My ebook had the entire Anne Shirley series in one collection so I didn’t have a cover of just the Anne of Green Gables book.
Anne of Green Gables is a work of fiction by Lucy Maud Montgomery. First published in 1908, it is a popular children’s novel about the adventures of eleven-year-old orphan Anne Shirley in the fictional town of Avonlea in Prince Edward Island in Canada. Anne mistakenly gets sent to be adopted by siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, who originally wanted a boy to help around their farmhouse called Green Gables. Matthew liked Anne from the start, in contrast to Marilla’s gradual fondness for the girl. She initially wanted to send Anne back to the orphanage, but decided to let her stay after a few days. This first book in a series of eight narrates of Anne’s life with the Cuthberts, building relationships with people in the Avonlea community, and her time in school.
✓ 33. A book from your childhood
✓ 37. A book with a colour in the title
Anne is full of vivacity, and to be cliché, of fire (she’s a redhead). I found it didn’t seem to match her life experiences prior to arriving at Green Gables — after her parents died when she was a mere 3 months old, she was taken in by a neighbour, a woman named Mrs. Thomas who was poor and had a drunken husband. Anne helped look after their four children, and when Mr.Thomas died when Anne was eight, she had nowhere to go as Mr. Thomas’ mother only wanted to take Mrs. Thomas and their children. A neighbour from up the river named Mrs. Hammond took her in knowing she knew how to look after children, and she had eight (twins three times in succession too). Anne lived with them for two years until Mr. Hammond died (because who wants another mouth to feed when you’re already poor), which is when she had to go to the asylum until she was chosen from adoption.
Anne is described as skinny and pale, probably looked like a frail little thing, but she was bright and unbroken. Quite admirable in an eleven year old, eh? She had a broad imagination, intense and colourful, which got her through those trying times. She had an entirely different life inside her head, imagined friends and spirits to existence, which was both sad and annoying (she and a real life friend imagined a wood with spirits which ended up scaring both of them at night). This tendency to daydream happened very often, which meant she had a tendency to be flighty and easily distracted too. But she was brilliant when she applies herself, and she works hard once she has a goal to achieve. This concerns everything — from schoolwork, to play time, to pleasing people she loves.
I only describe Anne here, because the narrative centres around her, and as they go through seasons, it shows Anne blossoming as a young lady. From her being starved of love and guidance, to having a family and a place to call home, to building friendships with children her age, to growing up and being less flighty, and living more in the real world and reconciling it with the beauty of her make-believe one.
It seems this book has been read by many young, school-age girls, and I can see the why they would be fascinated. Reading the book, I sometimes smiled when I think of my own childhood. I remember my desire to explore, wishing to see what Anne’s world is like with the beauty of nature in four seasons, to be her friend and create wonderful worlds and stories with her. But this book isn’t just for nostalgia of the good old times of your childhood; reading it as an adult, I realised that whenever I would get annoyed at Anne, it was because she was being too naïve in my cynically hardened eyes. I have to keep checking myself that she was a child, and it made me realise that while the harshness of living in the real world as an adult can harden a person, one should maybe try not to lose that childlike eagerness and wonder to living life.
“That’s the worst of growing up, and I’m beginning to realize it. the things you wanted so much when you were a child don’t see half so wonderful to you when you get them.”
– L. M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables)
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Let’s have a chat!
Have you read Anne of Green Gables when you were younger? How did it affect you then? Have you tried reading it again a decade or so later?
If you haven’t read the book, have you read something of an equivalent that piqued your childhood sense of wonder?