The Selected Journals of LM Montgomery Read Along

Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of the Anne of Green Gables series and two dozen more books, kept a journal from the time she was fourteen until she died in her sixties.

I first discovered her journals (available in five volumes) with my dear friend, Jamie C. Martin, back when I was teaching, was a soon-to-be mama, and was pursuing the writing life with as much vigor and passion as I was able to muster while figuring it all out alone.

If you’ve read any of Maud’s books, the journals might come as a surprise. Much of the sweetness you’d expect from the author of Anne, Emily, Pat, and the Story Girl isn’t present. Her life was a challenge in many ways. But for me, seeing Maud’s daily struggles made her somehow more real and made her hopeful books that much richer.

I have always felt an affinity for this woman. We share a lot in common as teachers, mothers to two boys, pastor’s wives, authors, women who have lived with depression. These journals are insightful, funny, painful, full of longing, and brimming with the anecdotal stories you’d expect from an author of over 500 short stories. Through these books I’ve learned about women’s schooling in the late 1800’s, a bit of Canadian history and geography, societal norms, women’s fashion, beginning and sustaining a writing career (in the midst of babies and a male-dominated publishing world), advancements in technology, the impact on the individual of the first and second World Wars. I could go on and on.

It has been some time since I’ve read these journals, and I’ve found myself longing to re-read the books that so deeply spoke to me over a decade ago. I’m inviting anyone who’s interested to read along. This is one of two reading goals I’m setting for myself in 2013.

Expect to see a lot on LM on the blog next year.

Jamie? Marissa? Serenity? Want to join me? Anyone else?

Update: Here’s the reading schedule.

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Comments

  1. says

    I will absolutely join you! I just re-read the first volume last year, but L. M. Montgomery goes on the list of “things I can never have too much of.” :)
    I agree with you…knowing more about her personal struggles makes the hope and joy in her books that much more significant. Reading them all together gives an even bigger message: sometimes joy is an action, not just a feeling.
    It even makes you look at her “happy-go-lucky” heroines differently…I mean, everything seems so light and fun at the first read, but just think about the horrendous things that Anne lived through!
    Anyway…yes, I’m in. :) I’ll just need to make sure I can still get copies of the later volumes at the library, because I only own volume 1.

    • says

      So, so happy to hear this! I remember reading about LM losing her firstborn and saw how she used that experience to tell Anne’s story…well is was all deeper and more meaningful somehow.

      Hope you can track down all five. If not, maybe Christmas gift ideas?

  2. says

    I’m in. :) I haven’t read the first one in almost seven years. I remember consoling myself with LMMs words during the awful morning sickness of my first pregnancy. Perhaps I’ll add to your read-along idea the idea of regular journaling. LMM always inspires me because her journals read like a book – witty descriptions, fascinating details, and all those memories stored up!

    • says

      I haven’t read the first for maybe twelve. I remember reading #4 while in the hospital with my second guy. And I totally agree: she makes everything interesting — even spring cleaning!

      So glad you’re joining in!

  3. says

    I’m in. :) I haven’t read the first one in almost seven years. I remember consoling myself with LMMs words during the awful morning sickness of my first pregnancy. Perhaps I’ll add to your read-along idea the idea of regular journaling. LMM always inspires me because her journals read like a book – witty descriptions, fascinating details, and all those memories stored up!

  4. says

    I would love to join you! I own her early journals, but for some reason haven’t yet jumped in. This is the perfect opportunity to do so. :)

    Can I have a syllabus with reading deadlines? Heh, I’m mostly kidding. (But really . . . I want to follow along!)

    • says

      Sonia! Have we ever discussed LMM before? Love that you already have a few and want to join in! What I’m thinking is starting in February and reading one every other month. I think it’s doable. They’re hard to put down. So excited!

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