sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

March 7, 2012

into the stacks: against the odds
posted by soe 2:33 am

Against the Odds: Tales of Achievement, by L.M. Montgomery (Edited by Rea Wilmshurst)

From the jacket: “The common thread among the 18 stories in Against the Odds is the way people can resourcefully overcome obstacles to realize their ambitions and dreams. The ‘odds’ are varied in these skilfully written tales. An obstacle to one’s success or happiness may lie in one’s own character or the prejudice of someone else.”

My take: This book, by the author of Anne of Green Gables, is a collection of short stories compiled in the early 1990s. All but one were previously published in newspapers or magazines, sometimes in more than one. And while they work together as a whole, I found them best ingested one or two stories at a time (which made them ideal commuting reading for a week).

I don’t know if Montgomery was capable of writing only one type of hero, or if that was merely the type she (or her publishers) preferred. But each of these 18 stories features, like Anne Shirley, a (usually young) protagonist best described as optimistic, smart, upright, and plucky. Usually they’re down on their luck, but combined with their good character, hard work, and a little serendipity, they’re able to turn their fortunes around. (Generally, though, Montgomery is tempered in her rewards. No one wins the lottery, discovers a rich, dying relative, or embarks upon a get-rich-quick scheme.

Whether it’s convincing a prospective employer to take a chance on them, crossing a flooded Canadian countryside to reach a wedding in time, or persuading a relative to pay for college, each of these tales will have you rooting for the protagonists to find their path to a better life.

Pages: 246

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