Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Story Girl and The Golden Road // 2012 L.M. Montgomery Challenge

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge 

With the end of January, comes the end of another L.M. Montgomery reading challenge. This month I was able to reading The Story Girl and The Golden Road, revisiting time with the King cousins on their farm in (where else) Prince Edward Island. I love these stories and as I read them this year as a parent of many small children, I seem to understand a bit more why I am drawn to these books and their characters.

For the unfamiliar, these two books are set among the King cousins and a couple special friends:
  • Sara Stanley (aka the Story Girl)
  • Beverly & Felix King (Bev is our narrator)
  • Dan, Felicity, and Cecily King
  • Peter (the hired boy)
  • Sara Ray (the neighbor girl)
The children were descendants of Grandfather King who put together an amazing farm on PEI, complete with an orchard perfect for the many adventures and mishaps they found themselves.

Coming from a family of only one sister and very few cousins that we didn't see much growing up, I absolutely LOVED the idea of a large family. During most of my growing up years, we weren't able to live close to family and while I have many letters saved from corresponding with grandparents, face-to-face time was rare and something that makes me a bit regretful to look back on and think about. (As an aside, I don't regret the path that my parents did take, just what might have been if I could have had the best of all worlds). These children were actively involved in each others' lives - this year and half (or so) that the book spans where they live and learn and work together is an incredible time of bonding and friendship for all of them. Even though there is no epilogue to these books, I imagine that they all stay in touch as they grow older, writing long newsy letters, and have grand reunions at each others' weddings down the road.

They were also tied together by the King farm. It was home to all of their parents (and the aunts and uncles that they haven't even met) and there are many stories passed down and shared from the previous generations escapades and (mis)adventures. Even when the children start moving on at the end of The Golden Road, they leave with the knowledge that the family farm will be there to welcome them back should they need to return. It will always be home to them. As someone who moved quite a bit growing up, I love the idea of the home that you spend years at, adding bits and pieces to make it unique, such as the King orchard which had a tree planted for every family member and even some honored guests. My girls love to hear stories about trips that we took to my grandparents' home that was set in a small town in Oklahoma and the (fairly tame) adventures that I had there growing up. 

All that to say ... these books impress to me to benefit of leaving a legacy to your children. Along with a spiritual legacy (which is by far the most important), it is important for me to make sure my husband and I pass on a legacy of stories of our childhoods, and that I help my children capture their childhood stories so that they can remember and pass them on. When the little girls ask me for a story from when I am a little girl as I tuck them in, some nights I am wracking my brain trying to think of something that I haven't told them before. It is important to be deliberate in sharing these stories with our children - our adventures, embarrassing moments, what scared us, and our mistakes and the forgiveness in those situations.

In my opinion, these books are wonderful and the time spent reading them is well worth it. I have enjoyed this trip down memory lane and look forward to the day I can pass these on to my girls as well.

Thanks, Carrie, for the annual nudge to pull my L.M. Montgomery books off the shelf and indulge in a little comfort reading. 

6 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this, Stephanie. You're so right about the importance of stories. I have a hard time coming up with stories from my rather take childhood, too, but the girls definitely want them. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. *grin*

    I like reading your take-away from these books. I was really glad I read these particular titles this past month also. I wish I had more time to give Montgomery but, alas, I believe I am out of time.

    Thanks for playing along!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the idea of the stories of our childhood and how the children love to hear them. Ours don't mind hearing the same ones over & over again. Perhaps there is more weaving and spiritual impact in our everyday stories than we realize at time -- perhaps that connection that to the idea that there is more to this life than the days that we spend on this earth. Others have come before; others will come after as well.

    We will need to pick these books up again and I need to encourage my girls to read them for themselves. I think they are at a good age for them now. Thanks for the reminder.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I read The Story Girl but I didn't take away any of that from the book! You and Carrie make me want to read Montgomery but when I do I get so distracted by her wordiness that the story is lost.

    We went back to Arkansas last summer for a family reunion on my mom's side. My great-aunts and uncles and cousins came out of the woodwork. It was fun but left me a little sad that I'm related to all those people but don't know them. Many I don't even know their names.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm finding it interesting how you small-family-moved-around-a-lot love these books as a nostalgic "what I didn't have". I love these books as a "yes-this-is-what-it's-really-like." I identify strongly with Montgomery's stories of big groups of children (like these books and Rainbow Valley, in particular) as one who was raised in a second generation big family (My dad was one of 5, my mom one of 12. I am one of seven.)

    I'm sure your girls will enjoy whatever stories you have to tell--and some day you'll be pleased (or perhaps a little embarrassed) to hear them repeating them near and far.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I absolutely love these books and think it's really unfortunate that they're not better known... I first read them I don't remember when, a few years ago, and I immediately fell in love with them... Then there was this trip and not much to do, and it wasn't exactly the happiest time in my life (very very complicated family situation, looong story) and I was reading this book, over and over, in the car on that trip, so it was sort of my escape and my life for that time, and now I reread them and I opened those pages (symbolically... Kindle. It's a necessary thing for me, really) and I am greeted by all of these beautiful wonderful familiar characters, and... I love this... what do you call two books...? Um, novel and companion novel, let's say, even more than Anne of Green Gables really. It's just so... Goodness, I don't know. It's perfect :) and definitely will read to my children if and when I have any.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting!