For Book Club this month, I decided to reread a favorite from my childhood. It was a totally dangerous prospect. I mean, what if it I didn’t like it? If it was just a book I vaguely recalled liking the one time I read it a million years ago and it wasn’t so great, I could have brushed it off. However, I decided to be very brave and reread Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, a book that I loved, loved, loved, and read many times as I was growing up (not to mention being slightly obsessed with the TV show Road to Avonlea). If it had been bad, I would have been devastated to my very core. Luckily, it was just as I remembered: perfect!
Anne of Green Gables is the story of Anne Shirley, an orphan who is sent to aging siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert by mistake. They had sent for a boy to help with the farm (it was written in 1908, so the viewpoints on orphans aren’t really pc). Charmed by her unchildlike speeches and abounding imagination, they decide to keep her and bring her up. This novel follows Anne from ages 11-16 (Montgomery wrote 7 other Anne novels that continue her story as she grows-up, marries, and has children). Anne manages to get into trouble a lot, but she is also always striving to do better.
What do I love about this book? So many things. The descriptive language is beautiful and really transports you to Avonlea and Price Edward Island. The Lake of Shining Waters, Lover’s Lane, Birch Path, and Haunted Wood are easy to imagine just as Anne perceived them. The stories were originally published weekly in a Sunday school paper, so the pacing is interesting (in that the chapters feel complete but you want to keep reading just to know what Anne thinks up next) and well done. Anne is a great character. She’s funny, mischievous, truthful. I wanted to be just like her (probably why I spent so many years with red hair). She loves reading and making up tales with her story club. Anne dreams big but accepts life’s challenges.
I want to say so many other things about the book, but it would spoil it. And I don’t want to spoil it. I want you to read it. I want you to give a copy to every little girl you know. This was a series children grew-up with before we were swept away by the wizarding world or into a dystopian disaster. A story Mark Twain called, “the sweetest creation of child life yet written.” And it is.