10.02.2013

Currently Reading: The Story Girl

The Story Girl"The Bible IS an interesting book," said the Story Girl, coming to Peter's rescue. "And there are magnificent stories in it—yes, Felicity, MAGNIFICENT. If the world doesn't come to an end I'll tell you the story of Ruth next Sunday—or look here! I'll tell it anyhow. That's a promise. Wherever we are next Sunday I'll tell you about Ruth."

"Why, you wouldn't tell stories in heaven," said Cecily, in a very timid voice.

"Why not?" said the Story Girl, with a flash of her eyes. "Indeed I shall. I'll tell stories as long as I've a tongue to talk with, or anyone to listen."

Ay, doubtless. That dauntless spirit would soar triumphantly above the wreck of matter and the crash of worlds, taking with it all its own wild sweetness and daring. Even the young-eyed cherubim, choiring on meadows of asphodel, might cease their harping for a time to listen to a tale of the vanished earth, told by that golden tongue. Some vague thought of this was in our minds as we looked at her; and somehow it comforted us. Not even the Judgment was so greatly to be feared if after it we were the SAME, our own precious little identities unchanged.

(Note: I really hope the caps lock words are a feature of the Kindle edition, and not the original, as they're kind of annoying.)

Author: L.M. Montgomery

From Goodreads: Sara Stanley is only fourteen, but she can weave tales that are impossible to resist. In the charming town of Carlisle, children and grown-ups alike flock from miles around to hear her spellbinding tales. And when Bev King and his younger brother Felix arrive for the summer, they, too, are captivated by the Story Girl. Whether she's leading them on exciting misadventure or narrating timeless stories—from the scary "Tale of the Family Ghost" to the fanciful "How Kissing Was Discovered" to the bittersweet "The Blue Chest of Rachel Ward" —the Story Girl has her audience hanging on every word.

Mini-notes: Pitched somewhere between novel and collection of vignettes, like many of Montgomery's books, The Story Girl is, more than anything, a slice of golden childhood—one summer, beginning to end. Again like many of Montgomery's works, however, the charm is less in the presence or absence of plot than in the characters. Sara Stanley was, for me, memorable; the others, mostly less so, but they were all lovable while I was going through the summer with them*.

Montgomery's sense of the poetic came off a touch heavy-handed here and there, especially at the end, but it never held back the sense of scene and setting and character that makes her well worth reading a century after the writing. There are reasons this novel isn't as commonly read as Anne's or Emily's or Pat's, but none of those reasons were strong enough to make me feel like I'd wasted my time. I read it on the airplane home from Florida, and it was a pleasant companion. For a relaxing afternoon read, I recommend it.

*I have to put in a good word for my next favorite, "the other Sara"—because no one else will. The desperate little legalist wound up close to my heart. Wish I had time to write her some cheerful fan fiction.

3 comments:

  1. hahaha. Yes. The e-book editions that use a lot of ALL CAPS are probably from Project Gutenberg? or some other venerable e-book program; they're italics in the original.

    This was LMM's favorite of her books, maybe because the process of writing it was easier (it's really a disguised short story collection in which most of the short stories haven't even been written out) and she was still at an early, hopeful stage in her career as a novelist. Interestingly, it's one of the few in which she used a first-person narrator (though Bev is more The Voice of Nostalgia than an actual character imo). Bev returns with Even More Nostalgia in The Golden Road, and then there's the pulpalacious Kilmeny of the Orchard, also with a male 1p, and I think that's it.

    Is it this one or The Golden Road that has the end of the world in it?

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    Replies
    1. OH GOOD. I'm glad those are italics in the original. Montgomery didn't seem like the sort to overuse all-caps...

      I could see this being her favorite. It's sweet, hopeful, simple, and could definitely have been easier--or at least, more freeing--to write than the more complex and character-focused novels.

      There's a sequel? Oooh.

      I loved Kilmeny. That was a relaxing Sunday afternoon read for the ages. ;)

      Thanks for coming in with the LMM history--it's always fascinating!

      Delete
  2. Wait. I have no reading comprehension; the end of the world is in the first paragraph of this post.

    Sorry. Morning, coffee, etc..

    ReplyDelete

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