“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.