Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Book Review Club ~ January 2011!!

Somehow along the way, Anne of Green Gables has managed to slip through the cracks of my reading life.  I watched the Sullivan Entertainment Anne of Green Gables miniseries while in high school, and loved every minute of it, but I never quite made it back to the book.  Now I have, and I'm reviewing it for Barrie Summy's Monthly Book Review Club.

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Orphan Anne Shirley is mistakenly sent to Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables, Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, when they'd specifically requested a boy to help Matthew with all the heavy work.  Marilla is intent on sending the mouthy, flighty child back, but Matthew is thoroughly charmed and wants to keep her.  After a trial period, which tests Marilla's patience to the breaking point, it isdecided that Anne can stay.  Anne is overawed with the island and all of its natural beauty and spends a good bit of her time imagining names and histories for different spots.  Meanwhile, she makes a 'bosom friend' in Diana Barry, and they are inseparable.  But mischief and trouble continue to follow Anne to hilarious result.

Anne of Green Gables is the first in the series by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and it captures Anne between the ages of precocious eleven and sensible, elegant fifteen.

I enjoyed AoGG immensely.  It's been a long time since I've seen the miniseries (although I own the DVD's), and the book charmed me all over again, even more so because the lavish descriptions filled the narrative instead of just frothing out of Anne's mouth.  The miniseries stayed (mostly) true to the book, and I was glad for that.  I have to admit that they characters who played Anne and Marilla and all the others were already set in my head because of the movie, but that didn't detract even a bit, because they'd all seemed pretty much perfect the first time around.

I have to admit, I wish Gilbert Blythe (Anne's mortal enemy/eventual love interest) had made a few more appearances.  Either he was larger than life on screen, or they added a few extra scenes with him, because I felt he was less of a mystery in the mini series.

But, oh, page after page of Anne's dreamy wonder, Marilla's sharp wit, and Matthew's quiet admiration was lovely, and all the commentary on the quirky characters of Avonlea had me thinking of Jane Austen.  But what I adored most were the gorgeous descriptions of Prince Edward Island.  I see it in my mind, and want to visit now more than ever.

"They had driven over the crest of a hill.  Below them was a pond, looking almost like a river, so long and winding was it.  A bridge spanned it midway and from there to its lower end, where an amber-hued belt of sand hills shut it in from the dark blue gulf beyond, the water was a glory of many shifting hues--the most spiritual shadings of crocus and rose and ethereal green, with other elusive tintings for which no name has ever been found."

Sigh.  Too bad Gilbert wasn't around at that moment...

Oh, and the last line..."nothing could rob her of her birthright of fancy or her ideal world of dreams."  Love it.
It was so worth the wait. 
If you're interested in a little more AoGG discussion, stick around...I encourage you to read (re-read!) the book and watch (re-watch!) the mini-series for a good ole discussion, including a little Gilbert gossip.

And definitely swing by Barrie's blog for a great selection of reviews!


Meredith said...

I have to reread this book! I just watched the miniseries again a few weeks ago and fell back in love with it. And you must visit Prince Edward Island! All of the Anne stuff is a little hokey (they have a theme park), but the scenery is just as beautiful as you think it will be!

Stacy said...

Oh, you did Anne of Green Gables! I just love Anne and Gil!

I have to admit it's been years since I've reread the books, but I really want to. I also need to get the DVDs since I just have it on VHS.

Teenage Bride said...

Well this has certainly been one of my favorites for quite some time! I have a collectors edition that my mom bought me when I was in middle school

Sarah Laurence said...

I gobbled up this entire series as tween/teen and loved it. Thanks for reminding me. It was interesting to get an adult perspective. Your review makes me want to revisit.

Anonymous said...

Oh, yes, I loved the show! But haven't read the books.

Ellen Booraem said...

I read this book in childhood--now I want to read it again! Not sure I read past the first one, but I did see the miniseries...I think I'd see those actors in my mind's eye, too, Alyssa.

Thanks for reminding me about this wonderful book!

kaye said...

I don't think there is anything better than Anne of Green Gables. Nice review.

Barrie said...

I love Anne....with an "e"!! And I think it's time to introduce child #4 to her. Oh, and I've always wanted to go to PEI and see where the author lived. Thanks for reviewing!

Sarahlynn said...

My mom and I read these books together long ago and I still have such fond memories of that time, and of Anne! (Caveat: the series drops off dramatically after the first book, though.)

Alyssa Goodnight said...

You've been to PEI, Meredith?? I'm jealous!

Re-read, Stacy, re-read!

I'm glad I finally got around to reading it, Jill.

Thanks, Sarah and Kaye!

I highly recommend this one, Kathy.

You are most welcome, Ellen. :)

I bet she'll love them, Barrie.

Don't tell me that, Saralynn! :)

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I need to reread it. I read my copy to tatters as a girl. Anne's enthusiasm for life and her best friend (Violet?) really charmed me.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Diana Barry, Green Girl.