Magic for Marigold by L. M. Montgomery

Goodreads: Magic for Marigold

Summary: Marigold Lesley grew up at Cloud of Spruce painting the world with her imagination.  Though strong personalities pass into and out of her life—including a real princess—Marigold always returns to her imaginary friend Sylvia.  Together the two of them roam over the hill and through the orchard, reveling in the beauty all around them.  Marigold’s belief in magic sustains her through all the trials of childhood, including having to spend the night away from home, deal with mean-spirited girls at school, and accept the loss of loved ones.

Review: Magic for Marigold breathes with an enchantment all its own, inviting readers to enter again the realm of childhood where wonder and terror exist side-by-side and the world always seems startlingly new.  It celebrates the power of the imagination and challenges the audience to leave behind any cynicism they may have acquired in the belief that doing so constituted “growing up”.  Marigold’s innocent delight in life proves contagious and her joy shouts across the pages, searching for those kindred spirits ready to join her and embrace the present with open arms.

Much of the book’s power stems from its juxtaposition of the real with the fantastic.  Though Marigold lives in a magical world with a friend only she can see, she still must face the trials, joys, and occasional boredom of everyday life.  Like most children, she gets in trouble for misbehaving, suffers embarrassment before her peers, and faces unspeakable terrors such as the large dog that lives on the way to school.  These incidents, seemingly all too close to the readers’ own experiences, highlight the wonder and beauty Marigold perceives all around her. They remind readers that, though they may consider their lives mundane, they, too, are surrounded by such magic, if only they care to look.

Montgomery’s perceptive understanding of human nature and its desire for beauty shines through in this charming novel.  Though Marigold may not have passed into the literary imagination in the same way as Anne Shirley, she shares with that heroine a passionate love for life that she transmits through her own decision to live and love boldly, even when it hurts.  Reading her story simply makes the world feel right.

Published: 1929

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