It’s Hard to Imagine a More Romantic Story, but It Didn’t Quite Work for Me
I’ve heard about Anne of Green Gables all my life, and I know at some point I watched the movies with Megan Follows as the main character. But that’s been years ago, and I really don’t remember much of anything about them. But, since I have a trip coming up where I will be visiting Prince Edward Island, the setting for the story, I decided I should give the first book a try.
The story takes place around the turn of the twentieth century since the novel came out in 1908. It tells the story of Anne Shirley, an orphan girl who is sent from the orphanage to live with the Cuthbert siblings, Matthew and Marilla. The problem? They were looking for a young boy to help Matthew around their farm, Green Gables. However, against their better judgement, they find themselves liking Anne, and then beginning to love her. So she stays.
This book follows her for five years of her life as she grows into a young woman of sixteen. She is talkative and imaginative and sensitive about her red hair. Will she make friends with the kids in her new village of Avonlea? What will happen to her as she continues to grow?
The book is definitely dated. There are some words here that aren’t used the way they are here anymore. No, there is nothing offensive about the language. It’s just dated. I’m sure today’s kids will still enjoy the story, and it is a window into another place and time.
However, the story didn’t quite work for me. I think part of it is because I’m the wrong age and gender for the book. Of the people I know who are fans, almost all of them are women, and most of them first read it when they were pre-teens or teens, Anne’s age in this book. I can see the appeal for them. But, coming to it as an adult, I just didn’t find it as appealing.
Part of it is how much time passes. I find books that cover that much time harder to get into. It does allow us to see some maturing in Anne, but it also makes things very episodic, which isn’t my preferred style of novel.
While a rags to riches story is always appealing, and I love rooting for the underdog, this book got a little ridiculous by the end.
Having said that, I will say again I can see the appeal. I definitely grew to like the characters, and a part of me is curious to see what happens to them next. There are some charming and funny stories in the book that made me laugh.
Fans will immediately recognize what I am riffing on with my review title. Anne is always imagining this or that, and she is constantly captivated by the romance of this or that happening.
I listened to the audio version narrated by Shelly Frasier. She does a great job of bringing the story and characters to life.
I’m glad I read Anne of Green Gables since I’ve always heard so much about it. We will see if I wind up continuing on with the books or not. Despite the flaws, I enjoyed it just enough to want to know what happens next to Anne and the rest of the characters.
I am a Canadian, so Anne is required reading. I have read the entire series, in my teens. You have to remember that it was written over a hundred years ago, so writing styles have changed. Rilla of Ingleside is particularly haunting, showing the effects of WW1 on a small PEI village. The diaries that were published of L M Montgomery were interesting as she later used dreams and thoughts she had in the novels!ReplyDelete
Yours in reading, Chris
I haven't read this since I was a child. I believe that writing styles have evolved a lot since that time period.ReplyDelete
I had planned on reading this book and watching the movie this past spring, but then I got distracted by other books I wanted to read. So it never happened. It's definitely on my list, though. I need to make it a priority.ReplyDelete
This is one of my absolute favorite books but I did wonder what you would think of it when I saw you were reading. I completely agree with your issues with it and honestly reading it as adult I tend to skim over Anne's rambles. You might enjoy Rilla of Ingleside a bit more. It's the last in the Anne series but is really about Anne's youngest daughter Rilla and takes place during WWI. Rilla is a bit more practical than Anne which I appreciate.ReplyDelete
Being the right audience for a book makes a huge difference, but I'm glad you read it before going to Prince Edward Island. Have a great trip when you go!ReplyDelete