"Join Anne, me, and Phoebe Min-Ju Jayne as our stories plait together--one strand red, one raven black, and one mochachino. Link arms with us as we find our way to places of belonging, our forever homes. Settle in with us in this world of 'spirit and fire and dew'. Here's a story for the orphan in us all."
Wow. 231 short pages of pure beauty. This book far and away exceeded my expectations. I wasn't sure whether or not I would like it, given that AoGG, though a wonderful story, isn't one of my top favorites ever. Also, I just wasn't sure about the genre.
I loved it. In style, it reminds me of Perfectly Unique, a similar-ish book by Annie F. Downs that is basically a devotional for adolescent girls. AoGGMDAM is written in much the same way--witty, layered, and warm.
It's apparently a newer genre, the literary memoir. Basically, Lorilee Craker takes the story of Anne Shirley (focusing on Anne of Green Gables but including Anne of Windy Poplars and numerous references to the other books in the series) and pinpoints the relatability of her experiences. Lorilee was adopted herself, and as a grown woman she adopted a girl with her husband and sons. In this book, she relates her life story and combines it with that of Anne and Phoebe, Lorilee's adopted daughter.
It's just wonderful! Like Emma mentioned in her review, "This book was like hot tea on a chilly autumn night for me. It was like a healing salve on my heart." I was going through a bit of a hard time when I read it, and it was therapeutic. One thing I really appreciate about this was that Lorilee didn't invalidate other people's slightly less dramatic life experiences when sharing her own. She didn't label her pain as the ultimate pain, if you catch my drift. She understood that everyone has had their own difficulties. This was one of my favorite passages in the book:
"You feel like you are too sensitive, but oh--how the world needs feelers. How this dented old world needs people to notice things, to offer compassion and tears and kindness. How the broken road is consecrated because it leads cracked people like us to Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. There is a crack in everyone--that's how the light gets in."
That really stood out to me because I struggle at times with feeling that I'm overly-sensitive, that I make too much of experiences that truly hurt me and mess with my brain. I feel that perhaps I'm just overreacting. And maybe I am, but nevertheless, as Nick Vujicic said, pain is pain.
Anyway. A book that can make me laugh and smile inside shoots way up in my estimation, because frankly I've found few such books. This one definitely passed that test! It was by turns hilarious, warmly-fuzzy, aching, and sobering. In lieu of a more coherent analysis, here are some of my favorite quotes:
"(Where does that come from, that innate supremacy that tolerates no opposition? Why is it obeyed so unswervingly? This mean-girl thing melts my head.)"
~ ~ ~
"No, the Josie Pyes of this world won't stop, unless someone stops them."
~ ~ ~
"(I interviewed a model once, and she told me--bless her gaunt heart--that she sometimes just wished she could eat an apple before a photo shoot. I hung up the phone and ate an apple in her honor.)"
~ ~ ~
"I swear to you, he italicized."
~ ~ ~
"But from the Redeemer's position, mercy and favor are stronger forces than all our wreckage and rubble. There are grace notes everywhere, if you have ears to hear them."
~ ~ ~
"I can tell her she's worth fighting for. I can tell her that our cracked stories don't have the last word, not by a long shot."
Just go read it. Let it hug away a little bit of the daily grind, the dusty pain, and the feeling of loneliness.