Because English is not my first language, I always feel I am catching up on classics that everyone seems to have read. Whether its required highschool reading, or childhood books that are commonly known and read, or turned into TV series, but that never became a staple book in the Netherlands. Anne of Green Gables is an example of this. And I do feel sorry for my younger self, because this is exactly the kind of book I would have loved as a child. Luckily, I still loved discovering it now that I’m older (and I can hear my parents chuckle from here: you mean to say you do not still act like a little child at 24?)
Anne of Green Gables is the story of an orphan girl who is sent to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert by mistake, for Matthew and Marilla sent for a boy to help them at their farm, Green Gables. Anne Shirley quickly manages to capture Matthew’s heart, with her red hair, and her talkative, imaginative and romantic nature, and she is allowed to stay.
Together with the romantic descriptions of Prince Edward Island, Anne’s character is what truly makes this story. Anne is the kind of girl I would have loved to have as a friend as a child, or perhaps, I would have wanted to be Anne. Because Anne shares the imagination and romance that so many children feel, but combines it with clumsy, outspoken, but at the same time heartwarming, behaviour that somehow makes everyone love her. I admit, at first I wasn’t sure if I could go beyond feeling some sympathy for Anne, as the first part of the story has a pattern of Anne trying to be on her good behaviour, nevertheless making a mistake, and Marilla being disappointed in her, but I soon found her funny, quirky, and utterly loveable. Add to this her winning optimism, and who could help but love this girl?
“Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them,” exclaimed Anne. “You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs Lynde says, ‘Blessed are those who expected nothing for they shall not be disappointed.’ But I think it would be worse to expected nothing than to be disappointed.”
What completely won me over was the last half of the book. Anne’s ability to continue learning, and her ultimate loss, selflessness, and taking on of such a responsibility.. I was in tears.
I am currently reading the second book, Anne of Avonlea, which I am enjoying, but I’m not sure if it is as good as this first book in the series. I really want to read the whole series, but I have a feeling I’ll need to alternate my reading of these books with others, so as to avoid irritation.
For the few of those who have not read Anne of Green Gables, I highly recommend giving it a try. Anne quite easily stole my heart.
Other Opinions: Stella Matutina, Confessions of a Bibliovore, The Bluestocking Society, Rhapsody in Books, Always With a Book, Let’s eat Grandpa!, The Blue Bookcase, Jules’ Book Reviews, At Pemberley, Fleur Fisher, Life With Books, Things Mean A Lot, The Fourth Musketeer, Care’s Online Book Club, Bookfoolery.
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