Anne of Avonlea

July 22, 2009

anne-of-avonlea Plot summary (with possible spoilers): Anne of Avonlea continues the story of Anne Shirley, which was begun in L.M. Montgomery’s first novel, Anne of Green Gables. Now 17 years old, Anne has foregone college in order to stay at Green Gables to help take care of Marilla after Matthew’s death. She will be a teacher at the Avonlea school, and will continue her studies with friend Gilbert Blythe, who teaches at the White Sands school.

When they’re not teaching, Anne, Gilbert, and other young people from Avonlea attend meetings of A.V.I.S., the Avonlea Village Improvement Society. The aim of the society is to improve Avonlea in general by planting trees, painting public buildings, and getting farmers to repair fences and other aspects of their property that are visible from public roads.

There are also some big changes at Green Gables, as Marilla agrees to take in six-year-old twins Davy and Dora Keith, the children of a distant relation of Marilla’s who need a caretaker since their mother died. Davy is much like Anne in that he has a “high spirit” and likes to get into trouble, while Dora is more prim, proper, and quiet. The twins were supposed to go stay with an uncle after a few months, but the uncle fell ill and subsequently died, leaving the path open for Marilla to officially adopt the twins.

The rest of the novel tells of the various adventures Anne has as a teacher, as part of A.V.I.S., and at home with Davy, Dora, and Marilla. She meets and befriends several new people along the way, including student Paul Irving, gruff neighbor Mr. Harrison, and the lovely kindred spirit in Miss Lavender Lewis.

Liked:

  • L.M. Montgomery’s writing style continues to be easy to read and contains wonderful descriptions of Avonlea in general.
  • There were several new and interesting characters introduced in this book that helped keep Anne’s adventures fresh and exciting.
  • Anne and Gilbert going off to college should set up a good background for the next novel in the series, Anne of the Island.

Disliked:

  • The story didn’t seem as magical as Anne of Green Gables, simply because we weren’t seeing the world through Anne’s eyes with the wonder of a child anymore. This book seemed more in line with a bunch of other young adult books, rather than something special like the first one in the series.
  • I didn’t really like all the focus on Davy Keith, as I didn’t find him nearly as interesting as Anne was when she was a child. Davy’s brand of mischief is what you find in every other book, as he deliberately sets out to stir things up and cause trouble. When Anne was a child, her mishaps occurred mostly by accident and were therefore more endearing to me as a reader.

Rating:

I read Anne of Avonlea immediately upon finishing Anne of Green Gables, and while Anne herself was still a terrific character, it just wasn’t the same reading experience now that she and her companions are older. As such, I found Anne of Avonlea to be rather average, and give it 3 stars out of 5.

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