In Nova Scotia’s The Chronicle Herald, Judith Meyrick reviews Magic Island: The Fictions of L. M. Montgomery by Elizabeth Waterston. Montgomery was the author of Anne of Green Gables and several subsequent best-selling novels.
Montgomery kept journals and scrapbooks passionately and meticulously, preserving for us a picture of her daily life and the times she lived in. She was hugely talented and wrote obsessively, through good times and bad, occasionally using her writing as “therapy,” however unwittingly. She suffered through depression, the loss of her second son and the sometimes extreme mental distress of her husband. Through it all, she kept writing.
According to Waterson, Montgomery used writing as therapy. She suffered periods of depression throughout her life but used her own misery to develop powerful characters: “She found it possible to neutralize her miserable thoughts about herself by giving some of her worst traits to characters in her books and making light of them.”