I chose to read L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables whilst on a weekend trip to France back in February. I had originally planned to get to it at some point over the summer, but after hearing how much Yamini loved Anne, I decided to move it up my list. I was very much looking forward to meeting Montgomery’s young protagonist, and she certainly did not disappoint.
Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, siblings and residents of a lovely old house named Green Gables in Avonlea, a small fictional town on Prince Edward Island, have decided to adopt a child. They think they will be getting a boy who can help around their farm, but a miscommunication means that Anne is sent instead. A very shaky start ensues, with Marilla adamant that Anne should be sent back to the ‘orphan asylum’ whence she came and a boy sent in her place. Matthew, however, soon finds himself revelling in her refreshing, youthful company: ‘Matthew, much to his own surprise, was enjoying himself. Like most quiet folks he liked talkative people when they were willing to do the talking themselves and did not expect him to keep up his end of it’.
Since her parents died when she was just a baby, Anne professes that she has always been ‘unwanted’. She has consequently been batted around from one family to the next, often serving to look after young children, and merely wants an opportunity to settle down and forge a stable life for herself. Montgomery deals, both deftly and sensitively, with Anne’s moving to Avonlea and making friends, the problems and obstacles which she comes across during the process, and the often ingenious ways in which she overcomes them.
The initial description of Anne is darling, and really gives one a feel for her character. One of the main attributes which she has is her red hair, something which she hates: ‘“You’d find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair,” said Anne reproachfully. “People who haven’t red hair don’t know what trouble is.”’. Anne is so endearing, and holds all of those characteristics which are so delightful in young girls; she is wonderfully chatty, inquisitive, prone to daydreaming, and has a vivid imagination which allows her to better any awful situation in which she finds herself: ‘Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while’. She is spirited, kind and thoughtful, and, above all, a rather loveable protagonist. Anne is also most open about her past, and is overall so glad of being alive, despite the hardships which have befallen her. She is rather melodramatic, but that is all part of her charm. She is the very best of protagonists in children’s fiction, for a lot can be learnt from her. She has a marvellous attitude, particularly in the face of adversity, and I believe that she would make a great role model for impressionable young girls.
In Anne of Green Gables, Montgomery has created a charming and absolutely delightful tale. Anne grows up believably through the course of the novel. The whole has been lovingly written, and it is clear that the author cared a lot for her young character. Anne of Green Gables is a wonderful novel to come to for the first time as an adult. Had I read it as a child, I imagine that I would have been utterly enchanted by it. I am very much looking forward to seeing where Anne’s adventures take her next.