Classic YA Discussion: Anne of Green Gables + giveaway

April 25, 2014 2014, classics, food in books, readalong, Wendy 110

anne of green gables

Hello, kindred spirits! Welcome to this month’s classic YA readalong discussion. Today we’re chatting about Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, a personal favorite of Wendy’s and Kim’s, and a new read for Kate. Beware spoilers, and please tell us what you think of the book in the comments below!

Stick around at the end for

1. An exciting book giveaway–two sets of six books!
2. The May book announcement
3. Voting on June’s book

Without further ado, let’s begin!

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Kim: I am super interested to see the fresh adult perspective coming into this one. I can barely remember a time when I didn’t love this book. It is just such a part of my childhood and my life as a whole, really. Do the words and sentiments thrill me, do I identify with Anne so strongly naturally, or did she make me this way? Am I a person who will stop and gaze dreamily at a flower filled field because of Anne or do I love such things because she was a kindred spirit when first I read of her? I couldn’t even begin to say. I feel like Anne has always been an integral part of me.

Wendy: I wondered the same thing, Kim! I was always a tree-hugging, daydreamer of a child, but when I discovered Anne, it was like I recognized a friend I didn’t know existed. But something in me also thrilled and awakened to her flights of imagination, as well as her beautiful way of looking at the world. She shaped me strongly–and it’s easy to see why she was such a sensation in this quiet pastoral town in the early 1900s.

Kate: I listened to this on audiobook, and I absolutely loved it, although I had to rewind three times to make sure I’d heard correctly when Marilla said she didn’t want a little Arab boy–my breath whooshed out of me like I’d been slapped in the face the first time I heard it. Books written in a different time can be such a bummer when it comes to race and women. And things like orphans.

Also, have you guys seen Dirtbag Anne of Green Gables? It’s pretty funny.

Wendy: The lack of political correctness is where I think books written in their time can be tricky for modern audiences, versus historical fiction written by contemporary authors. I try to remember historical context when it comes to political, racial, and religious content, though certainly that’s a legitimate critical observation.

Conversely, one thing I think often gets overlooked in Anne, however, is the strong feminist undercurrent in her character. The first book was written in 1908, 14 years before women had the right to vote on Prince Edward Island. And yet many of the women are incredibly independent, from Marilla to Rachel to Anne, who most definitely forges her own path in education and a career.

Kim: Yeah, I have to echo what you’re saying about reading a book in the context of the time it was written. I wouldn’t give a book written today a pass in the way that I give Anne a pass. But there’s also my lifelong adoration of this book going into that as well. I have a hard time judging it unbiased.

And I agree even more strongly that there is an explicit feminist undercurrent. It’s not even remotely a question or controversial that Anne should go onto higher education and an independent career. It’s treated as so natural and matter of course. I find it just wonderful.

Anne of Green GablesWendy: You get such a lively sense of characterization as soon as the novel begins. Busybody Rachel, taciturn Matthew Cuthbert, non-nonsense Marilla, and then the lovely spark that is Anne! I love the scene when Matthew picks her up at the train and takes her back to Green Gables. You learn so much about both of them in that one buggy ride.

Kim: I had the exact same thoughts upon this reread. I really admire Maud’s gift for quickly and effectively establishing character. And Matthew, Matthew is such a clear kindred spirit from the get go.  And honestly, I feel like I *am* Anne when I read the scene where she first sees the White Way of Delight. Who wouldn’t be enraptured in the midst of such wonder?

Kate: Starting the story with Rachel was really fun because it set up the whole town rather than just the Cuthberts, and it made me feel like I was getting a bird’s eye view, which I think Anne would really approve of. And I freaking love Matthew. His terror of women is awesome because he’s equally afraid of little girls. He’s such a puppy of a human. And Marilla is just lovely.

Wendy: Anne’s imagining that she would like to go out in a great big field and just feel a prayer is exactly how I would want to do it too, by the way.

Kate: I was a religious child, and my method of prayer was similar to the one Anne wants to employ. Nature made me feel so loved, and as though anything could happen. I still get the same feelings, just without God thoughts attached.

Kim: I wholeheartedly agree. I’m not one to call it prayer but I feel very spiritual in the Carl Sagan sense amidst the glory and grandeur of nature. I feel much the same way when I enter a bookstore.

“Dear old world. she murmured, “you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”

This is exactly the sort of “prayer” I would have offered at age 8 when I first read this book and even more so today at 28.

Wendy: Tell me honestly: what do you guys think of the language? I always wonder if contemporary adult audiences will find the language too purple. Anne is incredibly romantic, and her penchant for italics does tend to run rampant.

Kate: I listened to the audiobook instead of reading the book, and I had to listen to it at 1.25 speed at times because the flowery language was driving me absolutely bananas. It was just too much. That said, some of the language is really beautiful, especially, for me, as Anne gets older. The part about the bend in the road when she decided to stay home instead of going to college made me tear up.

Wendy: Yeah, there are parts that I would imagine get to be too much. A product of its time for sure.

Was the term “kindred spirits” was invented by Montgomery? Or are there earlier uses of this term? I always think it’s interesting when words and phrases become part of the lexicon, but we aren’t entirely sure where they originated.

Kate: I’ve read “kindred spirits” in things written in the mid-1800’s, if not earlier, so it couldn’t have originated here.

Wendy: I did a quick search of the etymology online and kept bumping into “origin of the phrase is unclear,” so I should look in our OED when I get a sec. But I give this author the credit for popularizing it, then. :)

Kim: Well, I don’t think it’s possible for me to ever think this book is anything less than perfect. I think the language is so pitch perfect to the character. Is Anne a bit ridiculous? Yes, but that’s part of her charm. We see her quiet down some by the end of the book and it’s actually so bittersweet. There is something so heart clenching about her ability to feel so fiercely and to always so fearlessly announce what’s in her head and in her heart. Even when it’s foolish and overwrought.  It seems something capable only by children and it gives my heart a little pang when she grows out of it.

Kate: I don’t know. I think that if an adult behaved the way Anne does as a child, that would be very much not at all charming. I probably would not want to spend time with that adult.

Wendy: She’s also eleven when the book begins. Her tendency to pour her thoughts out in a rushing stream of words is something that I found endearing, because you have to think she was starved for human companionship and affection and wanted desperately to be heard and understood. But yeah, it’s probably best that she grew out of it, as most of us do. My goodness, Anne has a temper, though! I relate to her sense of wounded injustice, but at the same time, I would have been severely LOOKED AT had I ever spoken to an elder the way Anne does to Mrs. Lynde when she says Anne’s hair is as red as carrots.

Kim: Ha, I suppose she does (not to mention she is ridiculously tenacious-poor Gilbert!) but I can’t do anything but love her. Honestly, Mrs. Lynde was being rude. No, it’s not her fault that she happened to hit on one of Anne’s sore spots, but it is impolite to say such things anyway.

Kate: The extent to which Anne obsesses over her looks really bums me out, and I would have been very, very, very punished if I had acted this way as a child. Her apology made me laugh out loud, though.

Wendy: Oh, really? I think it’s kind of natural to be thinking about your looks at that age. I think she also says at one point that she likes to look at pretty things, and so she wished she saw something pretty when she looked in the mirror. And she also says that those who are pretty are often associated with being good, I believe.

Kim: I always took it in stride as part of the natural Anne ridiculousness/charm.

anne of the islandKate: I love the grudge Anne holds against Gilbert. I’ve always been pretty even-keeled, and I don’t get mad that often, so characters like this are a lot of fun for me.

Kim: The grudge is epic and I love it. I mean, she committed to that grudge for years, I admire that. It’s especially amusing when viewed within the context of their future.

Wendy: Reading the book this time around, I felt more moved by it than I ever have been before. I even teared up in a few places! I’ve always thought “it’s just Anne’s way,” but this time I was struck by how Anne seems to create affection for ordinary objects and places and people, perhaps because she was so starved of love herself for so long. She wants to be Diana’s bosom friend before she even meets her, for example.

Kim: Oh yes, certainly. Anne had no one but herself to turn to for comfort, love, and entertainment. It very much feeds into why she is the way she is. But I was a child very much like Anne often given to large flights of fancy and I was not a lonely orphan! I hated to give away old clothes and toys because I thought they would be sad without me. Yes, even my clothes had a consciousness and would be sad without me. It made me quite distraught! So yes, I identify with Anne strongly in the overly enthusiastic/imaginative/ridiculous department. It’s a very fortunate thing that Diana and Anne were bosom friends after all. What ever would have happened? I shudder to think.

Wendy: I’m pretty sentimental about inanimate things, too–and my mother is just like you! On one of her last visits, we took her to the beach, and she claimed that she had to take home a whole bunch of smooth rocks because they would be sad if she left them behind.

Kate: Whenever I read books like this, I am thankful anew that I had four siblings as a child. I cannot wrap my brain around how lonesome Anne must have felt with no one to turn to. Poor Anne. And I was so sad when Matthew died.

Wendy: Anne’s saying that that she could have spared him so much if she’d only been a boy–it gets me every time. :(

Kate: I love Anne’s emphatic belief that some people are naturally good, but that she is naturally a bad person. I just love her.

Wendy: There’s a great quote that comes up later in Anne of the Island that sums up Anne’s way of thinking nicely, and what I like about my own husband. “I wouldn’t want to marry anybody who was wicked, but I think I’d like it if he could be wicked and wouldn’t.”

Kate: I was so relieved when Anne got a nice dress. Just like anyone else with older siblings, I never got new clothes of my own as a child, and I tended to be slightly out of fashion, so I was really excited when Anne got a dress with big dumb puff sleeves.

Wendy: And pearls!

Kim: I adore the drunken Diana incident.

Wendy: Ohhh yes, that was hilarious. I was obsessed with this frozen raspberry juice when I was a child because of the raspberry cordial incident. It isn’t any wonder that Mrs. Barry was so furious.

Okay, closing thoughts? Rating?

Kim: 5 stars, forever. I love Anne. I loved finding someone I thought was so similar to me when I was a child. She meant so much to me and it was such a thrill to read about someone who took as much delight in all things as I did. (Funnily, geometry is the one area of math that I actually have a grasp on but I’ll forgive her our divergence there.) I love the elegant and yet simple beauty of this book. Anne has a way of stating life lessons and philosophies so succinctly and in such a charmingly child like way. I have always loved the detailed descriptions of the era and perhaps I love this time period because of this book. The setting is almost a character unto itself. Prince Edward Island is one of my favorite places on the planet and I have never been there. Midnight Garden road trip??

Kate: I’m not sure how to rate this. 4.5 stars? I would have loved it as a child (I loved anything about orphans, frankly), but there are things about it that just kind of bum me out now, all these years after it was first published. Which maybe isn’t fair. I do very much want to visit PEI though, and will have to convince my friends Caissie and Matt to let us stay in their amazing church/vacation home.

Wendy: 5 stars for me, too. And oh my stars, that gorgeous house on PEI! I’ve wanted to go there ever since I first saw the PBS miniseries, and we’ve been talking about doing a Midnight Garden retreat there for well over a year now. We need to make this trip happen, ladies. Someway, somehow.

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As you may remember, we had a tie in our last poll, so A Wrinkle in Time is our next book!

June Book: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
Amazon Links:  Kindle ebook and paperback
Discussion Date: Friday, May 30th
Twitter hashtag: #tmgreadalong

The book should be readily available in libraries, and there are ebook and paperback versions for under $4 available on Amazon.

A Wrinkle in TimeIt was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Do join us for tesseracts and the inimitable Meg Murry!

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Vote for the June Readalong Book!

We’re offering up two choices for June: would you like to read the coming of age story  A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or the twisty mystery The Westing Game? The links will take you to GoodReads, where you can learn more about the books. Vote for your choice at the top of the sidebar on the right hand side of our site.

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Win the Anne of Green Gables set or set of 6 L.M. Montgomery books!

Thanks to our wonderful friends at Sourcebooks Fire, we have two gorgeous sets of books to give away this month! All U.S./Canadian residents who participates in the discussion below are eligible to enter. (Although you must be 18 and older, or 13 and older with parental permission–check our entry form for complete rules!) All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below.

The first set of books includes the first six books in the Anne series. Did you enjoy the Anne of Green Gables readalong? Or tell us why you need this beautiful set on your shelves, if it’s a series you’ve always wanted to read.

anne of green gables set

We also have a second set of L.M. Montgomery books to give away, for those of you who already have Anne in your library! Please be sure to note in your comment whether you’d like to receive the Anne set or the other set of L.M. Montgomery books, or if you’re open to receiving either. Aren’t they lovely? I really like the illustrations for both sets of books, and these new editions capture the feel of the books so well.

L.M. Montgomery books

Be sure to check out Sourcebooks’ website for their Anne series, too! They have all kinds of cool stuff, including an event planning guide with crafts and printable invitations, posters, Pinterest quotes, and lots more.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So…that’s it for this month! Did you enjoy Anne as much as we did? We certainly hope so!

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110 Responses to “Classic YA Discussion: Anne of Green Gables + giveaway”

  1. Katja Nelson

    I laughed and cried and swooned my way through the PBS miniseries. Jonathan Crombie and Megan Follows are wonderful, but I want to know and love the books as well as I do the miniseries.

    I love Anne not because we’re alike, but because she’s not at all like me. Through her I get to be impulsive, romantic, oversensitive, enthusiastic, overemotional, endlessly hopeful, and enormously generous, and I love that about fiction. I guess that’s one thing Anne and I have in common!

  2. Katja Nelson

    I laughed and cried and swooned my way through the PBS miniseries. Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie were amazing, but I want to know and love the books as well as I do the miniseries (and those covers are AMAZING).

    I love Anne not because we are so much the same, but because she’s not at all like me. Through her I get to be impulsive and free spirited and romantic and ridiculous and oversensitive and enormously generous. I love that about fiction. So I guess Anne and I have that in common!

  3. Lizzy

    I would love to win either set of L.M. Montgomery books. They were a very memorable part of my childhood and I would love to read them to my nieces.

  4. Clara

    Just saw your giveaway for the Anne of Green Gables and other L.M. Montgomery books. Oh goody! Count me in! I’ve loved L.M. Montgomery from a very young age, but have, sadly, never had a nice, complete collection. Thanks for doing this!

  5. Steena

    Anne was always a kindred spirit and then I met Emily of New Moon and then I met Valency in the Blue Castle and I realized that it was L. M. Montgomery who is the real kindred spirit. Both book sets are gorgeous.

  6. Kelly

    We had an illustrated copy of Anne of Green Gables when I was little- I think it was a simplified version for younger readers, but I never read the rest of the series. There was also a strange children’s television show that aired for a while, though I’ve never seen the movies.
    Kelly recently posted…Review: Univited

  7. erinf1

    I grew up with Anne!!! I glommed this series and the Emily of New Moon series so many times as a kid :) Thanks for the fun post and giveaway!

  8. Amy

    These books were my absolute favorite growing up. I remember loving the movies almost as much. I cannot wait until my, now four-year-old, daughter is old enough to enjoy these with me.

  9. Stephie

    I can remember how these books were a big part of my childhood, but I haven’t touched any of them for a long time. The read-along helped me revisit Anne’s story, and hit me with a huge wave of nostalgia! I’d like to win these books to have a chance to experience them for a second time.

  10. Sashana

    I have never read Anne of Green Gables but my Children’s Literature professor raved about the series this semester. She said it was a must read especially for those who plan to work with young children in the future such as myself.

  11. Melinda Christensen

    I have never read these books but they sound delightful and I know my grand daughter would love Anne of Green Gables. Wish me luck!

  12. Christina

    Thank you for the great giveaway. I am obsessed with Anne of Green Gables and would love to win. I fell in love with this series when I was just a kid and then became even more obsessed when the show came out. I think I still have a crush on Gilbert. ;)
    Christina recently posted…Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

  13. Kate I.

    I re-read the ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and EMILY OF NEW MOON books innumerable times when I was a kid. I loved both characters, but would it be sacrilege to admit that I felt Emily to be more of a kindred spirit than I did Anne? I’d be thrilled with either set of giveaway books, but would give the edge to the non-Anne bundle as I’ve not read any of those titles.

  14. Kaitlyn @ Bookish Comforts

    Kate’s comment about Anne’s obsession with her looks really got me thinking. I do think that’s normal for children and I especially think it’s normal for Anne, as her eye for beauty is one of her key characteristics. As she grows older and becomes more mature, she is less concerned with her own physical beauty as well as the beauty of the natural world – while she still enjoys/appreciates both, she says at the end of the book that she would rather be at home living a simple life than one filled with glitz, glamour, and gorgeousness.

    I just finished writing my undergraduate thesis on Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, and The Blue Castle, so I guess you could say I’m a huge L. M. Montgomery fan! I examined the use of Romanticism, nature, and domesticity in the novels and it was a lot of fun. Personally I think there is so much to draw from in Montgomery’s novels.

    If I won the giveaway I’d like to have the other set of L.M. Montgomery books, as I don’t own all of those but I do have all the Anne books – though let’s be honest, I’d really like BOTH sets someday! ;-)
    Kaitlyn @ Bookish Comforts recently posted…{Review} After the Storm (Angel Island #2) by Marie Landry

  15. Amenah

    I haven’t entered the giveaway (I live in the UK /sob) but I still had to comment.

    Anne of Green Gables is a book that means SO much to me. It was the first time I picked up a story, and SAW myself in it. It’s not that I just related to her — it’s that I felt like we hadn’t just experienced the same emotions, but the same situations, and reacted in similar ways. She thinks like I do, and for a younger me, that meant the world. I picked the book up at a time when I was feeling really, really lonely, and it reminded me that it’s okay to be alone, I guess? Like… I don’t know, it made me feel stronger in myself.

    WOAH this comment suddenly got overly cheesy. I’ll leave it there.

    But god, I love this book so much. It’s just all warm and cuddly and it feels like home to me. I’m glad you guys loved it, too.
    Amenah recently posted…Divergent by Veronica Roth || Book Review

  16. Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

    [The schoolhouse burns in the distance. Anne stands on the porch, face flushed and streaked with ash]
    ANNE: IT’S ANNE WITH A GODDAMN “E”
    A GODDAMN “E”

    LOL Oh my gosh that article had me DYING.

    Anyways. Yeah there were some particular sentences that only showed what a different time this was written in. It takes some mental adjusting to get used to that’s for sure.

    I thought the flowery language was a bit overkill and it also took some mental adjusting. I attempted to read this when I was younger and simply wasn’t able to get through it for that reason. It is definitely part of Anne’s charm though. Being that this was the first time I read it I did find Anne to be a bit ridiculous (and totally reminded me of my step-daughter) but she wasn’t someone I could really relate to at my age. I found myself more interested in Marilla and her responses to Anne. I completely agree with Kate regarding Anne’s obsession over her looks. I found that I almost expected a much more appreciative type of behavior from her considering where she came from. But having Matthew go out of his way to get her those dresses was just darling.

    4 stars from me. I’m kind of sad I wasn’t able to get through this when I was younger because I think I would have been able to appreciate it so much more. Still a lovely book and I’m glad I finally read it. :)
    Bonnie @ For the Love of Words recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Movies/Shows and their Literary Counterparts

  17. Animejune

    Aaaaaa! ANNE! ANNE ANNE ANNE!

    My mum gave me the books because (her words), she thought I was so much like Anne Shirley that I couldn’t help but love the books – and it’s true. I’m still a chatterbox day-dreamer.

    What I loved about Anne more than anything was that she was allowed to have FLAWS. She’s vain and frivolous and self-centred and impulsive. Moreover – she kicks ass at school because she STUDIES and also because she wants to beat Gilbert – not because she’s Perfectly Perfect in Every Way.

    It’s also HILARIOUS to read Anne of Avonlea, where she and Marilla adopt a boy who is pretty much the devil’s spawn and Anne winds up pulling out all her hair over this psychotic little boy and his mischief.

    Honestly, though, my latest reading of Anne of Green Gables surprised me because I slowly discovered the book is just as much about Marilla as it is about Anne. Marilla seems like this dried-up old curmudgeon, but through her reactions to Anne, we get glimpses into her upbringing and her trials and all the things she wished she did or said. We learn a lot about the girl and young woman she used to be. So, so good.

    I’d be interested in either set. They’re gorgeous editions!
    Animejune recently posted…“A Long, Long Sleep,” by Annie Sheehan

  18. Lori

    I have always loved LM Montgomery! My daughter is a redhead and so much like Anne! I made an Anne costume for her to wear complete with a carpetbag on Halloween one year. She was a dead ringer for Megan Follows! So nice to read about some classic books again :)

  19. Savannah

    Out of all the classics that I have read, Anne of Green Gables is one that I have yet to read. And my mom is an English teacher. I thin she would be horrified is she knew I had not read it yet. LOL

  20. Katie @ Spirit of Children's Literature

    I love what Kim mentions in the beginning of your discussion—did Anne make her the way she was or was it that she was like Anne naturally? I had this same question as I looked through my journals written when I was a girl—my descriptions of nature seemed to echo the style of L.M. Montgomery’s books. Was it that my writing was influenced by Montgomery or was it like that before and that’s why I gravitated towards her style? I loved Anne Shirley so much and still do—she is my inspiration—always. I can relate to Wendy—Anne definitely shaped me too!

    I am a bit obsessed with Anne of Green Gables and the rest of the series. I have an Anne of Green Gables calendar and when I was around 12, I became involved in this online community (remember Prodigy?) where everyone was a different character from a L.M. Montgomery book—I was Marigold from Magic for Marigold. :)

    I also love L.M. Montgomery’s other books, and it was a lifelong dream to travel to P.E.I. I actually was able to go in summer 2010 because I attended a conference put on by the L.M. Montgomery Institute and presented a paper—it was amazing. I really resonate with the way characters in the books, like Anne, connected spiritually when they are outdoors. As a young person, and even now, I definitely connect with God more easily when I am outside, surrounded by the beauty of the natural world. I really enjoy the way Anne of Green Gables sets up the very strict religion of the townspeople of Avonlea, and contrasts it with Anne’s more free spirituality that is refreshing and less judgmental. I really appreciate the way Anne grows throughout the story and how we find out more about her as she develops relationships with those in Avonlea and has a chance to show her personality with all its quirks! This is a book I can read over and over and I so appreciate the ladies at The Midnight Garden including it in the Read-Along!!

    I would absolutely love to win the L.M. Mongtomgery set of Sourcebooks that includes The Blue Castle, Jane of Lantern Hill, etc. Those covers are gorgeous and would be an amazing addition to any library! Thank you for hosting this giveaway!
    Katie @ Spirit of Children’s Literature recently posted…My Name in Book Titles: Hour 14 Mini Challenge

  21. elizabeth gray

    I would love to read the anne books, They’re gorgeous but honestly either one would be wonderful to win. I haven’t read a lot of classics, (i rarely read anything that’s not young adult) but i’m trying to expand the books i read. the racism mentioned kind of scares me though. :/

  22. RachelMarie

    I haven’t read this series in a while (didn’t have time to readalong with you)but remember loving this series as a kid. I think Gilbert may have been my first fictional crush :) These new editions are SO gorgeous, I would love to have the Anne of Green Gables set because I don’t own them yet but have always wanted, although I would be fine with either :)
    RachelMarie recently posted…Fairy Tale Fortnight Giveaway Hop

  23. Kelley

    I have never read the Anne books, even as a child, though it has always been a series of stories that I would really like to get to one day. I’ve never heard a single bad thing about these books and I’d love the get to experience them like everyone who has loved them!

  24. Adrianne

    I would love to win these! I gave my copies away years ago to an exchange student from Japan and have missed having them.

  25. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    These books were my first true loves. I loved ALL of the characters (EVEN Rachel Lynde). Well, maybe that’s not true–Diana’s mother just about broke my heart, but fortunately that whole unpleasant incident was short-lived. And when I said “these books” were my first true loves, I really meant Gilbert Blythe ;) Just kidding! (Sort of.)

    I think it’s b/c I was so young the first time I read them that the flowery language and lack of political correctness in the Anne books still doesn’t impact my enjoyment as an adult. I understood even back then that it was a different time, and the language and situations were part of that.

    Great post and discussion!
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

  26. Michelle

    Oh goodness, I am so, so glad Anne was this month’s pick because it was high time I read it. I’m not actually sure how old I was when my mum, dad and I all watched the movies, but I must have only been about 7 or 8 because I actually can’t remember a time when I didn’t know about and love Anne. Gilbert Blyth was also the first character I feel in love with. He is such a sweetheart – when he saves her in the Lake of Shining Waters and asks if they can be friends, my heart broke for him when she refused. But, I can also relate to her sense of pride in that respect. And their rivalry! Goodness me! I love how much that spurs her on though, and again I can totally relate. I was like Anne when it came to school – determined to be Dux in my final year. And Matthew! Oh, he is such a dear. Not to mention sweet Marilla. Oh, I feel like Anne and Avonlea could take up hours and hours of discussion.

    Anne, and this story, are so dear to me that reading the book felt like going back to my childhood. In Anne I know I have a kindred spirit. Ladies, brilliant discussion as always – I agree with so much of what you mentioned. Also, a movie re-watch is definitely in order. I found the old video set I kept and will be watching it next weekend. Oh, and I’ll have to start the second book soon – I need to know how book Gilbert and Anne get on ;)
    Michelle recently posted…Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

  27. Kari

    I love how you all actually have a written discussion on the books. And Kim’s comment about Anne being a bit ridiculous, with Kate’s response… I have an acquaintance who is like the adult version of Anne – She’s a little more timid, though, and such a beautiful person. But she definitely reminds me of Anne! Like Emma above, I haven’t actually read the books, but adore the miniseries. My best friend has always given me a hard time about that, as she wasn’t a reader for quite a while, but owned and read the entire series. I should really rectify that situation!

    I would definitely be open for either set of books, not necessarily just the Anne ones. I have the first 4 of those, but if I did get them I could always pass them on to another reader =)
    Kari recently posted…Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor Bradford | Review

  28. Louise

    Wow, these really are lovely! I admit that I’m lusting after the AoGG set, but I’d be delighted by the 2nd set as well. These might be good giveaways for my teen group, too, though I might have to really sell them….

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

    • Jenny @ Reading the End

      Drat, I hit enter before I was done! I meant to add: I love almost everything LM Montgomery’s written (I don’t know what she was thinking with Kilmeny of the Orchard), but I have never read the full Anne of Green Gables series. It’s out of loyalty to Emily of New Moon, who I do truly love better than Anne, but there’s no reason there can’t be space in my heart for them both. :p
      Jenny @ Reading the End recently posted…Review: The Lucy Variations, Sara Zarr

  29. Pili

    Fantastic discussion guys, I’m really looking forward to properly join the discussion next month for A Wrinkle In Time, since I’m totally making reading times for it! And I plan to get all my ARCs not get in the way of that!
    I still need to read Anne, but I remember watching and absolutely loving the anime for it when I was around 11 or 12!
    Pili recently posted…Saturday Pages: The Iron King by Julie Kagawa!!

  30. Diane

    Thank you for choosing Anne of Green Gables as our April book. I’ve not read it before, but the name has always made the story sound charming to me.

    I have had mixed feelings about the book as I’ve been reading it. I love the charm and personality that the flowery language gives to Anne, and yet long descriptions are not my favorite feature of a book. I adore Matthew in his quiet loving way. It’s fun to watch the changes in Marilla as Anne endears herself into this spinsters heart, and yet I lose patience with her as she continually says hurtful things to Anne. I do love the lessons that Anne learns and is able to put so carefully in words. The perspective she has that she doesn’t make the same mistake twice is interesting to me. I’m a person who, as my niece says, “makes the same mistake less often the older I get”.

    I wish I had read this book as a child. I think it might have given some direction to my constant daydreaming. If I hadn’t found her a kindred spirit then, I certainly do now. What a strong and courageous young woman Anne is. I love the lesson she learned about imagining that the woods were haunted and then being afraid to go in them. And I really liked that Marilla wasn’t always right.

    What a good example Anne is for young girls in terms of respecting teachers, studies, and friendships. I will definitely be reading this book to my three grand daughters when they are a bit older. I think it will be really fun to read it out-loud and give expression to the characters. I think it will make her long speeches come to life for me.

    This is the only Montgomery book I’ve read, so I would love to win any of the books you are offering. Thank you so much for your discussion and your book give-away. I

    Can’t wait to re-read A Wrinkle in Time next month. It’s one of my all-time favorites so I’m excited to hear what others have to say about it.

    I vote for The Westing Game for June. I tried to listen to it last year and got the characters mixed up. I think it will be easier to read it.

    Cheers,
    Diane

  31. Alyn

    I have never read the books. This whole time I thought it was just one big book! My oldest brother used to love the movie and he’d always have us borrow it from the public library to watch. I never understood why he liked it so much. It’s been 15 years now and he still says that Anne of Green Gables is awesome. I don’t remember much about the movie. It’s kind of mixed up in my mind with Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman so I don’t know if what I am remembering is even from the movie. I wouldn’t mind reading the books. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Anne of Green Gables. I hope you ladies are able to plan your trip too!

  32. Makaela

    My Mom and I read Anne of Green Gables together when I was in 6th grade. It was fun, but we never continued the series because my little sister was born. I would love to own the complete set. It’s beautiful! The other series is very pretty as well. I must sit down and reread very soon!
    Makaela recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

  33. Sarah

    I am an avid Anne fan, and wrote my senior college thesis on the novel, defending it as unique rather than formulaic as some research has suggested. I have 15+ copies of the book, and as a language arts teacher, I have ample opportunity to use Anne of Green Gables as my model text of choice. While I’m very well-versed in all things Anne, I am less familiar with Montgomery’s other works. I’m excited to add them to my reading list!

    • Sarah

      Oh and if perchance I win those beautiful books, I’d like the assorted other works by Montgomery. :-)

  34. Jessica Cooley

    A lovely sigh of contentment and a wandering mind. I adore Anne. I’ve read only the first three books…partly because I’m not sure I want her to grow up all the way and partly because I’ve slacked. It’s on my list of to dos though. It’s funny, you ladies discussed the flowery language and how sometimes it got on your nerves (I think it was Kim) but over all how much you love Anne. No matter how old I get I adore Anne and her flowery language.

    A couple of years ago I was finishing my Masters in Education and student teaching. It was very difficult and I just wasn’t sure I was going to make it. So I listened to Anne of Avonlea and it helped me get through it. She was such a wonderful teacher and made me remember why I wanted to teach. **Disclaimer, I’m not in the educational system anymore but I made it as far as I did because of Anne and I think she helped me find my new path as well.

    Lovely discussion ladies, I enjoyed it as always!
    Jessica Cooley recently posted…Mini-Reviews

  35. Chrystal @ Snowdrop Dreams of Books

    I read the very first Anne book just recently (well listened to the audiobook version). You would think being Canadian and all that I would have read them long before now, but I haven’t. I really enjoyed the first book and would love a chance to read them all. The covers are lovely on this version and I am very excited about this giveaway! Thanks for the chance to enter.
    Chrystal @ Snowdrop Dreams of Books recently posted…Spotlight: Stone of Destiny by Laura Howard

  36. Mady

    I absolutely love Anne of Green Gables. Despite her wildly imaginative ways, she’s so relatable. I went through a very Anne-like phase when I was younger, and I could spend hours pouring over all of the books. As I have gotten older, I’ve seen what an amazing female character Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote for that era. Anne was a strong women who made her own decisions and had her own dreams, yet still had room for her imagination and romance. I own Anne of Green Gables, but would love to own the rest of the series.

    • Kim

      Ha and here I thought she was relatable *because* of her wildly imaginative ways. :p And I couldn’t agree with you more about what a remarkable female heroine Anne is for her time (and ALL TIME because she is Anne and I love her). It actually wasn’t until this readthrough that I truly noticed and appreciated what a refreshing and outstanding thing it was for Anne to be encouraged to continue her education and pursue a career. I always took it for granted when I was younger that of course women do those things! Only when I was older and had a better understanding of women’s history/rights am I now able to appreciate this aspect fully.

  37. Dawn Teresa

    Anne Shirley is one of my all – time favorite characters! And Matthew Cuthbert breaks my heart. I would love to win either set as the art is lovely and dreamy and splendid, and I feel as is my heart could just burst, Marilla! ; )

    • Kim

      She is one of mine too! I think it is certainly the case for many young girls who loved to read that we found a kindred spirit in Anne. :) Oh dear, sweet Matthew. How the ending upset my poor little soul when I first read this book. Good luck with the giveaway~!

  38. Layla A

    I remember my mother said I couldn’t read Anne of Green Gables (etc.) until I turned twelve, but I wore her down when I was eleven-and-a-half. And augh, those books are still so magical to me! What I like most about L.M. Montgomery’s books is one of the things you all mention here – how truly wonderful she is at creating a cast of characters. I mean, yes, the books are about Anne, but the supporting characters are *wonderful* and have particular voices and such! and so what really emerges from the Anne books for me is how much they’re about communities and families (which is kind of nice, given how much Anne herself longs for connection and kinship). Sigh. So I love that! (But do also hate the casual racism / xenophobia that is also kind of a part of her books as well.)

    Anyone read Rilla of Ingleside? Some of the descriptions from that book still come to me randomly sometimes.

    And The Blue Castle is a great book. I re-read that recently with a friend a few summers ago, and we were surprised at how much we both (still) loved it and all its craziness.
    Layla A recently posted…The Shoal of Time (Micky Knight, #8)

    • Kim

      Oh my goodness I am so charmed by tenacious eleven-and-a-half year old you! Why weren’t you allowed to read them? I feel lucky now that my mother bought me a 3-in-1 anthology of the books when I was 8 in an attempt to stave off my unending requests to be taken to the bookstore.

      I think that Anne stays magical for everyone who read and loved it as a kid. It has such a lovable and unquenchable spirit that’s stayed with me for my entire life. I *love* the supporting characters. All of the characters but I do love Maud’s talent for writing in such little sentences or descriptors that reveal so much. It’s so wonderful every time to relive Anne’s journey and go with her as she finds the community and acceptance she has so longed for (although the casual racism and xenophobia are bummers, for sure).

      I have not read Rilla but I hope to get around to it someday! I’m fairly certain Wendy has read all of the Anne-related books.

      And so many people keep bringing up The Blue Castle in these comments. I am going to have to check that one out as well!

  39. Emma L

    I absolutely loved the Anne of Green Gables tv mini-series when I was a young adult and was so pleased when Anne was chosen as this month’s book as it gave me the opportunity to finally read it. Even though I don’t really identify with Anne as I wasn’t really prone to wild imaginings as a child, I loved that she was like that and I have certainly found myself taking pleasure in the beauty that surrounds me in nature since reading the book. I certainly thank her for making stop and smell the flowers, so to speak. By the way, does anyone else think they couldn’t have cast a better actress than Megan Follows for the role of Anne! Maybe that comes from seeing the show first and I wonder if I had read the book first whether I would think the same?

    • Kim

      Ahhhh! *I* am so pleased that you’ve now read this because of our discussion! My cousin is like you were. She grew up watching the mini-series but has never read the books! I gaped when I found this out recently. Part of my Anne love is intrinsically linked to warm and happy memories of watching the mini-series with her over at her house. Shocked, I say.

      It’s so lovely to see that even though you didn’t identify as strongly with Anne you still appreciated her character. and I *love* that she imparted her love of her surroundings to you. Isn’t it the best when a book or character can change us for the better like that? *happy sigh*

      Ha, well at this point I think it’s sort of blasphemy to suggest anyone but Megan Follows for Anne! It’s hard to me to imagine mini-series Anne being anyone else. Book!Anne does look distinctly different in my head but I always liked Megan Follows’ portrayal. I definitely read the book first so perhaps your theory holds up.

  40. Sarah J.

    I’ve never read Anne of Green Gables. In fact I had never heard of it until I joined blogging a few years ago. This book series does sound incredibly lovely. I feel cheated that I missed on reading this as a small child though. I’m definitely going to look around for these. It sounds like a lovely series. Great post, Wendy and Kate!
    Sarah J. recently posted…Double Review: End of a Revolution

  41. Patricia

    The Anne of Green Gables books are some of my favorites from childhood, although I will admit that I have not read any of the other books by Montgomery, including Emily of New Moon. I also do a re-read every couple of years, and still love them just as much as ever.
    I know this will be a controversial statement, but I feel that it’s kind of pointless to get upset with the casual racism of the late 1800s/early 1900s. It is what it is. I can’t get upset that people in Shakespeare’s time were hateful and distrustful of Jews (among many others) or classism of the time. I can take it as a commentary on time and place, an opportunity to see how far we’ve come. I can’t imagine what future generations will find troublesome about our current literature and rhetoric!
    Anne is filled with purple prose, but how I longed to be so eloquent when I was young! I wanted to paint pictures with words, as she did, and believe passionately in whatever I did or said. Also, her descriptions of place are wonderful…PEI is one of my dream vacation spots, made only more so by the PBS miniseries. :)
    Still a 5-star book for me, for sure.

    • Kim

      Hmmm. Well, I disagree that it’s pointless to get upset at the racism, even casual, of a previous era. I still find it distressing because these past attitudes very much feed into our present ones. I mean, in the US it’s been what? 60 years of making a concerted effort to *not* be systematically racist? That wasn’t a very long time ago and that’s to say nothing of the implicit and subtle social prejudices that pervade. It would make me distinctly uncomfortable to look at antique racism and just sort of shrug at it. But I understand what you’re saying. I think it’s important to have the historical record of these things so we may indeed reflect on progress. It should also be used as a humbling reminder, I think.

      One of my favorite things about this discussion is seeing how many of us identified with Anne! I just really, really wanted to go to PEI. I was somewhat convinced that if I went there it would actually *be* 1906 and everything would be WONDERFUL. I mean, obviously PEI is a time travel portal. Obviously. :p
      Kim recently posted…Strange Sweet Song: Review

  42. may

    Love this series. this series is what got my best friend and I together. We love how Anne and Gilbert got together too.

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, you and your BFF bonded over Anne? That’s so wonderful! And yes, it really was perfect the way the Anne and Gil finally came together, even though it came after even more trials in the next couple of books.

      There are two quotes I love from their relationship that I have always stuck out to me. One was when Anne was prattling on about the beauty of tragic romances, and Gil says gently to her, “…but wouldn’t it have been more beautiful still, Anne, if there had been no separation or misunderstanding . . . if they had come hand in hand all the way through life, with no memories behind them but those which belonged to each other?”

      And later, after they’ve married, the author writes a brief line about how Gil still looks at his bride with the incredulous eyes of a new lover. <3 What a romance to live up to!

  43. Kate @ Ex Libris

    Anne forever and ever. This book had such an influence on me when I was young. I always thought that Anne’s flowery language was a part of who she was. I felt like it was ok for me to have my head in the clouds and be obsessed with books, since it seemed to work ok for Anne. I grew up in a small town where it was hard to be the girl who loved books, so Anne was a sort of refuge for me. I always thought that Anne’s obsession with changing her looks went along perfectly with people constantly telling her that she wasn’t *enough*. As an orphan, she had to be exactly what prospective parents wanted. However, I think that in many ways, she was ok with who she was. Maybe not her hair and freckles, but being smart, speaking like she was a character in a book….all of those things were a part of who she was and she didn’t try to change that. That was really something that stuck with me as a kid. Also, Gilbert. *sigh* Also, is anyone freaked out that Megan Follows is the evil Queen on Reign? NO, ANNE, NOOOOO.

    I would like to put in an application to tag along on that retreat. Someday, I will make it to PEI………
    Kate @ Ex Libris recently posted…This Side Of Salvation By Jeri Smith-Ready

    • Wendy Darling

      I always thought that Anne’s obsession with changing her looks went along perfectly with people constantly telling her that she wasn’t *enough*. As an orphan, she had to be exactly what prospective parents wanted.

      I would agree with this. I also agree with your saying she was okay with who she was for the most part, and she showed a great deal of confidence in herself for one so young. TOO much confidence sometimes, the little show-off! But that’s all part of the experience of growing up, figuring out who you are and being comfortable with it.

      I will never be able to see anyone in that cast and not think of the movies. My FIRST thought when I saw the REIGN trailer was that it was so weird to see Anne older and evil.

      And hey! I think Caitlin and Kate from WhatYAReading.net wanted to come on our Anne retreat as well. If only we could hold a special blogger convention for Anne lovers.

  44. jpetroroy

    Anne is my favorite heroine of all time. I named my daughter after her. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh MY! A true fan indeed. :) I hope she grows up to love the books just as much as you did. How very lovely to be named after such a wonderful girl.

  45. Lisa Rathbun

    I loved this book growing up and read and re-read it many times (especially since my parents didn’t allow us to have a television!) Last year, I was able to play Mrs. Barry in a local community theater production of “Anne of Green Gables” which was delightfully fun! The first two of the movies were among the best productions I’ve ever seen of a book being turned into a movie. I’m so glad they didn’t ruin one of my all-time ever favorites. (For example, “Little Women” while it wasn’t ruined, certainly didn’t come even CLOSE to what I would have wanted to movie to be.)

    I can also recite “The Highwayman” with much drama and intensity, totally on my own and not imitative of Anne! lol

    • Lisa Rathbun

      This book also made me totally sad that my parents left the “e” off the “Ann” in my middle name!

    • Wendy Darling

      Ohhh, you played Mrs. Barry! It must have been fun to be stern with Anne, hah. I hear there are lots of Anne productions in PEI, so if we ever do take that Midnight Garden trip up there, we might have to check one out.

      I totally agree that the first two movies were excellent, even if they did change some things. Let us not speak of the third film. <.< I actually never did watch it, although I purchased it years ago when it first came out. I couldn't bear to because I'd heard what they did to the story. I feel the same sort of anxiety/avoidance with certain book to film adaptations if I really love the book, LITTLE WOMEN being one of them. (I assume you're talking about the most recent one? I thought Katherine Hepburn did make a fine Jo, though.) I also refuse to see HARRIET THE SPY and RAMONA and BEEZUS. No, no, no. Heeee, I would love to hear you do "The Highwayman." The scene was so melodramatic in the movie--it was pretty great.

    • Wendy Darling

      Such a lovely way to think of it, Laura! The series is definitely worth finishing (even if the first 3 are the best ones, imo), so I’m glad you’re going to seek them out one way or another.

  46. Brenda

    Thank you so much for choosing this book ladies it’s been great reading all the comments and your discussion. I absolutely adored Anne of Green Gables and was touched in so many ways. This is one of those books that I wished that I had read as a kid, even though I’m sure I would have loved it and would’ve found a kindred spirit in Anne. Even though now I think I am kind of like her in some ways. It’s so easy to get caught up in her delights with everything she experiences as she first sees Green Gables. I loved how she relishes in the trees and gives everything its own name. And when her and Diana form a pact, it made me think of kids becoming blood brothers. My favorite line was “well that is another hope gone. My life is a perfect graveyard of burned hopes.” Beautiful story, I just want to go out and share this book with everyone I know who has kids, it’s not to be missed.
    Brenda recently posted…Review of: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

    • Wendy Darling

      Brenda, it makes me so happy that you loved Anne so much! Now you can see why we were all so excited by visiting with her again. I’m excited that you now have all these other books by this author to discover, too. I hope you’ll also give her Emily of New Moon series a try in particular–it’s only 3 books, and I actually love Emily even more than I love Anne.

      Anne’s love of nature is so wonderful, though. And how funny to think of their exchanging locks of hair like a blood brothers type pact, but it really is in a way! I LOVE that particular line as well, I actually quoted it to my husband in the car just last week. I’ve also always wondered whether “depths of despair” was an Anne invention as well–I need to look up the etymology of that phrase soon.

      Thanks for joining the readalong discussion again–I look forward to reading your review next week! Yay for the reading challenge!

  47. Meredith R.

    I loved this discussion! Anne was a supremely strong influence in my bookish youth, and having grown up in a city I was convinced that if only I could wander through the fields and float down a stream in a boat, I too could have red hair and be just like her. I think Anne allowed me to see for the first time that a love of reading could be just as classically romantic as anything else, and that an imagination should be prized.

    I do wonder if things might have bothered me about the books if I read them for the first time as an adult, but thankfully I don’t have to worry about that!

    I would love the six other books, as I have been waiting to purchase The Blue Castle!

    • Wendy Darling

      I think Anne allowed me to see for the first time that a love of reading could be just as classically romantic as anything else, and that an imagination should be prized.

      I love this! <3 I read quite a few books as a child where the main character loved to read, but Anne's love of literature and writing and imagination really did intensify their importance. I think we all daydreamed a bit more because of her, and our lives are all the richer for it.

  48. Morgan

    This is one of those books that I was stubborn about reading as a child because my mom tried to “make” me. I remember she loved the show Avonlea and I just didn’t want to watch it for some reason! Silly Morgan. Lately I’ve been wanting to catch up on classics that I missed the first go round, including Anne of Green Gables. I feel like every bookish friend I have or follow online has special memories of Anne and I want them too. Plus I love books like this so it really is a mystery why I was so stubborn as a child. My mom got me to read Little House on the Prairie and love Little Women! Thanks for the wonderful discussion post, which I skimmed because I was afraid of spoilers, and for the giveaway! I’d pick the set of Anne books :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Morgan, that’s why we wanted to do these readalongs–to help inspire people to pick up books they’ve never gotten around to! Or to revisit with old favorites. I hope you find your way to the books soon, and that you’ll find Anne just as dear as we do. :)

      Your mother sounds amazing, by the way. I am a huge, huge Little House fan (I did a post last summer about my visit to Almanzo Wilder’s house) and I’ll tell you a secret: we’re going to be reading Little Women this winter. But you know, if you read the Anne books now and love them, your mother gets to share them with you on a whole different level. I bet she’ll still get a kick out of seeing you read them.

      • Morgan

        I’m planning to whether I’m the lucky winner or not! My mom is the best; she doesn’t read as much as I do but she always encouraged my love of reading from an early age. I really do want to read Anne so I can share them with her! Oh the Little Women readalong will be fantastic, I can’t wait :) It’s been years since I’ve read that one though I watch the movie often enough.

  49. Valerie

    You have no idea how much I’ve really wanted to read this, ever since you voted this for the readalong.

    My best friend used to gush about Anne of Green Gables in middle school, and she would always be reading it. Being a middle schooler and also only interested in fantasy, I thought it was such a boring book. But now, I really want to give it a chance. Unfortunately I’m away from home now, so I couldn’t even check it out at the library.
    Valerie recently posted…ARC Review: Second Star

    • Wendy Darling

      Aw, Valerie! I’m sorry you weren’t able to join us for the readalong, but I’m glad you’re still going to give them a chance sometime. Anne is beloved by so many readers for very good reason, and your best friend certainly sounds like she has good taste. ;) It’s appropriate that your BFF has helped influence you to read these as well–friendship is a big part of these books. I wish we saw more friendships depicted in contemporary YA.

  50. fishgirl182

    I am digging those new Anne covers. I remember the set I had was super dated looking. These are a vast improvement. I have a soft spot in my heart for Anne. I love how feisty and a little nuts she is. Her grudge with Gilbert is the best. I wonder if this is where my love of antagonistic or love/hate relationships comes from. Hmmm.

    Great discussion. Interesting to see how old school fans and new readers react to this story.
    fishgirl182 recently posted…Uncovered (105): Jackaby

    • Wendy Darling

      Yeah, my set is old and yellowing, too–it might be time to replace them. I’d thought about getting the set the HarperCollins just did with the papercut images (it’s the one I used for the readalong image last month, (but they only released the first three as far as I know. I want to have a look at this set to see how the paper and printing are, but just based on the covers alone, this set might be just what I was looking for! I really like how they’ve paid attention to the Anne-ness of the whole set, too. Great illustrations, colors, mood.

      I like seeing how different readers react to these classics, too. Thanks for stopping by!

  51. Jackie Lea Sommers

    I love Anne so much. All growing up I thought, “I AM ANNE SHIRLEY.” And I actually kind of was– over-the-top, flowery, a writer (still am a writer!), passionate about everything. Anne is the quintessential young artist.

    I LOVE the new covers– I’d love to win the set of Anne books to have those beautiful books on my shelves!
    Jackie Lea Sommers recently posted…Writing and/or Life, Both Hard

    • Wendy Darling

      Oh yes, I went through an intensely romantic, wildly poetical phase as well. I was inclined to daydreaming and literary musings even before Anne, but she certainly brought out that side of me. She really is such a quintessential young writer–and I don’t know if you’ve read the Emily books, but Emily is even more so. I find it interesting that Anne went into teaching and motherhood, while Emily is fixedly on her path to becoming a writer, though. But of course, that series ended much earlier in Emily’s life than Anne’s.

      Aren’t these new editions pretty? I really like the colors and those windblown curls, and I love how sturdy and capable Anne looks.

  52. A Canadian Girl

    I read Anne of Green Gables when I was probably ten or so and loved it. I still do to this day, although I probably should do a re-read too just to see how I’d view the book from an adult perspective. Anne was definitely one of my favourite characters growing up even if we have very different personalities. But, I always felt like if I had a friend like Anne, my life would be so much more exciting!
    A Canadian Girl recently posted…Review: Split Second by Kasie West

    • Wendy Darling

      I was so relieved when I first reread this book as an adult to find that I still loved it just as much. I hope you have the same experience when you get around to it!

      I’m sure Anne made the lives of those around her much more exciting, hah. And everyone needs a Diana Barry in their lives, too. :)

  53. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review

    When I reread this book recently it fell into two parts for me. The first section, when Anne is a child, is more distinctive and original; the second part is more conventional and sentimental. I felt that somehow Anne becomes less real when she starts to grow up and loses some of her quirkiness, even though, as mentioned above, she might become quite annoying if she didn’t lose it. Still, she is an immortal creation and one of my favorite characters ever! For the giveaway, I’d be happy with either set–I’ve read all the Anne books but none of the others.

    For my YA/MG challenge book this month I reviewed a book about another quirky adolescent, Jessica Vye in A Long Way from Verona. I compare her to Harriet the Spy but she definitely is kindred to Anne as well.
    Lory @ Emerald City Book Review recently posted…Harriet’s Sister: A Long Way From Verona

    • Wendy Darling

      I think you’re right in the sense that Anne as a young child was given a bit more free reign with her imagination and feeling, whereas she had to curb that much more as an adult. (Understandably so!) While she never really loses her sense of romance or adventure, it’s true that as the books progress she becomes more–not subdued, but certainly less apt to say what she’s thinking or to dream the day away. Which is probably why I like the earlier books more, hah. I suppose we all have to grow up sometime. *sigh*

      Have you read the Emily of New Moon series, by the way? I actually love Emily even more than I love Anne, if you can believe it! She’s wildly romantic, and the stories are darker, and filled with more drama.

      And I’m excited to read about this Jessica character whom you’ve compared to Harriet M. Welsch! I’m still catching up from being out of town, but will definitely be by to visit next week. I’d love to have another book to add to my reading list, and I haven’t even heard of this one before.

        • Wendy Darling

          Please, please do read Emily again. I love her so much! So much of her life was so tragic, too, and she never quite had the type of sunny disposition that Anne did, which helped Anne get through her troubles.

          This conversation gives me the urge to read Emily again, hah! “Unjustly overlooked” makes me even more excited about Jessica.

  54. Sara Strauss

    Sad to say, but I haven’t read the books even though my best friend absolutely loves them! I’ve seen the movie, which I adored, so I really want to read the books! If I win, this will be a gift for said friend, so I would love to get the Anne of Green Gables books!
    ~Sara
    Sara Strauss recently posted…Favorite Things

  55. Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    I agree with you all one hundred percent! I loved Anne as a child — and I was very like her, too, not in circumstances, but in being imaginative, sensitive, and feeling things intensely, as well as loving ‘fairy stories.’ As Anne would say, I recognized a kindred spirit as soon as I discovered her, and she has always remained that. But like Wendy, I’d have to say that Anne also influenced my way of looking at the world. I’m more appreciative of natural beauty than perhaps I would have been without her, and she (and L. M. Montgomery) certainly contributed to my sense of the romantic. Gilbert became the foundation of my ideal man. I thrilled to his steadfast love for Anne, and the way he appreciated her unique vision and her dreams. Because of Gilbert, I’ve always leaned more toward the nice, dependable heroes who cherish their heroines, rather than the fictional or real-life bad boys. I didn’t consciously connect my taste in men to my years of reading the Anne books until after I was married, but my husband has a lot of Gilbert in him. Like Anne, I’d rather have him than live in a palace with someone else!

    I agree with you all on Montgomery’s skill in characterization, too. Even her minor characters seem to leap from the pages as real, living people. Montgomery had a genius for portraying personality through dialogue, and I’ve always loved her lively sense of humor. The first Anne book in particular has a number of moments that always make me laugh out loud. Aunt Josephine and the spare room bed makes me snort with laughter just to think about it.

    But Montgomery didn’t shy away from the tragedies in life, either. Matthew’s death makes me weep every time I read it. That dear, quiet, loving man! I love no-nonsense Marilla (and how Anne’s presence softens and warms her over time), but I adore Matthew. He gives Anne the unconditional love she needs and craves. I was the only child of a single (divorced) mother when I discovered the Anne books. My mother is wonderful, and I never questioned her deep love for me, but I missed my father; perhaps that’s part of why I loved Matthew so.

    Thank you so much for choosing Anne of Green Gables for April’s read-along. It’s been a delight to revisit these books that have meant so much to me… and I do mean books; I’m already several chapters into Anne of Windy Poplars. Once started, I can’t stop! And I reviewed the first book today, in honor of the read-along.
    Lark @ The Bookwyrm’s Hoard recently posted…Treasures from the Hoard: Anne of Green Gables

      • Wendy Darling

        I still think of Matthew whenever I see seed pearls. <3

        OH. I even sent pearls, a bookmark, and a framed L.M. Montgomery poem as part of an Akin to Anne package a few years back when I was swapping book-related crafts with other readers.

    • Wendy Darling

      Ahhh, it’s so wonderful to find that other readers identify with Anne’s deep love of nature! What kind of women would we be if we didn’t know Anne? I’m glad we don’t have to find out.

      Gilbert was one of my earliest ideals as well–steadfast, thoughtful, and just plain wonderful. I don’t know if you saw the B&N blog feature that went around last year talking about what a drip he was–it made me furious! My feathers were ruffled for days.

      Aunt Jo and her affection for Anne-girl is one of my favorite things about this series. I totally agree that even the secondary characters are written in such a lively way that you get a clear sense of who they are, even if they don’t appear that much on the page.

      Matthew. :( I’m surprised every time that Matthew dies at the beginning of the first book (I always think it comes later, even thought it’s a precipitating event), because his all his quiet, unassuming ways, his presence is so deeply felt in this series, and of course, he changed Anne’s life forever. (Would Marilla have left her at the train station when she first set eyes on her non-boy? I fear she would have, and how much they all would have missed!) It’s humbling to think of how much of an impact a single person can have on another human being’s life.

      I had a similar family dynamic to yours, Lark–my father was ill for most of my life, so I didn’t have a strong male figure either. You’re probably right about why Matthew feels particularly dear to both of us.

      And yay! Thank you for reading the book with us! I’m so pleased the readalong led to your rereading the other books as well. Tbh, I usually only do the first 3 books when I reread this series–later on, things are less focused on Anne, and of course, they also get so sad in parts.

      I’m just back from being out of town, but I will definitely stop by next week to read your Anne review! Can’t wait to read it.

  56. Elisa @ Leopards and Dragons

    I haven’t had a chance to post my review yet. I have to admit that I stalled towards the end of the book because what happens is so sad – it made me cry copiously as a child.

    I am sure that I am going to come back and have more to say later, but I do want to point out that you are missing some significant historical context with respect to red hair. It isn’t just vanity that makes Anne hate her hair – in the context of the time there was very real prejudiced against people with red hair. The characters were serious when they talk about red hair meaning that Anne is intrinsically bad and that she is cursed with a bad temper. This stuff still carried on when I was a child (yes, I have red hair but I am a strawberry blonde so it wasn’t too bad – my cousins with dark red hair like Anne’s got it much, much worse). Children with red hair could be seriously bullied. It was also a way to marginalize the Irish, the red hair being a sign of genetic inferiority. I know this probably seems silly to people today but it was a serious a form of discrimination then.

    I also think it is actually very important to read books like Anne of Green Gables and Huckleberry Finn. They are incisive products of their time and give us important insight into human nature. Those things should make us uncomfortable – in many cases good authors include them in order to bring such behavior into focus and force us to think about them. It’s like the Whoopi Goldberg introduction to one of the Loony Toons collections – there are stereotypes and all sorts of raciest/sexist language that can make some of the cartoons horribly uncomfortable but were included because “removing these inexcusable images and jokes from this collection would be the same as saying [these prejudices] never existed. So they are presented here to accurately reflect a part of our history that can not and should not be ignored”.

    Wow – now I sound like a complete wet blanket. Anyhow – Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite childhood books and I love it to pieces – overwrought flowery language and all. I would adore either of those collections that you are raffling. I read the books at the library as a kid and don’t have nice copies of them, which I will have to fix. I plan to share these stories with my daughter when she gets a bit older. Both of my children have a tendency to long, dramatic recitations quite reminiscent of Anne.
    Elisa @ Leopards and Dragons recently posted…A peak into Anne of Green Gables and Abominable Science

    • Wendy Darling

      ELISA, who are you and where have you been all our lives? Thank you so much for the thoughtful response.

      I totally agree with you about the importance of reading books like this–evolving views on race and religion and so on are part of human history, and I think it’s important to have a record of writing that reflects the time. I’d much rather learn about these things than to have the author’s words sanitized for modern audiences, as I’ve heard sometimes happens. They’re interesting points of discussion, particularly within an educational setting. And you’re right, the inclusion of “Arab boy” doesn’t mean that the author herself shares that view, but could have been included so that readers understood that generation’s way of thinking.

      You are SO right about the red hair stigma, too–I appreciate your bringing up the historical and cultural context of Anne’s obsession with her hair. I never really thought about all that, but thinking about the Irish/”red-headed stepchild” thing puts it all into perspective. I also never read it as her being shallow or ridiculously vain; I feel like most girls go through phases where they get fixated on things they think are wrong with them that no one notices, like their noses, hair or whatever.

      And please, you’re not a wet blanket at all! This is one of my favorite comments we’ve ever gotten on one of our readalongs, thanks for joining the discussion.

      • Elisa @ Leopards and Dragons

        Why, thank you (I’m blushing). I just started blogging this year and am so happy that Lark introduced me to this site. The original idea was to encourage my children to come up with reviews for the books they read to help them express their ideas, but I have been having so much fun myself that I have rather taken over.

        Growing up with red hair in a rather backward rural area myself, I was completely in sympathy with Anne.
        Elisa @ Leopards and Dragons recently posted…Anne of Green Gables Raffle at Midnight Garden

        • Wendy Darling

          Well, welcome to the blogosphere! And many thanks to Lark for the intro, I’m glad you found your way to us. We’re always happy to meet people who love to talk about books. :)

          I’m looking forward to visiting your blog–the original idea sounds fun! But I’m glad you’re having so much fun that you’ve wanted to do more even without them. I think I’ll have a chance to drop by next week.

      • Kate Bond

        You’re not the wet blanket here–I am, because I didn’t love this book you all so enjoy from your childhoods. Your comment was lovely and thoughtful.

        I agree that you should be mindful of the time in which something was written if you’re writing a paper on it for, say, your masters thesis, but I read this for pleasure, and I when I read things for pleasure, I prefer to avoid things like misogyny and racism because I just straight-up do not enjoy things that contain those elements. And if I were going to give this to a child, I would want the racism (and maybe some of the really hurtful comments about orphans) taken out–not to sanitize it, but because I have a lot of middle eastern friends, and it hurt them to read things like this in popular books assigned to them for school when they were children, and I don’t want to contribute to that. It’s one thing if a character we’re not supposed to like says these things, but when it’s someone we’re supposed to love, I want no part.

        And I’m not sure this book is a great example of an author, Mark Twain-style, using this language to bring the behavior into focus. I agree that some authors do that and that it sometimes works great (especially if the author is a member of the minority group in question), but that’s not really what is happening here. Maybe with regards to redheads, but Anne does exhibit the temper and flightiness that is attached to the stigma against them, so I don’t know. And the Whoopi Goldberg thing is great because she specifically says that the things are horribly racist. Not “It’s ok that they’re racist because they’re from the Way Back Then Time,” but that they are racist but still a part of history. Again, great for educational purposes, shock value, and nostalgia, but not so much for entertainment.

        I’m totally aware of the historical context re: redheads (almost all of my family has red hair, so I can’t avoid it), and I actually know some English people who are STILL pretty prejudiced against you guys…it’s completely bananas…and remember the terrible “firecrotch” comments Lindsay Lohan got when she was a teenager? Very few redheaded actresses come by the color naturally, and it kind of annoys me that we value the hair color but not the freckles and fair coloring that come with it.

        Hey, was it just me or did Anne not particularly get bullied by the other kids for her hair color? Dude called her “Carrots” and she lost her shit, but they were otherwise pretty cool about it. And I don’t think Anne was silly or vain for caring how she looked (I have gotten plastic surgery, I work out five days a week, and I used to/still sometimes work as a stylist; I am fully aware of the glass house in which I am residing here); it just bummed me out that she talked about her appearance so much and I was glad when she finally got some puff sleeves.

        I’m sure I would love this if I had read it as a kid, and I totally get why you ladies adore Anne in particular so much, but those elements kept me from really latching onto it as an adult.

        • Wendy Darling

          It really is hard to look back on books or tv shows or films that feature this kind of behavior (I remember being taken aback when I watched “I Love Lucy” as an adult and seeing how sexist it was, and it’s always sobering to see how Laura Ingalls Wilder’s mother reacts to Indians), and knowing how strongly you feel about diversity and such, I understand why you had a negative reaction to it.

          But for me, it’s like my husband’s great grandmother’s collection of vintage Valentines that was passed on to me a few years back–among the beautiful, elaborately engraved cards, there were also horribly cartoonish racist ones, and I guess I chalk this sort of thing up to being a product of their time. I’m a child of immigrant parents, so I’m not entirely insensitive to these things, but the ignorant, casually racist statements of people in small towns in the early 1900s isn’t the same to me as vitriolic hate speech, or hearing hurtful statements written today. My mother is also the kindest, most selfless and loving person I know, and yet she inherited casually racist attitudes and unwarranted fears and assumptions that make me cringe. It’s not right that these things ever happened, and perhaps it is overly generous to look past them because I do love the rest of the book so much, but within the context of this setting and time I find it pretty easy to not let it get in the way of the novel’s merits. Would Maud, if she were writing now, include those statements? I’m guessing she would not. Attitudes evolve over the years, and as readers become more sophisticated, I think Kim’s “I wouldn’t give contemporary writers a pass” standpoint is how I think of it, too.

          I didn’t mean that the author was necessarily setting out to make any kind of statement in showing those examples, by the way, just that she was showing in passing that it’s a fact of life, and it’s open to interpretation as to what her own views really were. I think that’s very different from Twain, who was clearly aiming to skewer and make political/social statements in his books. I would never want this sort of thing sanitized, though, any more than I would want to exclude the circumstances of imperialism and class division from THE SECRET GARDEN and so on. If I were to give this book to a child, I’d just make sure to have discussions with him/her about it.

          I just read the introduction for the Sourcebooks edition, by the way, written by the author’s granddaughter. (Who also published the delightful Anne cookbook!) She says that Anne’s lonely childhood and her being an orphan were directly taken from Maud’s own life. http://amzn.to/RUnMy6 I’m curious if Anne’s feelings of not measuring up in looks or behavior or breeding or education were also based on the author’s own hurts and dreams.

          And I don’t think she was bullied at the school when we meet her, no. But she acquired that sensitivity from past experiences, it seems. Even if she was never directly bullied, I understand feeling horribly defensive about some silly thing that as an adult, I shake my head about.

          But again, you feel how you feel, and it’s definitely interesting to hear your perspective on this. And besides, the discussion would’ve been nothing but a gushfest otherwise, hah.

        • Elisa @ Leopards and Dragons

          You raise an interesting point about a child’s reaction to racism and the like. When you introduce a historic book to a child it is really important to talk with them about what happens to try to put it into context – the way that orphans were talked about at the beginning of the book for example was pretty awful as well.

          I never meant to imply anything like ‘its okay they were racist back then’ – for one, it was not okay and for another, it’s not like there is any shortage of racism now. Just look at this past weeks news for a couple of high profile examples. On the other hand, I would not want to take the racism out – you can’t pretend that these things didn’t and don’t happen.

          We make/let children read all sorts of things that are unpleasant – children’s literature used to mean that the dog died. Now it seems to mean that that a parent or friend dies. These books can be really rough experiences for children who have had those experiences in their lives. In all of these cases you have to been willing to engage in conversations that can be uncomfortable awkward with your children. That can happen even with books that seem to be ‘safe.’ I have already had all sorts of conversations about ‘bad guys,’ if they really exist in the ‘real world’ and why they want to be bad, and that is just with my six year old.

          Strangely enough I was just reading a conversation about Looney Tunes and Yosemite Sam’s cartoon cussing – he freely uses the phrase ‘cotton pickin’ – those cartoons are still funny but if you think about the etymology of that phrase, you realize it is rather problematic.

          I think one of the points of the story arch in Anne is that Marilla starts to unbend and gets better – she *isn’t* lovable at first. Matthew is loveable from the start but it takes time for a connection to develop with Marilla. Initially she represents many of the worst acceptable prejudices of the time and we are not expected to think that it is a good thing. It is more like being trapped in a conversion with an elderly relative at a family holiday – you have to be respectful even if really loathe some of the opinions that they hold. The good news is that Marilla starts to drop some her baggage. I really wonder what Matthew and Marilla’s childhoods were like.

          I have friends in the UK so yep I am aware. I think that one of reasons that so many children fell in love with the Anne books is that Prince Edwards Island was totally magical – even Josie, the ‘mean girl’ is pretty tame – mostly people there were loving and accepting. And Anne’s ‘hot temper’ disappears pretty quickly once she learns that the people there are not actually out to harm her.

          I just realized that this is long and rambling, so I will stop here.
          Elisa @ Leopards and Dragons recently posted…Wondrous Words Wednesday 13

    • Wendy Darling

      Ohhh, Emma! If you love the miniseries, you will love the books. This is one of those cases where I caught the first part on PBS (I’d never heard of Anne before) and then devoured all the books within a matter of weeks. I’m so glad our discussion has made you want to discover the books for yourself sometime.