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Writing a Life: L.M. Montgomery

Authors: Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston
Country: Canada
Publisher: ECW Press
Date: 1995
Format: Trade paperback
Pagination: 133 pp.
ISBN: 1-55022-220-1
Series: Canadian Biography Series

Writing a Life: L.M. Montgomery is a short biography by Mary Rubio and Elizabeth Waterston, published as part of the Canadian Biography Series by ECW Press in 1995. By that point, several volumes of Montgomery’s journals and letters had been published, but most events from Montgomery’s later life were still unknown to the general public.

From the Back Cover

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born with the storyteller’s gift. Throughout her life she would use this talent to tangle and reinforce the intersecting threads of her experience: her Scots heritage, her early years in nineteenth-century Prince Edward Island, her teacher training at Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, her unhappy marriage to a Presbyterian minister, and her powerful, tormenting ambition.

With the creation of Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery quickly became Canada’s most enduring and celebrated author. Yet this biography presents the Montgomery legend with a darker cast. Rubio and Waterston reveal Montgomery to be a subversive writer, who interjected messages of resistance into her superficially pleasant stories. The authors pay close attention to Montgomery’s private journals, which pulse with open resentment at the structure of daily life that caught her ambition in cobwebs. Trapped in her marriage, confined by motherhood, and bound by the need to present a smiling face of domestic and feminine amiability in accord with the romantic tales she was producing, Montgomery’s journals testify to her struggles with emotional depression and her self-destructive dependence on her increasing popularity. Before long, she became caught by her very facility in creating narratives, unconsciously adapting her life to suit her writerly needs.

Rubio and Waterston’s illustrated biography is an engaging portrayal of the covert passion and rebellion of a woman generally known only as a popular children’s writer. It confirms why Montgomery’s work and life continue to be a source of such immense critical and popular interest.


Acknowledgements (5)

List of Illustrations (8–9)

Writing a Life: L.M. Montgomery (11–120)

Chronology (121–27)

Works Consulted (128–33)


Reviews by Barbara Carman Garner and Marilyn Powell.

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