by L. M. Montgomery
Unconditional Recommendation: A young orphan girl with a zest for life and a big imagination gets into adventures, scrapes, and makes many hilarious mistakes as she makes Green Gables her home.
I did not read Anne of Green Gables as a kid and frankly didn’t hear much about it until I started looking for good books. Then its name came up again and again and I was excited to give it a go. As a kid I likely would have found this book enchanting and as an adult I found it entertaining with heaps of goodness that makes for a refreshing read. An oldie but a goodie!
Anne Shirley is an orphan girl who wants nothing more than to call Green Gables her home. But elderly siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert wanted a boy and instead what they got was a passionate, red-haired girl who let her imagination run wild and spoke whatever was in her mind. Softhearted, soft-spoken Matthew wants to keep her and Anne will do anything to convince the crisp Marilla that Anne belongs at Green Gables. Her antics and adventures are only just beginning.
The story is set at Green Gables, a farm in Avonlea on Prince Edward Island in Canada. If titles of books were meant to be a summary of the story then this one nails it. Anne’s character is the reason this book is so loved and she truly steals the show and wins hearts of her fellow characters and her readers. What I most love about Anne is her spirit. She has a joy for living that is unparalleled to any character I have ever read. It’s inspiring. I wish I lived life with that much sheer enjoyment! She is easy to sympathize with because she jumps off the page as being so truly real. Full of mistakes, full of feelings, full of imagination, full of vitality—she is one of a kind, a gem.
Kids would find Anne and her adventurous ways so delightful and entertaining. She is the goodness of childhood personified. Willing to play in her imagination she readily sees and enjoys all the good things around her. We all could take a lesson from Anne. She is grateful for the simplest of pleasures.
She is a great heroine who is a role model for moving forward after making mistakes. I love how she boldly recovers from her shortcomings, either by making emphatically dramatic apologies or by sincerely speaking truth and being willing to make any amends necessary.
The other characters are equally interesting and individual. I adore Matthew because he is quiet, and incredibly shy despite the fact that he is a grown man. He has his own type of courage that he has to summon up in order to do good things for Anne whether that means speaking up to Marilla about her or speaking with the female store clerk to ask for a dress for Anne. He is endearing and I got a kick out of every time he and Anne were together and he responds to her with, “Well, now…”
Marilla is best described like food: crisp and tart. She does have a soft spot for Anne though she hardly admits it even to herself. She keeps her emotions neatly in check and is quite flabbergasted at times with Anne’s outbursts and crazy explanations for the scrapes she gets into on a regular basis. They are a contrasting pair but each character needs the other for balance. Anne keeps Marilla’s life interesting and good while Marilla gives Anne healthy structure and expectations to grow up in.
As you can see, the characters really make this book the treasure that it is. The plot goes at an enjoyably even pace: not too fast or too slow. Rest assured, you never go for long before Anne is having another hilarious misadventure and you’re laughing at Anne’s antics along the way. It is a delightful read that any age can enjoy. Maybe best enjoyed together. Happy reading!