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House of Dreams: The Life of L. M. Montgomery Hardcover – 12 Jun 2018
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Rosenberg paints a deep, complex portrait of a vibrant, brilliant, yet troubled woman. At the beginning of every chapter, Morstad accompanies these descriptions with Quentin Blake-like ink illustrations that capture the strange mix of whimsy, humor, and solemnity that permeated Maud's thoughts. Recommend to Anne fans, aspiring writers, or anyone wanting a peek inside the mind of a famous author who constantly fought for success and happiness.
--Booklist (starred review)
--Kirkus Reviews Rosenberg's comprehensive biography of the author of the beloved Anne of Green Gables series presents a multidimensional portrait of a complicated and conflicted writer...this illuminating and satisfying biography takes on life and depth as Montgomery's own voice grows more prominent.
--Publishers Weekly In prose that often rivals that of her subject for its lyricism, Rosenberg presents an honest look at a woman who, while providing some of literature's happiest moments, wavered between extremes of emotion herself...A timeline and references are included, and each chapter is fronted by a nostalgic and delicate pen-and-ink illustration that adds piquancy by capturing the light-hearted side of the beloved author.
--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books A well-balanced biography that offers plenty of tidbits for fans and that acknowledges what Montgomery means to many, without overly romanticizing the author or her story.
--The Horn Book While the tale is full of sweet stories, beautiful examples of literary writing, and adventurous anecdotes, it also shows the not-so-glamorous life of Montgomery. This honest look at her life reveals her struggles with depression and other illnesses as well as her interpersonal challenges...the reader is drawn into her world of imagination, writing, and her love of language.
--School Library Connection
About the Author
Liz Rosenberg is a poet, best-selling novelist, professor, and writer of numerous acclaimed books for children. She has edited several poetry anthologies for young readers, including Light-Gathering Poems, winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Prize. She lives in Binghamton, New York.Julie Morstad is the illustrator of numerous books for young readers, including When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano and Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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I would recommend this book to the person looking for a factual account of her life, but not to someone who is looking for more of the worlds she shared in her books.
Instead of consuming this book, I feel like this book consumed me. I fell into it and was wholeheartedly immersed in L. M. Montgomery’s life. Even while not reading it, I still felt as though my heart and mind were with L. M. Montgomery. Certainly, I couldn’t stop talking about it, as my husband could attest. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been completely absorbed in a book, and reading this was such a wonderful experience.
L. M. Montgomery, or “Maud,” as she was called, is absolutely one of my favorite authors ever. I’ve read a good chunk of her works (and she was a prolific writer!), so to learn more about her experiences and what inspired her stories–especially those of Anne Shirley and Emily–was a lovely experience to begin with. It’s clear to see that Rosenberg loves Montgomery and her stories as well, because reading this as almost as close as reading a memoir, it was so filled with empathy and emotion. I felt like I was in a conversation with a friend, talking about another friend. It was a sort of: “Did you hear about Maud? She published a book!” kind of thing. I was joyous over Maud’s triumphs and saddened over how much loss and sadness she had within her life, but it’s a comfort to know that for all her struggles, she loved her writing, and those stories live on for us today thanks to her.
Rosenberg gives a comprehensive overview of Maud’s life, from early childhood to late adulthood. I love that she was able to include direct quotes from the personal journal of L. M. Montgomery, which added a great touch of personality and authenticity to situation. It’s nicely paced–I never felt as though too much or too little time was spent on one thing. I LOVED some of the humorous anecdotes told. L. M. Montgomery could be one funny lady.
What I most appreciated, however, was the frank discussion of mental illness. Both Montgomery and her husband seem to have had some forms of depression and anxiety, and I am so grateful to Rosenberg for tackling that head-on. The more we talk about these things, the more we share both the struggles and successes of people who live with this diseases, the more we normalize them and are able to seek help in managing them. It’s especially important for young people who might not know how to deal with what they’re feeling and what they may be experiencing to know that even those we look up to struggle with the same thing. I’m so glad this was included.
This biography is magical, truly. I felt completely transported reading it and it’s been one of my absolutely favorite reads this year. Every Montgomery fan will find something to love about it, and I’m so glad I was able to learn more about L. M. Montgomery’s life and experiences. Thank you so much to Liz Rosenberg for writing this and Candlewick Press for publishing this. It’s extraordinary.