Anne of Green Gables

April 30, 2009

anne-of-green-gables Plot summary (with possible spoilers): Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are unmarried siblings in their sixties. They live on a farm called Green Gables in the town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. As Matthew is getting on in years and soon won’t be able to handle all the farming chores by himself, he and Marilla decide to adopt a 10-year-old boy from a Nova Scotia orphanage in order to help around the place. But thanks to a miscommunication, they end up with 11-year-old Anne Shirley instead.

Anne is a bright, talkative, wildly imaginative little girl who almost immediately captures Matthew’s heart on the 8-mile ride home from the train station. Matthew can’t possibly bear to tell her that there’s been a mistake; he’ll leave that task to Marilla. His sister wastes no time in beating around the bush. She takes one look at Anne, tells the child there’s been a mistake, and says the girl will have to go back in the morning. Anne is clearly devastated. She pleads her case to Marilla, but doesn’t know if her words have any effect on the spinster. They do, and Anne is allowed to stay.

The rest of the novel then shows how Anne grows to become an integral part of Matthew and Marilla’s life. Her bubbly personality, penchant for mischief and mishaps, and overactive imagination bring a kind of joy to Green Gables that the brother and sister never thought they would experience in their lifetimes. The novel also chronicles Anne’s adventures at school and with the other children of Avonlea, including kindred spirit Diana Barry, friends Ruby Gillis and Jane Andrews, and hated rival Gilbert Blythe.

Liked:

  • Anne Shirley was a delightful character whose endless prattling was highly entertaining. I usually can’t stand precocious children in novels, but Anne was so different and completely irresistible!
  • Many of the supporting characters were also well-developed, particularly Matthew and Marilla. I really enjoyed the interactions between Anne and Marilla, and thought her relationship with Matthew was sweet. Gilbert and Diana weren’t as three-dimensional to me, but I give Montgomery a pass on those two.
  • There were a lot of funny scenes in this novel. I was surprised at how many times I laughed out loud while reading. It was a combination of Montgomery’s writing style/word choices and Anne’s misadventures that did the trick.

Disliked:

  • The plot seemed rather disjointed on the whole. It often felt as though each chapter were a self-contained short story rather than part of a novel because a majority of the happenings were stand-alone events. But again, this was easy to overlook because the writing was so pleasant and enjoyable.
  • I can’t believe it has taken me this long to “discover” Anne of Green Gables! I have a feeling that if I had read these books when I was 10 or 11 years old, Anne and I surely would have been “kindred spirits” and “bosom friends” forever!

Rating:

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery was a truly wonderful book that was a real treat to read. There wasn’t a single slow spot in the entire work, and with Anne Shirley leading the way, I was always eager to see what happened next. I give this book 5 stars out of 5 and highly recommend it to readers of all ages. It’s never too late to befriend Anne!

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