Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Travel the World: Canada: Anne of Ingleside
Montgomery, L.M. 1939. Anne of Ingleside.
Out of all of the Anne books--Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley, and Rilla of Ingleside--this one is actually my least favorite of the bunch. Perhaps it is the fact that it was written so many years after the others. Rainbow Valley, the one which chronologically is the sequel to Anne of Ingleside, was published in 1919. This one always seemed a bit tacked on to the others.
Anne is all grown up with children of her own: Jem, Walter, Nan and Di (the Blythe twins), Shirley (boy with a bit of a girly name), and Rilla, the baby of the family. Anne and Gilbert are still happily wed though we don't see too closely or intimately into their relationship. Susan Baker is their live-in helper. Part nanny. Part cook. Full-time storyteller.
The book is episodic. There isn't one narrator. The role of narrator shifts between Anne and each of her children. (I can't remember if Susan ever gets her own chapters or not.) Each child seems to get a turn in the spotlight. From baby-Rilla being frightened to walk through town carrying a cake to Jem's heartbreaking loss of his first dog. The stories are about family and friendship and at times some of the harder things in life.
My favorite sequence in Anne of Ingleside is the visit of Aunt Mary Maria, Gilbert's aunt who invites herself to stay. No one has the gumption to even hint that it's time for her to go back to her own home. But an accidental surprise birthday party does the trick just fine.
I'm not suggesting it isn't worth reading, but it doesn't have that satisfying grinning ear-to-ear something special feeling about it.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews