Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery is a children’s classic, set in Canada in the early 20th century. I read it myself when I was 14, when my Canadian pen friend (who I’m still in touch with) sent me a copy. I would never have picked it up of my own accord, but after years of reading mainly Agatha Christie, it was a breath of fresh air. Recently I was looking for something new for my own daughter to read, so picked up a copy of Anne of Green Gables for her.
My daughter has just turned 14 and reads mainly Jacqueline Wilson, even though she is ‘too old’ for them. She struggles with YA novels, which are often disturbing. Either that or they are love stories or fantasy stories, neither of which she likes. Would Anne of Green Gables be a good choice for her?
Yes. It was a brilliant choice.
Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are 60-something siblings, who want to adopt a boy to help them on their family farm. But when Matthew goes to the station to collect the boy, he finds a little girl with red hair sat there. Not knowing what to do, he picks the girl up and takes her home to Marilla at Green Gables. But he will definitely return her to the station the next day.
Anne Shirley is a 10-year-old girl with a big imagination, who talks endlessly and hates her red hair with a passion. Right from the start, she charms Matthew, but will Marilla be so easily won over? Anne doesn’t get off to the best of starts with Marilla’s friend, Rachel, but Marilla doesn’t have the heart to send her back.
Soon Anne falls in loves with Green Gables and the surrounding countryside, with Matthew and Marilla, and her beloved friend, Diana Barry. And they fall in love with her. Life with Anne isn’t plain sailing. She can’t resist a dare and gets herself into a lot of scrapes, but soon Matthew and Marilla couldn’t imagine life without the orphan girl.
Anne of Green Gables follows Anne from the age of 10 to the age of 16. There are a further seven books in the series, which we will work through over the course of the next few months.
When I started reading the book with my daughter, I feared she wouldn’t like the language. The sentences are very long, the language old-fashioned and there is a lot of description. My daughter has a particular dislike of description in books and we’ve previously had to abandon books with very long sentences as she found them too complicated. But the language wasn’t a problem, and she absolutely loved Anne.
If you’re looking for an enjoyable and gentle read for a young teenager, I would highly recommend Anne of Green Gables. It would also be the perfect feelgood read for an adult during these troubled times.