"You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me."
What we read has such an impact on us, and I am always on the lookout for something that will inspire me to be a better person. Here is a sampling of books that have been in the teetering stack sitting on top of what is rumored to be my bedside table.
Thursday, March 31, 2016
So, right off the bat, I have to say that I'm not doing so well in my drive to read an LMM book each month in 2016. I finished Emily Climbs on Leap Day, but haven't actually written the review. This is primarily due to my absolute love of my teaching job, plus the busy-ness of a daughter who had 2 horse shows in 3 weeks and a son who earned Webelos rank in Cub Scouts.
But I'm back on track with the blog, which frankly is always going to take second place to my children and my students because that's how God intended it!
Anyway - about Emily Climbs! This has always been my favorite book in the Emily series. This book sees Emily going off to high school in nearby Shrewsbury. Since the place is 20 miles away and Emily doesn't have the luxury of living in the time of public transportation or motorcars, she's got to board with her Aunt Ruth. (And had I remembered about Aunt Ruth, my daughter would not have Ruth as a middle name!) Readers of Emily of New Moon might have thought Aunt Elizabeth was practically Machiavellan, but she's got nothing on Aunt Ruth!
Among the many charms of Emily's three years in Shrewsbury, we see her drive to climb her Alpine Path of writing. She truly burns that midnight candle - she has to, since Aunt Ruth tries to push her writing down by giving her extra chores during the day.
The introduction of new characters is a welcome change after the short cast of characters in Emily of New Moon. Aunt Ruth might be half-baked, but she's entertaining with her sniffs and her "Em'lys." And then there's Evelyn, whose last name escapes me at the moment - but a better archnemesis in a YA book you will not find! I think most of us remember an Evelyn from our own high school days, which makes the character spring to life.
And the New Moon characters are still ever present - Ilse with her madcap personality, Perry with a new drive to make himself into something respectable, and Teddy with his subtly romantic charm. (Emily and Teddy's first kiss popped into my head during my first kiss with my husband - it's no wonder I married the guy!).
Then there's Dean Priest. Poor Dean, whom we were introduced to toward the end of New Moon - a school chum of Emily's late father whom the reader knows early on is "waiting" for Emily to grow up so he can marry her. If I was creeped out by Dean as a child, I am appalled by him as an adult. Emily really has no idea he's interested in her as anything other than a father/daughter relationship, Dean knows this, and yet he still secretly tries to woo her. (So many italics! Mr. Carpenter would disapprove!) Even more disturbing, he's worse than Aunt Ruth in his attempt to dissuade Emily from her writing. Aunt Ruth is at least open about it. Dean is quiet and manipulative and everything you'd warn your daughter against in any friend. And, of course, the denouement of this relationship is left for Book Three, Emily's Quest.
I've said this before, but I love Emily because she's more real than almost any other LMM character I can think of, with the exception of Valancy Stirling in The Blue Castle. Anne Shirley might be Canada's sweetheart, but Emily is the face we all see in the mirror every morning. All the heroines of modern day YA trilogies have absolutely nothing on Emily. Who needs Katniss Everdeen's bow and arrow when you can slay all your enemies with a single Murray look? Emily really comes into her own in Emily Climbs, and the book leaves the reader in eager anticipation of Emily's Quest.