The Anne of Green Gables Series
Okay, time to talk about my love for the Anne of Green Gables series! So, I feel like there’s a tooooon of hype about book one…and then you don’t hear anything about the rest of the series. I enjoyed Anne of Green Gables immensely, but I don’t think it is the best of the series and I think it deserves even more merit as a part of the whole. This series, in its entirety, deserves alllllll the praise and recognition.
My recommendation is that if you’ve read Anne of GG and don’t plan on reading the rest of the books – CHANGE YOUR MIND. Here’s why: In book one we see Anne Shirley as a girl. She is dreamy, silly, an optimist in every way. The story as a whole reads rather kitschy, but is so sweet. IMO the series begins to truly blossom in the second book, and builds on itself with each subsequent installment – because we get to watch Anne grow. We see Anne mature into a young lady in Avonlea, inspiring and loving on her students. We see her as a college student in Island, with all of the trials and adventures that that entails. We see her in a “waiting period” in Windy Poplars. A newlywed and young mother in House of Dreams, and a seasoned mother in Rainbow Valley and Rilla.
The character arch of Anne Shirley is nothing short of beautiful. I love that we get to share every stage of life with her, and experience change, love, and loss with her. Throughout the series, we also see focuses shift, which is so smart and thoughtfully realistic. I’ve heard criticism that Anne “dropped” her bosom friend Diana after the first book – but isn’t that part of life?? She didn’t “drop” her, their relationship just changed as they grew older and their respective focuses shifted.
Likewise, the critique that Anne wasn’t the heroine of her own story anymore in the last three books…but guys! She became a mother! And when that happens the focus is no longer on yourself, but on your children. It’s LIFE! And I love it. I honestly can’t think of any other book or series where a character is so fully developed.
I will say that in my first read through of the series, Island, House of Dreams, and Rilla resonated most deeply with me. At the stage of life I’m currently in, these three books really moved me. And by the end of the series I did come to the conclusion that this isn’t really classic children’s lit (in the way Anne of GG is). It reads more like straight up classic lit to me.
In case you didn’t notice, I did not include Anne of Ingleside in my stack, mainly because I’m still waiting on my @viragopress edition, but it works because I really disliked that book. It was the only one in the series I did not enjoy, and even after some time and rumination I still think the series would not lose anything if it wasn’t included. It was the last Anne book LMM wrote, and I don’t think she was in the proper headspace to write that kind of story. Just my opinion! If you’ve read this far, kudos to you! Tell me what you love about Anne the series as a whole!