Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

In the midst of all my other reading I snuck in another Anne book. The second in the series, Anne of Avonlea picks up where the first book left off -- Matthew has died and Anne, now 17, must take up teaching in order to help Marilla keep Green Gables. The book begins as Anne approaches her first year teaching at the Avonlea school... and that's about the end of the similarities between this book and the 1987 movie. Having only read the book once, but having seen the movie a dozen or more times I had forgotten how different the two are.

I read somewhere that Kevin Sullivan (the film producer) decided to combine some elements from several of the Anne books with a few scenes that aren't in any of the books to make the movie "more exciting." Apparently in Sullivan's mind the next three books in the series after Anne of Green Gables weren't thrilling enough material for a movie. While I can see his point to a degree, after reading Anne of Avonlea I do feel this was a shame. There may not be quite as many adventures in this second book, but there are still so many rich characters that are missed in the movie.

A few of these characters include Mr. Harrison and his swearing parrot, Ginger. And the orphan twins that Marilla takes in, Davie and Dora Keith. While Dora is little in the story (she is just so quiet and good she rarely gets mentioned) it doesn't seem to matter because Davie makes up for it both in conversation and in adventure. The character of Davie is enough to make almost any young boy a fan of this book.

Also not to be forgotten are Miss Lavender Lewis and her stone cottage, Echo Lodge, Charlotta the IV, a young girl who lives with Miss Lewis, and Paul Irving (a young boy with an imagination equal to Anne's).

In spite of the fact that this book may not be as exciting as its predecessor it is not without its moments. In this story Anne begins teaching for the first time and must deal with an unruly child. There are the tales of the Avonlea Improvement Society headed by Anne, Gilbert, Diana and Fred Wright. There is the episode when the famous Mrs. Morgan is to come for dinner and all the accidents that occur that day. And on and on with so many other little tales that made me fall in love with this book all over again. It has been many years since I last picked up Anne of Avonlea and I had forgotten so much that this read was like reading for the first time.

It will probably be a little while before I pick up Anne of the Island, but I am very much looking forward to returning to Anne. The books are each so wonderful it's a delight to know the story doesn't end for a while.

As I said before in my last review of Anne, this series is one not to be missed.


Anonymous said...

Seems like we're doing the same thing. I was inspired to reread Anne by my friend Laurie, who rereads the whole series every year. I just finished "Anne of the Island" and enjoyed it so much. It's such a fresh, beautiful, and innocent read between heavier tomes.

I too enjoy comparing them to the series. While I enjoy both, I think it's funny to see the lines he gave to different characters or moved to different settings. There is hardly ANYTHING from Anne of the Island in the movie, since in the movie Anne doesn't attend Redmond.

Carrie said...

I want to reread the Anne series as well as Chronicles of Narnia next year. Top of the list! I miss Anne. And I need a break. ;)

Barbara H. said...

I want to reread the Anne books again some time.

I had forgotten how far from the book the second film was. The third film is even farther away from the original -- it'd more fanfiction than a representation of the book, and that so upset me. The first film was so good, it is a shame Sullivan didn't follow the books more closely with the others.

caribookscoops said...

I love Anne! She is one of my favorites. Thank you for reminding me of all the fun characters you miss out on if you only watch the movies.