If you ever wondered about what happened to Anne Shirley, the lively, red-haired girl from the classic book of Canadian literature? Well, she lived “happilily ever after.”
Well, sort of.
Here are the rest of books telling about Anne’s life after she left Green Gables. I still haven’t read the newest addition, The Blythes Are Quoted, though.
Anne’s House of Dreams – definitely the weakest for me personally. Anne got married, moved away to her “house of dreams,” bore a child that died, then bore another one, and then they moved to a bigger house. It’s practically all I can say about this part, really. It feels very bleak for me, for some reason. Fortunately, Anne’s series improve in :
Anne of Ingleside – … but only slightly. The only thing I can actually say is that it’s about Anne’s life as a mother of six children (the idea of having six children terrifies me, but apparently Anne loved it). She’s happy, young-looking and still cheerful, and has not lost any of her charmful imagination. Her kids’ adventures are the most interesting of the novel.
Rainbow Valley – is where Anne and Gillbert don’t play such a big role anymore. Instead, it’s about their children. While I was reading it, I thought to myself “good that Montgomery returned to what she was the best at: writing about children and their adventures.” It was cute and funny, and full of charm and I liked all the children. I also liked that I could come back to feeling like a child again, which most of Montgomery’s books always did for me. So, after the two previous parts that I didn’t particularly like, this one felt like a great rest.
Rilla of Ingleside – was the biggest “revelation” for me. I never thought I might like a book about a teenage daughter of Anne, but I liked it the best from the books about Anne’s “adult life.” Probably because it awaken a lot of emotions in me. It’s the most serious in tone, speaking about the World War I. I remember from my reading about Montgomery’s life and her as a person, that she was terrified and disappointed by the wars. I think we can feel it in this novel. The thing I remember most is that it seemed like everyone was so keen on going to war and fight. It was courageous, it was noble, it was the right thing to do. And all I kept thinking was: How? Why? Would anyone think going to another country to kill people who never harm you, is “the right thing to do”? Even Walter, the sensitive poet, gave in and went to fight. Oh, how I hated it. Yes, I understand, Canada didn’t start war, and yes, they had to fight in order to defend the country and all of these other “noble reasons.” I do understand them. That going to war might be an “evil that has to be done.” But to make it as honorable and as great a deed as it was described here? No, this I don’t and won’t understand.
Nevertheless, this is the book that I liked most form Anne’s novels (except for the first two parts).
Fun fact – it’s the only Canadian novel written from a woman’s perspective about the First World War by a contemporary – as Wikipedia informs me.
Overall, it was great to come back to Anne’s world. I think I will be doing that from time to time – coming back to two or three first parts. Despite the great surprise I got about Rilla of Ingleside, I’m not sure if I ever will read it again. I guess books about war – even from a perspective of a woman who stays at home – are too much for me. I can only deal with them in one reading.