Impressions // Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
‘isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?’
It’s been quite a while since I last wrote anything here, but I couldn’t think of a more wonderful book to review for my return post. It’s been a relatively difficult few weeks for me, and it wasn’t too long before I realised that I needed to step back from everything I was doing and re-evaluate a few things. After a few days of dragging my feet, feeling sorry for myself, and not reading very much at all, I borrowed my grandmother’s copy of Anne of Green Gables in the hope of cheering myself up with a book. My aim here was to pick something that would hopefully prove more light-hearted and uplifting than The Handmaid’s Tale, which, admittedly, is a pretty low bar for a jolly read.
Impressions // Marlena by Julie Buntin and The Girls by Emma Cline
Reading books in really quick succession can sometimes be a pretty disorientating experience. Characters get muddled, plots seem to bleed in to one another in a weirdly seamless way, and ultimately I’m left wondering, just for a moment, why the characters of a book set in the 1960s have inexplicably acquired flip phones and Hotmail accounts. This was almost precisely the case with two books I recently came across, Emma Cline’s The Girls, and Julie Buntin’s Marlena. This isn’t to detract, as all, from each novel’s originality – I found them both supremely engaging, and, to be totally honest, incredibly moving. But what struck me was that despite their vastly disparate settings and the vastly different means with which they deal with their central themes, the themes themselves are very similar; the absent and unreliable father, the single mother trying to realign her own sense of self after a messy divorce, the solitary girl seeking some form of approval from, and sense of belonging in, the inhospitable social world in which she moves. In all, both texts capture, incredibly beautifully, the sheer intensity of young female friendship, as well as awkwardness and the painfully self-conscious nature of female adolescence, arrested as it is by the intimidating gaze the men around them.
Impressions // The Story of a Modern Woman by Ella Hepworth Dixon
‘All we modern women mean to help each other now.’
If I were rich enough to buy a million copies of this book and devote the rest of my life to leaving them scattered across tube station platforms, park benches and shopping centres à la Emma Watson, I would. Dixon’s text has, for reasons that utterly elude me, spent the best part of the past century out of mainstream print and has been republished only relatively recently, in this fantastic Broadview edition, which contains a thorough grounding in the context of the ‘New Woman’ phenomenon by way of Steve Farmer’s brilliant introduction, as well as a collection of reviews and essays from contemporary publications at the close. My first encounter with this novel actually took place just over a year ago as part of a postgraduate class focusing on the Victorian Bildungsroman. For this reason I should probably take a moment to express my gratitude to my university’s English department for introducing me to the novel which took just a few pages to become one of my all-time favourites.