I finished reading Anne of Green Gables last week.
There is something about books we loved in childhood that stays with us and influences how we think -- in adulthood -- about the characters of those books. I did not read Anne as a child and have come to her solely as a middle-aged woman.
It's not the same thing.
That said, I can see why Anne is so beloved. The scrapes and foibles of the character are endearing. What child has not made mistakes when baking a cake from scratch? What child has not gotten lost in dreams and play, to the detriment of the household chores. I grew up in a time when we were not reminded (nagged) by our mothers to do our chores -- we were expected to remember them and complete them. And there were consequences if we forgot. I can see how Anne was loved for her similarity to everyday children.
I also enjoyed reflecting, as I read, on my childhood spent playing in the woods and fields near our house, so similar to the childhood of Anne Shirley. And I felt sorry that my daughter never had those same opportunities, due to both safety and geographical reasons. My reading of Anne of Green Gables brought home to me again that we live in a different day and age, and that's sad in so many ways.
I did not find Anne's bent toward drama as endearing as her forgetfulness. In fact, I got tired of the sentences that started out "Oh,....." Maybe I am too practical. My mother swore I was a dramatic little girl -- and maybe I was -- but not like Anne Shirley.
I cannot say that I have the emotional connection to the character of Anne Shirley as do those readers who knew her when they were children. But the story was certainly well written. And I am interested enough in Anne to feel that I want to make my way through the whole series, just to see what Montgomery does with the characters.
And so, on to Anne of Avonlea.