Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables

I grew up on the Anne of Green Gables miniseries.  I loved it with every fiber of my being.  I especially loved the raspberry cordial and lily maid scenes.  Basically, I liked any time Anne was getting into scrapes.  After a while, I grew up and started fast-forwarding through the scrapes to the scenes with Gilbert.  In the end, Anne's story became my favorite love story.  (See?  I wrote about it years ago: I Don't Want Sunbursts or Marble Halls.  I Just Want You.)

But after all those hours of watching the movies, I never picked up the books.  Never!  It's amazing, too, since I love to read.  I'm proud to say now, though, that I've read the first book in the series, and it is excellent.  Just Excellent.  What I thought was a story about childhood shenanigans and romance turned out to be a story about familial and godly love.  I found myself pondering revelation and kindness and ambition.  I even cried in a few places.  When it was all over, I nearly mourned the end of a character I had really come to care about.  (Thankfully, my tears didn't last long because I remembered there are five more books!  Eight, if you count the ones about her children!)

Lucy Maude Montgomery published this book in 1908, and even now, her writing is superb.*  It's really no wonder; she must've been whip-smart in her day.  At a time when women rarely received higher education, she went to college to train to be a teacher and then on to university, where she studied English literature.  She did indeed become a teacher, and she also wrote for newspapers and magazines.  All that writing, I suppose, gave her practice to write such passages as these:
  • "That may make me feel badly tomorrow, Josie," laughed Anne, "but just now I honestly feel that as long as I know the violets are coming out all purple down in the hollow below Green Gables and that little ferns are poking their heads up in Lovers' Lane, it's not a great deal of difference whether I win the Avery or not.  I've done my best, and I begin to understand what is meant by the 'joy of the strife.'  Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing."
  • "Oh, I've dozens of plans, Marilla.  I've been thinking them out for a week.  I shall give life here my best, and I believe it will give its best to me in return.  When I left Queen's, my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road.  I thought I could see along it for many a milestone.  Now there is a bend in it.  I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does.  It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla.  I wonder how the road beyond it goes - what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows - what new landscapes - what new beauties - what curves and hills and valleys farther on."
  • "Anne's horizons had closed in since the night she had sat there after coming home from Queen's; but if the path set before her feet was to be narrow she knew that flowers of quiet happiness would bloom along it.  The joys of sincere work and worthy aspiration and congenial friendship were to be hers; nothing could rob her of her birthright of fancy or her ideal world of dreams.  And there was always the bend in the road!

    'God's in His heaven, all's right with the world,' whispered Anne softly.

*I wish I could force young adults to read Anne of Green Gables instead of Twilight.  Oy.  What must Lucy Maude think of us???

Thing I'm thankful for: June lilies


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Sara, it's Karmelle. When you're done with the Anne series, I highly recommend Montgomery's lesser known Emily of New Moon trilogy. I love Emily even more than Anne!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

What??? Even more?!? I'll check it out! Thanks, Karmelle!

12:42 PM  

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