Goodreads: Pat of Silver Bush
Series: Pat #1
Summary: Pat has always loved living at Silver Bush where nothing changes and everything good seems to last. However, from the birth of her baby sister to the wedding and departure of her aunt, things do change. Growing up, Pat comes to learn that no life can remain static or untouched either by tragedy or joy. Fortunately, she always has one constant on which she can rely: the love of her family and friends at Silver Bush. Followed by Mistress Pat.
Review: Montgomery possesses a rare gift for characterization. Pat, her friends, and her relatives spring to life on the page, gloriously three-dimensional in their habits and quirks. Readers will find themselves variously charmed, sympathetic, amused, and incredulous as they experience with Pat the range of personalities that pass through her life. Montgomery, however, never descends to caricature. Even the most annoying or simply outrageous characters seem worthy of understanding or sometimes pity. The book, is above all, a celebration of humanity and its diversity.
Pat herself exemplifies well Montgomery’s care to make each character multi-faceted. She, among all the author’s protagonists, seems the most obsessed and thus potentially the most annoying. Poor Pat loves her home to distraction, loves it so much that she cannot bear to have it changed in any way or to admit it has any flaws. In fact, insulting Silver Bush is the fastest way to ensure Pat will never speak to you again. She actually ends and forms relationships based on how others perceive her home. She seems to throw away happiness at times simply so she will not have to part from it. Readers understand that Pat has a heightened sensitivity to beauty, a passionate nature that loves, at times, too dearly. Even so, her behavior could come across as, at the least, ridiculous.
Montgomery, however, skillfully prevents Pat’s attachment from crossing the line into full-blown obsession, thus alienating readers who wish the girl would get a grip on herself. She shows readers Pat’s romantic side, her superstitious side, her loving side. She shows that Pat is capable of detaching herself at times when she finds it necessary, and gives Pat the humility to admit that she can be wrong, that other places besides her home can hold charm. The audience comes to understand the girl as a full character who is so much more than her love for Silver Bush, even when Pat seems to define herself by that love.
Much of the love readers come to bear for the protagonist stems from Pat’s unabashed love of beauty. She openly admires the world around her in a way that illustrates her true appreciation of it, rather than some attempt to appear deep or spiritual. She never overstates her case for beauty, but simply enjoys it, regardless of whether or not those around her possess the capacity to do the same. This love of beauty spills out into other areas of her life, shows itself in her trusting nature, her open friendship, and her quick ability to read others and thus give them the understanding and love they need most. Most tellingly, though Pat is eager to please and eager to make others feel comfortable, she never sacrifices her sense of self toward either objective.
The thread of superstition and the eerie folk tales sprinkled liberally throughout the book help readers enter Pat’s mind, and world, more fully. Pat begins the book very young, though she will end it old enough to have had her first romance. Thus, she still sees the world as a child, as a place where fantasy and reality meet and overlap, a place where anything can happen. Montgomery dexterously takes her readers into this mindset, makes them see the world as full of wonder and potential. The humorous escapades of Pat and her friends sometimes remind readers of the absurdity also found in childlike belief, but no cynicism mars the book. Rather, the magic (and sometimes pain) of childhood blends seamlessly with the perspective gained by growing up.
Pat of Silver Bush contains so much that makes Montgomery special: a cast of delightful characters, a beautiful P.E.I. setting, and just the right mixture of joy and sorrow. Her characters and stories feel real. Readers will not want to miss this opportunity to become friends with Pat and share with her all that makes life worth living.
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7 thoughts on “Pat of Silver Bush by L. M. Montgomery”
Great review! I just posted my own a few minutes ago and was rather delighted to come over and find you’d done likewise. Which, by the way, I’m not sure I’m working your Mr. Linky correctly… but anyway, I loved Pat of Silver Bush, and Mistress Pat even more. I think I just sympathized with Pat, obsession and all–and read too easily past the flaws she possesses, which you adeptly pointed out. 🙂
I was going to comment over at your blog, but it appears my computer won’t let me, for reasons I cannot fathom. 😦 I’m so glad you enjoyed the Pat books, though! Even though I listed Pat’s flaws, she may be one of Montgomery’s more relatable characters. After all, how many people have the imagination of Anne? How many people can understand Emily’s pride? Pat, though, is in many ways rather ordinary. She has average intelligence, is shy, and makes the sort of mistakes readers might make–not recognizing the true worth of some of her relationships, believing some wild tales told by someone she loves and trusts. Probably not as many readers will make Anne mistakes–falling off roofs and nearly getting drowned!
And I am so glad you mentioned Judy! I don’t know how I left her out! I think she’s one of Montgomery’s great characters–among a lengthy list of great characters. Her personality is so strong, it just drives the story, as you said. And even though she’s funny and has some quirks, you have to love her because she’s just so good. It’s so touching to see her look after Pat and try to protect the girl from the types of sorrows she knows life will bring.
And Jingle! I’m not sure I can express my full love for Jingle. He has so much going against him, yet he manages to retain his sensitivity and to belief the world is ultimately good. He credits the people at Silver Bush for making him that way, yet it’s clear so much of it comes from himself. The McGinty/Jingle relationship is one of the most endearing in literature, in my opinion.
Well, the links work and that’s the important part, right? 😀 I suppose if people wanted they could add the work reviewed in parentheses after their names to distinguish different posts.
And it’s really funny you mentioned the overuse of ellipses in your post, considering the warning given to Emily about italics. 😉
Hmmm, I’m not sure I like the fact that my blog isn’t playing nice with people’s computers. It’s working with mine, so I have no idea what could be going on!
I wholeheartedly agree with your comments, though. Pat really was particularly relatable on an everyday level–not so much the starry, fascinating Anne-type that we all sometimes wish we were a little more like, but exceptional only in loving and being loved. And I did love Judy and Jingle, too. Madly. 😉
HAHA–I’d forgotten about the warning about italics. Of course, the joke’s on me, too, as I complained about Montgomery’s overuse of ellipses in a review in which I most definitely overused the emdash. 😛
Oh, I’m sure the problem is not with your blog but somewhere on my end. I’ve had trouble in the past commenting on other blogs, which is part of the reason I don’t do it too often.
Wait–the em dash can be overused?
I actually used to like Pat better than Emily, who is often others’ favorite! I think i sympathized with her love of home…
Yes! Another fan of Pat’s! I’ve always liked her better than Emily, too. 😀