Sunday, February 03, 2013

Sunday Salon: Reading Anne of Avonlea (1909)

Anne of Avonlea. L.M. Montgomery. 1909. 304 pages.

Anne of Avonlea is a delightful book. Anne may be a young woman just beginning her teaching career, but she's still in many ways so very young. In Anne of Avonlea, readers
  • meet Anne, Diana, Gilbert, Fred, and others in the A.V.I.S society, reading of their adventures and misadventures in "improving" the village 
  • meet Mr. Harrison and his parrot, Ginger, they also learn Mr. Harrison's BIG secret which is only revealed AFTER the big, big storm prophesied by an eccentric man...
  • see Anne as BIG SISTER to the twins Davy and Dora, orphans that Marilla adopted early in this second book; Anne has to ANSWER hundreds and hundreds of questions to satisfy a young Davy
  • see Anne become teacher of the Avonlea school; seeing Anne struggle between her theories and actual practice. Will she tame Anthony Pye? Also we meet the teacher's pet, Paul Irving.
  • meet Miss Lavendar and Charlotta the Fourth. 
Because of Marilla's failing eyesight, Anne has decided not to go away to college, instead she'll be teaching at the school in Avonlea. When she's not busy teaching, she's spending time with her friends--old and young. Her best friend, of course, is Diana Barry. While some guys may have started falling in love with Anne and wanting her attention, Anne has no time at all for her own romance. Gilbert judges correctly that Anne is not ready for any declarations of love from him...or anyone, and so he's patiently giving her all the time she needs, just happy to be her good friend. Readers may be anxious for Anne to grow up and see the obvious: Gilbert is THE ONE. But Anne is not in a hurry to be an adult. And I think that's for the best.

My favorite part of Anne of Avonlea is Davy. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Davy (and Dora). I think the twins bring a glorious liveliness to Green Gables. I love seeing Anne with the kids, especially with Davy. I love seeing her nurture him, and I love hearing all her explanations to his 'why' questions.

Have you read Anne of Avonlea? Did you enjoy it? Were you disappointed?

Mr. Harrison about Mrs. Rachel Lynde:
"I detest that woman more than anybody I know. She can put a whole sermon, text, comment, and application, into six words, and throw it at you like a brick."
"I never was much of a talker till I came to Avonlea and then I had to begin in self-defense or Mrs. Lynde would have said I was dumb and started a subscription to have me taught sign language."
Fun with Davy:
"Anne," said Davy, sitting up in bed and propping his chin on his hands, "Anne, where is sleep? People go to sleep every night, and of course I know it's the place where I do the things I dream, but I want to know WHERE it is and how I get there and back without knowing anything about it...and in my nighty too. Where is it?"
 "I wish people could live on pudding. Why can't they, Marilla? I want to know."
"Because they'd soon get tired of it."
"I'd like to try that for myself," said skeptical Davy.
Paul Irving to Anne:
"I've prayed every night that God would give me enough grace to enable me to eat every bit of my porridge in the mornings. But I've never been able to do it yet, and whether it's because I have too little grace or too much porridge I really can't decide."

Favorite quotes: 
"You're never safe from being surprised till you're dead."
“One can't get over the habit of being a little girl all at once.” 
“After all," Anne had said to Marilla once, "I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
“Anne had no sooner uttered the phrase, "home o'dreams," than it captivated her fancy and she immediately began the erection of one of her own. It was, of course, tenanted by an ideal master, dark, proud, and melancholy; but oddly enough, Gilbert Blythe persisted in hanging about too, helping her arrange pictures, lay out gardens, and accomplish sundry other tasks which a proud and melancholy hero evidently considered beneath his dignity. Anne tried to banish Gilbert's image from her castle in Spain but, somehow, he went on being there, so Anne, being in a hurry, gave up the attempt and pursued her aerial architecture with such success that her "home o'dreams" was built and furnished before Diana spoke again. ”
“…I think,' concluded Anne, hitting on a very vital truth, 'that we always love best the people who need us.” 
“When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts...it's like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.” 
“It takes all sorts of people to make a world, as I've often heard, but I think there are some who could be spared,' Anne told her reflection in the east gable mirror that night.” 
"If we have friends we should look only for the best in them and give them the best that is in us, don't you think? Then friendship would be the most beautiful thing in the world." 
"In this world you've just got to hope for the best and prepare for the worst and take whatever God sends."

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

QNPoohBear 2:31 PM  

I have loved the Anne series for about 25 years now, since I was a little girl. My favorite characters in this book are Davy, Mr. Harrison (and Ginger) for comic relief and for kindred spirits Paul and Miss Lavender. I always laugh so hard at Davy-isms. My favorite is when Davy says he can have all the jam he wants because God "makes preserves and redeems us." Paul reminds me a lot of myself at that age and Miss Lavender is who I would love to be when I'm old. If you liked this book, try The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. It's very similar.

Anne Kathleen 11:42 PM  

FANTASTIC quotes. I absolutely have to read the books. I have LOVED all the movies ever so fervently and the books must be even more wonderful!

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