The library that I went to as a child had a copy of this book with an ugly cover. That is my only excuse. Can you believe that I have never read this before? I know I can't. How do I even call myself a reader? I am sad that I didn't read this when I was eleven because I. Would. Have. Loved. It. I am an adult reading it for the first time, and I loved it. There was something about it that is comforting, familiar, romantic, and strangely nostalgic. Afer reading it, I find myself pining for my childhood days on the turn of the century Prince Edward Island.
It is interesting that as iconic as this book is that little to nothing has been spoiled by pop culture references. I knew that she breaks the slate over some kids head at one point and that she is a red-headed orphan from Canada. That's it. Petition to reference Anne more in pop culture. Come on; we do it with Little Women all the time.
Anne Shirley is an amazing character. What I loved about her most is that she is an extrovert with an intense internal life. This is a rarity. Usually, extroverts are written to be so dependent on external experience that if they are alone, they are nonexistent. Anne is interested and sees the beauty in everything around her and what makes her so unique is that she willingly invites other people to share in it with her. I love the slow way that Marilla fall in love with her, the instant report that she has with Matthew, the loyal and fulfilling friendship that she has with Diana. I love that she is smart and genuinely works hard to be good in school.
The book is written in the same sort of vignette style as Little Woman, Heidi, or A Little Princess. That is, there is an overlying story that is mostly about growing up, but most of the novel concerns isolated incidences. A little bit the way television shows used to be episodic, where at the end everything just sort of goes back to normal. It would be a lovely read aloud because of this as the end of the chapters is natural stopping points.
There is a bit of religion. It wasn't overwhelming, and on the whole, the characters are sensible and genuinely engaged with their faith rather than showily evangelical. I am looking at you, Heidi. I mention this just in case you or a young person that you are planning to recommend this to is not Christian. You will probably still enjoy it but knowing about it ahead of time might prevent that bitter taste in your mouth.
I have Anne of Avonlea already, and I am going to start that right away. I have some shipping to do with Anne and Gilbert. That had better get resolved to my satisfaction because I am seriously invested.. Now, to watch both miniseries...
When Marilla Cuthbert's brother, Matthew, returns home to Green Gables with a chatty redheaded orphan girl, Marilla exclaims, "But we asked for a boy. We have no use for a girl." It's not long, though, before the Cuthberts can't imagine how they could ever do without young Anne of Green Gables--but not for the original reasons they sought an orphan. Somewhere between the time Anne "confesses" to losing Marilla's amethyst pin (which she never took) in hopes of being allowed to go to a picnic, and when Anne accidentally dyes her hated carrot-red hair green, Marilla says to Matthew, "One thing's for certain, no house that Anne's in will ever be dull." And no book that she's in will be, either.