Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

It has been years since I last read anything by Lucy Maud Montgomery, so long ago that I can't remember when. And thus I felt it was time to become reacquainted with the Anne of Green Gables books, particularly since I never actually finished reading the series. I made it as far as Anne's House of Dreams, but never further.

Because I've had such a weight of books sitting on my nightstand I decided to actually listen to an audio version of Anne of Green Gables as this would permit me to "read" the book while working on chores around the house or even while in the car. I know some people believe this to be cheating, but I don't. If you listen to the complete book (not abridged) it should count just as much as if you sat down and read the book line by line. There are certainly disadvantages to listening versus reading, but there are likewise many advantages. It has been a while since I listened to an audio book, I think since last spring, but of all my recent reads this was a good one to listen too.

I had forgotten how much I love Anne Shirley and the others of Avonlea and Prince Edward Island. I also didn't realize how much my memories of Anne and her story are based off the 1985 film, which while excellent, is not totally accurate to the book.

L.M. Montgomery's writing is easy to follow -- whether it is read or listened to. The story flows from description to dialog and back again without any rough interruptions. I found myself laughing at Marilla's dry wit. I even liked Rachel Lynde more, but then my memories of her were again based on the film, where while I liked her, she never became as dear as she is in the book. The only thing I didn't like about the character Matthew was his constant use of "Well now..." whenever beginning to speak. After a while it got a little annoying, but over all I enjoyed his quiet loving relationship with Anne and was able to overlook this irritating habit. As for Gilbert... I look forward to becoming reacquainted with this character in the upcoming books. Although he says little in this first book there is something so romantic about him. Diana and Anne's friendship reminded me of one of my own childhood friends, whom I miss very much. And Anne... she is such an endearing heroine -- even in her moments of drama or silliness. There are few heroines in literature that can affect a reader as Anne has over the years.

Reading/listening to Anne of Green Gables made me very nostalgic. Memories from my past floated to the surface and for a little while I almost wished I could step back in time... but only for a little while. I had the blessing of being able to spend two vacations on Prince Edward Island when I was 14 and 16. Memories of those vacations are woven with the story of Anne and I can't remember one without the other. PEI is truly a beautiful place and I wish I had the chance to go back once more.

I've noticed there tend to be two different camps of readers when it comes to Anne of Green Gables. There are those who have read the books and loved them and there are those who have never read them. I've yet to meet anyone in a third camp -- someone who has read them and disliked them. That says a lot about L. M. Montgomery as a writer, even Jane Austen can't take claim to that and she's an all-time favorite author!

If you have read the Anne books I can't encourage you enough to go back and re-read them. They are truly a treasure, which sadly I must admit are not a part of my personal library. (However I do plan to rectify that!)

For those of you who have never read Anne of Green Gables, you are missing out! Without a doubt Anne of Green Gables is a must for your list of books to read before you die. And if you love it, as so many people do, you may find yourself wanting to add the rest of the series to your reading list as well.

In addition to being a wonderfully delicious read for yourself, this book makes an excellent read-aloud for those with young daughters. I don't know a library that doesn't have a copy of each book in the series, they are classics, so there should be no reason you can't include them on your list to read or re-read in the next year.


Anonymous said...

Funny that you should post on this because I just finished rereading "Anne of Avonlea" last week. It was so good to reread an Anne book. I think I'll continue on with the series inbetween other books the rest of the year. I really recommend folks who love the movies to read the books. The movies were great, but they left out so many great characters like the seemingly grouchy Mr. Harrison, Davy and Dora (more twins Marilla ends up adopting) and the lovely Miss Lavender. What fun!

Discipula said...

And don't just read them to your boys particularly love Anne of Avonlea. Davy is a hoot, and they identify completely with him.

I am firmly in the camp of "I love them", as you can tell by my email address! :) I have reread them countless times, and each time I learn something new about myself. I heartily second your recommendation.

Thanks for reviewing A of G G - can't wait to hear what you think of the rest!

Sarah Mehrens said...

Dancebythelight - that's very funny! :) Yeah, I am looking forward to re-reading them and you're right there are so many wonderful characters that don't make it into the movie. I'm planning to do as you are and spread the series out and between the rest of my reading.

discipula - True, true. I guess I didn't think about boys because my brother never read AoGG -- though he did like P&P so maybe I should have read him AoGG . LOL! Yes, Davy is a hoot I had forgotten about him until recently. I'll be posting my reviews as I re-read the rest of the series over the course of the coming months.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I forgot that my brother really liked the novels about Anne's children: "Anne of Ingleside" and "Rainbow Valley".

Carrie said...

=) Well, I like Anne, as you well know and hope to aquaint all of our children - male or female - with the stories. Of course, I first have to get my husband to read it. . .

Have you watched any of the Road to Avonlea series, also produced by Kevin Sullivan? Heartily recommended, if not. I'm watching through the series (again) with my sister-in-laws. We all three love it!