Friday, January 23, 2009

Book Review: The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Short Stories

The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Stories by L.M. Montgomery is a compilation of 14 short stories written by Montgomery throughout her career.

In general, I am not a fan of short stories. I feel like I'm just getting to know the characters and the story ends. It's just not as satisfactory as a good 200 pages of experiencing the life of a character.

However, my reading is done in short spurts these days so I wasn't sure if I could handle a real novel. When Carrie at Reading to Know recommended The Doctor's Sweetheart I decided to give short stories another try.

After reading "Kismet" I began to doubt my decision. This story is just 5 short pages. The characters don't even have names. They are simply referred to as "a man" and "a woman." The story takes place during the duration of a couple of horse races. While I enjoyed the brief exchange between the couple, the story left me wanting to know more. Why had they separated? Did their reconciliation last? Would they find happiness with one another?

By the time the book was over I was glad I had given short stories another try. As you progress through the book the stories get longer. You also receive more detail about the lives of the characters. I ended the book wishing there was more.

The themes of all the stories (as best I recall) in The Doctor's Sweetheart is pride and reconciliation. Over and over the various characters make decisions that are ultimately rooted in pride. They live for years with less than fulfilling lives as a result. Most are able to put their pride aside by the end of the story and reconcile with someone they care about.

This kind of story is bittersweet to me. I'm thrilled at the reconciliation but saddened by so many years (and lives) wasted because of pride. But isn't that like real life?

How many relationships (friendships) are ruined because someone is too proud to admit they need help? Or unwilling to overlook petty differences? Or refuses to forgive deep wounds?

I am reminded of a valuable friendship I lost a few years ago. Was pride the root of it? I'm not really sure. By the time my hurt had healed enough to consider reconciliation, my friend had moved away. Now, over 4 years later, the sweet memories of her are still bittersweet to me.

Do you regret the loss of a friendship/relationship? Have you ever reconciled after a long separation? Was pride the cause?

For more reviews and thoughts on the works of L.M. Montgomery go visit The L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge at Reading to Know.


Scrap girl said...

Been there, done that, bought the Tshirt. I hate losing friends!

Alicia said...

Wow, Stephanie's Mommy Brain getting really serious! Relationships are so complicated! And I do think pride is often root of so many problems. And then you become a mom, and a whole new level of pride pops up! Even right now I'm in the middle of a reconciliation of a friendship that ended many many years ago.

The book sounds intriguing-and very real. You know it was on my list, but I'm never going to make it that far. I'm still on the 1st book of my LMM list, and it has a sequel that I know I will want to read. I'll make sure I read this for pleasure later this year.

Carrie said...

In answer to your last question - YES I regret the loss of certain friendships and find it fascinating how you drew your life situation into these stories.

I'm so glad you participated and gave the short stories a try! And I'm glad you liked them in the end! =X

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I'm not much of a short story reader, either, I'm afraid. I can't remember if I've read all of this particular volume. I'm glad you liked it. I might have to give it a try (again?).

Great review!

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