Publication: January 1 1923
Publisher: Miss Market Paperback
Pages: 311 pages
Genre: Classic, Young Adult, Fiction, Childrens, Historical Fiction, Canadian
My Rating: ⛤⛤⛤⛤
Well one thing is clear: Emily Starr is no Anne Shirley. And that is perfectly fine.
I was very hesitant to read Emily of New Moon because I absolutely adore everything about Anne of Green Gables. I was worried that my love for Anne would make me unwilling to love Emily, and I won’t lie, that definitely happened when I began the book. Because again, Emily Starr is so different from Anne Shirley, and I love her for it.
Emily of New Moon holds a lot of similarities to the Anne of Green Gables series: an orphaned girl goes to live with a new family on Prince Edward Island, meets and makes many new friends and has many grand adventures and life lessons. But despite similar plot devises and character cut outs, the two series are very different
For one, I found Emily of New Moon to be much darker than the Anne series. Emily begins the book learning that her father is sick and will die in a matter of weeks and she will be sent to live with her long deceased mother’s family, the Murrays, on New Moon farm. As someone who has recently lost a parent, I felt Emily’s grief and anger over the death of her father and the new life she was forced to live without him. While my situation was not as serious as Emily’s (I am not an orphan, and am too old to be given to any relatives if that happened) the emotions were very real. I liked that Emily was able to be angry sometimes, that she called her friends, relatives, and teachers out for saying some hurtful or disrespectful. That was one of the things I didn’t like about Anne, while she was hot-headed she became so quiet and passive later in the series (more on that later).
I also loved Emily’s passion. Like Anne, Emily loves to write but Emily takes it a much bigger step further than Anne. While Anne wrote to papers and submitted little bits of poetry and stories here and there, she later gave it up when she got married and began getting pregnant with her and Gilbert’s children. In Anne’s House of Dreams she even gives a visiting writer inspiration to write a novel she very well could have written. It’s one of the things that always disappointed me about Anne, I was rooting for her to become a novelist or poet and was so angry when she just stopped so she could give birth to some babies with Gilbert. But Emily pursues her passion from the very beginning. The reader is introduced to Emily daydreaming and composing in her mind how she will write all she has seen in her notebook to her father. Even after her father dies Emily continues writing by writing letters to her father and documenting her new life in New Moon. Even when she receives criticism from her friends, family, and teachers she refuses to stop writing and does it because she knows it’s her calling in life.
After finishing the book and doing my own research, I was surprised to learn that L.M. Montgomery acknowledged that Emily was much more like her than Anne was. I always assumed it was the other way around, probably because Anne is more famous than Emily, but this information gives me much more respect to Montgomery and her passion as an author.
If you love Anne, you’ll love Emily. While the novels and heroine’s have their similarities, they are so different from one another and it is these differences that make the story so worthwhile. Don’t forget about Montgomery’s other heroine’s, come meet Emily Starr.