Anne of Green Gables Read-Along Chapters 28-30

3709710(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Twenty-Eight: An Unfortunate Lily Maid

It is midsummer now, so either July or August. What midsummer is kind of varies depending on where you live, I’ve found, but since we know their break is July-August, I assume late July to early August.

Idlewood, the pretty little circle of trees where Diana and Anne made their playhouse once upon a time, was cut down in the spring. Mr Bell didn’t feel as romantic about his back pasture as they did.

However, they’re “big girls of thirteen” now so they’re okay, and instead have spent most of their summer “on and about the pond”. They fish for trout under the bridge and they often row about in Mr Barry’s “flat-bottomed dory”. Today they are hanging out on the pond with Ruby Gillis and Jane Andrews.

Back in the winter, the school studied Tennyson’s poem… I assume “The Lady of Shallot” which is based on Elaine of Arthurian legend. Tell you the truth here, I mostly just wikipedia’d all that, as that whole mythology isn’t super my thing lol.

As young girls do, they decide to re-enact her death/funeral scene.

And I’m not being sarcastic. Girls totally do this kind of thing. If you’ve got a kid who plays with Barbies, really pay attention to their plot sometime.

They’d previously discovered if the flat (basically a row-boat with a flat bottom) was pushed off from the dock on one end of the pond, it’d drift under the bridge and “strand itself on another headland lower down which ran out at a curve in the pond”. They’ve done this plenty of times before.

They have a short discussion about who should be Elaine. Diana and Ruby are both too nervous about the idea of floating across the pond while lying down in the bottom of the boat, and Jane wouldn’t be able to stay still.

So that leaves just one left… who else but our girl. Anne protests she can’t be Elaine due to the red hair, but the others say it’s actually darkened to a lovely auburn. Obviously this pleases Anne, as she’s been hoping for this for a while. It’s also grown out long enough to be a cluster of short curls, held in place by a black velvet ribbon and bow. That was Diana’s idea when Anne first had to cut her hair – Anne calls it a snood.

Anne mentions something about Elaine’s “bright” hair, and I’ll admit I only did a cursory wikipedia search since it wasn’t that important, but it didn’t seem like a ton of the paintings or whatever really even depicted her as a blonde or anything?

Anyways, more importantly, Anne chooses Ruby to be King Arthur, Jane to be Guinivere and Diana to be Lancelot. Remember, Lancelot, the dude Elaine dies from pining over?

Anne, please.

They push the flat (with Anne lying in the bottom) off, with it “scrapnig roughly over an old embedded stake in the process” and the other girls head to the other side of the pond to meet the boat.

For a while, Anne is fine, and enjoying “the romance of her situation” – til the flat begins to leak.

The stake had torn off “the strip of batting nailed to the flat” and there’s a BIG crack in the bottom. And they left the oars, of course. Oars aren’t romantic. By sheer luck, the flat floats down to the bridge and Anne is able to grab onto one of the bridge piles.

Bridge piles, fyi, are what a bridge’s legs are called.

800px-luxor_bridge_piles1

(Photo by Rémih via Wikimedia Commons with no alterations made.)

Did *I* know that before this chapter? Wouldn’t you like to know.

The ones on the pond’s bridge are old tree trunks with “lots of knots and old branch stubs” so Anne has something to hang onto.

And then she’s stuck.

The flat drifted under the bridge and promptly sunk. The other girls see it, figure she’s gone down with the ship, and run for help. So she’s alone and stranded.

Anne can’t swim, of course. And it’s a pond but man is it easy to drown in a pond if you can’t swim. I did a little research on swimming here, since I was curious. It wasn’t a popular recreational activity in the US til the 1920s to 1930s, or as a popular sport til the 1950s and 1960s. That also seems to be true in Canada but you know. Less easy to find sources.

Also I wanna link to where I got the numbers here because they’re really well written. Mostly not related to this thread, but history nonetheless.

TW for drowning, child death, racism and assault though. Link, and link.

Like I said, not entirely related, but still.

Also, PSA about drowning linked here because that never hurts to spread that information.

Lucky for Anne, however, Gilbert Blythe happens to row under the bridge in “Harmon Andrew’s dory”.

“Gilbert glanced up and, much to his amazement, beheld a little white scornful face looking down upon him with big, frightened but also scornful grey eyes.”

I honestly love that line. The girl is literally hanging onto a bridge hoping she doesn’t fall in and drown, and she’s still like, “Ugh does it have to be you?”

Anne scrambles into his boat, reluctantly explains what happened and asks if he’ll row her to the landing. He does, and (on dry land) catches her arm before she can take off. He apologizes again for teasing her about her hair (and calls it pretty) and asks if they can be friends.

Honestly, I’m not against this at all? It has been two years. Gilbert is (around) fifteen and Anne is thirteen. He’s sincerely apologized more than once, and he’s been trying to make it up to her the entire time. In two years, he’s never treated her with anything but respect.

Note also for both Gilbert’s “half-shy, half-eager expression” and the “quick, queer little beat” Anne’s heart gives. (Yeah, we’re pointing that out here. Queer girls who are attracted to boys are just as queer. Fight me.)

For a minute, she hesitates, tempted. But she remembers the Carrots Incident, and coldly denies him, saying she’ll never want to be his friend.

“‘Alright!’ Gilbert sprang into his skiff with an angry colour in his cheeks. ‘I’ll never ask you to be friends again, Anne Shirley. And I don’t care either!'”

I think you care a little bit, Gilbert.

Honestly Anne’s being a little unreasonable. Gilbert did do something that was a little rude, but remember, the other girls in school didn’t particularly mind being teased that way. It never upset them like it did Anne. When it did upset Anne, he apologized immediately. Literally, she smacks him in the face and he apologizes for it. Most people… wouldn’t so much. He immediately takes the blame to try to keep her out of trouble, and apologizes later that day.

He’s probably apologized other times, and he’s been nothing but respectful to her. (He picked flowers for her. Flowers that she adores. He’s probably gotten teased quite a bit by other boys for that.)

She’s kind of holding a grudge for not a lot of reason!

Anne begins to feel regret almost immediately. “She almost wished she had answered Gilbert differently. Of course, he had insulted her terribly, but still!” Between the bridge thing and this, she’s ready for a good cry.

Diana and Jane are rushing back to the pond as Anne is heading back towards home. They’d found nobody at either the Barry’s or Green Gables and had to leave Ruby in a pile of tears and panic at Orchard Slope.

Anne is going to drive poor Ruby to an early grave.

This drives home how scary an emergency could be. The Barrys really were lucky that Anne knew what to do for Minnie May’s croup. If you’re not in the right place at the right time…

Diana grabs Anne and weeps in “relief and delight” that Anne’s okay. They’d assumed she was dead since, you know, none of them can swim and they didn’t see her get off the boat.

After a good cry, Anne assures Marilla she’ll have more sense now as she’s learned from all her mistakes. This mistake, she says, has taught her “it is no use trying to be romantic in Avonlea”. She doesn’t even want to HEAR the word again, she says.

After Marilla leaves the room, though, Matthew tells Anne not to give up “all your romance” as “a little of it is a good thing”. (Remember we’re using romance as a synonym for wonder  here.)

Nice. Good chapter.

(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Twenty-Nine: An Epoch in Anne’s Life

Sidenote before I start – did I have to look up “epoch” for this chapter? Well, let’s just say that an epoch is an event or time marked by an event that begins a new period or development and you can decide for yourself 😛

Come September and Anne is bringing the cows home from the back pasture… and “till the cows come home” isn’t actually that late, is it? What is it, like, twilight?

Anyways, Diana comes to see her with very important news and tries to get her to guess it.

It’s not that Charlotte Gillis is getting married in the church and Mrs Allan wants them to help decorate it. (Charlotte’s beau apparently won’t agree to it as no one has had a wedding in the church and he thinks it would seem too much like a funeral.)

It’s also not that Jane’s mother is letting her have a birthday party or that Moody Spurgeon MacPherson saw Diana home from last night’s prayer meeting (Diana is particularly offended about that idea).

The new is actually that Aunt Josephine has invited Diana and Anne to town next Tuesday and to stay with her for a few days for the Exhibition. Exhibition is like a fair. Kinda like the Calgary Stampede.

Of course, Anne is super excited, but fears Marilla will say no. Diana is very clever and suggests having ask her mother for them. Seriously, Diana is a little sneakier than people give her credit for being.

Anne is also grateful that if she can go, her new coat will be ready in time. Once again, this was a Matthew moment. Marilla said her old one was fine and she should be glad to have a new winter dress – and Anne is! It’s navy blue and all her dresses now are made fashionably because Marilla “doesn’t intend to have Matthew going to Mrs Lynde to make them”.

Honestly Marilla can be so enjoyably petty XD

Matthew insisted Anne should have a new coat, though, and Marilla bought some “blue broad-cloth”. (Broadcloth is a material dress shirts are made out of – I assume there’s also a warm lining.) It’s even being made in Carmody by a real dressmaker.

You know, she is getting close to fourteen. She might be close to not growing much more and also, realistically, she might be getting close to leaving home soon. There’s not a ton of time left to spoil her.

And Matthew DID indeed spoil her with a new cap, too. One of “those little blue velvet ones that are all the rage, with gold cord and tassels”.

Marilla agrees to let Anne goes to Charlottetown. What have I said about Diana having a bit of mischief in her???

They have to leave very early so Mr Barry has time to get there and back the same day. Anne wakes up before sunrise. Matthew gets the fire going and Anne has breakfast done before Marilla gets downstairs.

Gosh but the descripitions are great. They don’t get old. For instance, Aunt Josephine lives in “a fine old mansion, set back from the street in a seclusion of green elms and brancing beeches”. She says Anne has grown taller than her and has gotten very pretty.

Both girls are a bit shocked by how grand Aunt Josephine’s house is. The parlour has velvet carpet and silk curtains. And Aunt Josephine did, as promised, put the girls in the most elegant spare room.

Anne notes, though, there isn’t much room for imagination in such splendor, and sleeping in a spare room isn’t what she used to think it was. That’s part of growing up, she thinks. The things you wanted as a child aren’t as good as you imagined when you get them. A little bittersweet, but true sometimes, I think.

The Exhibition is a grand time. Josie Pye took first place for knitted lace and Anne managed to sincerely feel glad for her. The Avonleas residents did pretty well in general. Apparently Mrs Lynde makes some rocking homemade butter and cheese.

Aunt Josephine took them to watch the horse races, too. Anne didn’t bet with Diana as she wanted to be able to tell Mrs Allan about it without leaving things out, but she did find it very exciting. They saw a man go up in a hot air balloon, which Anne would love to do one day, and had their fortunes told. Anne’s was mostly along the “you’ll meet someone tall, dark and handsome” line, lol.

The next day, Aunt Josephine took them to see a concert in the Academy of Music, and after they had ice cream at 11 o’clock at night. Diana says she was absolutely made for city life. After some thought, Anne decides she’d rather most nights be home in her bed at 11 o’clock, with a few special nights here and there. Not a bad attitude, really. Keep the wonder, but have a safe space to land.

As they were leaving, Anne gave Aunt Josephine a grateful hug and kiss on the cheek. Later, alone, Josephine realized she enjoyed Anne less for her “quaint speeches” and more for how honest and enthusiastic and sweet she is. She says to herself, “If I’d had a child like Anne in the house all the time, I’d be a better and happier woman” and thinks about what a good decision Marilla made in keeping Anne.

The sun is setting as Diana and Anne get home, and they’re both truly glad to be heading home. They enjoyed theirselves, but they’re grateful to have a familiar and welcoming place to be coming home to.

Green Gables is bright and warm with the hearth fire and Marilla has cooked a broiled chicken for Anne’s welcome home supper.

She says, “I’m glad you’ve got back, I must say. It’s been fearful lonesome here without you, and I never put in four longer days.”

Didn’t need company, eh, Marilla?

The chapter ends with Anne telling Matthew and Marilla all the things I just recapped. Besides the drives there and back, all her adventure was told through Anne relating it to them. I think that really shows Anne means it when she says, “the best of it all was coming home”. It’s a really sweet ending to a fun chapter.

(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Thirty: The Queen’s Class is Organized

It’s now November and Marilla and Anne are spending a quiet evening together. Anne was reading, but is now just daydreaming about adventures in Spain that *don’t* end in mishap.

Interesting linguistic note – Anne is described as sitting “Turk-fashion” which is a term I hadn’t heard before for sitting crossing-legged/crisscross applesauce. Obviously not a great term to use these days but I hadn’t heard that one before.

Marilla notes her eyes are getting tired and that she’ll have to have her glasses changed as her eyes are getting tired a lot lately. She looks over at Anne and thinks about how much she’s grown to love Anne. It’s nothing she would ever say out loud, but the soft firelight allows her a moment of tenderness.

Ugh, I love this scene so much. Soft moments in soft lighting are my fave.

Marilla worries she loves Anne too much and so she’s stricter and more critical than if she loved her less fiercely. For her part, Anne doesn’t always realize how Marilla feels and thinks it can be hard to live up to her expectations, but always wants to.

That’s something to really look for in adaptations, actually. Anne is affectionate to Marilla and Matthew, but she’s also incredibly grateful for all they’ve done for her and never forgets that – and she respects them so much.

Miss Stacy came by earlier, Marilla says suddenly, and Anne startles and then goes off into a ramble for about a page, because even though she’s getting older, she’s still Anne and that happens sometimes still lol. Point to, “Diana and I are thinking seriously of promising each other that we will never marry, but be nice old maids and live together for ever.”

I mean. Come on.

She eventually gets around to asking why Miss Stacy came by, but before Marilla can answer, she confesses she got caught reading Ben-Hur in class yesterday. Marilla’s like, “That wasn’t it, but also thanks for the confession and don’t read in class.”

Apparently when Marilla was a little girl, she wasn’t allowed to read novels at all. That’s so sad, oh my gosh. Poor little Marilla.

Eventually Anne lets Marilla get a word in edgewise and she says Miss Stacy came to ask if Marilla and Matthew would like Anne to join a class of advanced scholars who would like to study for the Queen’s Academy entrance examination. She asks if Anne would like to be a teacher and Anne says she would love to and would find it a great honour – but Mr Andrews says it cost him $150 to put Prissy through Queen’s.

Remember, 10 dollars was like 300 today. That’s probably at least three grand. Three thousand dollars is no small amount of money for two older people living on a small farm, honestly.

But Marilla tells her not to worry, because she and Matthew promised “we would do the best we could for you and give you a good education”. And we saw this was true even before they knew they were getting Anne! This is really a sticking point for me. Even if they hadn’t gotten Anne, the boy they would have gotten would have had a good home with them and a good education, probably a whole lot better than he would have gotten otherwise.

Marilla also says, “I believe in a girl being fitted to earn her own living whether she ever has to or not”. Heck yeah feminist Marilla!! Frankly that’s more than some people expect of girls now. I approve of this.

I also legit almost cried at this part. Marilla says, “You’ll always have a home at Green Gables as long as Matthew and I are here, but nobody knows what is going to happen in this uncertain world, and it’s just as well to be prepared.”

Like, having a home like this is all Anne ever wanted and can you just imagine how much this means to her? To have her deepest, most heartfelt dream come true and in such a beautiful, loving way?

*sniffle*

Bit of theorizing here – Montgomery’s grandfather died a few years before she wrote this, and she was living with her grandmother, who died just three years after Anne was published. She was also secretly engaged to the man she would later marry, and had been since 1906. I think my theory that the Allans are a rather idealized version of how she hoped her married life would be holds weight.

This must have been a rather lonely time in her life. She was supporting herself and her grandmother with her writing, which is great obviously but writing is not a social career.

As well, I think Marilla’s statement reflects something Montgomery wanted, a feeling of always having a home to return to. Though she moved home to live with her grandmother after her grandfather’s death, I don’t get a sense it was out of deep love. Things I’ve read have described Montgomery’s grandmother as “more sympathetic” than her grandfather, but that’s not exactly how I would describe a very close relationship.

For the record, I do plan on reading more on Montgomery’s life, but that’ll be later. I don’t want to read about, say, her creative process of writing something before I actually read it and colour my opinion on it. So we have speculation for now on most things. Obviously I’ve done some research and I know facts and whatnot, but getting into Montgomery’s writings about her life and stuff will come later in this project.

Back to the scene at hand. Anne hugs Marilla tight and promises to try and make them proud, and Marilla tells her that Miss Stacy says Anne is “bright and diligent”. Miss Stacy apparently said more than that, too, but Marilla wouldn’t “pamper vanity” by repeating it. Marilla’s not quick to praise Anne herself, for fear of giving her a big head, but boy is she proud when someone talks about Anne and praises her.

It’ll still be a year and a half before Anne will be ready to try to take the entrance exam. The new Queen’s class consists of Anne, Gilbert Blythe, Ruby Gillis, Jane Andrews, Josie Pye, Charlie Sloane and Moody Spurgeon MacPherson.

Diana’s parents don’t intend to send her to Queen’s. Rude. Can we get Aunt Josephine on that? That seems like something Aunt Josephine would disagree with. Poor Anne is taking that hard. The Queen’s class meets for an hour after school for extra lessons and it’s the first time since Minnie May’s croup she and Diana have been apart for anything.

She’s comforted by a Mrs Rachel saying, though, “we can’t have things perfect in this imperfect world”, and says “Mrs Lynde isn’t exactly a comforting person sometimes, but there’s no doubt she says a great many very true things.”

Honestly that’s not untrue lol.

It also helps that she thinks the class and work will be very interesting, and looks forward to the learning.

Let’s talk career aspirations. Jane and Ruby are going to be teachers, too. Ruby, however, says she’ll only teach for two years and then she plans on getting married. Jane plans on never marrying “because you are paid a salary for teaching, but a husband won’t pay you anything, and growls if you ask for a share in the egg and butter money”.

No joke, are you okay, Jane?

Mrs Rachel says Jane’s father “is a perfect old crank, and meaner than second skimmings”. “Mean” here would, well, mean cheap, essentially, not cruel, but… I suspect he’s both.

If any adaptation makes him abusive, there’s definitely basis here tbh.

Anyways, that disturbing thought aside, Josie Pye meanwhile is “just going to college for education’s sake, because she won’t have to earn her own living; she says of course it is different with orphans who are living on charity – they have to hustle”.

Honestly fuck you, Josie Pye.

You know what, we’re making a note of that for adaptations. Josie Pye is MEAN and she’s mean specifically about Anne being an orphan.

Moody Spurgeon is going to be a minister. “Mrs Lynde says he couldn’t be anything else with a name like that to live up to.”

I mean. I’m just going to let that stand on its own. Moody Spurgeon MacPherson, though.

Charlie Sloane wants to be a member of Parliment. Mrs Rachel says the Sloanes are all “honest people” and “it’s only rascals that get on in politics nowadays”. Marilla asks about Gilbert and Anne claims not to know what Gilbert’s ambitions in life are – if he even has any, which she doubts.

Apparently the rivalry between Anne and Gilbert has become an open one that’s no longer one-sided. Gilbert’s just as determined to be first in class as Anne now. The others are like, “We’re just gonna stay out of this,” lol. Smart.

Since the pond incident, Gilbert has been steadfastly ignoring Anne – and she finds she does not like this taste of her own medicine. Now remember, she spent 2 years pretending he didn’t exist, but when she does the same, she’s not happy at all. Slowly she begins to realize she’s not angry at him anymore and regrets not forgiving him that day at the pond. She’s too stubborn to eat crow, though, and resolves not to let anyone, not even Diana, realize her true feelings and how sorry she is.

She does this so well that Gilbert “who possibly was not quite so indifferent as he seemed” doubts she even notices he’s ignoring her. He’s just glad Anne’s still snubbing Charlie Sloane lol.

Winter passes in a paragraph of lessons and books and Sunday-school choir and Saturday afternoons with Mrs Allan, and then it’s spring again. That was fast. Around here, time begins to pass in the book rather quickly. My timeline will be handy.

Seriously though that was like 6 months in a paragraph. Montgomery leaves a LOT of room for adaptations to play with expanding in these parts.

The students do struggle a little then, as we know how spring in Avonlea is, and who wouldn’t want to be outside in that, but when the term ends for summer, Miss Stacy expresses how proud she is of them all for their hard work.

Next year will be their last year before the entrance exam – interesting note, it’s really not by age, but ability. Remember, Gilbert is over fifteen now and Anne is just turned fourteen. Josie Pye asks if Miss Stacy will return next year as there’s been rumours “she had been offered a position in the graded school of her own home district”.

I’m fascinated by the education in this book. Like Avonlea has a one-room schoolhouse but we know Anne’s father taught at a high school. So interesting.

They’re all very grateful to hear Miss Stacy will be returning, especially Anne.

Gosh, a lot happens in this chapter. I think the last time I had this many pages of notes, I had to research and explain diphtheric croup.

Anne locks all her school books in the attic and declares she won’t look at them til September. She plans on having one more really free, good summer as it’s probably her last as a “little girl”. Her words, but she’s fourteen now. That is that kind of age.

She’s growing very tall and Mrs Rachel says she’ll “soon have to put on longer skirts”. Like putting your hair up, wearing long skirts was considered a sign of maturity. Skirts would get longer as a girl got older.

Also, special note goes to, “I think we’re going to have a very gay vacation”, LOL.

The next day, Mrs Rachel comes to check on them as Marilla wasn’t at the Aid meeting Thursday and everyone knows it takes a lot for that to happen. Mrs Rachel might be a busybody, but I appreciate that she was worried about her friends and came to see them.

Matthew had a “bad spell with his heart” that day and Marilla didn’t want to leave him. They’ve been happening more than they used to. The doctor says he need to avoid excitment (easy) and also heavy work (not easy).

Sigh. Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen.

Anywas, Mrs Rachel stays for tea and Anne makes it along with “hot biscuits that were light and white enough to defy even Mrs Rachel’s criticism”. As Marilla walks her to the end of the lane, Mrs Rachel says Anne has turned out to be a smart girl, and a real help to Marilla. Marilla says Anne is steady and reliable and Marilla “wouldn’t be afraid to trust her in anything now”.

Awwwwww.

Mrs Rachel willingly admits she was mistaken about Anne and she’s glad for that. And that Anne has grown very pretty and maybe she’s not as conventionally pretty as the other girls, but she’s unique, and that makes her stand out from the crowd.

That’s the end of the chapter, and you’ll have to excuse me, because I seem to have something in my eye.

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Works Cited

Kennedy, Rose. “Drowning Doesn’t Look like What You Think. How to Recognize the Signs.” Ajc, For the AJC, 10 May 2018, http://www.ajc.com/lifestyles/health/drowning-doesn-look-like-what-you-think-how-recognize-the-signs/d1xQYZMVmgfHI1nBWOVK0J/.

Rohrer, Finlo. “Why Don’t Black Americans Swim?” BBC News, 3 Sept. 2010, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-11172054.

Scott, Jacqueline L. “Swimming While Black.” The Conversation, 18 Jan. 2019, theconversation.com/swimming-while-black-101354.

Wikipedia Contributors. “The Lady of Shalott.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 Mar. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lady_of_Shalott.

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Waiting on Wednesday Update (7)

This is a series where I look at my old Waiting on Wednesday posts and talk about if I actually ever did read the book, if I liked it if I did, and if I haven’t, would I or not. That kind of thing. I think it’s an interesting idea, and I hope you do, too.

WoWed January 20th, 2010:

A Blue So Dark by Holly Schindler

Release date: May 8th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose has been hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever since Aura’s dad left them. Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent.

But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked—and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Update: Wow, I was annoying in this post. Sorry about that, and you’re welcome that I’m not linking the original posts. I never read this, and this is the kind of book that I’d be very concerned would be problematic, especially if it wasn’t an ownvoices book. The summary does sound a bit ableist honestly. So I’d probably just skip this one.

Glimmerglass by Jenna Black

Release date: May 25th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn’t just an ordinary teenage girl, she’s a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone’s trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her new-found friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again.

Update: Actually, I would be interested in reading this one still. I think the premise of an MC who knows they’re not human and being all, “Nah, I’m done with humanity, peace,” is unique and interesting and a little hilarious.

Especially in 2019.

I think many of us would like to do similar.

I mentioned in my original post that I liked some of Jenna Black’s adult books, and I’ve since read Replica by her, and I liked it pretty well. So if I ever saw this one, I’d probably grab it.

WoWed January 28th:

Anxious Hearts by Tucker Shaw

Release date: May 1st, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): “Evangeline,” he repeated, calling at a whisper. “Evangeline.” He was not calling that she may hear, he was calling that somehow her soul might know that he was devoted entirely to her, only to her. “Evangeline, I will find you.”

Eva and Gabe explore the golden forest of their seaside Maine town, unknowingly tracing the footsteps of two teens, Evangeline and Gabriel, who once lived in the idyllic wooded village of Acadia more than one hundred years ago. On the day that Evangeline and Gabriel were be wed, their village was attacked and the two were separated. And now in the present, Gabe has mysteriously disappeared from Eva.

A dreamlike, loose retelling of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous love poem “Evangeline,” Anxious Hearts tells an epic tale of unrequited love and the hope that true love can be reunited.

Update: Eh, this one just isn’t calling my name… oh my god that joke wasn’t on purpose. I’m not realizing I made a “calling my name” crack when the book summary starts with him calling her name til I’m proofreading this. Actually judge me for that. Pretty cover, though.

Illyria by Elizabeth Hand

Release date (and why do I keep typing release data?): May 13th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Madeleine and Rogan are first cousins, best friends, twinned souls, each other’s first love. Even within their large, disorderly family—all descendants of a famous actress—their intensity and passion for theater sets them apart. It makes them a little dangerous.

When they are cast in their school’s production of Twelfth Night, they are forced to face their separate talents and futures, and their future together.

Update: Um.

Um.

I think I’m going to pass on the incest romance. Sorry.

WoWed February 3rd, 2010:

Guardian of the Dead by Karen Healey

Release date: April 8th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Ellie Spencer is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend, Kevin; she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy; and her biggest worry is her paper deadline.

But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of killings that share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing.

Then a beautiful yet eerie woman enters Ellie’s circle of friends and develops an unhealthy fascination with Kevin, and a crazed old man grabs Ellie in a public square and shoves a tattered Bible into her hands, exclaiming, “You need it. It will save your soul.” Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies in an epic battle for immortality.

Update: I’ve thought about reading this one actually. I’ve heard it has ace rep, but I’ve also heard mixed things about the ace rep, and not good things about the Maori rep. So I dunno.

For Keeps by Natasha Friend

Release date: April 6th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): For sixteen years, Josie Gardner and her mom, Kate, have been a team. It’s been the Gardner Girls against the world, and that’s how Josie likes it.

Until one day, they find out that Paul Tucci, Kate’s high school boyfriend – the father Josie has never met – is back in town. Josie’s mom suddenly turns back into the heartbroken teenager she was when Paul moved away.

Meanwhile, Josie’s on the verge of having her first real boyfriend. And when Josie learns some surprising truths about Paul Tucci and the past, she begins questioning what she thought she knew, and finds out what happens when a girl gets the guy she always wanted and the dad she never knew she needed.

Update: Disappeared dad stories just aren’t my thing. And it’s honestly kind of unfair for me to read them knowing that I won’t like them.

WoWed February 10th, 2010:

The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones

Release date: April 13th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Maxwell Unger has always loved the night. He used to do brave things like go tramping through the forest with his gran after dark. He loved the stories she told him about the world before the Destruction—about nature, and books, and the silver owls. His favorite story, though, was about the Owl Keeper.

According to Max’s gran, in times of darkness the Owl Keeper would appear to unite owls and sages against the powers of the dark. Gran is gone now, and so are her stories of how the world used to be. Max is no longer brave. The forest is dangerous, the books Gran had saved have been destroyed, and the silver owls are extinct. At least that’s what the High Echelon says. But Max knows better.

Maxwell Unger has a secret. And when a mysterious girl comes to town, he might just have to start being brave again.

The time of the Owl Keeper, Gran would say, is coming soon.

Update: This cover is super pretty. I probably won’t specifically seek this out, just because this kind of fantasy isn’t super my thing and life is short, but it still looks cute.

Light Beneath Ferns by Anne Spollen

Release date: February 1st, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Elizah Rayne is nothing like other fourteen-year-old girls. More interested in bird bones than people, she wraps herself in silence.

Trying to escape the shadow of her gambler father, Elizah and her mother move into an old house that borders a cemetery. All her mother wants is for them to have “normal” lives. But that becomes impossible for Elizah when she finds a human jawbone by the river and meets Nathaniel, a strangely hypnotic boy who draws Elizah into his dreamlike and mysterious world.

Only by forgetting everything she knows can Elizah understand the truth about Nathaniel–and discover an unimaginable secret.

Update: Yeah, no, this sounds great. I would totally read this. Someone buy it for me.

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw

Release date: May 13th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): Ten years ago Kate Winters’ parents were taken by the High Council’s wardens to help with the country’s war effort. Now the wardens are back…and prisoners, including Kate’s uncle Artemis, are taken south on the terrifying Night Train.

Kate and her friend Edgar are hunted by a far more dangerous enemy. Silas Dane – the High Council’s most feared man – recognises Kate as one of the Skilled; a rare group of people able to see through the veil between the living and the dead. His spirit was damaged by the High Council’s experiments into the veil, and he’s convinced that Kate can undo the damage and allow him to find peace.

The knowledge Kate needs lies within Wintercraft – a book thought to be hidden deep beneath the graveyard city of Fume. But the Night of Souls, when the veil between life and death is at its thinnest, is just days away and the High Council have their own sinister plans for Kate and Wintercraft.

Update: I read this twice! I also reviewed the first book on its own once, and reviewed the whole series here. Go me.

Wolves, Boys, and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

Release date: May 13th, 2010

Summary (from goodreads): KJ Carson lives an outdoor lover’s dream. The only daughter of a fishing and wildlife guide, KJ can hold her own on the water or in the mountains near her hometown outside Yellowstone National Park.

But when she meets the shaggy-haired, intensely appealing Virgil, KJ loses all self-possession. And she’s not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing that they’re assigned to work together on a school newspaper article about the famous wolves of Yellowstone.

As KJ spends time with Virgil, she also spends more time getting to know a part of her world that she always took for granted… and she begins to see herself and her town in a whole new light.

Update: This does still sound neat. I probably wouldn’t seek it out, but I wouldn’t turn it down if it came to me somehow. The cover is really neat, too.

It’s weird that six of these ten books are blue or blueish, isn’t it?

I’ve only read one of these this batch, but I’d be open to a few of them.

What do you all think about what I wanted to read in 2010? Do you remember what you wanted to read in 2010?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

The (Other) F Word Cover + Contributor Reveal!

Now, I’m not sure if you all know this, but I’m a proud contributor in THE (OTHER) F WORD, an amazing fat-positive anthology of essays coming out September 24. This year. (THIS YEAR!)

And today brings us several super exciting announcements, like the launch of this:

The Other F Word_Cover

THE (OTHER) F WORD: A CELEBRATION OF THE FAT & FIERCE is the groundbreaking compendium written and compiled by renowned fat authors, influencers, and creators that offers teen readers and activists of all ages a guide for navigating our world with confidence and courage.

This collection of diverse voices is meant for people of all sizes who desire to be seen and heard in a culture consumed by a narrow definition of beauty. THE (OTHER) F WORD combines personal essays, prose, poetry, fashion tips, and art to create a relatable and gift-worthy guide about body image and fat acceptance.

Fat acceptance is here to stay. THE (OTHER) F WORD gives fat readers a guidebook to becoming their best, most confident selves while also offering readers of all sizes a road map for reconceiving our notions of beauty and acceptance.

To read an excerpt, please go check out the post on Bustle and to see the full list of contributors (including me!), check out the post on Abrams’ blog!

And if you want to support this amazing anthology, please consider pre-ordering it (not an affiliate link, just a convenient link, Abrams also has a really cool pre-order page), asking your library to order it, and adding it on Goodreads!

Thanks SO much for reading this post! I’m super excited!

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (59)

can't wait wednesday threeCan’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill Breaking the Spine.

Brave Like Lily by Richard Denney

Release date: June 11th, 2019
(No active buy links yet, and I’m not sure if I’m finding the right author googling. We’ll just wait and see on this part.)

Summary (from goodreads): Mateo Morales hasn’t cried since that night, the night he woke up to screaming, the night the police were at the front door, the night his older sister was killed by a police officer… the night his world shattered. A week later, thirteen-year-old Mateo still doesn’t understand why this had to happen, why he hasn’t cried, and who he should blame for the loss of his beloved sister.

As he attempts to navigate his life at school and with his family, the media quickly turns the blame on Lily and Mateo feels angry and helpless and he’s not alone. His seventeen-year-old sister Nina is taking out her frustration on Mateo, his parents are treating him like he’s made of glass, and his friends Queenie and Marcus are trying to help get justice for Lily. In a world of constant injustice, Mateo must find his voice and figure out a way to fight for his sister.

The part where I talk: This is one of those books that it hurts my heart that they need to exist, but there’s no way to deny how much they do need to, and how important they are. And I want to boost them and give them whatever little bit of spotlight I can whenever I can.

Peace and cookies,
Laina

YA Review: With the Fire on High, or: Wow, I am starving now

38739562With the Fire on High by Elizabet Acevedo

Published: May 7th, 2019 by HarperTeen
Genre: Contemporary YA, maybe bordering on Magical Realism?
Binding: eARC
Page Count: Goodreads says 400, wow.
Part of a series? Not that I’m aware of.
Got via: Edelweiss.
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness.

Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Review: Wow, this was amazing. Is it really four hundred pages? Because my kindle doesn’t have page counts and I started this thinking I was just going to read a chapter or two, and then it was a couple hours later and I was done the book. This was so unique and beautifully written. There were so many things I really liked about this.

First, I think it’s rather unique that Emoni is a teenaged mother and it’s not treated as something that ruined her life. When she talks about her pregnancy and the time period around there, it’s treated as a serious thing. Not everyone reacts well, and it definitely makes her life more difficult, but it’s not the end of her life. I think that’s way less stigmatizing than the way teen pregancy can be treated in YA. Especially because Emoni got pregnant very young, and her baby is already two years old, not a newborn or infant. It’s very different from the usual representation in YA.

Emoni is an amazing example of a young girl who has the deck stacked against her, but is capable of incredible things when she puts her mind to it. And I especially loved how she was surrounded by supportive friends and family that helped her accomplish those things. I won’t spoil it, but there’s a moment with her aunt that straight up made me tear up.

I liked that Emoni’s best friend Angelica was queer. She was a great character, and a ton of her scenes were just the cutest thing.

Also I thought it was pretty awesome that the author created a sex positive book despite Emoni having an unplanned pregnancy. The book is supportive about making that choice when you’re ready, and it being okay to wait if you’re not. And PIV sex isn’t treated as the be all and end all. And the book uses the phrase sexual attraction! Emoni mentions her first few times having sex isn’t really about sexual attraction but more about curiosity. I appreciated that!

There is a little language that isn’t the most aro-friendly (specifically a use of “just friends”) but overall I really liked how the sex and romance were treated. Emoni’s romance arc is adorable and I loved it, but a decent amount of characters don’t have a romance arc, and that’s not treated as a big thing at all.

Okay one more thing before I wrap this up – a wide variety of bodies are represented in this book. People are described as fat in various ways, none of them negatively (though personally I hate the term “heavyset”, but it’s better than other things I’ve read) and there’s no bodyshaming or shaming people for eating. And the book often described thin bodies, and didn’t assume that you would think thin bodies were the default. I enjoyed that.

This is a really great book. I liked that the chapters were very short, which I think makes a book approachable for more selective readers. I loved the choices the author made with families in this – Emoni’s relationship with her father is complicated, and there aren’t easy fixes for them as they build a relationship as two adults. It was something I enjoyed as someone who’s really not a big fan of certain very common types of estranged father storylines. And it was really nice to see how the author represented Emoni’s ex and them settling into co-parenting.

The indecision that Emoni faces in her senior year about what decision to make about her future is something I think is so realistic and something so many young adults her age face. And college isn’t treated as something that is a guarentee for everyone, and things like trade schools, community colleges, and even getting a job directly out of high school, which I find is super ignored in YA, are treated equally. The fact that Emoni is poor, and unsure how she’ll pay for college, and her grades are average so scholarships are unlikely is not something I see enough.

And can we talk about how beautiful this cover is? This is like one of my favourite colours of purple. I almost made the background of my blog a very similar colour. So beautiful.

Oh gosh I need to stop before I just start grabbing you all and start reading you passages of this before you can escape. I literally have three pages of almost purely praise for this book, and I highly recommend it. Four and a half roses out of five.

Representation: Emoni is Afro-Puerto Rican, her best friend Angelica is Black and a lesbian (and has a girlfriend), and most characters are Black or Latinx. Emoni’s family is also poor. It’s also implied that Emoni may have some kind of learning disorder, but it’s undiagnosed due to the circumstances she lives in and that kind of thing just not being diagnosed in Black girls as much.

Content warnings: Mentions of Emoni being somewhat bullied for her pregnancy, along with Angelica being bullied when she came out, and another character lost a brother to gun violence. The book also talks about Columbus and the realities of colonization, and that kind of thing. A character uses the g-word to describe Romani people, but another calls them out on it. Also, Emoni’s father lives in Puerto Rico and there’s some mention of the storms down there.

None of these things are done in a graphic way, and none are really the focus of the book, but I’m trying to mention anything I think is relevant in this section.

Other notes:

  • I am deeply sorry for how many times I read the author’s last name as avocado. I’m sure she’s gotten that a lot over her life, but the food representation from this is just too strong and it keeps taking me a moment before I correct myself.
  • I’m not sure where to put the disclaimer in reviews so I’m putting it here: buy links include affiliate links, and I’ll earn a small commission if you purchase through them.

Peace and cookies,

Laina

Anne of Green Gables Read-Along Chapters 25-27

Warning in advance – this post is a bit image heavy. And also long.

3709710(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Twenty-Five: Matthew insists on Puffed Sleeves

Well, fittingly, since we closed the last chapter talking about him, this chapter is a Matthew chapter.

It’s a cold, grey December evening and Matthew is basically trapped in a corner. Unknown to him, Anne and a group of her schoolfriends (plus Josie Pye) were rehearsing “The Fairy Queen” in the living room.

After a long day, Matthew came in, sat down in the wood-box corner of the kitchen to take his boots off, and the girls spilled into the room, giggling and talking as many girls who are excited about something do. Since he’s flatly terrified of any girl child who isn’t Anne, he tries very hard to disappear into the shadows so they don’t notice him as they get on their coats and things to leave.

As Anne is seeing them off, Matthew realizes there’s something about her that’s different from the other girls. And he thinks there shouldn’t be, as she “has a brighter face, and bigger, starrier eyes”. It puzzles and worries him deeply.

He can’t bring it up to Marilla as she’d just say something about the difference being that sometimes the other girls “hold their tongues”. (*snicker*) It takes him about two hours of deep thought (and pipe smoking, which he only does when he’s troubled about something and Marilla hates with a passion) for him to come to a conclusion.

What he realizes is Anne isn’t dressed like the other girls. And she never has been. The other girls were “all gay in waists of red and blue and pink and white” but Marilla had always kept Anne in “plain, dark dresses all made from the same unvarying pattern.” He even notices the sleeves are different.

I should make a note of that for adaptations, actually.

He’s sure Marilla knows best… but surely it wouldn’t hurt to let Anne have one pretty dress (like Diana, it’s said specifically). And since Christmas is just two weeks away, he’s going to get her one.

Problem solved!

He goes to bed and Marilla goes about opening every door in the house to air it out.

The very next day, Matthew goes to Carmody to buy a dress. He decides to go to Samuel Lawson’s store instead of the usual William Blair’s, which the Cuthberts are almost as loyal to as church or political party, as William’s two daughters often wait on customers. Matthew is okay with them if he knows exactly what he wants and can point it out, but he cannot deal when he has to explain so much. So, Lawson’s it is, so he can deal with Samuel or his son.

Except.

Samuel has recently expanded and hired a lady clerk as well.

Matthew is basically done for.

He asks for garden rakes… in December, and then hayseed… in December (and they only stock it in the spring, as that’s when you need it), almost leaves without paying for his rake, and then buys *20 pounds* of brown sugar.

Poor quality brown sugar.

Also apparently Jerry Buote has gone also? Maybe he goes home for the winter since there’s not as much to do? I’m not sure and it’s not really explained here.

Matthew thinks about the whole thing and realizes he needs reinforcements – and those reinforcements being a woman could be helpful. He obviously can’t ask Marilla, though, as she’d just say no to a frivolous thing like this. So the only other woman he can go to for help on the island… or can even talk to, probably… is our very own Mrs Rachel Lynde.

Very luckily, this is the type of situation Mrs Rachel is glad to get involved in, and honestly excels at taking over. (The woman’s raised how many girl children? She’s sewn a few dresses in her life, I’m betting.)

Mrs Rachel decides a nice rich brown will suit Anne, and there’s a “new gloria” at Blair’s store that’s really pretty. Gloria is a glossy fabric, made of silk and wool or silk and cotton. I don’t think it’s very common anymore, but it was used for things like dresses and also umbrellas.

In 1928, a gloria umbrella would cost you 2.95. That’s about… 42 dollars US today for an umbrella.

Jeez, Matthew didn’t cheap out on this dress, did he? If that’s how much an umbrella cost, that really would be a nice dress. I would imagine gloria was cheaper than silk being a blend, but still decently pricy.

How do you all feel about the choice of brown? I like it – a rich brown would be a great colour on Anne as she is a redhead and pinks and reds might not suit her as well. Plus it wouldn’t stand out quite as much from her other clothes, I think, to make them look bad or make her feel weird or like she’s in a costume, you know?

Also she’s almost thirteen. A dress that’s a little more grown-up might be a nice thing. Mrs Rachel also offers to make the dress so Anne doesn’t “get wind of it” and “spoil the surprise”. She says that, but it’s pretty clear she doesn’t think Marilla would agree with the plan either.

Matthew even makes sure to ask “if it wouldn’t be asking too much” if she could make the sleves how the girls are wearing them now. And we know how much Anne wants those puffed sleeves!! They really are kindred spirits.

Privately, Mrs Rachel thinks it’s “positively ridiculous” how Marilla dresses Anne, but she’s kept her mouth shut as she knows Marilla wouldn’t appreciate her advice.

You know, I see both sides on this. I do think kids should be allowed to dress as they please, if possible, even if adults think their choices or the trends look silly, but I understand that Marilla means well, too. And budget constraints are a real thing.

Mrs Rachel brings it by Christmas Eve and Marilla is a little snarky about it, but “tolerant”. Side note, Matthew has apparently been grinning to himself about it for the last two weeks. How adorable is that?

Anne hasn’t said anything about the puffed sleeves since she came, Marilla admits. They’ve apparently been getting bigger and bigger, too. “Next year anybody who wears them will have to go through a door sideways.”

Marilla, never change XD

It’s a lovely white Christmas. Despite a mild December, just enough snow fell to cover Avonlea and make it an absolute Winter Wonderland. Anne comes down to breakfast estatic at the simple fact that it’s Christmas, and is stunned when Matthew gives her the dress. Marilla, meanwhile, pretends not to be interested.

And it is a DRESS. A “lovely soft brown gloria with all the gloss of silk; a skirt with dainty frills and shirrings; a waist elaborately pintucked in the most fashionable way, with a little ruffle of lace at the neck. But the sleeves – they were the crowning glory! Long elbow cuffs and above them two beautiful puffs divided by rows of shirring and bows of brown silk ribbon.”

It’s everything Anne has ever dreamed of, basically. Mrs Rachel can SEW. Like, give it up for her. That is an elaborate dress made in less than 2 weeks going off the measurements of another girl who’s very similar in frame to Anne so Anne wouldn’t find out. She even gave Anne a matching hair ribbon as a gift from her.

Like, raise a glass to Mrs Rachel.

Matthew becomes concerned she doesn’t like it as she starts tearing up. Of course, she absolutely adores it and is just overwhelmed by how grateful she is.

Diana comes to see Anne after breakfast to say Merry Christmas and to give Anne a gift from Aunt Josephine – a beautiful pair of kid slippers. (Editing Laina coming in here.) “Kid” refers to the leather they were made of, not being for children, if you didn’t know, and slipper is being used like Cinderella’s slippers.

These images are both of slippers from probably a decade earlier, but it gives you the idea. (Also both these images are in the public domain via the LACMA. So we’re going with them.)

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800px-woman27s_slipper_lacma_37.24.78

Styles would clearly change somewhat as shoes we wear today don’t necessarily look exactly like shoes we were wearing in 2009, but you wouldn’t see a shoe from 2009 and be like “what on earth is that”, so I’m comfortable enough using these to get a general idea of what Montgomery meant. They would have been a lot more delicate than any shoe Anne would have owned before, as she normally wears boots that are, obviously, sturdy and practical.

These aren’t shoes that you wear to milk a cow or pick apples in. They’re purely a shoe to wear because they’re pretty.

(Editing Laina out.)

And lucky for Anne she has a perfect opportunity to wear both as the Christmas concert is tonight!

It’s a “pronounced success” and Anne is a bright star of it all. She performs wonderfully and is so happy at the end of the night. The school makes 10 dollars from the concert, which would probably come out at over 200 if not closer to 300 dollars. That’s a fair chunk of change for a flag! (The return of Editing Laina: I just got curious and looked this up – apparently a flag pole, with no flag, is like 170 dollars at Canadian Tire, and then the flag is like 10 bucks. That’s the kind normal people can buy. Commercial ones can apparently be anywhere from $900 to $1700 dollars. Who knew flagpoles were so expensive?)

Diana says Gilbert Blythe was “just splendid” and says the way Anne treats him is kinda mean. Apparently after the fairy dialogue, one of Anne’s roses fell out of her hair and Gil picked it up and kept it. “You’re so romantic that I’m sure you ought to be pleased at that.”

Diana is a bit of a shipper on deck here!

That night, Marilla and Matthew sit up talking about Anne and the concert. They both think they did so well, and Marilla admits she looked very nice, too. She even says she doesn’t think there was any harm in the “concert scheme”, which is big praise from Marilla.

They also begin to realize Anne is growing up. Mrs Rachel made her dress a “mite too long” because Mrs Rachel is smart and knows when a kid really likes something, it’s not a bad idea to give them a little growing room so it lasts longer. Apparently that made Anne look very tall.

She’ll be thirteen in March, and Matthew says she’ll “need something more than Avonlea school by and by” and Marilla agrees. She says the best thing will be to send her to Queen’s “after a spell”.

Interestingly, Marilla doesn’t think they need to talk about it for a year or so. Funny for such a decisive woman, though she sometimes does delay telling Anne things so she won’t get overexcited as Anne is wont to do. Meanwhile, Matthew thinks things “like that are all the better for lots of thinking over” which is super in character for him, honestly.

And we close out what is probably my absolute favourite chapter in the book.

I also wanna give a shout-out to this doll blog. Random, I know, but the person made a doll version of the dress from this chapter and it’s a thing of beauty. No confirmations yet obviously, but there’s a chance they’ve made the most accurate version than any of the adaptations. I can’t find a twitter account, but they do have a facebook page.

Just props, because it’s a cool thing.

Editing Laina: Did anyone else notice the twenty-fifth chapter is the Christmas chapter? That’s cute.

(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Twenty-Six: The Story Club is Formed

After all the lead up to the Christmas concert of the last chapter, the youth of Avonlea, and especially Anne, is finding it a bit hard to settle down after the anticipation. Anne supposes that’s why Marilla disapproves of them as she’s very sensible. Anne doesn’t think it’d be very fun to be sensible as sensible people are so unromantic.

Mrs Rachel says there’s no danger in that happening XD

It’s an unusually mild winter and Anne are walking to school on Anne’s birthday. (In March, because yes, March is winter in Canada. Yes, I’m getting cabin fever, thanks for asking.) She’s thirteen now!!

In “two more years I’ll be really grown up”. Ruby Gillis says by that age, she wants to have a beau. Apparently Ruby Gillis thinks of nothing but beaux. Man poor Ruby Gillis doesn’t get much characterization besides “really into boys” and “panic”, does she?

Anne says that, and then says it was uncharitable and she’s been trying not to say uncharitable things in an attempt to be more like Mrs Allan. Honestly, good for you, Anne. Never a bad thing to try not to speak badly of others.

In four years, Anne and Diana will be able to “put our hair up”. Alice Bell is wearing hers up at only sixteen, but Diana doesn’t approve of that.

It’s still the Victorian era, right? (Editing Laina: We’re going to REALLY come back to both what time period we’re in and hair more than once, so don’t take the next bit too seriously – it’s a very surface level skim and is mostly about the pictures. I promise we’ll come back to that in great detail later. Click to enlarge the pictures for a real good look.)

Wow, these are some great pictures.

1870s-2

(Editing Laina: This picture is circa the 1870s but I just think it’s pretty.)

1880s-1

1880s-3

Girls would begin wearing their hair up as a sign they were adults in this time period. Apparently curly-haired girls were thought to have sweeter personalities. (Anne has curly hair, by the way.)

Seriously these pictures are great.

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Also you might have heard about Gibson Girls? There’s a book that even claims Evelyn Nesbit inspired Montgomery to write Anne. (Editing Laina: Again, we’ll go more into this later – enjoy some cool old photos for now.)

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I need something to drink so I’m gonna take a minute and just leave you with this picture because… gosh.

madame-rowleys-toilet-mask-300x205

So after that interesting diversion, we’re back to Anne and Diana, who are talking about all the things Miss Stacy is having them write. Diana doesn’t like the idea of having to write an original fiction piece, but Anne has written hers a week early.

Oh, gosh, friends and unknown enemies, it’s a tale. It’s called “The Jealous Rival: or, In Death, not Divided”. It stars two beautiful ladies named Cordelia Montmorency and Geraldine Seymour who “lived in the same village and were devotedly attached to each other”. Cordelia has black hair and “duskly flashing eyes” and Geraldine is a blonde with violet eyes. Anne’s never seen anyone with violet eyes, but she thinks it sounds exciting.

…wow, young writers have not changed, have they? *shoves old WIPs under bed*

They grew up together until they’re sixteen when Bertram De Vere showed up in their village and fell in love with Geraldine. He saved her life from a carriage accident, carried her home three miles when she fainted, and then apparently immediately proposed.

(I love this, also.)

Geraldine accepted with a “speech a page long” and Bertram gave her a diamond ring and a ruby necklace, and promised a honeymoon in Europe. Bertram was “immensely wealthy”, of course.

However, TROUBLE LOOMED. Cordelia was secretly in love with Bertram herself (personally I thought she was in love with Geraldine, but you do you, Anne) and “all her affection for Geraldine turned to bitter hate”.

So, Cordelia decided to shove Geraldine off a bridge. Bertram just happened to be there and jumped in to save her, but *forgot he couldn’t swim* and they both drown. Apparently it is “much more romantic to end a story up with a funeral than a wedding”.

Diana and Matthew are both fans, but Marilla said it was “stuff and nonsense” and honestly I’m just laughing my butt off XD It’s so dramatic!

Diana says she wishes her imagination was as good as Anne’s but Anne thinks it’s only a matter of cultivating it. They decide to create a story club. Members are Anne and Diana, of course, and Jane Andrews, Ruby Gillis, and a few unnamed other girls. The rules are no boys and everyone has to write one story a week, then they read them out loud and talk them over. They all write under pen names and Anne’s is “Rosamund Montmorency”.

This… maybe has aged oddly? Anne says “Ruby Gillis is rather sentimental. She puts too much love-making into her stories and you know how too much is worse than too little.”

That’s… probably a linguistic change? I mean they are thirteen…

We’ll just move on from that.

Marilla thinks it’s all a waste of time, but Anne promises they put a moral in all of the stories, lol. Diana even wrote Aunt Josephine about the story club and she asked to read some. They sent her four of their very best stories.

Aunt Josephine “wrote back that she had never read anything so amusing in her life. That kind of puzzled us as the stories were all very pathetic and almost everybody died.” Aunt Josephine is the best, let’s be real.

We also find out here that Mrs Allan was a “dreadful mischief” as a girl and always “getting into scrapes”. Anne hopes to be like her when she’s grown.

And that’s about the end. Little bit of a rambly chapter, but a fun one, especially Anne’s story!

(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Twenty-Seven: Vanity and Vexation of Spirit

Marilla is on her way home late one April evening and realizes winter is gone and spring has arrives. (Take me there, please.) The narration says Marilla pretends she’s thinking about the Aid Society but underneath she’s taking in the beautiful scenery around her.  She’s especially glad that she’ll be coming home to a nice fire and the table set for tea by Anne. It’s honestly a really sweet scene, and so lovely to see Marilla expressing gratitude for Anne’s presence in her life.

When she gets inside and finds the kitchen fire out and no sign of Anne, obviously she’s a bit miffed!

She complains about it fiercely to Matthew. Apparently at the Aid meeting, Mrs Rachel criticized Anne, saying her head was full of nonsense and that she gets into too much mischief. Marilla was grateful to have Mrs Allan speak up, as she’d’ve snapped at Mrs Rachel. Mrs Allan said Anne was the sweetest and brightest child she knew. Awwwww.

Marilla then immediately gets annoyed at herself for saying the same things as Mrs Rachel when it riled her up so much to hear them. She says Anne has plenty of faults but Mrs Rachel “would pick faults in the Angel Gabriel himself if he lived in Avonlea”.

Then she swings right over to being annoyed that Anne apparently took off when Marilla asked her to stay and look after things. She says, “I never found her disobedient or untrustworthy before and I’m real sorry to find her so now.”

Personally I think how annoyed Marilla is really is about a few different things. I think there’s a level of just being annoyed that any parent would have at their thirteen year old blowing off her chores to hang out with her friends or goof off or whatever.

But I also think she’s feeling a little hurt that it seems like Anne doesn’t care about Marilla’s feelings, that she got home to a dark empty house and has to do hard work after a long evening. Marilla’s love language is definitely Acts of Service. You see this when she’s worried about Anne especially, how she makes sure that Anne is eating and physically well taken care of.

Lastly, I think she’s frankly a little worried that Anne just isn’t there when she’s supposed to be. As she said, Anne doesn’t get lost in her thoughts and not show up on time for things very much anymore. She’s become a reliable girl – so why isn’t she there? Marilla may think Anne went to visit Diana or something, but it’s not like there are cellphones or anything where she can just shoot her a text. She doesn’t REALLY know.

…and I’ll remind you it’s not even been a year since the girl fell of a roof and broke her ankle.

I think anyone would be worried at that point. Especially because by the time supper is ready, it’s dark and Anne still hasn’t shown up.

Marilla goes up to get Anne’s candle from her room.

And she finds Anne, face down in her pillows. She asks if Anne has been sleeping all day, and when told no, “anxiously” asks if Anne is sick.

Nope.

A little relieved to hear that, Marilla tells her to get up and tell her what happened.

There are some great lines here, also:

“‘There now, what is it?’
Anne had slid to the floor in despairing obedience.”

Like how great is that turn of phrase? I can just picture Anne kind of slithering to the floor in a lump XD

Anne’s hair is green.

A “queer, dull, bronzy green, with streaks here and there of the original red to heighten the ghastly effect”.

Apparently Marilla has been “expecting something queer for some time” as Anne hasn’t gotten in any trouble for over two months. I love how predictable that is XD

So Anne has dyed her hair.

Marilla says if she decided to dye her hair, she would have chosen a decent colour, at least. (Honestly Marilla a little sarcastic and all like “child, wtf” is hilarious. Honestly, how else do you react when you come home to this??? XD)

Of course, Anne didn’t MEAN to dye it green. She meant to dye it black. (We’ll come back to that in a minute.) That’s what the “pedlar” who she bought the dye from promised.

Marilla is dismayed at the idea of Anne letting “one of those Italians in the house”. Anne promises she went out onto the step to look at his wares, and anyway “he was a German Jew”. He said “he was working to make enough money to bring his wife and children out from Germany.” That’s… an interesting look at attitudes towards certain populations in the late 19th century, to say the least.

He promised the dye would dye any hair a raven black and wouldn’t wash off.

Now, Anne says she applied it using an old hair brush and combing it through, so we can figure out that it’s not a dye that uses peroxide to lift the colour before depositing pigment. That means this is probably a direct dye, where it basically stains your hair with really strong pigment. I suspect, based on a little bit of research, that the dye was a form of indigo. Indigo, if you’re unaware, is like henna.

It’s what you use to dye jeans and stuff, and you can use it to dye hair black – but your hair needs to be pretty brown already. If you dye your hair with henna first, you can get a really dark brown or black, but over naturally… well, orange hair?

Well, picture orange combined with one these. Colour theory. You’re gonna get a muddy, brownish green.

(If you google, you’ll find a decent amount of people who have tried to put indigo over blonde hair and turned their hair green.)

Indigo in block form looks like this:

800px-indigo-historische_farbstoffsammlung

Photo by “Shisha-Tom” via Wikimedia commons with no alterations made.

And indigo as a powder you use for hair is… green. (I can’t link to a picture, but check out this random, non-affiliate link amazon page or google “indigo powder” yourself. There will also be videos and links at the bottom of the post.)

And henna and indigo are pretty much considered permanent dyes. You can fade them, somewhat, over time and with a lot of washing but you’re pretty much going to be cutting them out. This plus some of the ingredients are why henna + bleaching can be a huge disaster.

When the peddler promises the dye wouldn’t wash out… boy was he right. Anne spends a week at home and washes her hair every day, which was like never done in that time period.

Should we talk a moment about historical hair washing? I think we should for a minute. (Note: I’m going to talk about this from a largely European view with mostly a few on straight to wavy hair/white people hair. I am VERY not qualified to talk about natural hair care at all, let alone historically, lol. Knowing my limitations here.)

Early soap made of animal fat or vegetable oils boiled with ashes. Eventually you start adding lye, and eventually around the 1500s you get to Castille soap which is a thing people still use today. Castille soap is pretty alkaline, like baking soda or dish soap. It’s used in the same way too, now, as a general cleaner around the house, and sometimes people still use it as a shampoo, but more as a cleansing shampoo. It can really strip the hair. I believe it’s meant to be diluted, too?

You may know Dr. Bronner’s as an example of modern Castille soap. A lot of people swear by it being more “natural” but I’m always skeptical of that.

Back in Anne’s time, people would shave flakes of soap into boiling water and add herbs for shine and fragrance, but they often left the hair dull due to the film they left. Other forms of lye soap weren’t always made properly, and could contain too much lye, which obviously isn’t remotely good for your hair (or skin).

If your hair was in good condition, it was recommended to wash it about every 4-6 weeks. You’d use a brush to apply the Castille soap, then rinse it several times. Bar soap in general is not properly made for hair – it’s very stripping, can cause build-up, and isn’t the right PH for hair.

And the opinion back then even seems that the water was bad for your hair – plus think how long it would take to dry that super long hair!! Like if your hair was almost to your knees, that would take forever to dry.

Anne washes her hair probably more than she would in almost a year, with incredibly harsh soap… and nothing changes. Poor thing is a mess, honestly. Only Diana knew what happened, and she swore never to tell anyone – and didn’t, ever.

After the week is up, Marilla says they’ll have to cut Anne’s hair. Anne cries while Marilla is cutting, but after she decides that she’ll learn a lesson about being vain from this, and look in the mirror every day until it grows out. Note that Anne’s hair in addition to being red was “long and thick and curly”. Wonder how many adaptations will get that? 😛

And they had to cut it super short, like almost to the scalp.

At school on Monday, Josie Pye says Anne “looked like a perfect scarecrow” and it causes some talk among in general, but no one guesses the true reason for the haircut, to Anne’s relief. Anne tells Marilla this and more as Marilla’s lying on the couch after another one of her headaches, then asks if she’s talking to much and hurting Marilla’s head.

Poor Marilla’s headaches have been getting worse and worse and she plans to see the doctor soon.

She also says, “As for your your chatter, I don’t know that I mind it – I’ve got so used to it.” The narrative adds, “Which was Marilla’s way of saying that she liked to hear it.”

This thread became a lot longer than I expected, but this is the end of the chapter! This chapter was a lot of fun. Not gonna lie, I’m kind of excited to see this one in adaptations and see how much they run with it. (No spoilers, please.)

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Works Cited

Bergstein, Rachelle. “The Beauty Routine of a Victorian Woman Was Anything but Glamorous.” New York Post, New York Post, 23 Oct. 2016, nypost.com/2016/10/23/the-beauty-routine-of-a-victorian-woman-was-anything-but-glamorous/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.

Blakemore, Erin. “The Gibson Girls: The Kardashians of the Early 1900s.” Mentalfloss.Com, 17 Sept. 2014, mentalfloss.com/article/58591/gibson-girls-kardashians-early-1900s.

Bree. “Take It From Me: Tips On Going From Blonde To Dark Brown Hair With Henna & Indigo.” Lovelierie, 11 Jan. 2018, http://www.lovelierie.com/beauty/take-it-from-me-tips-on-going-from-blonde-to-dark-brown-hair-with-henna-indigo.

Faiola, Anne-Marie. “How to Test PH with Red Cabbage  – Soap Queen.” Soap Queen, Brambleberry, 7 Feb. 2015, http://www.soapqueen.com/bath-and-body-tutorials/tips-and-tricks/test-ph-red-cabbage/. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.

Gavazzoni Dias, Maria FernandaReis, et al. “The Shampoo PH Can Affect the Hair: Myth or Reality?” International Journal of Trichology, vol. 6, no. 3, 2014, p. 95, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4158629/, 10.4103/0974-7753.139078.

Gio. “Beauty History: Madame Rowley’s Toilet Mask.” Beautiful With Brains, Beautiful With Brains, 7 Sept. 2012, http://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/beauty-history-madame-rowleys-toilet-mask/.

—. “Beauty History: Madame Rowley’s Toilet Mask.” Beautiful With Brains, Beautiful With Brains, 7 Sept. 2012, http://www.beautifulwithbrains.com/beauty-history-madame-rowleys-toilet-mask/.

“Gloria Fabric–What Is It? | Threads Magazine Gatherings Forum | Sewing Questions & Answers.” Threadsmagazine.Com, 5 May 2004, forums.threadsmagazine.com/gatherings/general-discussion/gloria-fabric-what-it.

Harris, Kathleen. “Victorian Hairstyles: A Short History, in Photos – WhizzPast.” WhizzPast, 28 July 2015, http://www.whizzpast.com/victorian-hairstyles-a-short-history-in-photos/.

HennaSooq. “Indigo for Hair | Natural Hair Dye.” YouTube, 7 Feb. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C34Pb8bcXHo.

“Holiday Sale.” Athens Messenger, 30 Nov. 1928, p. 2, newspaperarchive.com/athens-messenger-nov-30-1928-p-2/.

Holland, Evangeline. “How I Take Care Of My Hair.” Edwardian Promenade, 28 June 2009, http://www.edwardianpromenade.com/beauty/how-i-take-care-of-my-hair/.

ItzyBaby. “Dying My Hair Indigo Over Faded Red.” YouTube, 4 Feb. 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4Si6O_PXYM.

Ossola, Alexandra. “What Is Castile Soap and How Does It Work?” Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC., 19 Oct. 2016, http://www.thekitchn.com/what-is-castile-soap-and-how-does-it-work-236538.

“Premium Flag Pole Kit, 20-Ft. | Canadian Tire.” Canadiantire.Ca, http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/premium-flag-pole-kit-20-ft-0791681p.html#.

Romanowski, Perry. “Is Bar Soap Bad for Hair?” Thebeautybrains.Com, 2014, thebeautybrains.com/2014/04/is-bar-soap-bad-for-hair/.

Sabayon. “Dyeing Your Hair with Henna and Indigo: A Slightly Abstract Open to Red and Black Week.” Ruffles Not Diets, 2010, rufflesnotdiets.blogspot.com/2012/06/dyeing-your-hair-with-henna-and-indigo.html.

“Step Tapered Flag Poles | Flag Outlet – Commercial & Residential Flagpole Manufacturer.” Flagpole.Ca, 2015, http://www.flagpole.ca/step/step.html.

“The Gibson Girl as the ‘New Woman’ – The Gibson Girl’s America: Drawings by Charles Dana Gibson | Exhibitions – Library of Congress.” Loc.Gov, http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/gibson-girls-america/the-gibson-girl-as-the-new-woman.html.

“The History of Shampoo | Hairstory.” Hairstory.Com, Hairstory, 15 Mar. 2019, http://www.hairstory.com/stories/2017/3/24/the-history-of-shampoo/.

Vinskofski, Susan. “Is Lye Soap Safe?” Learningandyearning.Com, 29 Jan. 2019, learningandyearning.com/is-lye-soap-safe.

“Woman’s Shoe | LACMA Collections.” Lacma.Org, collections.lacma.org/node/225214.

Book Blogger Hop (35)

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books and is now hosted by Billy of Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.

This week’s question is: Do you have a favorite classic? When did you read it? High school or as an adult?

My answer: I’ve mostly read childrens’ classics and I read all of those in elementary school. I mean, I’ve read others but I don’t have a lot of really fond feelings towards adult classics. Though I am a Jane Eyre fan, but I also read that in elementary school for the first time.

Some of my favourites, though, are A Little Princess (I read that so much as a kid), The Secret Garden, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass (big fan of that one, actually), oh, and definitely Pippi Longstocking.

All of those I read before high school!

What are yours?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (58)

can't wait wednesday threeCan’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill Breaking the Spine. Buy links include affiliate links, where I can earn a small commission if you purchase through them.

All Eyes On Us by Kit Frick

Release date: June 4th, 2019
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): PRIVATE NUMBER: Wouldn’t you look better without a cheater on your arm?
AMANDA: Who is this?

The daughter of small town social climbers, Amanda Kelly is deeply invested in her boyfriend, real estate heir Carter Shaw. He’s kind, ambitious, the town golden boy—but he’s far from perfect. Because behind Amanda’s back, Carter is also dating Rosalie.

PRIVATE NUMBER: I’m watching you, Sweetheart.
ROSALIE: Who IS this?

Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend—while concealing her identity from her Christian fundamentalist parents. After years spent in and out of conversion “therapy,” her own safety is her top priority. But maintaining a fake, straight relationship is killing her from the inside.

When an anonymous texter ropes Amanda and Rosalie into a bid to take Carter down, the girls become collateral damage—and unlikely allies in a fight to unmask their stalker before Private uproots their lives.

PRIVATE NUMBER: You shouldn’t have ignored me. Now look what you made me do…

The part where I talk: I’m super into this summary. And honestly, I’m so glad to see more thrillers and non-contemporary books with queer protagonists coming out this year. Contemporary is great but wow do I want different than that sometimes. Let me switch things up, you know?

Peace and cookies,
Laina

Dreaming Darkly, or: I’m sorry this took me eight years to read

31681371Dreaming Darkly by Caitlin Kittredge

Published: April 9th, 2019 by Katherine Tegan Books
Genre: YA Mystery with Gothic leanings
Binding: eARC
Page Count: Goodreads says 368
Part of a series? Nope.
Got via: Edelweiss
Amazon / Book Depository / Indiebound

Summary (from goodreads): Ivy Bloodgood’s mother is dead, and she should probably be sad about it. But she isn’t. Myra Bloodgood was confusing mix of protective and abusive, a manipulative personality who never told the truth—about where she came from, who Ivy’s father was, or why they were living their lives on the run.

Now that Ivy has been sent to Darkhaven, an island off the New England coast, to live with a rich uncle she didn’t know existed, she is forced to reckon with her mother’s past. Ivy can tell right away there are long-held family secrets buried within these walls, but when she wakes up from one of her nightmares covered in someone else’s blood, Ivy fears that whatever demons her mother battled while she was alive have come to roost in her own mind. Scared that she can no longer trust what she sees, Ivy seeks the help of a boy who thinks her episodes are connected to the sordid history of Darkhaven—but what they don’t know might kill them both.

Review: Unfortunately I wanted to like this a lot more than I actually did. I didn’t hate it or anything, but it just didn’t work for me like I wanted. And like the premise is great! Creepy island is one of those things that almost always gets me to bite! Family secrets! Maybe something paranormal, maybe not! That should all be things I like!

But we just didn’t click. Honestly this took me so long to read that I’m really glad I took notes and I probably should have just let it go. Some of that probably was that I was in a bit of a reading slump, but a lot of it was definitely me not clicking with the book.

Quick complaints to get them out of the way – there were a few things that really through my suspension of disbelief, like logistically. Information at some points is too easy for Ivy to find. I don’t think you can just go to an old orphanage and be given access to the archives for 1986 because you say you have a genealogy project. And I’m not a doctor, but I think you bleed when you get shot, even if it’s a “through and through”, and I don’t think you can diagnose that by looking, especially when you’re seventeen.

Also I’m pretty sure there are black people in Maine. And queer people. And fat people. Would have been nice to see those.

I also have… not great feelings on the depiction of mental illness. It’s kind of a weird thing of good people not actually being mentally ill, but victims of abuse, and actually mentally ill people being abusive. I don’t think that’s what the author meant to do but that’s where it ends up. There’s a really gross comment about someone who died by suicide being “weak” and taking “the easy way out” and that’s not really ever addressed.

Plus there was a gross crack about something having “enough sugar to give me type 2 diabetes”. You don’t get diabetes because you eat sugar, but nice ableism. At one point, as well, Ivy uses the g-word to reference a Romani woman. Racial slurs, not so cool. The woman’s one scene was also super stereotypical and shallow.

Generally, though, my feelings about this are just meh. The romance was super underwhelming for me, the plot got a little dull and a little predictable, and it just didn’t draw me in. Honestly I think other people might really like this, because the atmosphere can be great and I liked the way things were confusing and Ivy was never sure what was real or not. Expect it to be more along the lines of a Gothic romance (not Romance like the genre, Gothic romance like Rebecca or Crimson Peak) than a strict thriller, though. It’s about a three out of five for me.

Representation: Ivy’s mother is mentally ill, but she’s very abusive and she’s about it so it’s a little… not great.

Trigger warnings: Child abuse, ableism, suicide, repeated use of the g-word, cheating, drugging, violence, and gun violence specifically.

Thanks for reading!

Laina

Anne of Green Gables Read-Along Chapters 22-24

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(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Twenty-Two: Anne is Invited Out to Tea

It is now August and Anne has been invited to tea by Mrs Allan. Mrs Allan is inviting all her Sunday school students to tea to get to know them a little more. Remember what I was saying about how she basically has an unpaid job in addition to her husband’s job?

Mrs Allan sent the invite by mail, addressing it to “Miss Anne Shirley” and Anne’s ridiculously excited. She’s never been invited so formally to anything in her life.

Anne is basically dancing in the kitchen and Marilla tries to get her to calm down in her failing campaign to make Anne a tranquil being. I love this line: “Marilla had almost begun to despair of ever fashioning this waif of the world into her model little girl of demure manners and prim department. Neither would she have believed that she really liked Anne much better as she was.”

Anne is “all ‘spirit and fire and dew'” and taking things calmly is not in her nature. Marilla worries that the weight of the world will be too heavy on Anne’s soul and doesn’t realize (the narrative says) she has enough optimism and happiness to compensate.

Personally I kind of wonder how true this will be eventually, or maybe if not untrue, that it will be well-illustrated. I don’t have a super solid idea of the sequels just due to time, but Montgomery’s life after writing this got much more painful and at least some of that is reflected in Anne’s life, yeah? So I’m curious to eventually see how true this is and how it bears out.

Our girl is in very high spirits as she gets ready, but she’s also anxious that she won’t know how to behave properly. She’s been studying etiquette rules from “The Family Herald” (which was like a weekly magazine) since she got to Green Gables, but she’s nervous. I think if her manners were truly atrocious Marilla would have done something about it, lol.

Marilla now says Anne is thinking of herself too much. “You should just think of Mrs Allan and what would be nicest and most agreeable for her.” The narrative and I both think this is pretty good advice? Like “be kind to your host” is a pretty good strategy, even if you’re not 100% on specific etiquette rules.

There is the absolute sweetest scene when Anne comes home (we don’t see the tea). She sits “on the big red sandstone slab at the kitchen door with her tired curly hair in Marilla’s gingham lap.” (Shout out that Anne’s hair is canonically curly, also.) I love that instead of showing the tea, Montgomery chose to have Anne tell Marilla about it. And a little moment of physical affection between the two.

Was Montgomery secretly seeing the guy she’d eventually marry at this point? I’d have to check the timeline but I know they were secretly engaged for a long time, and Mrs Allan is VERY idealized in this. She’s an incredibly kind, beautiful person. Anne also says she wouldn’t mind being a minister’s wife as a minister wouldn’t mind her red hair because “he wouldn’t be thinking of such worldly things.”

From an author who would eventually marry a minister, I find this interesting.

I wonder if some of this was Montgomery imagining her future life and hoping it would be like this. Accepted lovingly by a community, a husband who loved her, being treated with respect… dreaming of the future, or coincidence?

There’s also this interesting thing that Montgomery does where she has Anne say things that should sound sarcastic, and we’re probably meant to laugh at, but Anne means them sincerely, and I find that delightful. Point in case, Anne says some people “like Matthew and Mrs Allan (…) you can love right off without any trouble)” but some people like Mrs Rachel “you have to try very hard to love”.

That’s just hilarious XD

Mrs Allan also invited Anne to sing in the Sunday school choir which thrills her. Anne can sing quite well, if you ever need to know that.

Random fun trivia, apparently a lot of Americans stay at the White Sands Hotel.

Probably most exciting, there’s to be a new teacher for school in September, two weeks away, and it’s a woman! Miss Muriel Stacey. It’s the first female teacher Avonlea has ever had. Mrs Rachel thinks “it is a dangerous innovation” but Anne thinks it will be splendid. And that’s where the chapter closes. Short one, but a very sweet one with a lot of great moments.

(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Twenty-Three: Anne comes to Grief in an Affair of Honour

It’s been almost a month since Anne’s liniment cake so “it was high time for her to get into fresh trouble of some sort”. Little things like “absentmindedly emptying a pan of skim milk into a basket of yarn balls” or “walking clean over the edge of the log bridge into the brook” not really counting.

Diana is giving a small summer party for the girls in their class. They’ve had a nice tea and now are in the garden, and a little bored. I didn’t mention it in that recap, but back in spring, “daring” was big with the boys at schools. Yeesh, I gave Montgomery flack for not foreshadowing things in advance much, and then she does and I don’t mention it lol.

Anyways, it started with the boys of Avonlea but has spread to the girls as well and the kids have been getting in trouble daring all summer. Of course they decide to start daring each other at the party.

Ruby Gillis gets dared to climb a tree said to be infested in big green caterpillars which just makes me shudder. My town’s had a tree caterpillar thing for a while and they are so gross. And of course we have like four trees in front of my deck. Between the tree caterpillars and Bat Friend, I started getting distrustful of my deck. Maybe that’s why I started going for walks to get out of the house instead of sitting outside.

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Ruby is fine, though. After that, Anne dares Josie Pye to walk along the top of the fence board around the garden. Josie, “if deficient in some qualities that make for popularity” is quite good at fence board walking. This obviously kinda irks the other girls though they’re grudgingly impressed. It especially irks Anne, though. She says she knew a girl in Marysville who could walk the ridge-pole of a roof.

The ridge-pole is the thing that runs down the middle of the roof to like, support it and stuff. Kinda like this.

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Photo by “Loco Steve“, used under the creative commons license with no changes made. Thanks, random stranger. Funnily enough, apparently when this guy is done building the ridgepole, he walks it from end to end, according to the description. Surprisingly relevant photo is surprisingly relevant.

Josie, of course, calls Anne a liar and then immediately dares her to do it when Anne protests. Diana says it “isn’t fair to dare anybody to do anything so dangerous” because Diana does have some sense sometimes, but Anne is too fired up to listen. It’s a matter of pride now, and let’s be real, that is one of Anne’s weaknesses.

There’s a ladder leaning against the “kitchen roof”. Anne says Diana is to have her pearl bead ring if she dies, and climbs it. She quickly realizes a roof is very, very high and walking ridge-poles isn’t something “in which your imagination helped you out much”. Rather the opposite, I’d assume.

To her credit, she does make it several steps before losing her balance and falling off the roof. Luckily she fell off the side where the roof extends over the proch almost to the ground so it’s a shorter fall and she doesn’t break her neck.

The girls rush around the house and find Anne “lying all white and limp among the wreck and ruin of the Virgina creeper”. “To the immense relief of all the girls, and especially of Josie Pye, who, “in spite of a lack of imaginaion, had been seized with horrible visions of a future branded as the girl who was the cause of Anne Shirley’s early and tragic death, Anne sat dizzily up.”

That’s just such a good sentence. Love that Josie moment.

Anne’s ankle hurts too badly to walk and Diana’s father has to carry her home, with Mrs Barry and the whole party trailing after him. Marilla is out in the orchard picking apples when she sees them coming.

“At that moment Marilla had a revelation. In the sudden stab of fear that pierced her to her very heart she realized what Anne had come to mean to her. She would have admitted that she liked Anne – nay, that she was very fond of Anne. But now she knew as she hurried wildly down the slope that Anne was dearer to her than anything on earth.”

Look that’s just a perfect paragraph. It so perfectly nails their relationship and her feelings and everything.

She asks what happened, “more white and shaken than the self-contained, sensible Marilla had been for many years”. Anne says she thinks she’s sprained her ankle and Marilla is ridiculous grateful she’s able to speak and not, you know, dead.

And then she passes out.

Turns out Anne’s ankle is broken.

Later, she asks if Marilla feels sorry for her, who replies it was her own fault, and Anne says that’s why she should sympathize, because that makes it even worse. Anne has decided fainting isn’t fun after all, and she’s very bummed that she won’t be able to go to school as she “won’t be able to go around for six to seven weeks”. Jeez, broken bones back then were way more of a hassle, huh?

She’s upset about missing the new lady teacher and that “Gil – everybody will get ahead of me in class.” She just asks that Marilla won’t be too cross with her. Marilla soothes her and says she isn’t cross, and Anne is suffering enough already.

Luckily Anne has a lot of imagination to keep her from being bored out of her mind over the next six weeks, and she also has many visitors. The other girls bring her flowers and books pretty much every day, and even many adults visit her. Superintendent Bell visists, Mrs Allan visits a lot, and Mrs Rachel visits more than once, though she mildly scolds Anne each time 😛 Even Josie Pye visits and Anne is as polite as she can be, as Josie seems contrite, and Anne can imagine how awful Josie would have felt if something worse had happened.

She’s VERY excited about the new teacher. Diana says she’s super pretty, and she seems to be a cool teacher. Lots of “recitations” where they say pieces or take place in a “dialogue” and also field days where they go to the woods to study nature. Miss Stacy also has them do “physical culture exercises” morning and evening.

We learn all this on the first day Anne’s able to get up and “limp across the floor” as she’s talked uninterrupted for almost two pages.

Marilla says it’s obvious her fall off the roof “hasn’t injured your tongue at all”.

Agreed, Marilla. Agreed. But I think neither of us really mind that much.

(Link to Twitter thread.) Chapter Twenty-Four: Miss Stacy and her Pupils get up a Concert

It is now October and Anne’s ankle has healed enough that she’s ready to go back to school. Montgomery also continues to give the absolute best nature descriptions. Man, I miss it being anything but winter.

Anne is so happy to be back at school, and she just blooms under the new teacher. Miss Stacy really gets her, and it’s amazing how having a teacher she really connects to can help her so much. Also, possibly she has a little baby crush on Miss Stacy? I quote, “I love Miss Stacy with my whole heart, Marilla.”

Just saying 😉

And this is the cutest thing – she gave a super strong recitation of a piece at school and she’s really proud of herself, and Matthew asks her to recite it out in the barn for him some time. Like, I wouldn’t say Matthew isn’t smart or anything, but he never comes off as overly interested in books or school-type things. He just seems like he was quite content with the Avonlea school, working with his hands, and sometimes reading a magazine.

Ain’t NOTHING wrong with that. May we all be so lucky as to do just what we want for our entire lives and be happy with it.

But it does kind of show how much he cares about Anne that he’s deeply interested in every single thing she does at school. Marilla, on the other hand, is a little more skeptical about Miss Stacy, especially the physical exercises. (Honestly nice idea Miss Stacy. Burn off a little of that extra energy, especially if the weather’s not great enough for them to be outside at noon hour.)

Miss Stacy is even helping Anne understand geometry better, something she’s been struggling with since she started it, and she’s really encouraging Anne’s writing. Anne, it turns out, is a very strong writer. (Are we super surprised there? XD)

In November – and you can bet I’m updating the timeline with all these months – Miss Stacy proposes that the school should have a concert on Christmas night to raise money for a flag for the scool.

You can imagine how excited Anne is, lol. She’s going to be in two “dialogues” and have two “recitations” along with a “tableau” at the end of the concert. Apparently Josie Pye is sulky because she wanted to be fairy queen in one of them and didn’t get the part. Anne says, “That would have been ridiculous, for whoever heard of a fairy queen as fat as Josie Pye? Fairy queens must be slender.”

Rude, Montgomery. Rude.

Anyways, Ruby Gillis is lending Anne her slippers so Anne doesn’t have to wear her boots on stage.

Marilla is a bit grumpy and she still doesn’t approve much of children and concerts. After a bit, Anne basically gives up on gushing to her and heads out to the barn to tell everything to Matthew, who’s of course very happy for her. He thinks he’s very glad he has “nothing to do with bringing her up”, as he’d much rather be the one who spoils her.

“But it was not such a bad arrangement after all; a little ‘appreciation’ sometimes does quite as much good as all the conscientious ‘bringing up’ in the world”, the book says as we close the chapter.

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Works Cited

Rawcliffe, Steve, and Thomas J. Epel. “Building a Stone and Log House in France.” Hollowtop.Com, http://www.hollowtop.com/cls_html/Rawcliffe_House.htm.

Wikipedia Contributors. “Family Herald.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Mar. 2017, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_Herald.