The first of my epic rereads of 2011 is Anne of Green Gables. Rather than going for a stricter review format, I thought it would be more fun and more likely to succeed if I just wrote my thoughts down. Luckily, this book fits that perfectly and has had my little brain working since I finished it. I can also completely spoil the suspense by telling you right now that I adored this book, one of my ultimate childhood favorites, just as much as an adult.
Almost every little girl who loved to read knows this story; orphan red-headed Anne is sent to Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert by accident. They wanted a boy to help out on the farm, but found themselves with a talkative, dreamy wisp of a child instead. After a day’s acquaintance, and knowing Anne’s dim future prospects, neither Marilla nor Matthew can bear to send her back, so they decide to keep her, leaving Marilla, an old maid, to raise a girl child on her own.
I must have read this book countless times as a child. It’s always been one of my favorites, but I haven’t read it in at least ten years. The number just went up and up as I got older. I’m not sure what drove me away from reading this one as a teenager; I suspect it may have been my early high school love affair with romance novels. Regardless, it was certainly high time for a reread, and the combination of my new Kindle and the excellent Gutenberg project meant I could have the entire series at my disposal whenever I wanted. I never owned the whole series as a kid, though I always longed to, and it’s nice to finally have that sense of completion. Since I don’t have to haul the entire series over the pond to read it, this is much more convenient for me.
Anyway, on to the book. As I mentioned earlier, I completely and unreservedly adored it all over again. There are so many reasons to love it, but naturally the foremost is Anne herself. Vivacious, dreamy, and incredibly intelligent, I think every little girl can see something of themselves in her. She is not only all of us, but she becomes all that we’d like to be, something I never really picked up on reading the book as a kid. She may not be beautiful, she may make mistakes, she may use big over-dramatic words, but she is incredibly loveable and no one can resist her copious amounts of charm. I know I wished to have so many friends at that age; I had some, but never the situation where my best friend was right next door and available to play every day. Anne is so very girlish, longing to have lovely dark hair, dresses with puffed sleeves, and an absence of freckles. She’s easy to relate to because most of us feel like ugly ducklings at 12 and 13; they are such awkward ages. Anne’s trials can help young girls who are similarly not allowed to wear the latest fashions accept that this is a simple reality, and that such rewards will come in time.
What was most interesting was how I remembered the book. I knew some of the big events that were going to happen, but I managed to mix up part of this one with the next, so I kept expecting a few things to happen only to find that they didn’t! Obviously I read Anne of Avonlea more than I thought I did. But even as I remembered where the story was going and what pitfalls were along the way, I also rediscovered so many things and found myself enjoying the journey far more than I would have expected. The entire book is something of an idyll and gives the reader a feeling that the past was a wonderful place. Even though, as I mentioned, Anne has her faults and makes mistakes that cause her to suffer bitterly, most of the book has a rosy glow about it. Life has issues, but they are never insurmountable so long as one is good and honest and does her best. There are always friends, and dreams, and hard work can make these dreams come true. Even that irritating boy you thought you’d always hate can turn out to be a friend. In this respect, it really is the perfect book for a little girl, and I know if I ever have one of my own, my own paper copy will be hers to hopefully cherish as much as I did.