July 28, 2016
Beautifully written, timeless books. Includes "Windy Poplars" and "Ingleside"!
glad I am that I grew up before "reading experts" decided that a young
reader can enjoy only books which are "relevant" - in other words, books
which act as a mirror to the child's own circumstances. I don't
remember reading a single book when I was growing up that resembled my
life as a 1950's kid growing up in a working class family in a suburb in
a medium-sized Southern town with parents and siblings and pets. I was
living that life. Why would I need or want to read about it?
me, reading was (and is) escapism and no adult ever tried to tell me
otherwise. I assume they thought that reading about other times and
other cultures would add to my knowledge and sharpen my imagination. I
read Nancy Drew and Tarzan and historical novels and romances and
biographies and a copy of 1984 that I found in the attic. And I read
and loved the "Anne" books.
The poignant story of an orphaned
girl born fifty years before I arrived on earth was as real to me as my
own life. The setting on a farming island community in Canada was
quaint, but the themes and characters were familiar. Which is another
way of saying that they were universal and timeless. The people in the
Anne books dressed differently and talked differently, but I had no
trouble recognizing and understanding their dreams and aspirations,
their anger and pettiness, their generosity and jealousy.
sisters and I read and loved and shared them and 60 years later we
sometimes say, "Do you remember when Mrs. Lynde said....?" or "Doesn't
that remind you of the time that Gilbert and Anne....?" We had no
trouble at all "relating" to those books and I wish that the author knew
how much enjoyment they gave us.
I can (and do) still read them
and in some ways my enjoyment is deeper. Although the author was a
relatively young woman when she wrote the earliest of the series, she
had grown up with old relatives and was capable of painting them
realistically and lovingly. The generations weren't segregated as they
are today and children and old people were often close companions and
allies. What a wonderful way of life.
When I first got my
Kindle, I down-loaded a collection, but it lacked ANNE OF WINDY POPLARS
and ANNE OF INGLESIDE, which are two of my favorites. I know now that
the author wrote the first book of the series (ANNE OF GREEN GABLES) in
1908 and (following up on its popularity) continued with ANNE OF AVONLEA
(the story of Anne's two years as a village "school ma'am") in 1909,
ANNE OF THE ISLAND (the story of Anne's four college years) in 1915 and
ANNE'S HOUSE OF DREAMS (the story of Anne's early years as a wife and
mother) in 1917. Two books that dealt primarily with Anne and Gilbert's
grown children (RAINBOW VALLEY and RILLA OF INGLESIDE) appeared in
1919 and 1921.
Then the author left the series for more than a
decade. It wasn't until the 1930's that she went back and told the
story of Anne's three years as a high school principal (ANNE OF WINDY
POPLARS) and the story of her young family growing up (ANNE OF
INGLESIDE.) Those two books are not yet in the public domain and I
don't know why they are offered for free in this collection, but I'm
glad to have all of the books together with a fine interactive chapter
I re-read WINDY POPLARS and I still think it's a
delightful book. Times have changed, but there are still wealthy,
influential families who think they are above the rules and children
from poor families struggling to over-come huge obstacles. There are
still teachers who pour their hearts into their jobs and resentful ones
who wish they could be somewhere, anywhere, else. There are tragedies
and frustrations and some people deal with them wisely and others
foolishly. Lucy Maud Montgomery had her own problems in life, but her
belief in the value of doing your best, cheerfully and generously,
shines through her stories. Her observations are sharp and humorous,
but never vicious or unkind. These books are not out-dated, but as
relevant today as when they were written.