I recently (and finally) finished reading a lesser-known book by the Anne of Green Gables author, L.M. Montgomery. Since sixth grade, I’ve probably read (and re-read) at least 18 of her books, including the Emily trilogy and Anne series I was named after. Magic for Marigold had been on my to-read list for about ten years (wow, 22 feels strangely old), so I figured I should pick it up and finally give it a read.
Magic for Marigold follows the adventures of a young girl (named Marigold) who has a vivid imagination and often finds herself getting into trouble because of it. And that’s about the gist of the story. Sure, she learns a few lessons about growing up by the end. But does anything drastic and plot-altering happen? Not really, no.
I didn’t love this book. Part of the reason was because it just stayed kind of in one place the whole time. Not that I was necessarily craving a catastrophe, but it would have been nice to see a more tangible change by the end or at least see more of a steady theme throughout that comes to completion. Another reason I didn’t love it was because it felt like some of the characters were copied and pasted from the Anne books. (Marigold was basically a blonde-haired, only half-orphaned version of Anne Shirley.) I always enjoy Montgomery’s writing style, though, so I don’t regret picking it up. Also, because I’m currently in the process of trying to write a YA novel (if you can even call it that yet), I love reading things that explore the wonder and innocence of childhood.
Although it’s probably not something I’ll re-read, I don’t regret picking it up. I think there is a lot to be learned from books that are just “meh” (or even books that are a complete train wreck). This book certainly gave me a few dos and don’ts that will be helpful for my own writing.
I encourage you to pick up a book that’s been on your reading list for a while (it doesn’t have to be ten years!) and finally sit down with it. Even if it’s not quite what you hoped, see what you can still take away from it.