Despite my long-running love and fascination for Montgomery’s books, I hadn’t finished the series about Anne before now. I had only read the first three books, and part of the fourth one, but till recently I couldn’t have brought myself to read the rest of it.
Lucy Maud Montgomery herself stated that she was tired of Anne and writing books about her, and that she was only doing it for her fans and publishers. I had always had that feeling that I could sense it in later books about Anne. I’m not quite sure what exactly the problem is. These books are still classics, well written, though a tab boring at times, and Anne is still the same person, despite her “auburn” hair, more thoughtfulness and less talking. Somehow, though, something always felt “off” with the later books for me. Maybe it’s that Anne belongs to the world of childhood, and thinking of Anne past the age of 30-40 seemed like a sacrilege for me.
The other thing is that, while I liked Anne a lot, it’s Emily of New Moon that has always been my favorite, hands down. I may be biased, because it was Emily who taught me to love reading, and because Emily reminds me of myself much more than Anne does. I am aware that Anne was created years before Emily was, but in my life Emily was first. It’s my absolute number one among Maud’s protagonists. I always had the impression that it was Emily who was more similar to the author herself. I mean, after all, they both climbed “the Alpine Path.”
Ok, that being said, let’s go back to Anne and her life after the first book. A few months ago I read all Anne books except for the first one (and except the very last one, that is “The Blythes are Quoted”).
The Anne Shirley books are as follows:
- Anne of Green Gables – Anne’s age 11-16
- Anne of Avonlea – 16-18
- Anne of the Island – 18-22
- Anne of Windy Poplars – 22-25
- Anne’s House of Dreams – 25-27
- Anne of Ingleside – 34-40
- Rainbow Valley – 41
- Rilla of Ingleside – 49-53
So, the books I re-read this year are:
Anne of Avonlea
Anne of the Island
Anne of Windy Poplars
The first Anne book (Anne of Green Gables) left her with Matthew’s death and her decision to give up studying and stay in Avonlea to help Marilla. Thus, we have Anne of Avonlea, where Anne is a teenager, teaching in her former school, and running the Avonlea Village Improvement Society (A.V.I.S). The book is full of this special humor, Anne’s imaginative spirit and some funny misfortunes she gets herself into. Anne is growing up, becoming an “important” member of Avonlea, but still stays the same cheerful, scatter-brained girl we all came to love
Anne of the Island – at the end of Anne of Avonlea, Mrs. Lynde moves in with Marilla after Mr. Lynde’s death, so Anne can go to university, as she had dreamed of. Anne starts seeing herself more like an Islander, than just a member of Avonlea, which is another milestone in her development. Somehow, I couldn’t find anything particular about this part. Cute and funny, and uplifting.
Anne of Windy Poplars – Anne is engaged to Gilbert, but Gillber is completing medical school, so Anne takes on a position of a teacher at a high school in Summerside. I think this is the book where I started to lose patience with Anne (hence my former giving up on Anne around 10 years ago or more). I started to be tired of Anne’s happy-go-lucky attitude, but mostly of her ability to make everyone love her, regardless of… anything. And of her constant desire to form new couples. But still, enjoyable enough.