Anne of Green Gables
BlurbMarilla Cuthbert and her brother Matthew want to adopt an orphan, to help on the farm at Green Gables. They ask for a boy, but they get Anne, who has red hair and freckles, and who talks and talks and talks. They didn't want a girl, but how can they send a child back, like an unwanted parcel? So Anne stays, and begins a new life in the sleepy, quiet village of Avonlea in Canada. But it is not so quiet after Anne comes to live there ...
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In a lifetime full of being able to reread books over and over again, Anne of Green Gables is high on my list of "books I can reread at any time." It's one of the most delicious books I've ever come across, for the writing, the atmosphere, the characters and the scenery. Anne is a loveable girl, but there are so many other characters that capture your heart that it's impossible to pick a favorite. There's Matthew, Mrs. Lynde, Marilla, Aunt Josephine... actually the weakest characters are Anne's childhood companions. I found them all rather typical and undistinguished, whereas the adult personalities fairly leap off the page with their vivid and well-written personalities. Josie Pye was actually the best of the bunch for the children. The only other weakness is the big dose of religion, which is hardly surprising considering it was published in 1908 by a woman who was engaged to a minister. It does at least try and lighten the severe religion of the adults with the dreamy, imaginative version Anne has in her own head, but it is fairly heavy-handed at times - such as when a teacher tells her children that by age 20 their characters will be fixed and pretty much implies that there's no hope of changing thereafter - what a thing to tell a child! Anyway, those weaknesses really are completely incapable of spoiling the book. It is charming, it is beautiful, and it is a wonderful book to curl up with at any time of year and revisit as with an old and faithful friend.