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ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery

As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not what they expected—a skinny girl with fiery red hair and a temper to match. If only she can convince them to let her stay, she’ll try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes and blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind. Anne is not like anyone else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreams of the day when she can call herself Anne of Green Gables.


Title : Anne of Green Gables
Author : L.M. Montgomery
Series : Anne of Green Gables (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 308
Genre : classic / children’s novel
Publisher : L.C. Page & Co.
Release Date : June 13, 1908

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

It’ll perhaps be a shock to some that I, a Canadian, had never before read Anne of Green Gables. Or watched any of the various adaptations. I, in fact, knew little to nothing about this beloved world. Somehow this one just passed me by and, considering all the reading I had done as a wee child, I couldn’t tell you why. It being a favourite of my blog buddy’s, however, was a source of constant gentle mockery and side-eye. So she didn’t hesitate a moment to recommend this to me when I said I was tackled the Twelve Books in Twelve Months as suggested by friends challenge. And so here we are.

I admit, I had some trepidation going into a novel that so many grew up with and cherished and few likely experienced for the first time as adults. Compounded by the fact that it’s a classic and obviously written for the time, well. I didn’t expect this would work for. But I was surprised how much I found myself enjoying the read.

My one major complaint, of course, were the pages and pages (and pages.. and pages..) of monologues by little miss Anne Shirley herself. At first, it was cute. By the mid-point? I was tired. My eyes started to glaze. Any feelings of cuteness had expired amongst the endless recitations and constant dramatics. And just when I thought I’d have to put the book down and try again later, we turned a corner. Anne grew up just enough. Became more introspective (there was a lovely passage I forgot to highlight, something about how she’d pruned herself a bit, something she reflected on when other characters questioned why she wasn’t as much as chatterbox as she’d been) and I really appreciated that — not just because it gave me a break from the monologues but because it was such a timely and lovely bit of maturity. But unfortunately some of the damage was done and, character growth or no, I was looking forward to the story wrapping up (for now).

As for the other characters, well. I’ve always heard or seen of things related to Anne and Gilbert but sans context I never knew much about it beyond that there was some kind of hate or rivalry between them. And, now that I understand some of it, I really adored their dynamic. I especially liked how she always stopped herself from saying his name outright. And I liked, most, their little truce at the end of this first book.

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert were the other standouts. I thought their differences, their dynamic with Anne, and how everything about what they expected out of this little orphan changed so quickly, was sweet. My favourite scene of the entire book might be the chapter we first meet Anne on the drive home with Matthew. That stuck with me.

While this might not have any lifechanging impact on me, the way it has for so many (though it’s still early to say for sure!), overall, I had a pretty good time in Avonlea and will definitely be reading on. Hopefully I’ll enjoy things a little more as Anne continues to get older but really it was only those endless, tiresome, eyes-glazing-over, monologues that hurt my experience. Because I was invested enough in this little place, with these people, to even get a wee bit emotional over a certain sad chapter. So, that says a lot, even if I am a notorious sap.

So thank you, Micky, for this recommendation and I hope to add this series to my various goals for the year so as to read them all before the end of 2023.

CLASSICS FAN OR NOT?

For someone like me (Micky here), English classics are integral to why I like reading. I studied Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte for two years in high school and rather than putting me off, Jane Eyre became my favourite book and remains so to this day. The analysis of the characters, narrative, context and storyline only made me fonder of the book as a whole. That truly started off my love of books but it also got me inquisitive about English classics. Also, I am English, so reading about my country and the culture in a different era is usually enjoyable and sometimes discomforting.

I’m definitely a romance fan and so my leanings in this era of writing do tend towards those with a love story as part of it. I have often struggled with Dickens and Thackerey for example but I adore the Brontes, Austen, Gaskell, Eliot and Hardy. Here are my top ten English classic favourites.

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
  3. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  5. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
  6. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  7. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
  8. Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
  9. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  10. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

I’m also a fan of some international classics and here are my top five.

  1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  3. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  4. Little Women by Louisa May Allcott
  5. Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont

I find that now if I am going to read a classic, I have to readjust my expectations of how the read will pan out. With contemporary fiction, things often happen fast and with classical fiction you have to invest more time to the pacing. If anyone ever asks me where to start with English classics, I always recommend Persuasion by Jane Austen, its a shorter read and easy to get into with one of the best and original second chance romances ever created.

Hollis, for once, has little to say! Personally my all time favourite is PERSUASION by Jane Austen. I love the book, I love the adaptation (the Sally Hawkins version!), and I will forever recommend it. The only other classic that has come close, for me, is PRIDE & PREJUDICE. I want to say that NORTH & SOUTH by Elizabeth Gaskell makes this non-existent list, as I’m a huge huge fan of the adaptation, but the book put me to sleep after twenty pages. Yikes. I’ll just bow out now while I’m ahead and before admitting to how few classics I’ve actually read.. oh, too late.


Are you a classics fan? Do you have a favourite?