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The Lucy Maud Montgomery Album

by Kevin McCabe, Alexandra Heilbron, eds.

In the 1930s, Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote in her journal that her work would be forgotten in 60 years time. But the promise she extracted from her youngest son to never destroy her voluminous journals ensured that scholars would find her a source of inspiration long into the future. The journals, edited by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterson, are often brutally frank and provide a view to the inner life of this complex woman, albeit within the borders of an image she carefully managed. Add to this scholarly interest the huge success of film and television adaptations of her work, and it is little wonder that the appetite for things by and about Montgomery continues to grow.

This coffee table book presents short essays by many different authors along with generous black and white illustrations and photos. Most of the book details the popular children’s author’s life, providing a nice overview of the journals. The final third deals with the snowballing Lucy Maud Montgomery phenomenon – the two motion picture versions of Anne of Green Gables made in Montgomery’s lifetime, the musical, the present-day television shows, the annual Anne look- alike contests, the growing number of historical sites (three and counting), the impact on tourism in PEI, and the Japanese obsession. The final sections focus on the history of Montgomery scholarship, including the publication of the journals. As might be expected, the writing is uneven, with contributions by Carol Shields, Sandra Gwyn, and Calvin Trillin alongside pieces by the author’s grandchildren, gushing fans, and the more sedate scholars. Some pieces lack attribution, including a touching tribute to scholar Rea Wilmshurst, who died at the age of 45. Also, the final piece in the book, “The Pink and Gold Heart,” is the most dreadfully maudlin one that I’ve ever read by Montgomery, and does her no justice. However, the book gives a useful overview of Montgomery’s life, the scholarship and the sociological phenomenon of the growing cult that surrounds her. For insatiable fans, it will also provide a long, satisfying fix. – by Janet McNaughton, Q&Q’s Newfoundland correspondent.


Reviewer: Janet McNaughton

Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside Limited


Price: $46

Page Count: 531 pp

Format: Cloth

ISBN: 1-55041-386-4

Released: Mar.

Issue Date: 1999-5

Categories: Memoir & Biography