Anne Shirley

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit 2014 – OCTOBER READ – Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Published October 30, 2014 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

“Matthew had taken the scrawny little hand awkwardly in his; then and there he decided what to do. He could not tell this child with the glowing eyes that there had been a mistake. . . .”

When eleven-year-old Anne Shirley arrives at Green Gables with nothing but a carpetbag and an overactive imagination, she knows that she has found her home. But first she must convince the Cuthberts to let her stay, even though she isn’t the boy they’d hoped for. The loquacious Anne quickly finds her way into their hearts, as she has with generations of readers, and her charming, ingenious adventures in Avonlea, filled with colourful characters and tender escapades, linger forever in our memories.

What did I think?:

I was very excited when Chrissi and I picked Anne of Green Gables as part of our Kid-Lit 2014 as it is one of my favourite children’s books ever and I remember reading it over and over again, delighted by the story and utterly charmed by Anne Shirley. It’s certainly a book that you can re-read quite easily as an adult and has definitely stood the test of time for me personally. The story begins with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, a brother and sister team and owners of a farm called Green Gables. Time is marching on and Marilla begins to worry that her brother needs a little help around the farm so she has the brilliant idea of requesting a boy from the local orphanage that they can give a home to and that can assist Matthew as and when required. Matthew goes off to the station in the buggy to meet the new arrival (closely watched by Rachel Lynde, who has to know everyone’s business). Imagine his shock when waiting for him on the platform is a small freckled girl with red hair. The hair becomes important, believe me. Matthew is a quiet, shy sort of man especially around the female of the species and does not have the heart to leave Anne (spelled with an e) Shirley in the station so takes her home to Marilla, who is better at this decision-making thing. By the time they reach Green Gables, Matthew has become slightly enamoured with the bold, chattering little girl and decides to himself he wouldn’t mind having her around. Not so with Marilla. She is dumb-struck at the sight of Anne’s white, hopeful little face who is carting her “worldly goods” in a small bag with her. When Anne realises that they were expecting a boy she is devastated/in the “depths of despair,” but strangely enough, her funny little speeches, empassioned and straight from the heart strike something in Marilla who finds herself quite amused by the orphan and they decide to keep her.

The rest of the book follows Anne story as she grows up at Green Gables. She gets herself into a lot of interesting situations and learns a lot along the way. Some of my favourites and stand-out moments were when Gilbert Blythe teases her about her hair colour so she proceeds to crack her slate over his head, then later on she attempts to dye her hair but it goes horribly wrong, finally the scene where she gets her “bosom friend” and “kindred spirit,” Diana, hideously drunk on what she thinks was raspberry cordial makes me laugh every time I read it. It is also lovely to see her relationship with Matthew and Marilla grow and develop, especially in times of great sadness. Although Anne does grow and learn as a person through the book, she still remains the sweet and endearing character that she has always been and that is why I’m proud to say that she was one of my first literary heroines (and probably still is!).

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables #2) – L.M. Montgomery

Published September 19, 2013 by bibliobeth

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2)

What’s it all about?:

At sixteen, Anne is grown up…almost. Her gray eyes shine like evening stars, but her red hair is still as peppery as her temper. In the years since she arrived at Green Gables as a freckle-faced orphan, she has earned the love of the people of Avonlea and a reputation for getting into scrapes. But when Anne begins her job as the new schoolteacher, the real test of her character begins. Along with teaching the three Rs, she is learning how complicated life can be when she meddles in someone else’s romance, finds two new orphans at Green Gables, and wonders about the strange behaviour of the very handsome Gilbert Blythe. As Anne enters womanhood, her adventures touch the heart and the funny bone.

What did I think?:

The first book in this series, Anne of Green Gables, was one of my favourite books as a child and I remember reading it countless times. However, it is strange that I have never read any of the follow-up novels until now! As we meet Anne again, she is sixteen years old and beginning to work as a teacher in the village school. She is the same old Anne, a little bit older, a little bit wiser, but still getting into scrapes and awkward situations which makes for a heart-warming read. There is an incident with a wandering cow which is hilarious, a scene where she loses her (famous) temper with shaming results, and an accidental application of what she thinks is face cream in order to impress some important guests. All of these incidents and much more is what makes reading this book and re-visiting old characters feel like you’re under a comfy duvet with a big cup of tea.

I gave an inaudible cheer for the return of the familiar Green Gable folk – we have Marilla, Anne’s adoptive mother, quietly stern and fiercely protective of her young charge, as usual. Anne is also still close to her “kindred spirit” Diana Barry, and I enjoyed how the sensibility and down-to earth elements of Diana pulled Anne back down to earth, when required! Anne and Diana are also friends with Anne’s once nemesis, Gilbert Blythe, who is still enamoured with Anne, and I am hoping for hints of a romance in the future for these two. And of course, the inimitable Rachel Lynde, the local gossip and busybody, that Anne had such an altercation with in the first book, pops up to dabble a bit in people’s affairs, but with a heart of gold, that excuses much of her meddling. I did miss the steadiness of the lovely Matthew Cuthbert but I loved the introduction of the new and in some cases, very entertaining characters, the twins Davy and Dora whom Marilla takes on after the death of their mother who are as different as night and day, but make great reading, and Mr Harrison and his foul-mouthed parrot were some of my particular favourites. The book finishes as Anne is about to realise her dream of going to college, and we get the sense that her childhood is slipping away and the next book will show a more adult, but hopefully still adventurous and loveable Anne Shirley.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars