Friday, August 28, 2009

Summer Reading Project Book Five: Anne of Windy Poplars

As with all the other Anne books, this one is a delight. It's also a bit different, as it's divided into three segments of one year each, and about half of it is made up of letters from Anne to her fiance. He is putting in his three years of medical school before they are to be married. Meanwhile, Anne is a principle at Summerside High. Summerside is like many other towns on Prince Edward Island at that time, with one notable difference: the Pringles. They are the ruling family in town and have a prejudice against Anne from the beginning. After the first miserable term at school, Anne is close to giving up in despair. But her salvation comes from a very unexpected and unintended source, and from then on, the Pringles are a delight.

Anne is almost a busybody in this book. She is just old enough and has seen just enough of the world to believe herself to be wise and experienced -- as is often the case with twenty-something college graduates. However, her old Anne Shirley sweetness is not spoiled by the wisdom of the ages, and she learns her lesson in a few hilarious episodes. She enchants the elderly ladies she lives with, befriends sweet Little Elizabeth next door, and refuses to be daunted by even the prickly Katherine Brooke.

Much of the plot for the "Sequel" movie actually comes from this book, intertwined with bits from Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island. There is one family in the movie that is actually a blend of at least ten different people in the books, and it's fun to see all the threads in their original, unraveled form. Getting through this book was more of a leisurely stroll than the headlong rush of Anne of the Island, but it was still an enjoyable trip.

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