Thursday, 20 March 2008

Anne of Green Gables

Yet another challenge book! This one covers two challenges, the What's in a Name? challenge being hosted by Annie, and Becky's Heart of a Child challenge. And the book is... Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.



Brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, decide that help is needed on their farm and that a sensible thing to do would be to adopt an orphan boy to help out. All is arranged and Matthew goes to collect the boy from the station. Unfortunately, what he finds when he gets there is that there has been a mistake and a girl has been sent instead - Anne Shirley. On the way home shy Matthew and talkative Anne get acquainted and Matthew secretly hopes they can keep the girl, but the decision is not his; Marilla will decide. At first Marilla decides against it and even gets to the point of returning Anne. But she discovers that Anne, who up to now has had a tough life, is to be passed on to a shrew of a woman with a lot of children who just wants a slave. Marilla relents and decides to keep Anne. To grossly understate the matter, red-headed 'Anne' with an 'e' (as she insists) is a bit of a handful. She never stops talking, she's romantic, over-imaginative, and day-dreams to the point of forgetting her chores. She falls in and out of trouble at the drop of a hat but reassures her guardians that it's all right because she 'never makes the same mistake twice'! Matthew and Marilla's lives will never be the same again...

I can't say when it was I read this book, I'm thinking I must have been somewhere around 13 - 14. Weirdly, hardly a thing was familiar except for the beautiful setting of Prince Edward Island, off the coast of Canada. I know it made me want to go there (I never have but, well, you never know...) So, reading this was like discovering a new book entirely and I was completely and utterly charmed by it as most people who read it seem to be. It's very much a story about a way of life that has disappeared. It was not ruled by the motor car or the TV, people made their own entertainment and life was very much slower. They sang, did recitals of poetry, enjoyed the countryside, studied, read books etc. Anne is a very believable heroine with many faults - she makes mistakes but is never afraid to own up and confront her own shortcomings. I shed more than a few tears when reading this book, I don't mind admitting. I got totally wrapped up in Anne's childhood adventures, friends, adopted family. The book is nothing short of delightful. There are many more 'Anne' books and I fully intend reading every single one of them!

Other reviews:

Things mean a lot

15 comments:

Tara said...

I don't know why I've never read these - I own them all! I did enjoy the tv program that was on years ago, though - have you seen it?

Cath said...

Hi Tara. No the TV series was never shown on TV here. Another friend recommended them though so I may look into getting some dvds. I'll read more of the books first though. I hope you decide to try them, good for cheering you up when you need it.

raidergirl3 said...

Did you read the other books when you were younger? The whole series is great, and I'm glad you enjoyed Anne again. It's the 100th anniversary of the publication.
And it really is as beautiful here as LM descibed!

Cath said...

Raidergirl3: After I left that comment I went back to your main page, saw where you're from, and just laughed. I had no idea! Life is so weird sometimes. Anyway, I actually don't remember whether I read any more of the Anne books when I was young. I think I may have read a couple more but am not certain. I plan to read the rest this year though. And I'm so pleased that it really is lovely on PEI. I will get to that region one day as I would also like to see Newfoundland, Quebec, Nova Scotia and even Labrador after reading an amazing travel book about that province last year. I think I'm going to need about six months. LOL.

DesLily said...

hi Cath: strange I never read these books when I was young..to be honest I can't remember many books when I was young.. maybe that's why I'm finding so many YA authors to be such a joy now that I'm old?! lol

Jenny said...

If you're getting into L.M. Montgomery, definitely check out the books she's written besides the Anne books. She wrote three books about a girl called Emily that I actually liked better; plus there are Jane of Lantern Hill and The Blue Castle, which are two of my favorite books ever. Especially The Blue Castle. :)

Cath said...

Hi Pat! I only read what the local library had when I was young, which wasn't everything by any means. And the young adult books now are so much better and more numerous than they were when we were kids. No wonder we want to read them. :-)

Hi Jenny. Thanks for reccing LMM's other books. I was looking at them on the Fantastic Fiction site (http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/m/l-m-montgomery/) and wondering which ones would be interesting once I've finished the Anne series. The last two you mention sound particularly good. I was also wondering about her journals... I kind of like reading that kind of thing. Have you read any of those? Thanks for dropping by!

Booklogged said...

I know your delight as I've just finished Anne of Avonlea. I didn't read any of this series until this summer, but I did see the tv series. It's fabulous.

Hold on to that dream to see PEI. I went this last summer. Beautiful. And I was fortunate to meet Raidergirl3. Dreams do come true.

Cath said...

Hi Booklogged. I certainly will hold onto my dream to visit PEI and other parts of Canada. I'll make it happen one day. By the time I've read all the Anne books I'll be pretty desperate I expect! I'll bet your trip was wonderful...

Nan - said...

I love these books, and think they are every bit as much for grownups as younger girls. There is so much wisdom, so much good advice about how to live one's life. And we went to PEI for a few summers when the kids were little. It is the most beautiful place, and we still dream sometimes about moving there.

Cath said...

Nan, I think I was most struck by how simply people lived back then and that they seemed happier with a lot less than we have in the 21st. century. I'm sure life was hard but even still I'm sure there's a lesson to be learned by that. Oh, you're so right that these books are for adults as well as children. And I'm so envious that you've been to PEI! How wonderful!

Erin said...

I loved Anne, but must agree with Jenny that I loved Emily better! And Jane of Lantern Hill is a favorite of mine too. I've got to go get my copy down and read it again!

Cath said...

Erin, I'm clearly going to have to put all of L.M. Montgomery's books on my wishlist. Several people have suggested that her other series are just as good if not better than 'Anne' so I will definitely take notice and get those too.

raidergirl3 said...

For me, nobody beats Anne - all 8 books! But The Blue Castle is a wonderful, wonderful stand alone book. I never liked Emily as much. I also really enjoy her short story collections, and there are quite a few. I haven't read of LM's journals, but they are probably pretty dark. She was rather blue and depressed a lot, from what I gather.
I got to meet booklogged! It was a great opportunity.

Cath said...

raidergirl3: I was really surprised when you said that L.M. Montgomery was depressed much of the time. Her books are so uplifting that you would never think she herself was not happy. How sad.

I've made a note to look out for The Blue Castle.

How wonderful that you got to meet Booklogged, she sounds like such a nice person judging by her blog. I've met quite a few people that I 'met' online and never once been disappointed.