Saturday, June 21, 2008

"The Annest of Annes!"

Have you every heard of the classic series of novels, Anne of Green Gables? If not, allow me the honor of introducing to you Anne Shirley and her her wonderful world of imagination.

A little background: The "Anne books" were written by L. M. Montgomery. And to save myself from having to write a short background-biography of Ms. Montgomery, the words of which I'll probably just paraphrase from an already existing short background-biography of the said author, I'll just quote directly from the book itself. On page 278 of Anne of Green Gables Series #2 it says:

"Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on November 30, 1874, in Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Although few women at that time received higher education, Lucy attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottestown, P.E.I., and then Dalhousie University in Halifax. At seventeen she went to Nova Scotia to work for a newspaper, the Halifax Chronicle, and wrote for its evening edition, the Echo. But Lucy came back to rural Prince Edward Island to teach, and lived with her grandmother at Cavendish. It is this experience, along with the lives of her farmer and fisherfolk neighbors, that came alive when she wrote her "Anne" books, beginning with Anne of Green Gables in 1908. first published as a serial for a Sunday school paper, Anne of Green Gables quickly became a favorite of readers throughout the world, so much so that L.M. Montgomery published six novels in all featuring Anne Shirley and family. Lucy Montgomery also wrote the popular Emily of New Moon in 1923 followed by two sequels, and Pat of Silver Bush in 1933 with its sequel. She and her husband, the Rev. Ewen MacDonald, eventually moved to Ontario. L.M. Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942, but it is her early years in lush green Prince Edward Island that live on in the delightful adventures of the impetuous redhead, the stories Mark Twain called "the sweetest creation of child life yet written."

I have just completed my collection of the Anne books recently. I've read all eight of them: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, Anne of Ingelside, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingelside.

My favorite books from the series are the first three. The next two were also pretty good but in those books, Anne had already grown up. The sixth book is more about the adventures of her kids. She pops up in the story every now and then but in general, the story is not really about her. From the seventh book on, we see less and less of Anne and more and more about her children, the Meredith kids and her youngest daughter Rilla.

Of all the books, the ones that I enjoyed the best were the first three of the series. They were all about Anne Shirley and her adventures, or more accurately, her misadventures. What does Anne think of her misadventures? On book two of the series, she spies through the window of a neighbor and sees the plate she needs, impulsively jumps for joy and crashes through the roof of the duck house up to her armpits, unable to extricate herself from it, she says, "Oh dear this is a dreadful predicament. I wouldn't mind my misfortunes so much if they were romantic, as Mrs. Morgan's [an author she looks up to and just met] heroines' always are, but they are always just simply ridiculous. Fancy what the Copp girls [her neighbors] will think when hey drive into heir yard and see a girl's head and shoulders sticking out of the roof of one of their outhouses. that a wagon? No, Diana, I believe it is thunder." And then it rains. Hard. Lol.

Anne is hilarious. Things just happen to her, most of the time, bad. Many times I would laugh out loud reading the books, needless to say, I really enjoyed them and am already planning to read them all over again. It's one of those books that just doesn't get old. I think it's because when you read the books, you are reminded of your own childhood. We were all children once and remembering those golden days is pleasant diversion from the serious and sometimes rigid life of an adult.

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