Friday, January 11, 2013

Mistress Pat, by L.M. Montgomery {Review & Giveaway}

This review of Mistress Pat follows on the heels of my review of Pat of Silver Bush (linked) and really is Part II of my thoughts on Love of Home.

As I explained in my post earlier this week, Pat is a character who feels intense emotions and experiences great emotional ties to things. Specifically, she cares about her home - Silver Bush. I explained in that post that I can sympathize and identified with Pat quite a bit in this as I very much love our family home. It is just four walls which contain our family and yet it isn't. It has character and a growing history and I just love living here!

In Mistress Pat the theme of Pat's love for Silver Bush continues at a rather reckless pace. (Yet still, I understand it!) Pat has grown up and the family is hopeful that she will marry and begin a new life for herself with a home and children of her own. Pat, on the other hand, maintains that there is no man on earth who she could ever love as much as Silver Bush: it is her life, her love, her all. I think that's a bit over dramatic (and theologically incorrect!)  and I doubt that there are few that would disagree with my assessment. Beaus come and go in Pat's life but none can hold a candle to her love of home.

Pat's love for her home is tested in this book and really, aside from the fact that Montgomery is largely predictable in her story telling pattern, I found this book to be a bit surprising in the direction it headed. I'll be cautious about spoilers as a result. Now, it may be that I found this book slightly less predictable than most because I packed this title (the second in the Pat series!) and took it to California with me over Christmas instead of the first by accident! (Hellllo, Carrie.) I was, um, a bit surprised when I opened the covers of the book and discovered Pat grown up already. (Ah sigh. I should pay closer attention when I snatch books off shelves!) Also, it's very helpful to have such a bad memory when it comes to re-reading books after you've first read them. I had suspicions as to how the book would end, but I was surprised all over again along the way. (Because my memory is that pathetic. Why do you think I persist with the blog!?)

Back to the story and my thoughts as relate to it . . . a lot of you will recall that almost one year ago I overcooked a chicken in our home. The chicken wasn't really noticed until 2 a.m. when the house was filled with white smoke and a horrible, horrible (HORRIBLE!) odor. As a result of our my mishap with the bird, we had to move out of our home for two months while our kitchen was almost completely reconstructed and our house was emptied of all of our personal possessions. We left the house with the clothes on our backs, quite literally. And even then, we had to replace the clothes we were wearing because they reeked. For two months we wondered what of the things we owned would be recovered and which would have to be replaced. (I wrote about my frustrations/stresses/thoughts here and here and here and here. Obviously I was thinking a lot about it! It was sort of a life changing deal.) Like Pat, I found myself in a position where I didn't want to change, but change happened anyway. Change will always happen because life demands it. We weren't meant to be the same people today that we were ten years ago. Tomorrow I will be different than I am today, because I'll have processed new events and interactions. Onward and upward all the time!

Being moved out of our home was interesting. We love it (and we love being back in it! Thank you, Lord, for working out the details of that!) but we realized that home doesn't define who we are. Mostly, we realized in a very real way that things were not as important as people and our relationships with them. We tried to learn how to be happy in our temporary housing. Some days we were successful at being joyful in the situation and other days (much) less so. It changed how we felt about "stuff" - we decided we never wanted to own as much as we did before the smoke ever again. It's hard to keep such resolutions, but we try to hold each other to it. It is better to give away and live simply than it is to clutch hold of things. It is easier to move if you have less to carry. Later on last year we were able to sit under some teaching which further strengthened our resolve to own less and be willing to move away from our home if God ever called us to it.

I wouldn't have learned any of these lessons (and I'm not exactly done learning them) if home and "stuff" hadn't been removed forcibly. And so I can sympathize with Pat still because it wasn't until change came that I had no control of did I realize that I wasn't actually in control. I also realized - yet again! - that change is good and God uses it for His purposes and for His glory.

It's better for us to hold on to stuff loosely rather than clutch it so tightly that we wound ourselves when God 'must wrest it quickly from our grasp.' Living simply - so as to move as God directs and to be able to give more generously to bless others - is a hard thing to learn. It's a hard thing to want to do when it comes down to it. Going without or submitting to a sovereign plan doesn't exactly come natural to we humans. Yet it's what we're called to do. Happily, no less.

I know that God has a plan for us and it is a good one (Jeremiah 29:11) - whether in these four walls or outside of them. We're grateful every day that we are here in the home that we love, make no mistake about it. But it's not the most important thing and it should never be. Pat was wrong in her attitude. We were wrong in ours. Sometimes it takes something earth shattering to get our attention focused on things of worth. Those things are ultimately good. As I see Pat concluding well, I hope we will also! From beginning to end I love Pat and all of her emotions but just as she can't stay the same, neither can I.

I'm willing to keep changing. Although I do confess that I don't say that without feeling a little fear and trepidation!

O teach me Lord to walk this road, The road of simple living; To be content with what I own And generous in giving. And when I cling to what I have, Please wrest it quickly from my grasp; I’d rather lose all the things on earth To gain the things of heaven.
L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge
****** Annnnd the part you have patiently waited for: I picked up a nice hardback copy of Mistress Pat at a garage sale this past summer to give away to one of you! Would you like to win? Simply leave a comment below. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents and will be open through Thursday, January 17th. THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. THE WINNER (as selected by IS #14 - SKY. Congrats! :)

Also, the winners of Akin to Anne are #1 - Amy @ Hope is the Word and #12 - Tarissa!


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

What a great lesson to learn! I confess when I read Pat I did think she was a bit over the top, even for LMM.

Don't enter me in this drawing since I own the Pat books already.

Annette Whipple said...

Since I am currently enjoying Pat of SB, I would certainly like to have this!

I am amazed at how well you articulate Pat...all of her sweetness and deficiencies. Why should I even write a review? ;) I think I may try to anyway. :)

I have not yet concluded yet if I agree with Amy about Pat being over the top yet...however, I can see much of my 6 year old in her-but thankfully not all of it!

Shonya said...

Wow, what an incredible post! I love the way you articulated your tough learning experience and your conclusions to have less stuff weighing you down should the Lord move you. Really, really good stuff here.

Onward and upward indeed! ;)

(Oh, and save the Pat book for another reader--don't worry about entering me)

*carrie* said...

I like your quote at the bottom--those Gettys again!

Whenever you mention your house fire incident, I can't help but think of our own unplanned exodus that occurred simultaneously. Much to learn from.

Renee said...

I am facing change that I would rather not have to face and was worrying quite a bit about it today. Your post and words reassured me that God is in charge and that I need to work on letting go. I really needed to hear that message - Thank you!

Also, thanks for stopping by my blog. I am waiting to receive the Avonlea Cookbook and will definitely review it when it comes - hopefully very soon. :)

Cassandra said...

I'm glad that when God gives us lessons to learn, He doesn't leave us alone as we go through them. *hugs* Do your family members tease you about the chicken? Mine would never let me live it down!

Jessica B. said...

I would love to read this. Anne of Green Gables is one of my all time favorites but I haven't read much else by Montgomery.

Heather VanTimmeren said...

Thanks for sharing what God has been teaching you. That's why you should keep blogging, even if you do have a short memory (which I don't see as a detriment, at all)!

I'm happy to enter any give away for L. M. Montgomery books! histtheo1 at yahoo dot com

Bets said...

I had never even heard of the Pat books! They sound interesting.

Barbara H. said...

Valuable lessons to be sure. I've grieved at times that some things from my childhood got left behind along the way in my parents' moves, but had to finally conclude that if the Lord wanted me to have them I'd have them.

I take it Pat changes her mind along the way?

apple blossom said...

love to win a copy of this book thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

Petra said...

I haven't read Mistress Pat in a long time, but I love being able to follow Montgomery's heroines through childhood into adulthood. I think Anne is special because we actually get to see her married life, though.

It's so great you're giving away a copy. I can't believe how hard these books are to find anymore! You needn't enter me in the drawing, though--I know someone who owns them and wouldn't want to deprive someone who doesn't have such easy access!

Janna said...

I need to read the Pat books!! I'm sad the libraries around me don't have it. jannarebekah (at) aol (dot) com

Sky said...

I very much had to embrace the idea that a house does not define me or my family. We have adjusted a few times to new surroundings. My heart always aches for Pat as I think we all know the security of being comfortable and attached to our homey environment but it is true that we must grow and move on and even if we stay in the same area geographically there will be changes as people grow older, old places are renovated, shops close etc. As Christians we must accept these things as coming through our Father and by Him we will progress in our journey of faith.
(I would like a Pat book so enter me please!)

Unknown said...

I would love to read this book. It sounds really good. Thanks for the giveaway.

Anonymous said...

Was gifted Pat of SB is 1993, i have no recollection of reading it then, but I started it this week after your post! But I don't have a copy of Mistress Pat, would be nice to win, i'm doubting my small library has a copy.
Jrstoller1 at live dot com

Alison said...

Pick me! :)

Tarissa said...

Aw! Another of Montgomery's books I haven't had the privilege of reading yet. {Not to seem ungrateful though, because I did rather just 'get' Akin to Anne.} ;-) Looking forward to reading Mistress Pat one day!

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