillis. Shallow, pretty, lighthearted, manmade, and then dying. What is most tragic to you in how her story is presented? That she so desperately wants to live and do so much more with her short life? Or that she is so afraid of death almost right to the end? Or something else?

    I think it’s none of the ideas you have mentioned. For me it was the childhood connection Ruby had in your life. Ruby as a character is constant throughout the series. She stays the same as she was younger and then all of a sudden she dies. On one hand it shows the unexpectedness of death as it comes surprisingly but also it felt as if a part of Anne’s childhood went away. That itself is heartbreaking as growing old is scary and when someone who was always the same suddenly leaves it is tragic. It suddenly makes you realise, you will also have to change. I don’t know whether I’m explaining it in a way that makes sense. For me, it made me value the people I have around me beyond my family as I realise how much they mean to me even with all their flaws just through Ruby’s death.

    The John Douglas/Janet Sweet romance, and Mrs. Douglas’s uniquely horrible and ugly soul. What is your explanation for her behaviour? That she was scared? That she enjoyed torturing others? That she was simply very very selfish? Or narcissistic?

    That she was a psychopath. I have some relatives who also remind me of her and I have heard many stories of such women who seem to control their children and in turn take away every single thing their child loves. It’s almost frightening how common it is to see people who love torturing others. It’s so hurtful that she ruined so many lives in her selfish behaviour. Also somehow her character felt so realistic that I used to feel suffocated whenever she was mentioned.

    I skipped the next question as I really couldn’t remember Philipa’s story. However Jane Andrews story was really shocking but also made sense in some way. My mother has some childhood friends who end up becoming artists even though they seemed so dull in school. Also Anne never seems too interested in Jane, so its possible she could miss out her charm. Plus Anne can be sometimes incredibly surface level in her analysis of people.

    The Anne-Roy-Gilbert love triangle, does it work for you? Is Roy Gardner too perfect a character? Is there too much treading water before Anne makes up her own dang mind?

    It works for me even though I still feel Gilbert falling ill was too much romance novel-y for me it worked. Roy Gardner is the perfect nice guy who you can’t catch feelings for and its a refreshing change that Anne (unlike some female leads who can’t see that the guy licking the floor so that it would be clean is not common of a guy who is just casual) is not ignorant about Gilberts feelings as literally everyone knows. I really loved Anne’s acceptance of her feelings as its obvious she knows but she is trying too hard to ignore them. It was a lovely depiction of a girl falling in love.

    Do you think Anne’s white silk with tiny rosebuds embroidered on it, or Anne’s green tulle with lace cap sleeves, would have been prettier dresses?

    I feel the white silk would’ve been prettier. As somehow the image of the green tulle always goes to a lighter green so I feel the white silk would’ve looked prettier. It may also be that I want the white silk so bad that I’m just projecting my own likes.

    Which is your favourite cat, Dignified Sarah-Cat, Joseph sleepy lazy of many colours, or fighter Rusty?

    Joseph for sure. He feels so much like most cats I know. Doing nothing 90% of the time.

    When you first read the book, did it fulfil your romantic needs for Anne-Gilbert?

    No and it still does not. There should’ve been more flirting and push-pull between them. I keep on comparing it to Daddy Long Legs where there was so much more romance between the couple. I just wish there more pages of courting and flirting. It’s too realistic for me and needs to be less sensible.

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    • If you haven’t read the others, and want to, you should do House of Dreams, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside. They form sort of a second trilogy along with this one, and complete the Anne story fully.

      I think I get what you mean with Ruby. I appreciate that she is threaded through out this book, the way a childhood friend would be, before she is dying. She is an okay friend, then too flirty to like spending time with, and then suddenly just gone. She isn’t like Beth in Little Women where she was always marked for tragic death, she is just your everyday friend that you don’t think about, and then she dies.

      Yes! Her character feels so real! Not like a book-villain at all. It’s terrifying, something that cruel could be happening in the house next door to you right now and you would never know.

      I love the end of Jane’s story too. I like how everyone is mostly happy for her too. And the little note that it seems her new rich husband truly loves her. She married well, not because she found a man who would give her diamonds but because she found a little middle-aged man who thinks she is beautiful.

      Yes! I like the push-pull that Anne knows about Gilbert’s feelings and is sort of aware of her own as well, but somehow is trying to pretend it will all just go away. Instead of a heroine who really truly doesn’t see what is in front of her face. Plus, everyone around Anne saying “you know you are going to marry Gilbert, right?” A lot more logical than the unknown unspoken love.

      I just tried to find an image of dresses similar to what she described, and I think Montgomery’s timeline of fashion got messed up! Working back from Anne’s sons all being in WWI, Island should take place in the 1880s or 90s. But her clothes seem to be more along the lines of the early 1900s. I certainly never pictured her dresses with bustles and things!

      HA! “Less sensible” makes total sense. Maybe some more agonized confrontations between them, instead of them both being so carefully casual and normal.

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      • I should try it but I’ve heard that Anne’s life becomes terribly tragic and I don’t know whether I could deal with that.
        Yes, you get what I mean. She doesn’t have that Beth effect of literally making you empty and affecting everyone around you. But it still hurts, her death.
        Honestly, she reminds me of one of my grandmother’s friends who I hate.
        It is lovely that there is no jealousy. It proves that not everyone wants to sabotage someone’s life.
        Yes, I really love their relationship being not full of misunderstandings, unlike many other stories. It’s refreshing also that LMM allows Anne space to make the choice she wants rather than forcing her based on the fact that she’s at a marriageable age.
        I think all her clothes seem to be Edwardian. It seems that she did clothes based on the trends when she was writing it rather than historically accurate.
        Yes, we need more angst.
        Also, will you do a book club on little women? I feel that would be interesting to discuss.

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        • Nothing happens to Anne that is any more tragic than what is already in the first 3 books, so if you can handle Matthew and Ruby dying, you are fine. The last 3 books are more about Anne’s new friend in House of Dreams, and then her children in Rainbow Valley and Rilla. Anne herself is a little on the sidelines. Rilla is really a book by itself, it was Montgomery’s year by year, almost day by day, recording of life on the Canadian homefront during WWI. It’s sad because war is sad, but not tragic for Anne really. I’ll tell you the worst things that happen to her if you want SPOILERS her first baby dies after a few days in House of Dreams, and in Rilla one of her sons dies in WWI. But all her other many children grow up happy and healthy, Gilbert always loves her, she has a huge house and a housekeeper, and Gilbert even takes her on a long trip to Europe as a second honeymoon after all the kids are old enough to be left alone END SPOILERS

          Anne got married sooooooooooooooo old for the time!!! She went to college, and then waited for Gilbert to finish med school, so she was 25 before marriage! When I first read the books, as a little girl, I thought they waited a ridiculously long time to be married. But now I see it as Montgomery wanting Anne to have space to grow and experience things and be fully adult and ready for responsibility. Gilbert as well, at the end of Island Anne mentions how his face looks like an adult post his illness. So until then, he was still a bit of an unformed boy in her eyes. By the time they marry, he has traveled and learned and done all kinds of things to inform the rest of his life with her.

          Again, it goes back to Rilla! Montgomery really wanted Anne’s children to all be of age during WWI, which I think messed with her previous timelines. oh well, she doesn’t exactly give historical markers pre-Rilla, so if we ignore the clothes, it can still work out.

          If you promise to comment as much on Little Women as you do on Anne, I will think about it!

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  2. What is most tragic to you in how her story is presented? That she so desperately wants to live and do so much more with her short life? Or that she is so afraid of death almost right to the end? Or something else?

    I’m with Anon above! And how it contributes to Anne’s thinking that she wants to build herself to not be afraid of death.

    What is your explanation for her behavior? That she was scared? That she enjoyed torturing others? That she was simply very very selfish? Or narcissistic?

    A bit of scared and selfish. I’ve known people like Mrs. Douglas and I can kind of see her point of view? There was no guarantee back then that the new mistress of the house would treat the old one well. It doesn’t excuse her, but I do understand that she came from a place of insecurity and fear. The meanness of twisting the man on the rack though is the worst. Definitely selfish.

    Did you like Phillipa or find her wearing? Do you believe her sudden switch from shallow to deep? And do you believe she could be both dress/dance obsessed and a successful student?

    I LOVE PHILIPPA! I didn’t really pay much attention to her on my first read, but I loved her a few reads later! That confidence, that willing-to-try anything! Her innocence, intelligence, bravery. Ugh I swoon.

    (Which is also why I was so annoyed about the throwaway line about her in Anne’s House of Dreams. Stop dragging other women down esp in later books so Anne can shine, L.M.!!)

    Does it work for you? Is Roy Gardner too perfect a character? Is there too much treading water before Anne makes up her own dang mind?

    Roy is hilarious. I especially love how his sister also admits that he’s a bore. The triangle works. I think most of us have one failed-ish relationship when we’re young. And of course Idealistic, Stubborn Anne would drag this on.

    Do you think Anne’s white silk with tiny rosebuds embroidered on it, or Anne’s green tulle with lace cap sleeves, would have been prettier dresses?

    I think both would have been pretty, but in different ways. I like the white slip best though! But I want it, not for Anne 😛

    Which is your favorite cat, Dignified Sarah-Cat, Joseph sleepy lazy of many colors, or fighter Rusty?

    RUSTY! Fighters always.

    When you first read the book, did it fulfill your romantic needs for Anne-Gilbert?

    I think so!

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    • I thought that conversation with Ruby about heaven was an interesting moment in the books. Over many re-readings, I’ve realized that this is an EXTREMELY religious and stern community. Not even “for the times”, it was just EXTREME. A bunch of Scotch Presbyterians with very stern ideas of what is proper and what is not and a strict code of religious beliefs. Ruby is sure that she will go to heaven because she is a church member, and Anne does not disagree with her, nor does Montgomery. But at the same time, Anne opens up a more natural human personal idea of religion instead of the strict “this is the rule” version. The two exist together, the personal spirituality and the church based strictness. Which will carry through all the books, miracles of God and a personal religion along with strict Bible memorization and rule following. (I should say, in this same period my own family was very similar. Lived in a small farming community mostly founded by folks who went to the same very strict and stern church. I think the isolation of those communities in that period in North America allowed for a very specific type of religion to flourish in a way that today we would find cultish. Immigrants settling together because they all followed the same exact religious beliefs and building a town around themselves).

      Yes! Mrs. Douglas’s initial plea for her son not to marry while she was alive was reasonable, to the point that we understand why John agreed to it. But the 20 years of torture, of teasing John about when he will marry in public, of telling Janet how much she liked her, that was just cruel cruel cruel. Maybe it made her feel safer and less afraid and more in control, but it was CRUEL. It’s a theme that Montgomery returns to many times, the impulsive youthful swear on a bible that your relative holds you to despite your begging to be let free. She must have heard a story about that in real life that stuck with her. However, Mrs. Douglas’s version is the only time the swear-er does not relent as times change and they see how the vow wears on the swear-ee. Mrs. Douglas just didn’t care. Also, going back to my point above, it’s another instance of showing how extremely religious and rule bound this community was, that a swear on the bible is unbreakable.

      YES! Phillipa is the BEST! Especially in comparison with Stella and Priscilla. Who are fine, but never really shine out uniquely the way Phillipa does.

      Thank you! It’s the stubbornness and idealism that are Anne’s flaws in this relationship. Roy’s sister says that the other girls just got engaged to someone else. Because flowers and poetry are boring, eventually. But Anne is the one who held a grudge against Gilbert for calling her “carrots” for 5 years, she’s going to keep going with the flowers and poetry as long as she can make herself. And yes, Phil is right to tell her she was leading him on, because she was. If she’d allowed herself to be more honest with herself, Roy wouldn’t have wasted 2 years chasing her. Although it was also probably good for him to have such an extreme surprise in his life.

      On Sun, May 29, 2022 at 11:02 PM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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  3. So, I was supposed to read Anne of the Island… But then I remembered how Annoyed LMM made me with the novel… THIS was the novel for romance and there she goes, only allowing Anne to Feel in the last few chapters!

    And so … I went to AO3 😀 and this wonderful individual has rewritten the novel (atleast the Anne and Gilbert bits) if Phil had stopped Gilbert from proposing the first time…. https://archiveofourown.org/works/38776035/chapters/96957921 it’s so well written! See if you want to give it a chance. I am so full after this.

    Ok, so to your questions:

    What is most tragic to you in how her story is presented? That she so desperately wants to live and do so much more with her short life? Or that she is so afraid of death almost right to the end? Or something else?

    That she sooo wanted to live and that she had found love. I never thought much of Ruby but her untimely end made me sad. I was a lot younger than her age when I read it so I recall thinking she was old … But only as much as my older cousin, and it was unfair.

    What is your explanation for her behavior? That she was scared? That she enjoyed torturing others? That she was simply very very selfish? Or narcissistic?
    I completely forgot about this story! Ugh but now I remember. She reminded me of Teddy’s mum from the Emily series immediately.

    Did you like Phillipa or find her wearing? Do you believe her sudden switch from shallow to deep? And do you believe she could be both dress/dance obsessed and a successful student?
    I LOVED Phillipa. Ok so, one thing I would wearing in the series was what townandtulips said earlier, Anne was painted too perfectly. I mean, yes, she has her flaws but even those were sort of glorified subtextually. LMM never gave her a real flaw, especially post the first book and every other girl somehow faded in comparison and I was Glad that Phil didn’t! I even felt that her marrying the poor minister was also LMM being a little underhand and giving Phil the worse deal vs what Anne would eventually get with Gilbert.

    The Anne-Roy-Gilbert love triangle, does it work for you? Is Roy Gardner too perfect a character? Is there too much treading water before Anne makes up her own dang mind?
    I liked what Anon said earlier..it works but it is too sensible for me! What on earth LMM. I needed more! I don’t even mind if Anne hadn’t made up her mind, but what I disliked was that she pushed Gilbert away… Those fluttery feelings of is it isn’t it are also not explored… Hmph.

    Do you think Anne’s white silk with tiny rosebuds embroidered on it, or Anne’s green tulle with lace cap sleeves, would have been prettier dresses?
    The white one, but I have a partiality to Anne in green… Wasn’t she wearing green sometime in the first book and she was said to look lovely (although she’s always described as lovely by LMM!)

    Which is your favorite cat, Dignified Sarah-Cat, Joseph sleepy lazy of many colors, or fighter Rusty?

    I liked Rusty as a character but Joseph in my home!!

    When you first read the book, did it fulfill your romantic needs for Anne-Gilbert?
    Nope and that’s why Bless Fanfic writers!! I loved the one I pasted at the start and am so glad I found it this weekend 😀

    Like

    • I like that Ruby found love, but in a very Ruby sort of way. She doesn’t go all poetic about Herb Spencer, she just says that she wants to marry him, and have babies, and live her life. Makes it sadder, this isn’t a “I will look down from heaven and watch him” sort of love, this is a very earthy practical love that wants practical things.

      Yes! I knew this story had come up again and again in her work. The jealous relative who doesn’t want their loved one to move on in life.

      I’m glad LMM moved Anne out of center after House of Dreams. She can be perfect mostly, when seen through the eyes of her children, that makes sense. And in House of Dreams (to jump forward a bit), I like that she and Gilbert fight, and he goes against her wishes because of his own morality, and he is proven RIGHT.

      I can’t remember who it was, but someone pointed out if we’d had more angst, then Gilbert wouldn’t be Gilbert. He’s such a great combo of faithful love and fairness. He never makes Anne feel bad for rejecting him, he never plays the romantic swain after that, he does the right Gilbert-y thing and just removes himself.

      On Mon, May 30, 2022 at 9:36 AM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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  4. This book did me in, or rather Ruby’s death did me in today. I LOVED this book when I first read it as a tween, at that time the idea of living in a house with friends in college was everything I wanted. I didn’t want marriage or children, I wanted the college life so lovingly described in this novel. Honestly I kinda had it, but with a LOT more friend drama.

    But Ruby’s death, when I read it this afternoon it just gutted me. Of course she didn’t want to die, she was a child. 19 year olds are not wise adults who can understand death, hell most wise adults can’t understand death. That is why we have heaven, a nice comfortable concept that children can grasp and adults can pretend is real. And then Anne wanted to live life more deeply?
    Well did she? I would argue not. I would argue Ruby’s life was every bit as deep as Anne’s. Ruby wanted real life romance and Anne wanted fictional romance. And on that sense is Phil really shallow? She knows herself very well and is quite bright, is shallowness telling everyone exactly how you feel? What does the word really mean anyway? How does it really contrast with deep. Is taking joy in small things in life shallow?

    Ruby’s death first gutted me because Anne was there just like I was there to watch my own friend die, though mind you I liked my friend much more than Anne cared for Ruby. And then it gutted me because she was a child who died, and so many have just been killed in our world, and the ones killed look just like my son’s fourth grade classmates. So I’ve been a mess all day. And now my body seems to have given into the first grader’s stomach bug (he vomitted all night in a tent this past weekened, I got up at 5 am to boil water and sanitize waterbottles on an outdoor stove, thank god there was a store that sold clorox wipes to help in cleaning out the tent and sleeping bags). Your body responds to emotions. Children aren’t supposed to die.

    When I read this as a tween Ruby’s death was so unnoticable to me that I had forgotten it happened. I suppose I thought this was some sort of punshiment for being boy crazy. All I cared about as a tween was the delightful house and Gilbert. In fact I expected Gilbert to be a much bigger part of this story than he was. Or maybe the truth is, a few sentences really can go a long way.

    I thought it was very appropriate that the chapter in which Roy is introduced is titled “Enter Prince Charming” – beautiful, perfect, and boring. In the real world she would have married him, fullfilling all expectations, her life would not have been miserable, but we all would have missed Gilbert. Thank goodness this is a book!

    Montgomery’s descriptions of John Douglas’s face in the presence of his mother clue the readers into the fact that she is truly horrible, even as Anne the character seems oblivious. A toxic person to be avoided. I don’t know why she included it, but I suspect it was someone she knew. But the story of the ever courting couple. I feel like I missed something. Like they were mentioned and then Anne says she resolved it or something – And I can’t tell if it is in the previous book or if I accidentally skipped a chapter.

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    • First, mother’s are SAINTS! I had a high-vomit period for about 6 years, 6 to 12, and my mother was great about cleaning it up and disposing and gently washing it out of my hair. UGH.

      And also, yes, Ruby’s death is just sad. Her family being in denial, her being in denial for their sake, everyone pretending it’s not happening and talking about it, her fear and uncertainty, it’s all HORRIBLE.

      The other story referenced was a short story that was published in the “Chronicles of Avonlea”. It’s a sweet story, very similar to the point that I think Montgomery felt she had to acknowledge reusing it. Middle-aged couple, he’s been courting her forever without proposing becuase he just moves slow to make decisions. Anne gets a visiting tourist from the city to pretend to court the woman in order to encourage the man to finally propose. So same set-up, but instead of a light “he just needed some encouragement”, this time it is a sick sick twisted family situation.

      Agree that a few sentences can go a long way. Montgomery draws in the Gilbert situation in this bold strokes dropped into the middle of the happy household and college friends and stuff.

      On Thu, Jun 2, 2022 at 10:18 PM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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      • You made me feel better – thank you for reminding me of my sainthood. Spouse can’t clean up vomit because then he vomits. If you want a great vomit story ask me about our flight home from Hawaii last year! I started Windy Poplars last night, it is a somewhat lonely tale 6 chapters in. I myself did not find adulthood so lonely.

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        • Windy is an odd one, since Anne is just existing in limbo. Any friends she makes or life changes are going to be erased whens he marries Gilbert and follows him. And yes, mom’s with vomit are SAINTS!

          On Fri, Jun 3, 2022 at 11:25 AM dontcallitbollywood < comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote:

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