Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Revisiting Anne, Part 1: Anne of Green Gables

I've posted before about my epic love affair with Anne of Green Gables and the recent completion of my own personal set of the series—a collection process lasting well over a decade! Though I've read the entire series before, I haven't picked one up since high school, and I thought now would be a good time to slowly make my way through the series again.

I have to say, my introduction to Anne began with the CBC miniseries, and I don't actually remember my first experience with the classic novel. Unlike most stories I've read over and over and love from the bottom of my heart, I can't remember anything about how that first encounter long ago with Anne of Green Gables made me think or made me feel; I can't remember where I was when I read it; I don't know if I savored it or sped through it. So in some regard, despite already knowing and loving the story, this re-read is like reading it for the first time. Maybe my thoughts will come back to me, but maybe I'll form new ones.

The opener of the Anne series is nearly identical to the first film, and reading the book now, it's hard to separate the two. Anne is an endearing character—optimistic, curious, and always always thinking—but she's not without her faults. She's vain, occasionally selfish, impulsive, and rash. She has the imagination of a child, which constantly gets her into trouble. I've never been able to really relate to Anne throughout our history, because I've always felt my personality to be so incredibly different than hers. Reading it now—as a person who is, by definition, an "adult," but still so determinedly refuses to grow up for good—I can see how I've always connected to Anne...

She refuses to grow up for good, too. In this first book, we watch Anne develop from early adolescence to her "grown up" late teens. As she matures, the lovable, troublesome faults of her youth are "pruned down and branched out," as she says, but she hasn't lost the curiosity and imagination and introspection of her childhood days; she has just learned how to control them to keep her out of scrapes. Anne is still the same Anne, and will always be the same Anne, no matter how old she is.

Beyond the title character, Montgomery's descriptions of people, places, and relationships have always made these stories special, because those descriptions appeal to my Anne-like sensibilities. I read them with all my senses, permanently locking those feelings in my brain as a special memory, as you only can when you know how something looks and smells and tastes and feels for those experiencing it.

As I re-read this series as an adult, and follow Anne on her own journey through life, I wonder if maybe I'll find more to relate to in the characters and stories. Maybe I'll see them from a new perspective, or maybe they'll just remain the sentimental stories I've always loved. Either way, I'm sure I'll enjoy them.

It's not too late to hop on the read-along! I'll be reading Anne of Avonlea this month, and moving on to Anne of the Island in October. Join in — I'd love to hear your Anne experiences!


Jenny said...

I never replied to your e-mail/comment.. I'm sorry!! I didn't end up reading this after all this month. I have been soooo behind on my reading and blogging (doing neither of both) so maybe I'll get to this but I don't know. =(

Kari said...

Oh, no worries! You're probably at least familiar with the first book's story (if you haven't already read it) so just jump in when and if you have time!