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I’ve been devouring Rilla of Ingleside this past week, and my head feels heavy with the weight of the war in which the boys of Ingleside enlisted.

I keep the worn copy on my nightstand so that I can read a chapter before going to sleep, but lately, the pain and restlessness of the Glen St. Mary women has kept me in an anxious and depressed state.

But as Rilla matured from her vain, gigglesome girlhood, I found myself maturing (in mind, at least) along with her. Watching her brothers go to war and raising a war-baby certainly forced her to grow up fast.

Have you ever noticed that you hardly ever notice when you’re in the middle of growing up?

There are rare times when you realize it and smile secretly to yourself over the triumph of personal growth, but it really does not come into our notice often.

I only noticed how far we’d (me and Rilla) had matured when the other characters in the book started noticing the responsible way that Rilla attacked her Red Cross work, the expert movement of her hands as she looked after Jims, the seriousness of her beautiful, empty eyes.

I began to appreciate the families of soldiers and the hardships that came with war. In my lifetime thus far, I have been fortunate enough to avoid the shock and horror of the sort of wars that the Ingleside family had to endure.

But with that endurance came some of the greatest insights into the human soul – the love of a pale but brave mother, the drawing together of a family reduced in size by the war, the last conversations between boys in khaki and their loved ones.

Take a look at the Anne of Green Gables blog, especially Building the Devastation of War, or leave a comment below about your thoughts and deeply felt sorrows while reading Rilla of Ingleside.


 


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