Monday, March 21, 2016

Anne of Avonlea (1909)

Anne of Avonlea. L.M. Montgomery. 1909. 304 pages. [Bought]

Do I love Anne of Avonlea? I do. I really do. True, I often forget about it being among my favorites because it isn't the first or the last. And it isn't the one with the giddy-making proposal between Anne and Gilbert. But the fact that this sequel to Anne of Green Gables is so very, very good says something about Montgomery's talents.

Highlights of Anne of Avonlea:
  • Anne begins her first job--teaching in Avonlea; it is rewarding, sometimes; exhausting, almost always.
  • Anne discovers an unlikely kindred spirit in Mr. Harrison, her neighbor; she does NOT love his parrot.
  • Anne becomes the best of friends with Gilbert Blythe
  • Anne and her friends form a club, A.V.I.S. (Avonlea Village Improvement Society); they don't always "improve" the village.
  • Anne becomes a big sister; Marilla adopts TWINS: Davy and Dora
  • Anne becomes especially close to one of her pupils, Paul Irving
  • Anne becomes quite chummy with Miss Lavendar and Charlotte the Fourth
  • Love is in the air! No, Gilbert and Anne don't say I love you. But Diana does become engaged to Fred; and Miss Lavendar marries her sweetheart after several decades apart! 

This book has several things in abundance: JOY and LAUGHTER. (Well, I guess the exception being when Thomas (Rachel's husband) dies. But still.) It is just a lively, delightful, funny read. It is also oh-so-quotable!
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.
What is an imagination for if not to enable you to peep at life through other people’s eyes? 
It’s a very bad habit to put off disagreeable things, and I never mean to again, or else I can’t comfortably tell my pupils not to do it. That would be inconsistent. 
“Davy Keith, don’t you know that it is very wrong of you to be eating that jam, when you were told never to meddle with anything in THAT closet?” “Yes, I knew it was wrong,” admitted Davy uncomfortably, “but plum jam is awful nice, Anne. I just peeped in and it looked so good I thought I’d take just a weeny taste. I stuck my finger in . . .” Anne groaned . . . “and licked it clean. And it was so much gooder than I’d ever thought that I got a spoon and just SAILED IN.”
“Anyhow, there’ll be plenty of jam in heaven, that’s one comfort,” he said complacently. Anne nipped a smile in the bud. “Perhaps there will . . . if we want it,” she said, “But what makes you think so?” “Why, it’s in the catechism,” said Davy. “Oh, no, there is nothing like THAT in the catechism, Davy.” “But I tell you there is,” persisted Davy. “It was in that question Marilla taught me last Sunday. ‘Why should we love God?’ It says, ‘Because He makes preserves, and redeems us.’
Well, I’m doing my best to grow,” said Davy, “but it’s a thing you can’t hurry much. If Marilla wasn’t so stingy with her jam I believe I’d grow a lot faster.” 
“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?” 
“Some are born old maids, some achieve old maidenhood, and some have old maidenhood thrust upon them,” parodied Miss Lavendar whimsically. “You are one of those who have achieved it then,” laughed Anne, “and you’ve done it so beautifully that if every old maid were like you they would come into the fashion, I think.”

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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