Friday, January 1, 2016

Classics Club 23: Anne of Green Gables

Set in Prince Edward Island, this is a truly delightful read featuring Anne, a spirited red-haired orphan who is inadvertently and somewhat reluctantly (on their part) adopted by Matthew Cuthbert, a bachelor, and Marilla, his spinster sister. On one level it is a simple episodic story of Anne's growing up. Many of the episodes are amusing . Who can forget Anne accidentally getting Diana drunk, or breaking a slate over the head of Gilbert Blythe? Others such as those involving Anne and her girlfriends, seem sentimental and melodramatic, especially by today's standards. However there is a little more to this novel that elevates it above a simple child's story. The growth and change Anne brings to Marilla is especially notable in this regard. Anne herself is a great role model for all of us. Despite the many hardships which she faced she remains positive and sunny, hoping for the best. She also exhibits a strong work ethic, especially when she can control her active imagination.

Anne of Green Gables is the first of nine books in L M Montgomery's series.  In the remaining books Anne teaches school, goes to college and earns a BA, then marries and raises a family. I went on a binge and read them all back to back. While I enjoyed them they all faded in comparison to the original. And I think most of that is due to Anne herself. As she ages she seems to lose some of the spunk, vivaciousness  and naivete, which made her such an appealing character. In addition later books focus less on Anne and more on other members of her family and the wider community. While this is probably the author's choice it did get me thinking. Do women inevitably lose some of their personality and "disappear" as they raise a family? Is this just a natural part of maturing or is it something more? Interesting for me to ponder especially with all the discussion in the Bravescopes community about "Awesome Adulting". If you aren't familiar with the concept this blog post gives a great overview.

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