I have loved this book for as long as I can remember. For many years when I was growing up, I read the Anne books every year, and they have had a profound impact on my life. However, it’s been quite awhile since the last time I read them. There is so much to love about Anne of Green Gables: first and foremost, Anne herself. This book actually covers five or six years of Anne’s childhood, beginning with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert taking in the “interesting” red-haired eleven-year-old Anne, and following her to the threshold of young womanhood.
Anne is easy to like, because she is real easy to relate to. She is a sweet and sincere girl she but she has flaws. She has a really terrible temper and a tendency to speak or act too impulsively, often with disastrous results. But she loves deeply and truly, and has a perfectly delightful imagination. Of course I see much of myself in Anne, but I think many people would say the same thing, probably for many different reasons. I like to think that if she had been a real person and lived today, we would be “kindred spirits.”
One of the nice aspects of the book is the setting. At one point, Prince Edward Island is described as the prettiest place in the world, and it certainly seems that way from the descriptions of meadows, trees, flowers, ponds, brooks, and the sea. Avonlea is a quaint small agricultural town, in a simpler time when little girls always wore dresses, horses and trains provided transportation, and school was a single room with a single teacher.
The author has a knack for catching the real heart of a story and putting it to paper. Marilla’s dry humor and Anne’s animosity toward Gilbert Blythe provide many of the comic elements of the book. There is always this feeling that most adults are laughing at Anne behind her back, which is a little sad, but we all do the same thing with precocious young girls. They don’t mean to be funny; they just are, particularly at their most dramatic. So it is with Anne.
This is a fast read. I gobbled it up in about three days. I thought is was delightful. What kind of children’s book uses words like “therein” and “whereupon?” I love the language! Even so, it is a children’s book: relatively short and simply but beautifully written. I was reminded again why it has always been a favorite!