October 5, 2015

Return to Green Gables: Re-read Reflections


It’s been far too long since I reread Anne of Green Gables and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was a little nervous. I wanted to love this book (and the entire series) just as much as I did the first time around and we all know that doesn't always happen. But I'm happy to report that I love the book even more as an adult. I laughed out loud so many times and cried during a few scenes. Anne is exactly how I remembered her — funny, idealistic, loving, feisty, smart and a dreamer. I loved watching her unwittingly worm her way into the hearts of both Matthew and Marilla. They became this unexpected family and it is just so, so heartwarming to behold. And of course, I have to mention her best friend Diana Barry (kindred spirits!) and the love of her life Gilbert Blythe, both of whom play very important roles in Anne's journey. After reading that first book again (which I remembered pretty clearly!), I was excited to read the rest of the books and see how they would fair against my memory.

So truth time, I forgot a ton of things! As a kid, I had watched the Anne of Green Gables movies (with Megan Follows) more times than I can count and I sub-consciously replaced the second book with the second movie in my mind. Re-reading Avonlea, as well as the Island and Windy Poplars, almost immediately brought back all the details, reminding me of how much the second movie had to cut and merge. I absolutely loved re-meeting the twins Marilla adopted, Davey and Dora, Paul Irving (!) and all the individuals Anne befriends along the way. She is such a proponent of strong, positive female friendships and I can't believe I had forgotten that! It's one of the things I adore most about her. But my "favorite" friend will always be Diana. There's this moment in Avonlea where Anne can't help but feel a twinge of loneliness when Diana embarks on a real romance and she realizes that they're growing up, going on slightly different paths. It actually described a current moment in my life so perfectly, which goes to show that it doesn't matter if you're 13 or 32, you can still connect to these books and these women. It's a theme I saw over and over again as I read through each installment in the series.

Now the couple I've been waiting to talk about -- Anne and Gilbert! They're probably the first book romance I shipped in a big way. From the moment she broke a slate over his head to the agonizing wait for Anne to open her eyes and realize he was the love of her life. I loved revisiting their relationship so much. Even though it took years for them to get their happy ending, the beautiful moment when Anne tells Gilbert how she feels was worth the wait. In a way, I understood why Anne fought it for so long. I don't think she was necessarily fighting Gilbert, but instead was fighting adulthood and a part of her just not being ready for love and marriage although she claimed to be. That resonated with me and made the moment when she was ready that much sweeter.

The latter books (Dreams, Ingleside, Rainbow Valley and Rilla) surprised me in more ways than one. I'm so used to remembering Anne as this eternally young girl, that I had forgotten that we get to see her as a grown woman in her twenties (and older). As a wife, as a mother. It was sweet and heartbreaking at times to see what Anne goes through as an adult. She still remains the spunky, daydreamer we fell in love with but the things she faces are far more mature. I wasn't prepared for that and again, I ended up crying or tearing up through certain scenes in these books and I didn't think that would happen! I will say I wasn't as into the adventures of their children although I was very moved by Anne's scene with them. I think I am just forever craving Anne and Gilbert so I was missing them by the end.

Overall, I am incredibly happy that I took this chance to re-read the entire series. I love these books and characters even more than I could've imagined!

Favorites

Book | Anne of Green Gables. The first book will always be my favorite of the bunch.

Character | Anne Shirley, of course! There would be no series without her.

Secondary Character | Gilbert Blythe. Another obvious choice, I know! But his character and their love for one another is such an important part of the books.

Quote | “Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps [...] love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ”

Animal | Dog Monday. His role is Rilla of Ingleside broke my heart.

Place | the House of Dreams. I have a soft spot for this place for a lot of reasons but the main one is that this is the first home Anne and Gilbert shared as husband as wife. Anne falls in love with is and I couldn't help feeling the same way.

Anne-ism | "Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" One of my favorite lines ever.

Sassy Moment | When Anne breaks a slate over Gilbert's head (who doesn't love that moment?)

Sad Moment | The passage where Matthew passes away never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

Sweet Moment | There's a scene between Anne and Diana as adults where they talk about their lifelong friendship (I'll talk more about this in Wednesday's post!)

Surprising Moment | I'm going to cheat but all the moments between Anne and her children. I barely remembered the scenes of her as a mother so they all surprised me.

Silly Moment | This is more funny than silly but the Lady of Shalott scene makes me laugh.

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Check out Alexa and Hannah's re-reflections and favorites!

Read my welcome post to find out what Return to Green Gables is all about

1 comment:

  1. I love that we reread the entire series for this event! It was seriously just fun to read about Anne, her life and adventures, and to get reminded of details (even characters) that we'd forgotten. I'm loving the way you concisely express all your thoughts on the series (and wishing I knew how to do it that way).

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