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Magic Island: The Fictions of L.M. Montgomery

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  67 ratings  ·  15 reviews
L.M.Montgomery grew up in Prince Edward Island, a real place of "politics and potatoes." But it's her fictional island, a richly textured imaginative landscape that has captivated a world of readers since 1908, when Anne of Green Gables became the first of Montgomery's long string of bestsellers.

In this wide-ranging and highly readable book, Elizabeth Waterston uses the
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published June 16th 2008)
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Feb 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Exerpted from my review of: Magic Island and The Gift of Wings, Elizabeth Waterston and Mary Rubio. (Dual Book Review). Children’s Literature 38 (Spring 2010): 254-259.

"Elizabeth Waterston’s Magic Island was conceived as the first critical study to reinterpret Montgomery’s writing in light of Rubio’s important discoveries about Montgomery’s life, such as “details about her law cases, her difficulties with literary critics, the nature of her husband’s mental problems, and the effects of her own
Jun 05, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I felt like this was a little thin. Ultimately each book only got 4-5 pages of analysis and some of the analysis wasn't particularly interesting. Not to mention, there were a few factual mistakes that bugged. But I especially disliked how nearly the entire section on Emily Climbs, which to me is one of Montgomery's most intriguing books, was devoted to a farfetched explication of character names. "Ince" is an anagram for "nice"? That's all there is to say?? Kind of a disappointment.
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
This really is a reader's guide, and a good one. Each chapter discusses a different Montgomery book - all of them, instead of just the well-known ones, and goes chronologically. Waterston (a well-known LMM scholar) shows the connections between Montgomery's internal "island," her personal life, her professional career, and the characters in her novels.
Joy Matteson
Jun 17, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, classics
This book is more like a companion reader to L.M. Montgomery's works, with interesting anecdotal info about each book she wrote. I would say this book is not for those who only love "Anne of Green Gables"--you would have to be a true fan of all her works to really get the most out of this book.
Ragon Duffy
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Well, this was kinda interesting but not super compelling. It went through each of Montgomery's books in chronological order and tied them to events in her life but it seemed like you really needed to have read the book The Gift Of Wings which was a biography of Montgomery to get it. I didn't realize this was a companion book and I felt like I was missing the bigger conversation this is taking place next to. I didn't necessarily agree with some of the author's conclusions (I happen to love Rilla ...more
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The strength of this book, beyond general literary analysis, is in presenting LM Montgomery’s books in the order in which she wrote them in light of events in her life and her moods according to her journals and letters. This yields insight into how her personal life affected her focus and plots which is rare to have for most authors. The book points out the motif of island threaded through her works as an idyllic setting that Montgomery escaped to from her troubled life and shows how that ...more
Kate McKinstry
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
As an ardent lover of L.M. Montgomery's work, I was very excited to read this book. I found it cleverly structured (viewing Montgomery's internal "Island" through the chronology of her books) and well written. I'm always suspect of psychological histories (which this book was, in part) because I find they extrapolate too heavily and all too comfortably live in the realm of speculation. Nonetheless, I found the author's research on Montgomery compelling and informative. Montgomery will always ...more
Jan 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This was a fine tour of L. M. Montgomery's work, but it didn't always appreciate it's scope. Waterston worked through all the main themes, but there were depths she couldn't reach given the format. I do wish she had spent less time speculating on the subconscious significance of names to think more deeply about what actually happens in each book. Even more, I would have loved if she had talked about how the books were received in more than passing references.
Serenity Bohon
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved reading about Montgomery's novels in the chronological order they were written compared to Montgomery's external and internal environments as she wrote them.
Kelsey Bryant
Aug 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Magic Island took me on my first journey into the life of one of my favorite authors, L. M. Montgomery. I’d known a little about her, probably gained from Wikipedia perusals and short biographical notes, but this book really helped me make her acquaintance. And in the best possible way, too, to someone mainly interested in her books.
Each section covered one of her novels or short story collections in chronological order, starting, of course, with Anne of Green Gables in 1908 and ending with Anne
Kiirsi Hellewell
Apr 30, 2015 rated it liked it
I was so excited to read this book because I thought it would be a biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery as compared to the books she wrote...i.e., what was going on in her life when she wrote the first "Anne," and so on.

Well, it sort of was...and sort of wasn't. A few events from her life were mentioned. But not very many life events per chapter, and some of them were really confusing with mixed-up dates and times. And the language used to talk about/de-construct/analyze Maud and her books was so
Janna Craig
Oct 10, 2016 rated it liked it
Hmmm...I have mixed feelings about this book. It's set up with a chapter for each novel that L.M. Montgomery wrote, in their original publication order. With that in mind, I do think you'll enjoy it more if you're familiar with all (or most) of Montgomery's novels, as opposed to just Anne of Green Gables like many people are.

What I liked about the book:
1. The structure. I've always known that two of the eight Anne books were written at a much later date, but it was interesting to get more
May 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
A friend uses the word gamey a lot to describe something that one needs to chew on quite a bit. This book was gamey but in a good sense of the word. The author is clearly someone who is very intelligent and made observations about books I never would have seen without her pointing it out. She did a marvelous job of mixing LM Montgomery's life story in with the books she was writing at the time. Interesting book.
May 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. It provides lovely insights and discussion to Montgomery's novels. Written by one of the preeminent Montgomery scholars. I love Maude's work so much that I need a little extra once I finish one of her books. It is the English major in me.
May 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Interesting short chapters about LMM and each of her books. Probably not very deep but a good start since I like LMM but don't know that much about her.
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