Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Emily’s Quest by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Emily's QuestEmily’s Quest by Lucy Maud Montgomery is the third and final book in the Emily of New Moon books and thank goodness.  The odd thing is I think I almost like Emily Starr more than I do Anne Shirley.  Anne is almost too ideal, too enchanting as a child, and her life ultimately blessed (although there are, obviously, some sad moments).  Emily’s life also has some sad moments but Emily herself seems more real, less charmed, and prepared to make sacrifices while almost allowing her pride to ruin all hope of happiness.

With all of this said, the novel is so old-fashioned it can only be called "quaint" and the overly contrived plot is not something that would ever be published today.  Nor should it.  The stories are simply too precious and the twists too convenient for most contemporary readers to really consider them worthy of more recent publication. One doesn’t read a novel like this except to romanticize the past although we know that the past is never as pretty a picture as these novels typically present.

But I especially want to discuss the edition I read.
Bantam Books
August 1983
I encourage every homeschooling parent out there to buy this edition if they can find it and read it cover to cover.  Keep a pen and paper handy and every time you find a misspelled word, jot  it down.  If you can find even one chapter without an error, I would be frankly surprised.  I kept putting this book down because of the lazy editing, my frustration increasing with every turn of the page. 

Honestly, whoever gave the final green light to this edition’s being published should have been immediately fired.  Here is an example of what I mean:
Wasn’t there some wretched, vulgar old proverb anent locking a stable door after the horse was stolen? (121)
This is merely one of so many examples that to type them all out would be too time consuming.  In one chapter that was a mere four pages long I found three errors! 

So, dear homeschooling parent, buy this edition and make note of all the errors and then invite your child to do the same.  Just how many mistakes can they find?  Plus, there will be the discovery of words we no longer commonly use, like gooseberry and such, which a child who is reading closely may think is a mistake but isn’t.  Or they’ll find a word like “kididoes” (221) which I can’t tell if this ever was an actual word or is a mistake because I can neither find it in the dictionary nor figure out what it ought to be contextually.   

I tell you, this miserable and horribly edited edition of a quaint (albeit not much else) novel is a great teaching tool and Bantam Books should absolutely be ashamed of themselves for ever putting out such a poorly edited product. It is an insult to the author and it is even more an insult to the reader. 

This book is part of the Books I Should Have Read By Now Challenge.  It took me entirely too long to start and then finish this trilogy because I kept reading other books instead.  And in the case of this particular edition of this novel, the sheer torture of reading such a poorly edited book caused me to keep putting the book down which was kinder than my desire to throw it with great force into a garbage can. 

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