Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Published: June 1908
Series: Anne of Green Gables (#1)
Shelved: Children’s fiction (classic, realistic fiction)
Challenge: Classics Challenge – #12
Rating: ★★★★★
Buy: The Book Depository
More: Goodreads

Anne of Green Gables is classic novel published nearly 105 years ago, and one of the most refreshing children’s novels I have ever read, full of energy and vigour (although I read after finishing that it wasn’t originally intended to be a children’s novel, but a novel aimed at all ages). I chose Anne of Green Gables to be my last classic of 2012 because it was one of those novels I felt I had known about forever, but had just never read.

Marilla and Matthew, two siblings living on Prince Edward Island, Canada, decide to adopt an orphan boy to help out on their farm. But when Matthew goes to pick up the boy from the train station, he is shocked to find little red-headed Anne Shirley, and is instantly taken to her, charmed by her enthusiasm and talent for chattering.

Anne Shirley, or as she likes to call herself, Cordelia (‘It’s such a perfectly elegant name’), is one of the most intelligent, witty, articulate and likeable child protagonists I have ever come across. She’s utterly fantastic and made me wish I was as awesome and imaginative as her when I was a child. She fervently disapproves of anything that leaves ‘no scope for imagination’ and is given to colourful outbursts (‘my life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes’). I adored her imaginative, romantic exaggerations, which made me giggle and smile to myself, and her ability to see beauty in everything, which is rather fluffy, but lovely. She is so glad to live ‘in world where there are Octobers’. It’s like a 1900s Tumblr. I love it. Adults are sometimes threatened by Anne’s extensive vocabulary, but she doesn’t dumb herself down for anybody.

Anne of Green Gables is also surprisingly progressive. I was thrilled to read the characters talk of how brilliant it would be if women could vote, and it’s the women who travel miles to the next town to watch a political tour. Out of context, some passages will seem old fashioned to the point of offensive, such as Anne saying she’d ‘rather be pretty than clever’, but the irony is that she’s one of the smartest children at her school. I think this is more of a set up so we can see how much Anne changes over time, especially as Marilla is always encouraging her to care more about being intelligent.

Anne of Green Gables now one of my favourite novels and one I’ll keep coming back to. I wish I had highlighted my own copy since I found it in a used bookshop for only 50p, although I would’ve ended up highlighting the entire book. A Vintage Children’s Classics edition will be published later this year – I may have to add it to my collection. I dare you all not to be enchanted by young Anne Shirley!

23 thoughts on “Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

  1. […] Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery ★★★★★ • Goodreads • Buy […]

  2. I also read Anne of Green Gables for the first time in 2012 and was blown away! Anne has such a life and seems to be one of those characters you remember for years after putting the book down.
    Interesting that it wasn’t originally aimed at children. I had no idea!

    • Me neither! It’s always interesting to find out that some older books are seen as children’s / teen fiction now, but weren’t when they were originally published.

  3. It’s an amazing book. Although I’m not normally a fan of books turned into TV series, there are some exceptions (eg BBCs Pride & Prejudice!) – the Sullivan production of Anne of Green Gables starring Megan Follows as Anne and Colleen Dewhurst as Marilla does the book justice.

  4. I’m so glad you enjoyed this one! I read it when I was younger and I fell in love with it. the tv production was also good and I agree with booksaremyfavouriteandbest- it did the book justice. I hope you get to check it out sometime.

  5. One of my favorite book series of all time. As a girl I aspired to be like Anne, who reminded me a bit of Pippi Longstocking in her precocious and imaginative ways. I hope my daughter, whose middle name is Anne, loves these books as much as I did, and finds the same inspiration to embrace your imagination, the beauty around you, and the treasures of friendship. A beautiful blog! A great post! – Ilene

    • Yes, you’re right, I remember the adaptation of Pippi Longstocking and can see the similarities. I also love that you’re sharing your love of reading with your daughter 🙂

  6. AH! so refreshing to see a review for this amazingly lovely book.
    Are you going to be reading the rest of them?
    Such a fantastic writer, I’ve loved all of her work personally. Of course I grew up with them in school however! so I might be a little more inclined to think about her work fondly.

  7. I read it last year and it was such a pleasure to meet Anne. I’m glad you liked it too. I felt in love with her character and her island too.

    P.S : Have you ever tried reading french childish classics ? There are marvelous books to discover.

  8. I think this will be added to my list of classics to read by the end of 2013. I think I’ll wait until it’s published as a Vintage Children’s Classic (they do have the prettiest covers!).
    A great review 🙂

  9. I’m not sure if I would recognize my copy of Anne of Green Gables because I’ve seen so many wonderful versions since there. I’d definitely enjoy owning a vintage 1960s book though.

  10. […] me a lot of one of my other favourite fictional heroines from classic literature – Anne in Anne of Green Gables. Cassandra is witty, intelligent and imaginative, and has a talent for closely watching and […]

  11. girlwiththehankie

    I want to read this book though i had watched it already in TV. I want to know the entire story.:-DNice book review!keep it up.

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