Day 9) I is for Island: Choose a book that takes place on an Island
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables #1) by L. M. Montgomery
I’m not quite sure when I first read this book. I just recall that one day my mom gave me her copy and told me she thought I should read it as she was pretty sure I would like it.
I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I decided to try it out. I started to read it and just couldn’t stop.
I just loved the character of Anne as it was like looking into a soul gazing mirror. We might not look a lot alike on the outside: she has red hair, I have brown; she is tall, I’m short; she has grey eyes, I have green; she’s from Edwardian Canada, and I’m an American girl of the 21st century. But the soul of our characters are exactly the same.
Anne has an overactive imagination, gets into all kinds of “scrapes” from not thinking it through, gets lost in imagining, has a fiery temper, wants to excel in school, has rivalry with another student, has to work hard for a scholarship to school, comes from an agricultural community; but through this all grows up to be a level-headed, still dreamy, young woman.
I’ve read this book so many times, and went on to read the whole series. I liked the first three the best, but I just couldn’t enough of the story.
I also loved the character Gilbert Blythe.
I wish he was real because I would marry him in a heartbeat.
You all know how much I love the Austen men; Mr. Darcy, Mr. Tilney, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Knightley, Colonel Brandon, and such; but all of them, besides Captain Wentworth, come from money. My family is more like Gilbert’s; grew up in agricultural community, they couldn’t send me to college so I had to work and pay for it myself, just like Gilbert had to do. There is a better understanding and similarity in how we were raised that would form a better connection with him over any of the others.
Gilbert also knows how to work with Anne. When to give into her daydreams and imaginings,
and also when to help her come back into reality. Us imaginationaholics need that or else we will spend too much time in our heads.
One of my relationship goals is to find a boyfriend or husband who will be willing to dress up as Anne and Gilbert. I don’t know if that will ever be possible and if I do manage to find such a guy, I’m not sure anyone will even know who we are.
So I knew of course that my true literary self was Anne, but when I was a teenager one of my friends said to me one day.
“Hey Moreland, you remind me a lot of this character in a book I love. Have you ever read Anne of Green Gables? Because you are just like her.”
Boom! Proof that we are one and the same.
So the story is that two siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cutbert, past their prime, have decided that in order to continue running their farm, Green Gables, they need extra help. They decide to adopt an orphan boy, sending the message through the daughter of a friend. When Matthew goes to the station to pick him up, it turns out there was a serious miscommunication and they have a girl waiting.
Matthew takes her home, where Marilla is upset and determined to send her back. When she meets the woman who will take Anne instead, and sees how horrible she is, Marilla decides she will do her best to raise her.
Anne has had a hard life, her parents dying at a young age in poverty, then being shipped from family to family; mostly being used as a free baby-sitter than treated as a member of the family. She has spent a lot of her time alone or with children much younger than her, and has created habits that some, at that time, find strange. She has an extensive imagination, creates imaginary playmates, and when gets with people just talks and talks and talks.
I remember when I was in Wyoming, I was alone for a whole month, so then when I started hanging wit people that happiness of being with people made me run at the mouth.
Marilla has no idea how to raise children, let alone girls, let alone this girl; so at first she tries to stop this behavior, but eventually it grows on her. Anne gets into all kinds of troubles, making mistakes as she transition from unwanted, uneducated, accident prone girl; to a confident, loved, intelligent, and wonderful woman.
So I’m going to do this review a little different. I’m going to list through everything I liked, enjoyed, or stood out to me in the novel; instead of a page by page review.
A) Her Imagination
Her imagination is amzing. Not only does she dream of average things like games but creates all these back stories and tales for things she sees, people she meets, etc. And that it is so something I have done and still do. That’s the problem with having an overactive imagination, you can never turn it off. But the best thing of it is that the world is never boring.
I love the stories and descriptions she gives.
“It was pretty interesting to imagine things about them- to imagine that perhaps the girl who sat next to you was really the daughter of a belted earl, who had been stolen away from her parents in her infancy by a cruel nurse who died before she could confess.”
B) Appearances Can Be Deceiving
Anne was born with red hair and people have told her it was a pity, said it ugly, etc. Because she feels so ugly she believes that she is worthless and that she will never find someone to love her.
How funny when this book has had 50 million copies printed and been translated into 20 languages.
But her insecurities based on her past history and what she sees in the mirror blind her to the amazing soul she has, like Dashti in The Book of a Thousand Days. If only she could see how wonderful she really is.
C) Naming and Renaming
Anne loves to name things. She names everything from plants, to trees, to objects, etc.
“What is the name of that geranium on the windowsill, please?’
‘That’s the apple-scented geranium.’
‘Oh, I don’t mean that sort of a name. I mean just a name you gave it yourself?…Oh, I like things to have handles even if they are only geraniums. It makes them seem more like people.”
I do that too. I’ve named all my electronics, for instance my printer is Eramus; to everyday objects I use a lot-like my kettle which is Geoffrey. It is fun and better than saying it.
And if Anne doesn’t like something, she changes the name.
“When I don’t like the name of a place or a person I always imagine a new one and always think of them so.”
I do that all the time. Remember Metropolis? Freder Frederson was a dumb name to me, so he became Alan instead.
D) Matthew Has Never Stood Up to Marilla Before, This Being the Only Exception
Matthew is nice, so nice he never asserts himself, argues, or tries to get his way over another. Marilla wants to send Anne back to the orphanage, but Matthew speaks up. For the first time in his life, he has been contrary to Marilla.
“[Marilla] What good would she be to us?’
‘We might be some good to her.’ said Matthew suddenly and unexpectedly.”
Even though seeing the cruel woman who was going to take her made Marilla change her mind about getting rid of Anne; I believe that Matthew’s insistence helped give her a push in that direction as well.
E) Anne’s Optimism
Anne has been through so much in life. With people not wanting her, others using her; unhappiness and cynicism is something you would expect her to have, to be a prime part of her life. But does she? NO. She is completely optimistic, hopeful, and consistently sunny even in the grayest of situations. We should all try to strive to be a lot more like her. She makes the best of every situation and enjoys life.
F) I Speak Fluently in Book Quotes
Anne loves to read, although she hasn’t been able to do it as much as she would have liked. But she is constantly quoting from whatever she has read, having such things pop up randomly in conversations.
“Well that is another hope gone. My life is a perfect graveyard of buired hopes. That’s a sentence I read in a book once, and I say itover to comfort myself whenever I’m disappointed in anything.”
Now you might recall I’ve mentioned before that I like to speak in movie quotes, I do the same things with books I’ve read. Most people don’t know what I’m talking about, but it is still fun.
G) Compares Herself to Books/Book Heroines
What can I say? I do this constantly. I think I’ve done it a thousand times in the past, and am currently doing it right now.
I just can’t help it!
H) Bosom Friends
Finding a best friend is hard. But being without one is worse.
We all wish we can have a bosom friend, but not all are luckily enough to find one. And if we do find opne, it is hard to keep them.
But as Anne says, they are the most important and we need to honor them and try to keep those bonds strong!
And what a good friend Anne is, I hope I’m half as good a friend as she is.
“And I can give Diana half of them, can’t I? The other half will taste twice as sweet to me if I give some to her. It’s delightful to think I have something to give her.”
I) Gilbert Blythe
I have always had a thing for guys who were
And I realize, as I read this long before Pride & Prejudice, Gilbert Blythe is probably the reason why.
“[Gilbert Blythe] was a tall boy, with curly brown hair, roguish hazel eyes, and a mouth that twisted into a teasing smile.”
J) Anne Shirley’s Temper
How many of you have a temper? I know I do. When I was younger I didn’t control it very well and would blow up. Especially if it was something that really hurt me.
So Anne is the same way. Gilbert wants her attention, but Anne isn’t here, but in her imagination. So Gilbert does the only thing he can think of: he gets her attention by calling her carrots.
Anne becomes so enraged she smacks her slate over his head.
This was the scene in the book that made my friend think of me. She said that she could see me doing this…and this is the truth. I have done this more times than I care to admit to guys who acted like jerks to me when I was younger. Happily I use my words now, but this was definitely me.
K) Holding a Grudge
I used to hold grudges all the time and I still do a bit, but try not to. After Gilbert hurt her Anne resolves never to forgive him and starts up a rivalry in that she must beat him in everything.
L) Making Mistakes
Anne makes a ton of mistakes, but with every one she always turns them into a positive. And I try to do that all the time. I mean it is inevitable, we are going to mess up as we aren’t perfect. But there is always one thing to hold on to:
M) Matthew Goes Shopping, the Dad Mistake
One of the best parts of the book is when Matthew goes shopping for Anne’s dress. He gets so flustered that he ends up buying a rake and twenty pounds of sugar.
Eventually he gets the neighbor to make her the right dress. Such a dad thing to do; try to get his daughter a dress and fails.
One time when I was at school, my dress’ zipper broke so they called my parents, and my dad came right over. Except he didn’t bring one dress; he didn’t know what to do so he brought every dress in the closet.
N) Let’s Act Out a Story
Anne and her friends act out the story of the poem The Lady of Shalott by Alfred Lloyd Tennyson. They get a boat and put Anne in it, sending her down the river. She loses the oars and the boat springs a leak. Eventually she is stuck in the river.
And about to drown, but who should save her?
I love this part. First, how sweet that he saves her life.
And secondly, I have never had this happen but I have tried to act stories out and had them fail.
O) Gilbert and Anne
After Gilbert saves Anne he tries to talk to her and get her forgiveness, and it is just the sweetest scene ever.
“I’m awfully sorry I made fun of your hair that time. I didn’t mean to vex you and I only meant it for a joke…I think your hair is awfully pretty now-honest I do. Let’s be friends.”
He’s crazy about her. If only she could see…
P) I Will Never Forgive You
Gilbert cutely asks for Anne’s forgiveness, bur Anne says no. She is holding onto the grudge and continues to do it for a long time. I have to admit that I was the same way. Me and Anne we have Mr. Darcy temperaments.
Q) Romance Sucks
So Anne decides that romance is over. After almost drowning, she’s done.
But Matthew warns her that not all romance isn’t bad.
“Don’t give up all your romance, Anne,’ he whispered, shyly, ‘a little of it is a good thing-not too much of course-but keep a little of it, Anne, keep a little of it.”
R) Anne starts softening
Anne starts softening about Gilbert,even though she doesn’t realize it.
“Gilbert looks awfully determined. I suppose he’s making up his mind, here and now, to win the medal. What a splendid chin he has!“
She looks at him, watching him a lot. She see’s him out with Ruby Gillis, and doesn’t like it.
She has tons of girlfriends, but thinks it would be nice to have a guy as a friend. And Gilbert is so smart, they could spend a lot of time together talking about all kinds of stuff. Watch her Gilbert, soon you will have your in. Just wait a bit longer.
S) Gilbert Gives Up His School for Anne
After Matthew dies, Anne decides to stall her scholarship to help Marilla with Green Gables as Matthew is gone and Marilla’s eyesight is horrible. Gilbert gets the Avonlea school, while Anne will have to travel out to White Sands. However, Gilbert goes to the board and has them switch schools so that Anne can stay there with Marilla.
The whole point of him not going to continue his education was because he needed to earn money to pay for it. So now he switches schools and will have to pay board, eating into the funds he has been trying to save.
And even though nothing turns out quite like she hopes, she’s lost those she cared for, built new friendships, teaching instead of being schooled; Anne can still find joy in life.
“God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world…”
Just love it. If you haven’t read it, read it. If you have read it, read it again!
To start the 30 Day Challenge from the beginning, go to It Was a Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451
For more on Anne of Green Gables, go to Imagination
For more on L.M. Montgomery, go to Fashionably Postworthy
For more on Gilbert Blythe, go to Fanning All Over the Place
For more on Fred Rogers, go to I Found this Blank Book of Stitched Together Pages…I’ll Record the Details of Our Confinement: Book of a Thousand Days
For more Sarah Dessen quotes, go to Austenland
Today’s Christmas Carol is Good King Wenceslas. Good King Wenceslas is based on the historical Saint Wenceslaus I. The carol is telling the story about Wenceslaus and his page going out in the cold to deliver alms for the poor.
The song was written in 1853, with the lyrics by John Mason Neale and the music borrowed from the 13th century carol Tempus adest floridum.
I chose the version by Bing Crosby, as you all know how much I love him!
For more Bing Crosby, go to The Unknown Princess Nevermore
For more Christmas carols, go to You Will Be Haunted By Three Spirits: A Christmas Carol