Thursday, January 28, 2010

Anne of Avonlea and of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

After reading Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, I realized that I no longer 'love' Anne.  She's a sweet memory from my childhood of reading, and I'm certainly still fond of her, but some of the romance in her story has rubbed off for me.

But I didn't let that stop me from reading the next two books in the series: Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island!

Once again, I skimmed some of the flowery descriptions but overall I enjoyed Anne of Avonlea, which tells the story of Anne's adventures as a first year school teacher.  As someone who once held certification to teach high school social studies (and currently home schools her children) I appreciated Anne's high ideals for her students.

Her desire to control a classroom through affection and mutual respect is to be applauded.  I felt sorry for Anne when she abandoned her high ideals and eventually whipped the lone classroom troublemaker.  But I think she failed to learn the deeper lesson of the situation - that is, not all children learn the same or respond to the same discipline.

Of the three Anne books that I read I think Anne of Avonlea is my favorite.  Montgomery does a good job of developing the character of Anne in greater detail.  This book revealed Anne as a person and not just her funny misadventures.

Anne of the Island is book three in the series.  Anne spends two (or is it three) years away from Prince Edward Island at a university. 

The best thing I can say about this book is that in the end Anne and Gilbert declare their love to each other.

Harsh?  Maybe a little.  It just felt like Montgomery was bored with Anne or pressed for time so she skimmed along the surface of Anne's life from one undeveloped episode to another. 

I really wanted to learn more about Roy Gardner (Gil's rival) and how Anne won over his hoity-toity family.  I wanted Montgomery to convince me that Roy was only an embodiment of Anne's fantasies and not true love.  Unfortunately, I just didn't see it.

What have I learned by participating in this year's L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge?  

I read books differently now than I did as a teenager.  I guess I should have expected that.  I'm glad I revisited Anne, though I feel a little sad that my fondness of her has dimmed some. 

But, I am looking forward to the day I introduce Ellie to Anne.  That will be fun!!


Carrie said...

Oh this wasn't as bad as I was expecting! =D

I think Montgomery was bored with Anne when she wrote Anne of Windy Poplars. Whenever I determine to read through the series I always get stuck on this one, so I'm trying to muddle my through again.

I definitely feel sad about the way Montgomery ousted Diana in Anne of the Island. Like I said in my post, she's still there but at the same time - she really isn't. And that hurts a bit.

I have some new Anne-ish thoughts and might have to make some admissions of my own by the time I'm done reading through the series again. But I'm only willing to admit that in a comment right now and not in a blog post. ;D haha!

Wherever HE Leads We'll Go said...

It is interesting how our perspectives change about books we read as we get older. The same is true for movies that I loved as a teenager. I watch them now and cannot figure out what was so appealing. Guess that is part of growing up. : )

I have never read these books. I missed out on a lot of reading as a kid. I enjoyed reading, but I guess I never took the time. Wish I could make up for that now, but don't know where I would fit it in.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I'm just reading the later books in the series, Anne fades away quite a bit, and the stories take on a new life - the last one is about the Canadian home front in WWI, and quite interesting - they are not as flowery, you might like them better.

Cheryl said...

I love the Anne series, though the first book and the first one of Gilbert and Anne's married life are my favorite. I used to read them every year, but when I began reviewing books and blogging that stopped.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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