Hello everyone, and welcome to 111 Archer Avenue. What started as a film review blog has become my online judgment forum. I will review the occasional movie or DVD, post an interesting trailer, critique a newly-read book, talk about sports, and share my thoughts and opinions on random issues. You can also follow me on Twitter (@OlieCoen) or check out my work on DVDTalk.com. Thank you and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Review - Anne of Green Gables

Author: L.M. Montgomery
Year: 1908

Mark this up as a book I most likely would never have read on my own but am glad that I was introduced to.  My wife recommended it as a family read, having loved it as a child and knowing that our daughter would as well.  I remember my sister and the girls in school reading this series, so I guess I always saw it as a "girl book".  Well, I'm glad my eyes were opened.  It's amazing the number of children's classics that are absolutely wonderful.  I guess it shouldn't be amazing, it should be expected, they're classics for a reason.  But we sometimes forget that books written one hundred years ago can be just as poignant as one written yesterday.  If you have the time, I'd advise you to read/reread those musty books on your parents' basement bookshelf; they're usually worth it.  And Anne of Green Gables should be at the top of your list, as it's both an incredible classic and a beautiful piece of writing, a novel you won't regret or soon forget.

Anne is an orphan.  She's a homely redhead unwanted by the world, but given a chance to have a family on account of a slight mistake.  The Cuthberts of Avonlea, Prince Edward Island, Canada have just sent away for a young orphan boy to help them on their land, Green Gables.  They are sent Anne instead, an accident that they mean to correct at once.  But Anne isn't so easily gotten rid of.  Her charming, talkative, imaginative ways capture the hearts of shy Matthew and gruff Marilla, a brother & sister who have long lived in quiet retreat and whose lives are entering their autumn stage.  They never expected life in the form of an active & bright young girl to enter their home, but their world is enriched by it.  As is all of Avonlea for that matter, as Anne has a gift for friendship, for sharing joy, and unfortunately for getting into trouble.  But she means well, loves deeply, and will ultimately affect everything around her in a positive way as she settles down in her new & wonderful home.

It's just a beautiful book, simple put.  There's no other way I can describe it; it's a beautiful depiction of life.  Life at that time, in that place, in the world of those characters, life as seen through the eyes of a fantastic child, a girl who we could all do to be more like.  Anne exhibits traits that are both enviable and rare; compassion, loyalty, wonder, genuine excitement, a passion for living that is so often swept underneath our daily routine.  She and the other characters are written so well that they begin to feel like part of your own life, real people who are living alongside you.  To think that the book was written so long ago and yet remains relevant, morals & lesson & moods that haven't really changed much in the last century.  And the way the author describes the Island makes you want to run right out and book a trip, see the magnificent scenery for yourself.  It's a book that has that effect; it draws you in, feels like reality, and leaves you wanting more.  If you've never read it, do yourself the favor of giving it a chance.  And if it'll be a reread, do it; read it to yourself, your kids, whoever, just read it and enjoy.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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