Anne of Green Gables is not just for girls. The fierce but tender redhead makes readers fall in love with her one way or another, if not for her preposterous mishaps then for her outrageous statements and insistence that Anne be spelled with an e. Of course, Anne Shirley isn't the only character in L. M. Montgomery's classic series for readers to admire, love and sometimes despise.
The thing is, even the really bratty characters eventually learn their lessons. Montogmery's realism was ahead of its time; when other writers were depicting sugary sweet heroines who could do no wrong, she created characters who got angry, fought, cried, laughed, helped each other, and enjoyed the beauty of Prince Edward Island in every season.
Anne Shirley first appears as a skinny orphan with an imagination and the clothes on her back. By the end of the series, she has had several children, taught school successfully for many years, and enjoyed life beside the man of her dreams. Readers will doubtless suspect Montgomery of autobiography, and a survey of her life would not entirely disappoint those looking for connections between her own experiences and those of Anne.
Nor would Anne be disappointed by Montgomery's literary gifts. A series of books about a girl who loves literature and make-believe would go downhill fast if the author wasn't particulary gifted. Montgomery was an excellent writer, and rather than losing steam after the first few volumes, the series actually improves as it goes on, and the characters develop and grow.
In an era when children's literature is often crude and immoral, parents will appreciate these wholesome books. Montgomery was married to a Presbyterian minister, and you'll find characters going to church, praying, reading the Bible....and not doing the sordid things a lot of readers these days seem to think are funny or cute.
If these aren't just for girls, they aren't just for kids, either. Like any good children's novel, Anne of Green Gables can be loved by children and adults. The fact that readers have enjoyed these books for over a century should be recommendation enough, but you'll never love Anne Shirley (or Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, or Gilbert Blythe, etc.) the way they do unless you read these books. We carry the complete original series, as well as study guides, unit studies, and a related poetry anthology.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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