“Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it… Yet.”
Synopsis from Goodreads: When Marilla Cuthbert’s brother, Matthew, returns home to Green Gables with a chatty redheaded orphan girl, Marilla exclaims, “But we asked for a boy. We have no use for a girl.” It’s not long, though, before the Cuthberts can’t imagine how they could ever do without young Anne of Green Gables–but not for the original reasons they sought an orphan. Somewhere between the time Anne “confesses” to losing Marilla’s amethyst pin (which she never took) in hopes of being allowed to go to a picnic, and when Anne accidentally dyes her hated carrot-red hair green, Marilla says to Matthew, “One thing’s for certain, no house that Anne’s in will ever be dull.” And no book that she’s in will be, either. –Emilie Coulter (from a review of an abridged version)
Feelings: I’ll confess – this was the first time I’d read Anne of Green Gables. I get the sense that this book is a rite of passage for all girls everywhere, but somehow I missed it. Interestingly enough, one of the challenges on the PopSugar 2015 reading list is to read a book your mom loves. When I asked my mom for a book recommendation, she immediately said, “Caitlyn, you have to read Anne of Green Gables.” Done and done.
Issues: I didn’t really have any issues with this book. I would just suggest to anyone reading it for the first time to keep the time period in the forefront of your mind. The word choice and historical commentary are very common for books written during this time period (circa 1908). It was a little slow-going at times, mostly because of Anne’s rambling or my boredom at the various “concerts.”
I really enjoyed some of the “old timey” phrases in this book, like, “All went merry as a marriage bed.” Ha!
Characters: Oh, Anne, you dramatic little corn flower. Home girl has quite an imagination. I found myself laughing over her antics, like actually laughing out loud. I wasn’t expecting that from this book, but it had little pockets of humor sprinkled throughout. I especially laughed every time she commented on being a red head, considering my mother, brother-in-law, and nephew are all of the ginger persuasion. (Maybe that’s why my mother loves this book so much…she can relate…)
One of my favorite quotes is when Anne is telling Marilla that she never makes the same mistake twice. She says, “There must be a limit to the mistakes one person can make, and when I get to the end of them, then I’ll be through with them. That’s a very comforting thought.”
Anne and Diana’s bosom friendship is precious. I think every young girl wants a friendship like the one these two have, where you love and depend on each other as sisters. Plus, who didn’t want a fantastic signal system for night time communication? Hello candles in the window. Maybe from time to time, you also get each other drunk accidentally. It happens.
Marilla is a tough nut to crack. The moment when Anne gets hurt and school and Marilla realizes, “what Anne had come to mean to her,” had me like YES FINALLY MARILLA. Their whole family dynamic is one of the reasons I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t perfect or idyllic from the get-go, they had to work on it.
Call Matthew ‘Jon Snow’ because he knows nothing. The man is like a pet. When talking to him, you may as well be talking to the wall because he has no input. And yet, you find him to be a kindred spirit…again, like your pet cat or the neighborhood puppy. And you can’t imagine life without him. And he calls Anne his girl. BRB dying of sweetness.
Comparisons: Growing up, I loved the Little House on the Prairie books. I was obsessed with the idea of a simple life where I could lay in a meadow all day and read my favorite books (not that that’s really what people did all day…farming and such.) This book really served as a break between all the other fantastical things I find myself reading. I also really enjoy books that talk about schooling on the prairie. I liked that aspect in the Little House on the Prairie books, as well as the When Calls the Heart series (which also takes place in Canada.)
Final thoughts: More than anything, this book reminded me of the value of imagination. As a middle school teacher, I see every day that students are less and less able to conjure up the unimaginable. When I was a kid, we could imagine anything – explore new worlds, conquer great beasts, and more, just by imagining it was so. Now, though, kids don’t find their imagination to be a place worthy of exploring – they have games, Netflix, and social media to take them to other places. I intend to continue reading this series, especially as Anne teaches and gets older. I think there’s a lot in her life I”ll be able to relate to, putting time and place aside.
Pick this up if you liked:
Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Sarah MacLachlan
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Goodreads rating: 4.20/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5
My rating: 4.5/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn