13 October 2006

Old laughter

This might wind up sounding like one of those "you-had-to-be-there" things, but I think some would agree that when you read something aloud it can seem much funnier than if you were simply reading it to yourself. Such was the case with L.M. Montgomery's The Golden Road (sequel to The Story Girl, which is also excellent). The children write and edit their own magazine, contributing anything from essays on "My Most Exciting Adventure" to local gossip and fashion notes. Years ago, I would spend hours reading Montgomery's stories to my younger sisters...and for some reason, I still can't read this one with a straight face:

Shakespeare's full name was William Shakespeare. He did not always spell it the same way. He lived in the reign of Queen Elizabeth and wrote a great many plays. His plays are written in dialogue form. Some people think they were not written by Shakespeare but by another man of the same name. I have read some of them because our school teacher says everybody ought to read them, but I did not care much for them. There are some things in them I cannot understand. I like the stories of Valeria H. Montague in the Family Guide ever so much better. They are more exciting and truer to life. Romeo and Juliet was one of the plays I read. It was very sad. Juliet dies and I don't like stories where people die. I like it better when they all get married especially to dukes and earls. Shakespeare himself was married to Anne Hatheway. They are both dead now. They have been dead a good while. He was a very famous man.


(PETER, MODESTLY: "I don't know much about Shakespeare myself but I've got a book of his plays that belonged to my Aunt Jane, and I guess I'll have to tackle him as soon as I finish with the Bible.")


Lynne W. Scanlon said...

Very funny...and charming!

Lynne AKA The Wicked Witch of Publishing.

amcorrea said...

Thanks! That "They are more exciting and truer to life" line gets me every time...

Kate S. said...

It's been years since I last read The Story Girl and The Golden Road and I'd forgotten about the magazine episode. Thanks for reminding me of the humour of it. Clearly, I'm due for a reread!

How wonderful for your memories of Montgomery's books to be wound up with the experience of reading them aloud to your sisters.

Anne said...

Very, very, very good. I stopped with the Anne books. Now, I'll have to start again. I don't know quite how she channelled that sweet ignorant wise funny child voice.