You are here

Book review: <i>Anne Of Green Gables</i> by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne Of Green Gables may well be falling by the wayside these days, being bypassed for more current reading materials for young girls. When I was about ten, I loved everything Anne Of Green Gables, but I have no idea how I found out about her and whether or not many people are still discovering her. I do know that anyone who grew up with the Anne series will rave about her. To do this review I did go back and re-read Anne Of Green Gables, to take a more grown-up look at her. But whether it’s that I used to love her so much, or that it is just a really great book, I still really enjoyed it.

The story

Anne (with an “e”) Shirley arrives at Green Gables from the orphanage to be adopted by middle aged siblings Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert—who are expecting a boy. They decide to keep her with some reservations, but soon learn to love this unique little girl. Anne Of Green Gables follows the adventures and accidents of Anne and her friends and enemies over a period of five years: seeing Anne through school, a “bosom” friendship with Diana, a four year fight with Gilbert, and various trials and tribulations culminating in her graduation from Queen’s Academy. The story is set in the late nineteenth century on Prince Edward Island, which is a Canadian province.

The style

I think what I like best about this book is it’s wholesomeness. It really is good, old-fashioned fun where nobody so much as thinks the word “damn” (as I recall from other works of L. M. Montgomery, she only ever writes it as d--n, because “damn” is just too bad a word!). L. M. Montgomery has an excellent sense of humour, and she’s witty, and this makes her characters lovable because she makes fun of them if they are behaving too seriously. The writing style involves lots of prosy descriptions, usually ones of Anne’s making, about the beauty of her surroundings and her daydreams.

L. M. Montgomery does have a way with words. Her nature descriptions are really lovely, if not a bit predictable by the end. But they do set the scene beautifully, as do her well rounded descriptions of people. Sure, the writing style and plot are pretty prescriptive... but you have to remember, this was a different time period she was writing in, and so the rules are followed. Even the chapters are quaintly named to suggest the main gist of the chapter.

An interesting narration technique used in Anne Of Green Gables is the way the third person narrative gives way to Anne talking or writing to her friends and family, and in this way many things are narrated by Anne and, therefore, the content is selective. I think it’s also used as a device to allow lots of time to pass with just the important things for Anne being told.

It is interesting as a history lesson as well, faithfully following a rural Canadian existence in the 1800s, complete with needlework, sewing circles, novels being “wicked” and church going. Anne eats ice cream twice in a period of five years and is blown away by it! But I think my favourite thing about this book is the fact that Montgomery manages to endow Anne with such enthusiasm and positivity for her life. She seems to look around with rose tinted glasses, can gain pleasure from the smallest thing, and just looks forward to everything, even though she doesn’t have much. This makes the reading experience a really joyful one, and I come out of it feeling all positive and glad to be alive. On the other hand, I’m not sure if I could stomach it if I was feeling really cynical.

Who is this book for?

Unjaded nine year old girls OR a blast from the past. I honestly can’t tell you if I would like this reading experience as an adult for the first time, because I read it so often in my childhood that it’s impossible to tell. It really is great fun to read over again, and sometimes it’s nice to read something so wholesome and good! However, I would avoid it if you’re feeling cynical or jaded, you’ll probably just throw it against a wall. If you’re feeling depressed, it could be a good pick me up.

If you like this book, you would also like...

Well L. M. Montgomery wrote like a bazillion other books (okay, not a bazillion, but lots) which I think I’ve read all of, so there will be reviews coming. Some of those are in the Anne series, and some aren’t. However, if you like this book, get into some period pieces, or revive some classic childhood reading material. Winnie the Pooh, for example, is an amazingly entertaining read in adulthood. And most of the stuff written back then wasn’t exclusively considered “children’s books” so it’s just as fun now.

In short

Title: Anne Of Green Gables
Author: Lucy Maud Montgomery
Publisher: Bantam Classics
ISBN: 0553242954
Year published: 1982
Pages: 310
Genre(s): Classic Literature
Review Type: 



I think this book was AMAZING!!! I give it 5 stars.

I heard of her and almost every year i have to read her book in class. but never really knew about her or what she wrote till a few days ago :S Other then that anne book. x-{ And now i gotta do this project on her.... sigh. I dont even wanna do her!