Thursday, May 15, 2008

Before Green Gables


[lhs_star_rg3.50.gif]Wilson, Budge. 2008. Before Green Gables.

Before Green Gables--it almost goes without saying--is the prequel to Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. Written a hundred years after the original, it seeks to explore Anne's past before her arrival at the train station where she meets the lovable Mr. Matthew Cuthbert. Her past is only hinted at in Anne of Green Gables. We're told a few things, but never given a clear, straight-forward history or documentation. At least not that I can remember. If memory serves, we're told that after her parents' death, she was taken in by two families where she worked, worked, worked, and finally by an orphanage where Mrs. Spencer ultimately picks her up.

I for one was never curious what happened before. So the thought of a prequel would have never occurred to me in a million years.

There aren't really many surprises along the way. Not as far as plots go. The thing that did surprise me in a way was Wilson's ability to draw characters that as unlikeable as they were there was still something sympathetic or redemptive about them. For example, Mr. Thomas, the drunk. I never would have thought that anyone could portray him in such a way that I could/would almost feel sorry for him. In a way that made me care about his story. Same thing goes with Mrs. Hammond. The woman with so many children all under the age of five or six. Wilson does have a remarkable way of creating human characters--the good, the bad, the ugly. The way she was able to flesh out such characters--characters that we only know so little of and almost always negatively from the original--is something.

In a way this story seeks to be the story of how Anne becomes Anne. It worked for me in some places, but not in others. The older Anne got, the more it worked for me.

So I liked this one. I don't know that it's really necessary. But it's enjoyable enough.

Washington Post's Review

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

His Girl 9:10 AM  

I felt exactly the same way about this book. How on earth do I not hate all these people? It was well written, a good read, but like you, I never really cared if there was a sequel or not... I reviewed the book on my site as well (my first book review ever), but hadn't thought to bring up any of the points you did. Well said!

Framed 12:24 AM  

I've had this one on my radar but can't quite accept someone else messing with Montgomery's creation.

Anonymous,  1:27 PM  

what is the age range for this book? I think that i will read it for school (middle school) but I am not sure if it will be too young for me.

Becky 1:32 PM  

Anonymous, I don't think it will be too young for you. It's actually published as an adult book--not a children's one. It's a good book...especially for fans of Anne.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

My Blog List

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP