Title: Anne of Green Gables & Anne of Avonlea
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Publication Date: 1994
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions
Format: Paperback|528 pages
Anne of Green Gables, the first book in the series, is my favourite book of all times; regardless of how many books I’ve read and loved I love this one the most. The novel is a classic heart-warming tale about a talkative red-haired orphan who has spent her early childhood being shuttled from foster homes to orphanages. The intelligent, passionate and stubborn girl mistakenly ends up on Prince Edward Island where Marilla Cuthbert and her unmarried brother, Matthew Cuthbert, adopt her.
L.M. Montgomery’s vivid recollection of Avonlea and its inhabitants pulls the reads into the world, not only because it paints wonderful scenes of ordinary rural life, but because the detailed and incisive descriptions of each character. Her writing is definitely the most descriptive writing I’ve come across so far.
About 30-50 pages in I fell in love with Anne, the girl who hates her hair but has the rare ability to find something beautiful in just about everything. I strongly identify with her, having a powerful imagination, loving nature in all its splendour and autumn in all its colours and being constantly absorbed in daydreams are traits we share. Anne finds companionship and playmates in the trees and rivers of Avonlea, she finds comfort in the idea that she can always find a tree and climb into its arms where she will feel safe. From this point of view, Anne and I are very similar, I remember talking to trees, flowers, animals, the river that flows next to my house and even rocks, thanking them for existing and, just as Anne did, giving them dramatic names.
I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.
Certainly there are some troubling notions regarding gender roles and gender expectations in the book that are products of its time, but, as a whole, the novel is very progressive and feminist encouraging higher education for women. Anne struggles to reconcile her notions with the expectation of the traditional mentality of Avonlea, but she ends up defying most conventions society sets for her changing the expectations of many men and women around her, not only encouraging women to be and love themselves, but promoting sensitivity in men as well.
I read Anne of Green Gables at the exact time I needed it and it felt like the perfect antidote to this messy society in which everyone is in a hurry, always angry about something and blind to the small beauties life gives us. The novel has inspired me in many ways, which reminds me of literature’s power to inspire and uplift, but mostly Anne’s way of seeing the best in everyone and everything inspired me to change the way I see and perceive both happy moments and tragedies.