Published: 2008Publisher: 8 audio CDsReceived: borrowed from libraryAn eleven-year-old orphan, Anne Shirley, comes to help out on a farm on Prince Edward Island and wins the hearts of everyone at Avonlea—a story so popular that it spawned eight sequels after its initial publication in 1908, and has sold millions of copies in paperback.
Somehow I have made it to my early 30s and never read Anne of Green Gables until this year. The perfect reason to pick up this book was the Canadian Reading Challenge that I signed up for in July. I finally had the best excuse to pick it up and when I saw the audio book at my library, I knew this was the perfect way to approach this book. I think my experience with this story was a favourable one as I truly enjoyed listening to the story instead of reading it for myself.
Anne is quite the little chatterbox right off the hop and quiet, shy Matthew Cuthbert is at a loss of what to do with her when he realizes they've sent a little orphan girl instead of the boy he and his sister, Marilla, had requested. Matthew brings poor little Anne home with him for the night and leaves it to Marilla to deal with the dirty work of explaining the predicament to Anne. I think that I just about melted when Marilla decides to keep Anne after almost sending her back.
“I've just been imagining that it was really me you wanted after all and that I was to stay here for ever and ever. It was a great comfort while it lasted. But the worst of imagining things is that the time comes when you have to stop and that hurts.”
Anne talks an awful lot and at first I thought it would drive Marilla and Matthew crazy, but they both seem to enjoy her company and show it in different ways. Matthew enjoys having a little girl around that he can dote on and spoil with dresses and candies. And Marilla enjoys the challenge of teaching Anne the proper way to run a household and becoming a well brought up young lady.
I found that Anne needed them as much as they really needed her. Marilla is the kind of woman who acts all hoity-toity, but deep down she really is a caring person and has quite the sense of humour. Anne's imagination sure does infuriate Marilla, but sometimes Marilla comes to embrace Anne's ability to daydream and think of things in different light. I think that Anne coming to Green Gables actually changed Marilla the most and made her a better and more amiable person. And Matthew is undeniably shy, yet completely devoted to Anne.
I love everything about Anne: her imagination, her way with words, how she makes friends with kindred spirits, the way she says exactly what is on her mind and of course her ability to find trouble everywhere. She has a childlike sense of wonder and also the thoughtfulness of an old soul which make for some of the best quotes:
“People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?"
“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.”
“It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
So I have decided that I have a soft spot for this book and the three main characters of Anne, Marilla and Matthew. I've grown to love them even and am thinking about continuing with the Anne of Green Gables Series to find out what other adventures Anne stumble into.