Anne of Green Gables was the choice for this month's bookclub. Although I had read it as a child, I could barely remember it and for some reason, never realised there is a whole series of the Avonlea books. Written in 1908, this book has a certain country charm. Although it is seen as a book for children, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Anne is adopted at the age of 11 by an ageing brother and sister who actually wanted to adopt a boy to help them on the farm. Anne arrives instead and her stay looks like it might be short-lived. However, given the title of the book, we know that Anne will stay.
Anne is an exuberent, intelligent, imaginative and creative child. She enthuses about the beauty of nature and to many readers over the decades, Avonlea must seem to be heaven on earth as the changes in the seasons are described with magnificent detail. Perhaps because of the lack of attention, she chats incessantly and the speed of her speech is emphasized by the length of the passage and the lack of punctuation. She daydreams and is one of those children who tries to do good but mishaps seem to happen from putting liniment in a cake to dyeing her red hair green.
Anne grows increasingly close to her adoptive parents. Matthew deliberately stays out of her upbringing seeing it as woman's work considering she is a girl yet he clearly wants to ensure she is happy and content, even noticing that puff sleeves are almost essential for girls her age and arranging to have a dress made for her. Marilla is stricter initially and doesn't find describing her love for the child to be easy but slowly you can see that while they help Anne's lot, she also brings so much to their lives.
We follow Anne's adventures from the age of 11 to her leaving school and passing examinations. Her hard work ethic and intelligence are shown as is her stubbornness and her unwillingness to forgive Gilbert Blythe for calling her 'carrots' - this is emphasized by their academic competitiveness. Considering it was written in 1908, it is good to see schooling and academia being seen as important, even though it is an expensive luxury for some. Some parents see it as unnecessary for girls too and various viewpoints are put forward.
I'm going to suggest this book to my daughter in a year or two, it will be interesting to see her take on it. Plus, now that I know there is a full collection of Anne of Green Gables with 12 books in the collection, I think it will have to be a birthday present for one of us sometime soon. I want to know what happened to Anne, if she married Gilbert, if she became a teacher, if she had children, if she continued to live in Green Gables and stayed as creative, fun-loving and imaginative.