Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Guest Blog - Lucy Maud Montgomery

This is the centennial year of the publication of Lucy Maud Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables. A new biography is going to be published next month authored by Mary Henley Rubio who has spent 30 years writing about Montgomery. In anticipation of the centennial celebration, one of Montgomery's grandchildren Kate Macdonald Butler wrote an article for the Toronto Globe and Mail about her grandmother. In the article she reveals that Montgomery took her own life in 1942. She talks about the difficult life that Montgomery lead suffering not only with depression herself but with her husband's, Rev. Ewan Macdonald's, mental illness. Several days later the Globe and Mail published an email interview with Rubio that gives a different slant on the famous author's death.

I admit that I knew nothing about Montgomery's life. I read Anne of Green Gables as a young girl and was so delighted when my own daughters fell in love with Anne Shirley too. No details of Montgomery's life will ever overshadow the remarkable stories that she wrote. Anne makes frequent mistakes and struggles with who she is and whether or not she is loved. Even though she made her first appearance a hundred years ago, Anne reflects the sorrows and joys of girls and young women of today.

I very much appreciate Butler's openness about her grandmother's and grandfather's mental illnesses. As a whole we need to be more aware of the struggles of people who deal with depression and other challenges. We have stepped forward a bit in our treatment and acceptance of mental illness since 1942 but we still have a long way to go. Hopefully Lucy Maud Montgomery will have opened new doors for all of us in understanding the struggles of others and perhaps in seeking help to solve our own problems.

In 2004 The Selected Journals of L.M. Montgomery was published. Rubio's new biography Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings is scheduled for release in the US in November. I want to thank the blogger who is far away in Turkey for bringing the article written by Butler to my attention.


Blogger said...

So, Rubio doesn't think it was suicide?

notaconnoisseur said...

She is open minded about it. She seems to lean towards it being an accidental overdose. The "suicide note" looks as if it is a loose page from a memoir that Montgomery was writing. It has a page number at the top.

Andrew Clarke said...

May I suggest a book to read, and consider reviewing? "Outcasts Of Skagaray" can be previewed by reading the sample chapters on www.threeswans.com.au I would be very interested to hear your opinion. Incidentally, I'm writing from Australia and I've read some Upfield, as well. Best wishes.