Wednesday, September 9, 2015

"Anne of Green Gables," My Daughter & Me by Lorilee Craker {review}

"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.  


33 comments:

  1. Wow!! That sounds like such

    I often struggle with feeling overly sensitive to, whether it is feeling hurt or sad, or over thinking things, like decisions and such. (Like deciding whether to go to high school or stay at home.. That had to be the most drawn out emotional decision ever. I'm still sometimes worry about it now. ) So it's always nice to be reminded that we are okay just the way we are. It's the mistakes and weaknesses that make us real, no?

    Any way thanks for the review, I will have to track this book down!!

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    1. Exactly! Oh--I understand! I ha a difficult decision about whether to stick with the co-op I'd done for four years, or try something new, and it was the longest, most emotional process. So I feel you on that! Exactly--God made us as we are for a reason:)

      You're so welcome! Thanks for reading!

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    2. Thanks for sharing that, it's nice to know that there are other people who can relate with me. After being around so many people who know their minds about school and such, it's hard to just TRUST, and know that's it okay that you are taking longer to decide, and work through these changes and decisions.

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    3. Of course! It definitely is. I know; it's extremely hard, and there's nothing wrong with taking a long time to decide! I still get slightly emotional over it at times:-P

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  2. I know exactly what you mean about feeling too sensitive, feeling like I should try to be like "other people" and try not to take things so much to heart . . . but what I'm kind of realizing is, hey, I'm ME, and if I'm sensitive I'm sensitive. That's the way God made me, and I shouldn't try to change who I really am in order to be like somebody else . . .
    That's where the whole Myers-Briggs thing was really helpful for me, learning that this is just the way I AM--and yes, there ARE other people out there like me. (INFJs unite!) So basically, the best thing for me to do is just be happy with it, and try to become the "best version" of my TRUE self that I can. With God's help, of course :)

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    1. That is so true Jessica!! Unfortunately that is easier said than done, but with God, all things are possible!

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    2. Yup. And oh my, yes--the Myers-Briggs was REALLY helpful for me, in an odd sort of way. It definitely helped me to understand more about myself and why I do or don't do certain things. (I think it's so cool that we're both INFJs. Just sayin'.) Amen!:)

      And Abigail, you're right! With God we will gain the victory!

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    3. Girls, thank you both so much :) The encouragement is so very much appreciated :)

      Yes--it's AWESOME that we're both INFJs, seriously, because we're so rare, I don't think I've ever actually met another one before this. Not even in my own family! And yes, just like you said, the test really helped me to understand better why I do what I do. Like, I always knew that I hated interpersonal conflict, and that it was really easy for me to empathize with other people's feelings, and that I loooooooove to daydream and don't really pay too much attention (comparatively speaking) to what's going on right in front of me . . . but what I didn't realize was that those things were all CONNECTED. They're all INFJ things. :) And it makes me happy to know that I'm not the only one--that other people do these things, too.

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    4. Yes! I know--conflict tends to have a slightly paralyzing effect on me. It's really bad:( And yup; everything else you mentioned…okay, do you tend to have what-if scenarios run through your head a lot? Yeah, knowing that this is just how I am is helping me to be a little more self-confident and less apologetic for my personality.

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    5. What-if scenarios--YES. All the time. What if he/she/they said this to me? What if I said this back to him/her/them? What if this happened? What if that happened? What if . . . ?

      I often don't even preface it with a "what if" question--I just let the whole scenario play out in my head, as if it were a movie or something that I were acting in. Funny.

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    6. I KNOW! Usually I have random scenarios of me saying or doing awful things that I would NEVER say or do. Sigh. Sometimes they're good scenarios, though:D

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    7. *waves hand shly* INFJ too if that helps :-)

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    8. Olivia--ARE YOU KIDDING??? I do the exact same thing! And I thought it was only me! Especially if I'm really mad at somebody but too shy/timid to tell them so, haha. Somebody on Tumblr described it as "going into hiding to plan the next apocalypse," which I think is a pretty accurate portrayal :)

      Miss Evelyn--really? That's so cool! By the way, I think you said, back when we were talking about S&S 08, that you were a big fan of David Morrissey's Brandon, just like Olivia and me. Do you think this could be some kind of INFJ thing--I mean, we're all drawn to the same character because we all share the same personality type? Just wondering. Anyway . . . I DO love him. He's so sweet and so protective. *sigh* I want to marry somebody just like that :)

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    9. Yes indeed!! xD Yes I love Brandon so much! I've never met people who love him in the same way as I do, oh yes most definately *nods head and smiles* Apparently he's an INFJ too... and yes yes he is *sighs happily* I do too. Isn't it weird to think that if we lived in the Regency era we'd be looking out for husbands?! (Well I would be as I'm of age here in AUS.. not sure about you both :D)

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    10. Colonel Brandon is my favourite of all Jane's hero's xD

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    11. He's my favorite too. Hands down. No question about it :)
      IS HE AN INFJ TOO OH MY GOLLY THIS IS INSANE. Um, okay, calming down now. But really . . . I do love him so much . . . and besides you and Olivia, the only other person I know who really feels the same way about him is my sister Rosie. (She's an INTJ).
      Oh, yes--I'm already of age, too (I'm the same age as Emma Woodhouse ;) ). And I am looking out for a husband . . . in a nice, casual sort of way, of course :)

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    12. Yes, Evie! I'm so glad you, Jessica and I are a little trio, haha:D

      Jessica, heehee, I understand. I do have a lot of trouble with conflict:-/ Ya know, I'm sure you and Evie can relate to this, when others misunderstand my introversion as aloofness or pride or rudeness:( Especially because we get peopled out so easily. Sigh. Sometimes I just wish I could make my family and others read the INFJ description so they could understand;P

      And YUUUSSSS DAVID MORISSEY'S BRANDON. Gasp, you're right, Evie, he does seem like an INFJ! And like you mentioned Jessica, I wonder if we prefer certain types--the protective types--because we ourselves are "The Protectors" according to Myers-Briggs? I'm sure all the other personalities have the same issue:D

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    13. Yes, I think a fair number of people think of me as rather aloof, at least at first, because I just can't make myself talk to them until I know them :) At least I can still smile at them. But yeah. We're not trying to IGNORE you, peoples, we just are having some trouble "bridging the gap," as it were. Give us time. :)
      Yeah. I think it's a type thing. We should start a club or something--"INFJs for Brandon," or some such name. ;)

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    14. True!! Thing is I smile and then they think I'm wierd or somthing.. yes I occasionally grin to myself when I think of somthing loverly coughlikebrandoncough.
      YES DM! <3 He's just so perfect! and yeah, that's a great point Liv!

      xD Sounds amazing Jess! Hey, we could start a blog "The life of the three INFJS" hehe I dunno wierd idea...

      Hey it's our little trio xD

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    15. Yep. I smile and giggle over my own private thoughts all the time--thing is, TO ME it seems like a perfectly normal habit, but then I don't notice anybody else doing it. So I dunno what they must think of me. But does that matter? No, Jeeves. It does not. :)

      Exactly! It's OUR little trio and we can do whad-evah we want :-)

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    16. Yes just yes! Although once in English class about 3 years ago, we were doing S&S and everyones complaining about how awful Colonel B is (GASP IKR) but according to my friend Britt I was sitting there calmly bright red and had this little smirk on my face. Probably cause the teacher had paused the DVD (DM version too) at the duel scene. xD

      Hhehe Yes yes it is! All for one and one for all? :-)

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    17. Hey, I would totally be bright red and smirking, too, in that situation. I mean--why not?

      People complaining about how awful Colonel Brandon is need to go TAKE A HIKE. Nobody says such things about my baby and gets away with it. Nobody.

      I'm the same way with Fanny Price--I cannot abide hearing people criticize and complain about her. Oh, BTW, just a thought: Does Fanny seem like possible INFJ material to you? She rather does to me, but I'm new at this business, so.

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    18. *goes bright red* exactly!?

      Yus, just yes! xD

      Mmmhmm! True! I'm like that with Lizzy Bennet, or Marianne actaully for that matter cause I'm a mix of the two.

      Hmm she could be! I'll get back to you on that :-D

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  3. This is a WONDERFUL review! I agree 100% -- this book is a gem. :-)

    YOU QUOTED MEEE!!!!!! *tries to be humble but grins ecstatically* Awwww, thanks. It is my dream to be quoted. :-D You were going through a rough time when you read this too? So was I! I was feeling really down for a few days, starting with one disappointment, which then led to dwelling over almost every bad thing about myself I could think of...and this book was just what I needed to heal my heart at the time. God sent it my way at just the right moment. :-) (I love it when things like that happen.)

    I REALLY want to meet this lady. She's so much fun. I just want to sit down with her and talk and laugh together. :-) The book made me laugh a lot too -- always a good thing!

    ~Emma

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    1. Aww! Thank you!:D And yes, absolutely.

      I DID! You deserve to be quoted, hehe;) Really?! That's so cool--I was dealing with some emotions about a family issue, and this really helped me. Like you said, God sent this to me at the right time--to help me look beyond the moment, ya know?

      Haha, I know, right? She's hilarious.

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  4. Between your and Emma's review, I'm convinced. I want to read this book. :)

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  5. I've been hearing a lot of good things about this book..... I guess I'll have to add it to the list. :)

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  6. This book looks amazing!!!

    Thanks for doing a review on it I'll have to add it to my to-read list (that thing seems to be getting longer each day)

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    1. It is!

      Thank YOU so much for reading, Morgan!!!! (And I'm sorry this reply was so late:P)

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