Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Pat of Silver Bush by L.M. Montgomery

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Nothing means more to Pat than being at home with the people she loves. And nothing frightens Pat more than change. But growing up will mean that not everything can stay the same in Pat of Silver Bush, a novel by author L.M. Montgomery.

Some of the best reading of my life has come from this author, including classics like Anne of Green Gables and more of the Anne novels, but even more so than those, for me: Emily of New Moon and the following two novels about Emily Byrd Starr, three of my all-time favorite books.

But after I moved on to some of this author’s more “mature” work over the past few years and ran into stories with unequivocally racist undertones and overtones, I wasn’t sure if I’d seek out any more of her writing. In this case, I read this novel chiefly because I’m interested in reading the one after it, and I already own copies of both. I believe that after these two, I’ll simply keep the good L.M.M. books I’ve read, continue to appreciate them for what they are, and leave the rest of the would-be-new-to-me stories where they are, wherever they may be.

As for this novel, I think I might have enjoyed it more if I weren’t already so familiar with Emily, Anne, and the ways of their books. Pat’s story felt too similar but somehow not as interesting, and this fairly lengthy novel might’ve been half as long without all of Judy’s ramblings. (Yes, I enjoyed Sarah’s [were they Sarah’s?] ramblings in Rilla of Ingleside, but I guess it wasn’t something I needed to see done over again with a “too similar” character.)

Still, as I expected it would, this novel vividly paints the beauty of Prince Edward Island and the sparkle, pain, poignancy, and wonder of childhood and growing up. All things considered, I’m glad I read it.

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Yep. I read Pat’s first novel mainly so that I won’t be at all lost when I read her next, Mistress Pat.

 

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An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008)

Film reviews are subjective. I tend to rate films not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving (2008) from Automatic Pictures
Rated PG. Drama, Period Film, Family Film, Christmas

1/2

Description (from the film case): Based on a short story by the acclaimed author of Little Women comes a holiday story of family and forgiveness. Recently widowed Mary Bassett (Helene Joy) and her three children have hit difficult times on their farm. Things are so bad this year that they can’t even afford a turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner. Suddenly, Mary’s wealthy and estranged mother Isabella (Jacqueline Bisset) comes to visit. Although she finds a kindred spirit in Mary’s eldest daughter, Tilly (Tatiana Maslany), Mary resents her mother’s attempts to help them out of their financial difficulties…

My thoughts: Okay, so even though the description doesn’t make it clear, the story here is led by young Tilly, and I rather like this heroine. She’s got some fire but doesn’t wildly burn around, she longs for more but isn’t a total brat about it, and she has some growing up to do but isn’t immature. Plus, she’s a writer, which I always admire.

And, yes, I’m taking the liberty of tagging this as a Christmas film, since Thanksgiving is the lead-up to the holiday of all holidays. The movie originally aired on the Hallmark Channel, and it certainly has the quintessentially “Hallmark” kind of wholesomeness, warmth, and delightfulness wrapped up in an hour and a half.

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An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Polly finds out she’s not quite like other girls when she goes to visit her cousins in the city. It may lead to some awkward situations, but perhaps Polly’s differentness will prove not to be such a bad thing in An Old-Fashioned Girl, a coming of age novel by Louisa May Alcott.

Okay, so I’ll confess right out the gate that Alcott’s admission at the beginning of the last chapter ruined the end of the book for me. But as I came to like the characters so much, I can forgive how their creator deals with them in the end.

I enjoyed much of this book’s wording. How the characters speak, and how the author speaks about them, is what most makes these folks a pleasure. On the whole, I like Polly and Tom the best as children. Their dance at the party in Chapter 7 is…well, it’s just flat out cute.

The music struck up, and away they went, Tom hopping one way and Polly the other, in a most ungraceful manner.

“Keep time to the music,” gasped Polly.

“Can’t. Never could,” returned Tom.

“Keep step with me, then, and don’t tread on my toes,” pleaded Polly.

“Never mind. Keep bobbing, and we’ll come right by and by,” muttered Tom, giving his unfortunate partner a sudden whisk, which nearly landed both on the floor.

But they did not “get right by and by”; for Tom, in his frantic efforts to do his duty, nearly annihilated poor Polly. He tramped, he bobbed, he skated, he twirled her to the right, dragged her to the left…

Too many perfectly worded parts and tidbits to name. There’s Polly’s evening of flirtation as a young woman at the opera, the “bitter smile” on her face at the end of it, Tom bending to ask her, “Are you tired, Polly?” to which she answers, “Yes, of being nobody.” There’s Fanny’s observation of Maud that she directs at Polly, saying, “Blessed innocence! Don’t you wish you were a child, and dared tell what you want?”

A rather delightful and old-fashioned read from the author of Little Women.

 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

“I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future!” Scrooge repeated, as he scrambled out of bed. “The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me.”

Before he sings such a blessed, spirit-of-the-holiday tune, however, Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly grump living a lucrative but deplorable and loveless life. But a rather terrifying, painful, and enlightening adventure on Christmas Eve night will help him change his tune in A Christmas Carol, a tale by author Charles Dickens.

Hilarious, touching, altogether delightful–I see why this story is such a classic. Well, not that I haven’t seen it before: I saw a play adaptation at the theater as a child, and the 1951 film adaptation, Scrooge, with Alastair Sim, has become a holiday staple of mine. I’ve long lost count of how many times I’ve watched the film, of which I can now say with confidence that, even with its handful of cinematic departures from the book, Scrooge captures and conveys the spirit of A Christmas Carol quite wonderfully.

Ah, blessed Christmasness.

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One! THE END

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Note: the text of classic works may sometimes be printed or edited differently in various editions. My copy of A Christmas Carol, the one I’ve quoted from, isn’t the one I have pictured on this blog post. I’ve not read the Puffin Classics edition here; I just used it for the artwork on its jolly cover. 🙂