Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Anne of Green Gables

As Anne Shirley would say, some things have more "scope for imagination" than others. This is definitely true of Anne of Green Gables, L.M. Montgomery's wonderful book that introduced readers to Anne over 100 years ago.

I don't remember ever reading these books as a child. In fact, I first read the 8 book series that chronicles Anne Shirley's life for the first time just a few years ago. At the beginning of this year, I decided to re-read the books as part of my goal to re-read all my children's/young adult books and to join in with the 2016 Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge. However, it was this post on the Love Letter to Adventure blog that inspired me to get going and complete the first book so I could join in with today's discussion and link-up.

I thoroughly enjoyed getting reacquainted with Anne and her vivid imagination as I re-read the book over the past couple of days. Despite the fact that Anne is an orphan and has endured tough situations in the first 11 years of her life, she is a delightful girl whose wonderfully creative mind helps her maintain a positive outlook because "you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly."

There are so many wonderful things I could say about the book that it's hard to choose, so I'll simply answer the questions from the Love Letter to Adventure discussion post and the 2016 Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge Book 1 discussion post.

*What kind of everyday adventures do you see in Anne’s life?

Oh my, every day is an adventure in Anne's life! She can simply look out her window and imagine an entire adventure story. Whether she's reveling in the outdoors, adding flowers to the table setting, or eating ice cream for the first time, she notices the beauty and flavor and color in everything.

*How can we use Anne’s outlook to bring extra excitement and meaning to our everyday lives?

I think we can all learn from Anne how to change our attitude and perspective by viewing the situation in a positive light. While she is admittedly somewhat melodramatic, Anne has a way of bringing a bright spot into even the most difficult things. About her apology to Mrs. Lynde, she tells Marilla, "I thought since I had to do it I might as well do it thoroughly.

*And just for fun, what was your favorite part?

It's hard to just pick one part, but I do love how Anne gives names to things and places. For example, when she's on her way to Green Gables for the first time, she decides the long lane spread over with wide-spreading apple trees should be called the "White Way of Delight" . . . as opposed to the "Avenue" as it was referred to by the locals. The cherry tree outside her bedroom window is dubbed the "Snow Queen" and the geranium on the window sill becomes "Bonny" because it makes it seem "more like people."

*This first installment of Anne Shirley's story is about her finding a home after years of displacement. While we often consider 'home' to be synonymous with 'house', it's also a state of being. What does home mean for you and what makes it special?

To me, home is where we spend time with the people we love. Robbie and I have lived in several houses over the past 15 years and each one has been 'home' for that time because we were there together, living our daily life, making memories, sharing our love for each other.

*Friendship is such a huge theme in this book. There are many elements that make up a great bosom friendship like Anne and Diana's but if you had to pick three of those elements, what would they be?

There are so many elements that go into making and maintaining friendships, but three that I think are vital are trust, commitment, and acceptance (of the person just as she is).

*Of course, we love Gilbert Blythe but the real sweetheart in the first book is Matthew Cuthbert. What makes Matthew such a great father figure in Anne's life? And (if you've read the books before) what effect do you think his love and influence has in the rest of Anne's life?

I think Matthew is a great father figure because he loves Anne just as she is, he doesn't try to change her, and he is a good role model as he works hard and doesn't judge others.

For those of you who've never met Anne Shirley through the pages of these books, she has a wonderful (long-winded) way of describing things. Here's an example of her describing a concert to Marilla when Anne returns from a trip to the city:

Oh Marilla, it was beyond description. I was so excited I couldn't even talk, so you may know what it was like. I just sat in enraptured silence. Madame Selitsky was perfectly beautiful, and wore white satin and diamonds. But when she began to sing I never thought about anything else. Oh, I can't tell you how I felt. But it seemed to me that it could never be hard to be good any more. I felt like I do when I look up to the stars. Tears came into my eyes, but, oh, they were such happy tears I was so sorry when it was all over, and I told Miss Barry I didn't see how I was ever to return to common life again. She said she thought if we went over to the restaurant across the street and had an ice cream it might help me. That sounded so prosaic; but to my surprise I found it true. The ice cream was delicious, Marilla, and it was so lovely and dissipated to be sitting there eating it at eleven o'clock at night.

I'd never seen the the movie/mini-series based on the book, but Robbie and I watched the first half of it yesterday (and will finish it this evening). We're both thoroughly enjoying it! There are some changes: Anne is 13 instead of 11 when she arrives at Green Gables; several years from the book are condensed into one in the movie; the movie starts with Anne at the Hammonds and the asylum rather than her simply telling her background later in the book; Marilla doesn't say she can stay until some time later as opposed to just the third day in the book; and Anne doesn't stay home from school after being punished by having to sit by Gilbert Blythe, etc.

However, so far I think the movie is a great adaptation of the book. The movie contains all the best scenes from the book (like the tea party with Diana and Anne walking the ridge pole) although with a slightly different timeline.

I'm looking forward to completing the movie and re-reading the rest of the books in this series. Have you read Anne of Green Gables? What's your favorite part?


  1. I loved the books I read when I was young. And I loved the mini series, which J bought me for CHristmas not long after we were married. I think it was to make up for the fact he isn't called Gilbert :) Because of course I wanted to marry a Gilbert.

  2. Thanks so much for joining the Venture Book Club link up! :)

    I love your thoughts here and thanks very much for mentioning the 2016 Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge. I hadn't heard of that before and will be sure to check it out as I'm definitely planning to read through the whole series now that I've started.

    I LOVE the film adaptation. All of the changes seem in line with the heart of the story, perhaps clarifying some moments since we can't "hear" Anne & Marilla's inner thoughts and because of the condensed time vs. reading. The casting was just perfect. :)

  3. If you liked Anne of Green Gables, I am sure you would enjoy a series that is a spin off of Anne, Road To Avonlea. Quoting from the site: The series was loosely adapted from a number of books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, primarily (at least initially) the books The Story Girl and The Golden Road, both of which feature the character of Sara Stanley, as well as the characters of Felicity, Felix and Cecily.
    In the US of A its title was shortened to simply Avonlea, and a number of episodes were re-titled and re-ordered.

    You may find it under Avonlea or Tales from Avonlea

  4. Here's another who enjoyed Anne - the fact that it took place thousands of miles away gave it an added exotic flavour. Brought up in a home where there was often gloom and restraint around, it was very inspiring to realise one could choose one 's perspective on life and not simply feel overwhelmed by the atmosphere around you.

  5. I love the books, I read the first couple aloud to the kids as well. We've watched the movie too.

    Favourite parts? Oh that's hard. I think the blossoming friendship between Anne and Diana that develops into that solid almost family - something I thought was amazing as a young child and worked towards as I got older.

    I was very fond of Gilbert Blythe too :)

  6. Anne of green gables is one of my favourite stories. I pulled my copy off the shelf after reading your post. Haven't had time to sit down with it but did watch the movie over two evenings while I was working on something. It was as good as I remember. I like the relationships Anne develops with people.
    Several years ago we visited PEI and went to a tourist place for Avonlea. Saw re-enactments of the slate, Diana being drunk and something else. It was very fun. There was a whole series of events over the day but we left by lunch time.
    Your post has brought back lots of good memories :)


Thanks so much for your comment - it's like a ray of sunshine in my day!