I had heard about this book/series before, and finally decided that I wanted to read it to see what it was all about. Again, thanks to my favorite website, Thrift Books, I was able to find a copy with three of the stories and now it’s on my to-read list. I finally read through it for the second time and managed to read the second book in the series, “Anne of Avonlea.”
For those of you who haven’t read this book, Anne of Green Gables follows Anne (with an ‘E’) Shirley, an orphan who has gone from family to family and has a tendency of getting lost in dream worlds and messing up simple tasks.
We find out that brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, wanted to adopt a boy to help Matthew out with the farm. But when Matthew arrives at the train station, the only person there is a young girl with red hair. While Matthew realizes that there’s been a mistake, he takes Anne home and ends up liking her. So he leaves the task of sending Anne back to the orphanage to Marilla. When Marilla and Anne go to their friend who brought Anne back with her, their friend suggests giving Anne to another woman who was wanting to adopt for some extra help. Marilla realizes that she doesn’t want Anne to go to this woman, so she brings her back home with her and lets Anne stay.
While living with the Cuthbert’s, Anne gets into a series of scrapes that end up in some kind of disaster. A few examples include dying her hair green, breaking her ankle falling of a roof, and almost drowning in a sinking boat. As a result of all of these mishaps though, Anne generally learns a lesson and doesn’t make the same mistake again. That’s one of the great things about these stories (well, the two I’ve read so far) is that no matter what happens, Anne takes the experience that happened and learns from it in some way. Like the hair dyeing incident helped her to realize that vanity isn’t everything. She makes some good friends (and some enemies) and manages to enjoy her life at Green Gables.
I really liked this book because of how relatable Anne is and how applicable the lessons that she learns are to life. For example, one of the mistakes that she (and in a way Marilla) makes is that she puts liniment in a cake instead of vanilla. Marilla realizes that she forgot to tell Anne that the vanilla had run out (or was almost out) and she put the liniment in there because the bottle broke. This teaches Anne and Marilla to double check the ingredients that you are using and to make sure you remember to tell someone that something else is in a bottle that is usually another thing and/or that you re-label it so you don’t get weird tasting cakes.
Another important lesson from this story is how we should try to forgive and forget as soon as we can and to not hold a grudge for a long time. When Anne first meets Rachael Lynde, she gets mad because of some comments that Mrs. Lynde makes about Anne’s appearance. Anne is mad about it for a while, but then she decides to go and apologize to Mrs. Lynde (with some things influencing her decision of course). When Anne goes to apologize, her and Rachael realize that they were both wrong and that it was something that shouldn’t have happened and that they could have handled it differently. After that, they become friends.
In contrast to that experience is Anne’s experience with Gilbert Blythe.
When Anne and Gilbert first meet, Gilbert tries to get her attention by calling her “carrots,” in reference to her hair. Of course, her hair color is one of her weak spots and she gets mad about it and breaks her slate on his head, which leads to her getting in trouble (even though Gil admits to the teacher that it was his fault). After that, Anne never wanted to speak to him again. Throughout their school years, they each try to be better than the other when it comes to grades. There is a time when Gilbert asks Anne to forgive him and she almost does, but then she doesn’t. Eventually though, they realize that it’s a silly fight and that they could be better as friends instead of enemies, and they forgive and become friends.
There are many life lessons in this book. It’s one of my favorites and I hope to be able to read the rest of the series soon.
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