Thursday, September 6, 2012

Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery

I am not exactly sure what it was that prompted me to return to Green Gables.  For the last several months, I have had an urge to read through L.M. Montgomery's beloved series again.  Because I believe firmly in indulging such inexplicable compulsions, I finally took the time to reread this story.  As a child, I owned the box set of all eight Anne books and, I believe, only read through them once in completion.  In addition to the books, I remember countless viewings of the 1980s movie version starring Megan Follows.  What little girl growing up in the 1990s didn't watch it and the sequel, Anne of Avonlea, over and over?  Obviously, rereading the book stirred a lot of those memories; however, I think that, even more than memories, Anne herself creates a stronger pull to childhood.

Anne of Green Gables is one of those magical books that transports you back decades in an instant.  Anne's energy and verve for life is nearly as contagious from the page as you imagine it to be to those she meets in Avonlea.  Montgomery does a phenomenal job of enabling Anne's exuberance to spill off the page and fill the reader's spirit.  For me, rereading this book became about much more than the story; it became a reminder of the simplicity and joys of childhood.

My favorite part of reading Green Gables this time around was appreciating Montgomery's descriptions of the island.  As a child, long passages describing trees and flowers and fields were at risk to be automatically skimmed over. I was interested in plot, not the landscaping of Prince Edward Island.  Reading it now gives me the complete opposite reaction.  Kevin and I both love to travel and we have a long list of places we want to go in our life together.  Canada has never made the list before.  However, about halfway through the book, Montgomery's vivid word pictures got to me and I told Kevin that PEI needed to get added to our list.  She makes it sound like it is the most beautiful place in the world.

All of those descriptions are at the heart of Montgomery's writing style.  Her story is quite simple; her writing is old-fashioned.  The plot moves quickly and each chapter tends to be a fairly isolated story of Anne's escapades.  It is the wordy descriptions and paragraphs of speech-like dialogue that Anne delivers that make up the meat of the novel.  Looking back, I can say with certainty that this is one of the books that advanced my reading level as a child.  Anne loves big words and Montgomery does not tailor her vocabulary to children.  I appreciate that.

More than anything, rereading this book reminded me how wonderful it is to be a child and to be filled with the hopes and dreams of the world.  Life has a tendency to make you jaded and cynical.  Anne Shirley is the antidote.  She is able to find joy in the smallest things, reminding me to appreciate what is around me.  She is a character to whom one can connect in her happiness and sorrows.  All of Montgomery's characters experience evident growth over the course of the book.  I am excited to continue my journey of rediscovery with them as I move through the remainder of the series.  You can be sure to see more of Anne Shirley on the blog before the year is out.

What was one of your favorite childhood novels?  Have you read it again with a new perspective as an adult?

Pages: 318
Date Completed: September 5, 2012

No comments:

Post a Comment