I always have good intentions. Unfortunately my follow through doesn’t always line up. So, this is the second year I’ve participated in the Lucy Maud Montgomery reading challenge (it’s not over by the way. I’ve still got today) and the second year I find myself at the end of January thinking, “How did I NOT finish a series written with teens as a target audience?” I meant to read The Story Girl because I won it last year through one of Carrie’s giveaways. That didn’t happen because I’m yet again pushing through Anne of Green Gables. I have been mulling over why this has happened twice and I think there are two things at work here.
The first is that I think I have a long time so I put it off. I’ve read other books this month and tend to think I have an awful lot more time than I actually do. So, perhaps the answer is not to wait until the middle of the month to start the first book.
The second is Anne of Avonlea. For whatever reason, book number two in this series does not work for me. The first book is delightful and hilarious and I love everything about it, but at the end Anne is clearly growing up. Then Anne of Avonlea happens and for some reason she takes a step back in maturity. At least, it seems to me. Maybe I remember 17 more than I remember 11 and am judging Anne too much against myself. I don’t really know what it is. But I’ve overcome that obstacle and sailed straight through Anne of the Island which is absolutely a triumph on Montgomery’s part.
Anne of the Island takes the reader through Anne’s college years and explores heavier topics in a very gentle manner. Anne discovers that love wasn’t what she thought it was from thinking too much about dark heroes and romance, and Ruby Gillis, a childhood friend, dies. The scene where Anne talks with Ruby before Ruby dies is probably the biggest reason I liked this book last year, but this year was different. I understood a lot more when Anne discovers that the young man she had known for years, learned to laugh with, and considered a close friend turned out to be the one she loved all along. I couldn’t help nodding along like, “Yeah, you and me both, Anne.”
Anne of Windy Poplars is almost my second favorite of the series. Almost. I love books that are written like letters or journals. It makes me feel closer to the character as long as it is done well. And somehow it’s so much easier to read. Also, I just love the word “epistolary.” This book makes me laugh more than Anne of Green Gables did.
I was also very impressed with the redemption of Katherine Brooke. Katherine Brooke is another teacher who works with Anne at Summerside High School. Anne takes a job as a principal for three years till Gilbert finishes medical school and they can get married. *ahem* Yes, they were engaged for three years. Moving right along, Katherine is a hard bitter woman when Anne meets her, but beneath the tough exterior, she is looking for friendship and love. Anne works over at least a year (if not more, I’m having trouble remembering) to love Katherine, meeting with rebuff after rebuff until she finally is able to crack open Katherine’s barriers to find a friend beneath. I’ve said it before. I’m a sucker for a redemption story, and this is so Christlike isn’t it? I mean, we were worst than Katherine because underneath her shell she actually DID desire friendship. We were God’s enemies and He loved us until we were loveable.
I am now on Rainbow Valley which is where things began slowing down tremendously last year. I’m going to attempt to not let that happen. I think I’m going to lay aside The Storygirl but I truly regret that aside from Anne I haven’t really looked into Montgomery’s other works. I read Anne of Green Gables in conjunction with both the LMM challenge and The Reading to Know Book Club 2013.