<<TBR CHALLENGE 2016: November >>
So this months TBR Challenge (from Wendy the peerless and diamond-like Librarian) was Historical.
I am behind (Like the white rabbit, sans the pocket watch, because mine died years ago..) and Emily Climbs fulfils both my I-am-going-to-read-a-montgomery-a-month, and the TBR Challenge that I have been feeling slightly desperately about.
Except for the bit where I am loquaciously over-flattering about a book has some disturbingly odd parts…
ok, so that is technically MORE than two birds – but seriously, how adorable is that???
Emily Climbs is the second in Montgomery’s eponymous Emily series. (Don’t you love the word eponymous???)
It picks up pretty much from where Emily of New Moon is left. Emily is (at the begining of the book) 14, she has gone as far as she can at the local Blair Water school and is desperate to go to the high school in nearby Shrewsbury
Although, personally, it reads more like a prep school and everyone acts FAR more mature than a bog-standard high school…but that’s just my opinion…
Yeah – pretty much that…
Emily is DESPERATE to go Shrewsbury, not only because she wants with every fibre of her being to be a writer (‘to climb the Alpine Path…’)
But also because she longs to be educated. To know more than she does. To see things in a bigger picture. To create (to use appallingly cliche psych-speak), a better frame of reference and a larger world view.
All the relatives pitch in with the expense, but Emily is only allowed to attend the school if she promises faithfully to not write any fiction for the entire length of her attendance!
Additionally, she has to board with Aunt Ruth. One of the single most appalling aunts in the history of aunts in the world, the universe, the galaxy, the end.
“I can’t be ALWAYS in the wrong–but Aunt Ruth thinks I am–and says she has ‘to make allowances’ for me. She doses me with cod-liver oil–she never lets me go out in the evening if she can help it–‘consumptives should never be out after eight o clock.’ If SHE is cold, _I_ must put on an extra petticoat. She is always asking disagreeable questions and refusing to believe my answers.
She Sniffs, (it really does require a capital). She sneers. She can’t manage to pronounce Emily’s name properly, condensing it to two unattractive syllables: Em’ly. (*shudder*)
She is rude and accusatory, dogmatic and untrusting. She is the aunt from hell. I ended up dog earring (shhhh – don’t judge me) every time I encountered a point where I just wanted to bitch-slap Aunt Ruth.
I have 19 seperate bent book pages.
That is how horrifying she is.
She is also written so well, I just want to laugh every time I run into her on the page.
“My room is full of boiled cabbage smells to-night but I dare not open my window. Too much night air outside. I would risk it for a little while if Aunt Ruth hadn’t been in a very bad humour all day.
Yesterday was my Sunday in Shrewsbury and when we went to church I sat in the corner of the pew. I did not know that Aunt Ruth must always sit there but she thought I did it on purpose. She read her Bible all the afternoon. I FELT she was reading it AT me, though I couldn’t imagine why. This morning she asked me why I did it.
“Did what?’ I said in bewilderment.
“Em’ly, you know what you did. I will not tolerate this slyness. What was your motive?’
“Aunt Ruth, I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean,’ I said– quite haughtily, for I felt I was not being treated fairly.”
“‘Em’ly, you sat in the corner of the pew yesterday just to keep me out of it. WHY did you do it?”
My apology only seemed to irritate Aunt Ruth the more. She sniffed and said, ”I will forgive you this time, but don’t let it happen again. Of course I didn’t expect you would tell me your reason. You are too sly for that.’
But there are bright sides: Emily attends the school with Ilse, Teddy (Teddy! – le sigh) and Perry. There are adventures and random happenings and excruciatingly embarrassing occurrences, which keep the plot plugging along.
But most of the time is spent with Emily and her attempts, successes and failures at writing. It is really interesting to read. And it does give an intriguing insight into how, one person at least, manages the ebbs and flows of that purpose.
Does much happen? Well, STUFF happens. Enough to fill over 330 pages. But is there a lot of movement? I would say no. This is definitely a place holder in the series…Emily isn’t old enough for success, but has’t quite left childhood either.
Dean is still, unfortunately, hovering in the background, making sqwicky comments that ring with double entendre. My LEAST favourite part.
‘…you know long ago you promised you would teach me how to make love artistically. I said it in a teasing way, just for a joke. But Dean seemed suddenly to become very much in earnest.
‘Are you ready for the teaching?’ he said, bending forward.
For one crazy moment I really thought he was going to kiss me. I drew back–I felt myself flushing…I didn’t know what to say–I picked up Daff–buried my face in his beautiful fur–listened to his inner purring.
Emily starts to encounter success, which for a 14-15 yr old is pretty outstanding! Her writings are picked up by newspapers and magazines, and in some cases she earns actual money. Her family, instead of dismissing her writings as infantile scribblings, start to wonder if this could actually be a viable career option for Emily.
There is also (like the first book) an odd psychic experience, which occurs with Emily, leading to the discovery of a lost child. Much like the first book, this 6th sense element rears its head out of the blue and I am still not quite sure of its place.
The book IS darker and more serious in tone. Emily is perhaps less likeable too. She is impertinent, and caustic and whilst some of it is warranted, a lot of it seems just like an author-ic venting of spleen. The splashes of humour, however, do wonders to leaven the load.
‘This time Emily took the doughnut. She might as well have some comfort. Now, you can’t eat doughnuts and remain dramatic. Try it.’
You really can’t. I’ve tried.
Next up: Emily’s Quest, is downloadable here from Project Gutenberg. The FINAL in the Emily Series…will Emily make her fortune as a writer? Will Teddy finally get the balls to ask Emily out? Will Aunt Ruth have an apoplexy from over-sniffing???
Only time and the next book will tell…
Valancy: Binging on donuts – those little glazed ones with the chocolate sprinkles? ZOMG. Have eaten an entire carton. #Not sorry