Friday, January 2, 2015

Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery

First things first, I've lost the dust cover from my copy, and there's no cover art for that edition on Goodreads, so I can't show you the actual edition that I read. Just know that it's hard cover and illustrated and was given to me by my parents for Christmas in 1989. So I was six the first time I read this. And I fell almost instantly in love with the world that Montgomery creates.

Source
As you probably guessed from the above statement, Anne Shirley and I have had a very long history together. Between Christmas of 1989 and probably the middle of 1991 when we moved home from Canada, I was ALL ABOUT Anne of Green Gables. Weirdly, I don't think I ever saw the famous 1980s adaptation, but I *did* win a family pass to see the musical version live on stage in Toronto, and somewhere in the depths of my bedroom, I still have the soundtrack on cassette tape.

I begged my parents to let us go on a family holiday to Prince Edward Island, and honestly? I'm still a little upset that they refused...

ANYWAY.

I hadn't read Anne of Green Gables in at least 20 years. After we left Canada, my attention was shifted towards other things. So rereading it as an adult was an interesting experience. I can see why I loved Anne so much as a child. She's utterly endearing from the moment she turns up. She's smart and funny and full of imagination, but she's also kind and wants nothing more than to be loved and have friends. But as an adult? There were numerous moments when I sided with Marilla and her "OMG THIS CHILD NEVER SHUTS UP" moments.

While the characters are universally fabulous, the writing isn't always the greatest - the fact that any time Matthew speaks, he starts with "Well now" drove me absolutely nuts in the end. It occasionally feels like Anne's living life from one major mishap to another (Diana getting drunk, dyeing her hair green, putting liniment in the cake, floating down the river in a sinking boat), but in reality those events take place months or years apart. It's easy to miss the passage of time as we leap from season to season in a matter of paragraphs. As a result, we go from Gilbert Blythe pulling Anne's braids and calling her "Carrots" to that ship-tastic ending (with about five years passing in between) in a mere 200 pages.

All in all, I loved revisiting Avonlea, and there's a reason why this book is such a classic. And if someone wants to have puffed sleeves come back into fashion, that'd be great, because my inner child still desperately wants a dress with puffed sleeves.

Have you read it? What did you think? And, more importantly, HAVE YOU SEEN THE MUSICAL???

K xx

17 comments:

  1. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I read it for the first time this year and everything you said aside from the "well know". That one didn't drive me crazy.

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  2. I think I might have read it years ago when I was little. But yes I have seen the musical...twice actually. Now that was very enjoyable!!

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  3. I've seen the movie a TON of times and I think I read he book forever ago. But this will shock you. I've never seen the musical. I know. A musical I haven't seen. I'm shocked too.

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  4. Oh, man, I LOVED these books. My grandparents gave them to me as a kid and my dad read the first six out loud to me and my sister when we were little. The summer after I graduated college, I reread the whole series and still love it. My best friend and I have been saying we need to go to PEI together, but we've yet to do it. Have not seen the musical and actually don't know very much about it.

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  5. Woah. Coincidence or what when I say say I'm reading it right now and just found your post? XD


    I'd forgotten how much I loved the books. Halfway through, and am I weird in thinking that Anne and Gilbert are soo shippable <3


    Great post!

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  6. Not weird at all - they're TOTALLY shippable! Especially because you can be all "Oh, girl, you definitely do not hate him" when Anne gets all "WORST PERSON EVER, WILL NEVER SPEAK TO HIM AGAIN".

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  7. Hahaha, I think it's one of those stories that kind of gets engrained in your head and so you know bits of it regardless. Like how I've never seen Frozen, but I still know about 75% of the storyline.

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  8. I'm fairly certain the musical was basically only a thing in Canada. It's a little strange that my obsession was limited exclusively to the first one, because I LOVED every single Laura Ingalls Wilder book, and yet I was never interested in reading what happened next for Anne Shirley... Maybe I need to go and find them now.

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  9. Shocking, but also not entirely surprising because it's almost exclusively a Canadian thing, and is more or less limited to Prince Edward Island on an annual basis. So maybe you'll just have to make a trip out to PEI to cross it off your list!!

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  10. I really wish I could find the cassette tape and see if the way I remember the songs is actually the way they sound... But of course, then I'd have to find a tape player as well!

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  11. I think if he hadn't had half a dozen lines on the one page, I wouldn't have noticed the 'well now's. But once I noticed it, I couldn't stop noticing it...

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  12. I think I read the book when I was little but it didn't really stick with me. What really stuck with me was The Little House on the Prairie series. I read the books over and over again. I really want to read Anne of Green Gables again, though. I think I'll like it even better the second time around.

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  13. This was also one of my absolute favorite books as a child! I haven't ever really watched an adaptation because I loved the whole series--and I have really wanted to go through the whole thing again with fresh adult eyes. Thank you for the reminder!

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  14. Anne is my favourite. I did see the musical which I loved (the song about ice cream...brilliant).

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  15. YES. I'd totally forgotten about the ice cream song.

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  16. You're totally welcome! I really do need to track down the rest of the books and find out what happens next...

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  17. I got a box set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books for Christmas the same year as I got Anne of Green Gables. And I read both of them at least ten or twelve times over the next couple of years. So I totally understand!!

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