A classic that truly feels timeless

“Oh, I’m so glad.  I know you and I are going to get along together fine.  It’s such a relief to talk when one wants to and not be told that children should be seen and not heard.  I’ve had that said to me a million times if I have once.  And people laugh at me because I use big words.  But if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them, haven’t  you?”  (15)

When I was trying to decide which book I wanted to begin 2010 with, Anne of Green Gables seemed like a good choice.  I received the entire series as a gift from my roommate for Christmas because they are her favorite childhood books and she couldn’t fathom that I had never read them.  Now that I finally have, I can’t really believe it either.  I would have adored these books when I was younger.

What put me off about the novel was a bad experience I had reading the novel Pollyanna, published five years after Anne of Green Gables.  From what I can remember, from the sixth grade, is that Pollyanna seemed like a ridiculous caricature of a girl as if the author had never actually met a real child.  She was so pleasant and wonderful and well-behaved that even being seriously injured couldn’t make her even slightly upset.  I’ve had it in my head all this time that Anne was just an earlier manifestation of Pollyanna, but the exact opposite is true.  Anne is a wonderful character who has very real emotions.  Sometimes she is selfish and overwhelming, but she is very realistic.  She is imaginative and precocious and I loved her.

Reading this novel reminded me a lot of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, one of my all-time favorite books.  There was the same feeling of aching nostalgia for another time and place.  Anne and Francie have a lot in common and, most of all, they are amazing roll models.  I wish that I had discovered both of these novels when I was younger and I’m supremely jealous of people who have.  I am going to recommend this  to all the young girls I know, in fact I’m working on my youngest sister right now  but she thinks there are  “too many words on the page”.

The descriptions in this novel are astoundingly beautiful.  I’d love to visit Avonlea.  The characters, especially Marilla and Anne, were so well-drawn that I know I am going to miss them.

Did you see all the diamonds those ladies wore?” sighed Jane.  “They were simply dazzling.  Wouldn’t you just love to be rich, girls?”

“We are rich,” said Anne staunchly.  “Why, we have sixteen  years to our credit, and we’re happy as queens, and we’ve all got imaginations, more or less.  Look at that sea, girls – all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen.  We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” (274)

(After Anne experiences a death)  “…Then Avonlea settled back to its usual placidity and even at Green Gables affairs slipped into their old groove and work was done and duties fulfilled with regularity as before, although always with the aching sense of “loss in all familiar things.”  Anne, new to grief, thought it almost sad that it could be so – that they could go on in the old way….  She felt something like shame and remorse when she discovered that the sunrises behind the firs and the pale pink buds opening in the garden gave her the old inrush of gladness when she saw them – that Diana’s visits were pleasant to her and that Diana’s merry words and ways moved her to laughter and smiles – that, in brief, the beautiful world of blossom and love and friendship had  lost none of its power to please her fancy and thrill her heart, that life still called to her with many insistent voices.” (297)

What a wonderful way to start off 2010!

So go read this!:  NOW| tomorrow | next week | next month | next year | when you’ve exhausted your TBR

Other voices: Library Ladder; Fleur Fisher Reads; Ramya’s Bookshelf; Dreadlock Girl Reads; Care’s Online Book Club; Bookfoolery and Babble; 1 more chapter; things mean a lot; The Blue Stocking Society.

19 thoughts on “A classic that truly feels timeless

  1. This was one of my favorite books when I was younger – I remember staying up late into the night reading it (well after I was supposed to be in bed, naturally!). I re-read it a few years ago through Project Guttenberg, not long after I moved to Nashville and was feeling nostalgic for Canada; I’m very glad to find it held up for me after almost 20 years!

    If you loved the book, then I highly recommend the Kevin Sullivan televised production staring Megan Follows. Anne of Avonlea is also good, but whatever you do, don’t watch the third movie he made (in which he totally disregards the source material and jumps Anne about 40 years forward in time)!

  2. I really loved the descriptions of the flowers and sunsets and nature in general – they were so vivid and creative I never felt like skimming over (which I did feel like in Kristin Lav!)

  3. I loved this to bits too, and I know I wouldn’t have picked it up if not for blogging. The good thing about books is that it’s never really too late. I know what you mean about wishing you’d read them as a child, but this is one I think I appreciated just as much now (or two years ago :P)

    1. Ana: I definitely didn’t necessarily lose anything by reading it as an adult (and experiencing a death like the one Anne went through at the beginning of the book really made me appreciate that part more) but I think I would have gained a lot in my childhood from reading Anne. It’s definitely never too late, though!

  4. Anne of Green Gables! I was a rabid L.M. Montgomery fan when I was younger; I love her Emily of New Moon series even more than the Anne books (but then I have to be partial, since I share a name with Emily). I’m glad you loved Anne even though you came to her as an adult!

    1. Jessica: It’s coming soon because I got the whole set for Christmas, so I’m definitely looking forward to that! Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I have watched the Megan Follows version of Anne of Green Gables multiple times over the years, but I have yet to read the book. I hope to do so this year. Also, I love A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, too, and I think Francie Nolan is such a wonderful character.

  6. I FINALLY read this a few years ago, but my best childhood friend loved the books so I think I browsed through them enough as a (book-obsessed) kid that I picked up the gist. Loved it so much as an adult!

  7. I adoooooored these books when I was younger. My teacher basically shoved these into my backpack but once I started reading, I could not stop for the life of me.

    I’m so glad you’ve gotten to them and that you’re truly enjoying them.

  8. I just downloaded this to my Kindle (it’s free!), and I look forward to rereading this series. I think I was a little too young when I first read them, but I always loved the PBS miniseries.

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