Thursday, January 14, 2010

Anne of Green Gables, and Anne of Avonlea - A Review

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge

I finished reading Anne of Green Gables this morning, and I finished listening to an unabridged, audio version of Anne of Avonlea, earlier in the week, for the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge, at Reading To Know. Part of the challenge is reading the books by the Canadian author, and the other is posting a review about each book read, and there's a lovely locket being offered as a prize. The more books I read, and review, the more entries I have for the locket.

I thought I should post about these two titles together, as I only listened to Anne of Avonlea, and that feels a little bit like cheating.

I really enjoyed both books much more than I thought I would. I remember Kevin Sullivan's made for television, adaptations of the books, quite fondly, but I also remember them as stories about girls, for girls. I was happy to discover, that the books are about women and girls, and for women and girls. The female characters are strong, interesting, and diverse.

In case you're unfamiliar with Anne of Green Gables, then let me give you a short synopsis. It is the story off an imaginative, self-assured, talkative orphan, who is adopted, somewhat by accident, by a quiet, aging, introverted, Christian, brother/sister pair, living in a tidy, well managed farm house on Prince Edward Island. The feel of the book is a cross between Pollyanna, and Pippi Longstockings, with a measure of Tom Sawyer thrown in for political incorrectness.

Although, it is generally an upbeat, happy story, it does deal with themes of loss and loneliness, and I sobbed my way through the last two chapters. I'm currently reading the story out loud to the children, but I think I'll have to turn the reading of those chapters over to my husband, or maybe to an audio version of the book, since this is really not a man's type of story.

Anne of Avonlea, on the other hand, is a much cheerier, romantic, springtime sort of story. Where even the worst effects of a hailstorm, which would have surprised Laura Ingalls Wilder with is fierceness, are the scarcity of flowers for an August wedding, and the death of a parrot, clearing the way for an estranged couple to be reunited.

The first book follows Anne from age 11 through her early teen years, seeing her complete the requirements for teacher certification, and win a scholarship for further study. In the second book Anne, the teacher, passes into young adulthood, much earlier than a teen would today, but with much of the same silliness, and immaturity. I'm looking forward to reading the third book, as Anne moves on into college, and womanhood.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Carrie said...

=D Thanks for leaving your link! I just finished re-reading Anne of Green Gables myself today (and bawled through the last two chapters again). I think everytime I read it I cry harder - even though I know what's coming!

Yup, you get another chance at the locket. But you can also go here (without ANY reading obligations) and leave a comment to win a locket:

(Contest for that one ends on Sunday so there's not much time left.)

So glad you are reading Anne! I'm so eager to read through the series again as it has been awhile for me. I just keep getting sidetracked!

EM said...

I just love the Anne series. I've read it a few times and you're making me want to read it again. I can hardly wait until my kids are a bit bigger and I can read it out loud to them.

Ticia said...

Given my present weepiness I probably should not try reading these right now. I just had to skip whole chapters of Little Women to avoid just outright sobbing through the entire chapter. Oh well, I'm sure I'll get another chance to read it later, when I'm not so prone to cry at the drop of a hat.

Barbara H. said...

I enjoyed this review! I finished the first one but did not get to the second one. I didn't discover Anne until after the first movie came out on PBS when I was in my 20s or so, but read through the whole series immediately after. It's been fun revisiting them.

Katie Edwards said...

When I was eight, there was no doubt in my mind that the Anne of Green Gables books were children's stories... even if, then, I thought that the books after "Island" were for slightly older children than I was at the time. When I was a teenager, it was a romance, and now I'm an adult, it's simply one of the classics. It's great how the story grows up with you, wherever you are in life, you can identify with it and take something different away. That's one of the reason why I love it so much.