I know I meant myself to space out my rereads over the course of each month, but I honestly just couldn’t wait to read the next in the Anne series! I was very tempted to start Anne of Avonlea immediately after finishing Anne of Green Gables a couple of weeks ago, but I managed to make myself wait until the 2nd of March. I’m not sure I’ll make it until April before I read Anne of the Island but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing either!
Anyway, in this installment, Anne and Marilla set about their relatively peaceful life in Avonlea. Anne has become the teacher at the school, which poses its own unique challenges. She wants her students to love her, but at times it seems as though Anthony Pye will never oblige. Meanwhile, Marilla’s third cousin finds himself with two twins that he can no longer take care of, and so the two ladies find themselves with Davy and Dora. Dora is a perfect princess, but Davy is mischievous and a ridiculously lovable handful.
As Anne gets a little older, she starts to enter the world of womanhood. As a result, this book focuses a lot more on romance. It’s hard to believe a seventeen year old young woman would completely fail to have any interest in the men around her, but somehow for Anne it works – she’s still busy being imaginative even as her friends start to fall in love. She recognizes that this stage in her life is very much the next one, but instead of developing crushes herself reflects on the fact that her childhood is really over.
It’s a funny juxtaposition because she’s now treated as an adult by everyone around her – she’s the teacher at the Avonlea school, responsible for instilling education and virtue in the minds of a classroom full of young people. She’s very much in charge of Davy and Dora at times as she and Marilla share responsibility for them. Her bringing up is clearly over because she’s automatically entrusted with bringing up the next generation of young kids, even at sixteen and seventeen.
Like the last one, this book is divided into a series of episodes in Anne’s life. She has a variety of adventures, but they aren’t quite as fun as they were when she was a child; instead, the incidents are more adult in nature. She works to gain the affection of the children in the school; Davy nearly loses Dora and she has to find her; and she plays a part in befriending an older, single woman and trying to reunite her with her long-lost love. Because Anne is mostly done growing up, the book holds together a little less cohesively around these incidents, but it’s still a delightful and overall comforting read.
I had half-forgotten a lot of this book, with my memory fixated on bits and pieces throughout rather than specific episodes, like in the last. I do think I liked it better than I did as a child, though, mainly because I have a much greater appreciation for more adult activities. At 12, I didn’t really care about Anne’s society or the efforts she undertook to teach children. It’s more interesting to me now, especially because I can appreciate the book in more ways. As with the first, finishing this book made me want to pick up the next in the series right away, which is always an encouraging sign when you do intend to read an entire series!
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