Wednesday, 20 January 2016

'Anne of Green Gables' by L.M. Montgomery (1908)

Synopsis: Anne of Green Gables is the first in a children's book series. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are unmarried, middle-aged siblings who live on a farm called Green Gables near the small town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island, Canada. As the pair of them are both getting on in years they decide to adopt a young boy who'll be able to help them out on the farm. However, when Matthew goes to pick the child up at the local train station he's shocked to discover that the orphanage has made a mistake and hasn't sent the promised boy at all. Instead they've sent an exuberant 11 year old girl called Anne Shirley. Matthew is won over by the child almost immediately and not knowing what else to do takes Anne back to the farm. After some debating with an initially reluctant Marilla, who is much stricter and more practical than Matthew, they eventually decide to let Anne stay with them. The book then chronicles Anne's life over the next five years. During this time she becomes best friends with her neighbour Diana Barry, develops a rivalry with a class-mate called Gilbert Blythe after he teases her about her red hair, and gets herself into many escapades and amusing situations.

Anne of Green Gables is one of those children's classics that I never actually got to read as a child but now that I've finally got round to reading the book I can completely understand why so many readers cherish it. Although there isn't really much of a plot to Green Gables (since it's mostly concerned with Anne's day-to-day life at the farm) it's just such a sweet book. L.M. Montgomery's descriptive nature passages in it are utterly beautiful and the character of Anne Shirley is a lovely and engaging heroine. I've happened to come across a few reviews of this book from readers who said that they found Anne's talkativeness and tendency to vocalise every single thought in her head extremely annoying - which I admit I can understand to a certain extent because I often find very talkative people extremely annoying myself (both in fiction and in real life) - but for me the things that Anne came out with in this book were so charming and amusingly melodramatic that her verbosity actually became a very endearing character trait. I also loved Anne's deep appreciation of nature, her huge imagination (e.g. she renames all of the local landmarks with things like "The Haunted Wood" and "Lake of Shining Waters"), and her absolute insistence on her name being spelt with an "e" because it looks so much more distinguished. As a "Hannah" who wants to scream when my name gets misspelt as "Hanna" or "Hana" I could relate! :D

That's pretty much all that I have to say about Anne of Green Gables really because as much as I enjoyed this book I have to admit that I didn't love it nearly as much as the only other L.M. Montgomery novel I've read which is The Blue Castle. Anne of Green Gables is cute and charming and lovely but I just didn't find it as riveting and emotionally engaging as that book. The Blue Castle is an adult's novel and its intense romance and more mature themes were obviously better suited for where I'm at in my life. I'm really glad that I finally got to read Anne of Green Gables though because I definitely liked it and it's cemented L.M. Montgomery as being one of my favourite writers. I look forward to reading the sequels and eventually watching the Megan Follows films :)

Rating: 4/5


Hamlette said...

Oh, I'm SO glad you liked it! I've also read reviewers who are annoyed by Anne's talkativeness, which is kind of like being annoyed by Sherlock Holmes being logical, I think. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed it :-) As Anne grows up through the series, you'll find some deeper things going on, until the books start to focus on her kids more.

Hannah said...

Hamlette - Oh good! I thought you'd be disappointed that I didn't completely love it! It's a shame that I didn't read AoGG about 20 years ago because even though I still enjoyed it well enough I know I'd have absolutely adored it if I'd read it as a child. I've been thinking that I might end up preferring the sequels because Anne will be an adult in those books and there might be more material in them to suit me.

Mònica said...

Cool, glad you liked the book! When I was 11 it was my absolute favorite book and I read it over and over again because me and her had practically the exact same personality, haha! It's a very relatable book for a kid. I've never read The Blue Castle, from what you say, it sounds really good. I'll have to find it at my school's library, except that they have really hidden the fiction section, grrr.
(Oh, and sorry if I get too talkative sometimes, I don't want to be annoying or anything, hahah! Sometimes I need to be told to dial it back in real life ;)

Reading in the Dark said...

I never read it as a child either and still haven't read it, unfortunately. Just need to make the time. I have read some of L.M. Montgomery's short stories, which were interesting. This is one of those, "One of these days, I'll pick that up..." books for me. And yes to the crazy name spellings! Hannah's unite! :)

Hannah said...

Monica - 'The Blue Castle' is wonderful!

Oh and please don't apologise for being talkative! When I say I have a problem with talkative people I was thinking about this girl I knew at university in particular. She was the kind of person who if you asked her how day was she'd just go on and on and on about it and yet she would NEVER ask you about yours. So really it's self-absorption that irks me not so much talkativeness and you certainly don't come across as that :)

Hannah - Yes! *high five* Honestly why would you choose to mess up a palindrome?! And thanks for making me feel better about not reading this book as a child!