Jun 11, 2008

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old redheaded and freckled orphan, comes to Green Gables, a farm in Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, when Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to send to an orphanage for a boy to help them around. But as you no doubt have noticed, Anne is not a boy. At first, Marilla is determined to send her back, but Anne’s impulsive enthusiasm, unique way of thinking and seeing the world and constant talk of scope of imagination (or constant talk, period) quickly win her heart, just like they won her brother’s on the journey back to Green Gables.

The rest of Avonlea is initially Properly Horrified with Matthew and Marilla’s decision, and horror tales about orphans who set their benefactor’s houses on fire are told. But Anne quickly grows on them too, and pretty soon no one is capable of imagining Avonela without her. Anne of Green Gables follows Anne’s life and education from ages 11 to 16.

I’m not going to say that I’m the last person on earth to read this book, because whenever that is said there are usually half a dozen people who say they haven’t read the book yet either – and a great deal of the time, I’m one of them. I knew Anne of Green Gables was a popular book, but I had no idea what to expect. All I knew about the story was that the protagonist was a redheaded orphan. I had vague but fond childhood memories of watching the animated series. I was curious about this book because any book that is still so popular after a hundred years will peak my interest. Yet somehow I didn’t expect to love it so much.

Anne Shirley is simply irresistible. I loved her enthusiasm and her earnestness, her curiosity and intelligence, her sensitivity. I loved how genuine and kind she is. And I loved her life philosophy:
"Isn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me glad to be alive – it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?"

"‘Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them,’ exclaimed Anne. ‘You mayn’t get the things themselves; but nothing can prevent you from having the fun of looking forward to them. Mrs Lynde says, “Blessed are those who expected nothing for they shall not be disappointed.” But I think it would be worse to expected nothing than to be disappointed."
The passages and others made me want to shout "yes!". Anne and I are kindred spirits.

The humorous tone of the book drew me in right away. It’s such a warm story, so full of hope and love, so full of characters you grow to care about. Another thing I loved about Anne was how she brings out the best in people and changes those around her for the better. And Montgomery describes this process without ever letting the story become exaggerated or sentimental.

There’s so much I could say about this book. Another thing I loved were all the nature descriptions, the different seasons, Anne’s awareness of the world. Anne of Green Gables makes Prince Edward Island sound like one of the prettiest place on earth.

And just one more thing: to me, this book felt timeless. It was easy to forget that the story was set a hundred years ago. Anne of Avonlea, here I come. (Hopefully in time for Mrs. S Anne Mini-Challenge!)

Other Blog Reviews:
Becky's Book Reviews
So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
The Hidden Side of a Leaf
Read Warbler
Here, There and Everywhere
Bookfoolery and Babble
The Bluestocking Society
Peeking Between the Pages
Regular Ruminations
And much more at Blogging Anne of Green Gables

(Got any more? Please let me know and I'll add your link to this list.)


  1. I'm glad you loved this one, Nymeth. I think because I grew up with the movies (which are great by the way) and TV series, I was a little let down by the book when I read it as an adult--much in the same way that I was let down a tad by Little women. I would definitelylove to continue with the series--especially as Anne matures. Doesn't this book make you want to go to Prince Edward Island right now??

  2. I was going to say that you should definitely watch the movie, but Trish beat me to it! The scenery and characters are just as good as they are described in the book! I also recommend Emily of New Moon by LM Montgomery--I personally liked it even more than the Anne books.

  3. I loved this one too when I reread it in March for the Heart of a Child challenge. I'd read it as a child but hardly remembered a thing. I was charmed to bits and certainly plan to read more in the series - I already have Anne of Avonlea on the tbr pile.

    My review of Anne of Green Gables is here:

  4. I remember the animated series vaguely, even though anyone in Italy would remember the song! and I always thought it was a sad story. Then I read the book and I was amazed at how different it was. It was so full of love for life and for her friends. It was a nice surprise.

  5. Anne is one of my all-time favourite fictional characters, so it fills my heart with joy every time someone new discovers how wonderful this book is. I hope you read the rest of the series - they get a little slow in the middle, but hold out to the end. The last few are darling, especially the 8th one, and are as heart-warming as this one is.

  6. I'm so glad you liked this book. I too just got around to reading it (sometime in the last year). Not sure how I missed it as a kid. Reading it as an adult though, there were times when I wanted to tell the young Anne to just "hush up for awhile." I was pleased that she wasn't quite the chatterbox as she got older; she became more thoughtful instead.

  7. I should have known that if anyone could get me to read this it would be you! I have (no, actually Annie now has) a set of the first three Anne books from when I was a kid. Yep, they're old! I never read them. I have never really had any idea on earth what they were about (seriously, you knowing that Anne was a red-headed orphan had me beat). But for whatever reason, I've always had it stuck in my head that I just wouldn't like them. Sounds like another wild misconception on my part, for you just made this book sound utterly charming! Oh, and how I love those passages you quoted...for I definitely share Anne's philosophy! Thanks Nymeth!

  8. Nymeth, I'm glad you enjoyed this book! You know, I haven't read this yet, but I know many readers love this classic. Now I've to go hunting for this book, hehe. ;)

  9. You should read the entire series of books. I think there are like 6 or 7 books. I really enjoyed reading about Anne as she grew up and had kids of her own. The last two books are about her children. I think you've inspired me to read the series again!

  10. I *think* I read this, it sounds so familiar, and I know it was on my list. I am pretty sure I did read it and loved it. Isn't it odd that I can't remember? But I would like to reread it and read the series.

    I really have to get more organized about the book blogs I read, I only have a small handful and there are so many lovely ones!

  11. I remember watching the animated series as a kid, too.
    Then last year I listened to this in audiobook and was surprised at how good it was.

  12. I'm so glad you enjoyed this! You can enter the challenge with just this book if you need to - but definitely read Avonlea - and the rest of the series - you won't be disappointed :)

    Thanks for the plug BTW

  13. Anne is my favorite character ever! And it is really worth watching the movies, they portray are and Avonlea brilliantly. The rest of the books are great too! I've been wanting to go to PEI for so long because of Anne!

  14. Joining the chorus! I am so glad that you enjoyed Anne. My favorite is Anne of Windy Poplars--which I've read more times than I can count.

  15. believe it or not I don't remember reading books as a kid under 12, but remember seeing an old version of Pinocchio around so guessing I did.. my first memory of books as a young teen was reading Westerns by Zane Gray! So I can't say I've read these, but betting I saw the old movie, in fact I'm pretty sure of it.. I'll have to get at least one of this series and read it! *sigh.. heck, how much longer can my wish list get??... maybe I shouldn't ask!

  16. Yay! I love Anne, so I'm glad you do too. :) And guess what? Neil Gaiman's Odd and the Frost Giants finally came in! Yay!!

  17. Yep, I'm one of those who hasn't read this book. But your review certainly makes me want to do so. It makes me think of The Secret Garden, which I only recently read, as well.

  18. Trish: I can definitely see how that would happen. And yes, it really does! I have to confess that I hadn't heard of the island before, but now it's a place I'd like to visit :)

    Laura: I'll look for the movie, thanks for the recommendation :) You're the second person to say that Emily of New Moon is even better. I'll have to look for that one too.

    Cath: Thank you for the link, I have added it to my post :) Anne certainly is charming!

    Valentina: I can't actually remember the song, but I bet youtube will refresh my memory :P

    Court: I will read them! I've already ordered the 2nd and 3rd :)

    Terri B: I don't know how I missed it either. I knew about it, but somehow I never picked it up. I'm not too fond of people who talk too much, but Anne's blabbing didn't bother me. Maybe it was because I knew I could put the book aside and shut her up whenever I wanted :P

    Debi: I can't wait to see what you and Annie think of this book! We all get those inexplicable impressions about stuff sometimes. I didn't think I wouldn't like it, but I didn't imagine the book to be like this at all. It was such a great surprise.

    Melody, I bet you'll love it!

    Anna: I plan to! I just loved Montgomery's writing in this book. Enjoy your re-reading of the series!

    Daphne: It happens sometimes, especially with books that are so famous they now have become a part of popular culture. We can't be sure if we know them from the books, movies, tv series or what.

    Alessandra: I was surprised too

    Mrs S: I've ordered Anne of Avonlea, so I should be able to read it for the challenge. Thanks for hosting!

    Joanna: I can definitely see why. I'll look for the movie :)

    Jenclair: I look forward to Anne of Windy Poplars

    Deslily: lol, I won't ask :P I hope you enjoy the book.

    Eva: yay! I'm glad it made it there safely. Sorry for the huge delay! I look forward to your thoughts on it :)

    Lisa: The Secret Garden is another one I haven't read yet. But I want to!

  19. I enjoyed everything about the book- except Anne. She annoyed the crap out of me. I think I'd like to read about her romance, but not if she never shuts up. Here's my link to my brief mentioning of the book. Not quite a review:

  20. Lisa: I can definitely see how she'd annoy some readers. Ah well, we can't all like everything. Thanks for the link to your post!

  21. I recently read this and I loved it and Anne so much. I will be making sure my own children read it when young!

  22. This was one of those books that I avoided for a long time when I was young because it was a GIRL'S book and then one winter weekend when I was about thirteen I was stuck in the house with nothing to read and nothing to do and so I borrowed Anne from my sister and found out just how silly I had been - this is a great series and your review brought back some good memories...

  23. I've been debating whether to reread at least the first book this year in honour of the 100th anniversary. I haven't read them since I was a kid and I think you may have convinced me. :)

  24. Alix, I hope your children enjoy it. I bet they will :)

    Ken: lol, I can see why you'd think that this was a girl's book. I remember that I'd make that distinction in my head at that age, too, but being a bit of a tomboy I'd go ahead and read the boyish ones, like Tom Sawyer, while avoiding some of the girlish ones, like Little Women :P

    Tanabata: Sometimes I feel a little nervous about revisiting childhood favourites - what if I don't like it anymore? And while that does happen some of the time, I think Anne will stand the test of time :)

  25. You hadn't heard of PEI before? Oh my. It truly is as beautiful and wonderful as Montgomery decribes and I am so lucky to live here. Islanders get a little tired of Anne by times (on the lisense plate went a little too far!) but I have always loved Anne, and Gilbert, and of course Matthew. Did you love Matthew? He is absolutely perfect in the movie.

    Do keep reading the series. Each book is wonderful, and Anne calms down but still charms everyone. She meets lots of characters, and LM keeps the story going. My favorite is Rilla of Ingleside, the last book.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the book and that you read it this year, in the anniversary year. You would probably like Emily as well, but I prefer Anne; emily is a little darker. I know, it wouldn't be hard to be darker than Anne.

  26. Excellent review of an excellent review! Thanks so much for adding the link to my review at the bottom. I just added yours to mine.

  27. I have to admit to not habing read it. I did get a cheap copy the library were selling off a little while ago and will get around to it at some point. It never looked appealing but quite a lot of bloggers have reviewed it in the last year or so and all seem to have enjoyed it.

  28. raidergirl3: You are indeed lucky to live there! I looked for some pictures online after reading the book, and what a gorgeous place :) And yes, Matthew was great! It sounds like I have to read Emily too. I tend to like darker books.

    Teddy Rose, thank you :)

    Rhinoa: I hope you enjoy it! I honestly didn't imagine it to be half as appealing.

  29. I first discovered Anne in college through the wonderful Wonderworks version starring Megan Follows and I instantly fell in love. I quickly checked out all the books from the library and devoured them. Over the years I have read and re-read various volumes of the story and each time they are a delight. PEI is one of the places I've always had it in my heart to visit because of the Anne books. Maybe someday. I hope you read the rest, you won't be disappointed.

  30. Carl, I will. The second and the third are already on their way to me :)


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