Freitag, 6. Juli 2012

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

 A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Little Women and now of course Anne of Green Gables - How come I never read any of the common children's classics when I was young? Sadly, those wonderful English books are hardly known here and if children are familiar with their stories at all, then only thanks to movie adaptations. Perhaps all those classics are so little-known in Austria because they always lose some of their charm when they are being translated, but I cannot help wondering why we don't have any German classics to pass from generation to generation instead. The only thing I'm sure about is that I will hand my copy of Anne of Green Gables on to my future daughter, so that she will know what her mother was like when she was her age.


Here is something which should never appear in a review, but which I have to admit in all honesty: I cannot talk neutrally or objectively about Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley is so much like the little girl I used to be that I desperately wish I had read about her when I was still a child. Then I would have known that so many kindred spirits are out there that even books are written about them! I read some passages (especially speeches of Anne dropping with big words and greater ideas) to my mother and she was amazed because apparently I regularly delivered similar monologues when I was a child. Quite coincidentally I even had red hair until some years ago when it lightened to strawberry blond, and believe me, being called "carrots" is a capital offense which totally deserves being punished with eternal hate.

Anne's passionate nature, her limitless curiosity and of course her imagination are very familar to me too. Unfortunately I also share her habit of losing my temper when someone treats me disrespectfully.
Reading this when I was still Anne's age would have been a wonderful experience, but I enjoyed it very much anyway now that I finally came across it. While reading I was reminded of many episodes of my childhood which I had completely forgotten and I have to say that perhaps it is a good thing I never heard of Anne Shirley when I was young: I cannot even imagine all the mischief her stories would have inspired me to.
Needless to say, I love the character of Anne Shirley and envy Diana quite ardently for being her bosom friend.
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
Mrs Montgomery certainly had a fantastic talent for creating characters, for although I will probably quickly forget most of Anne's childhood adventures, the people surrounding her will stay with me for a long time. Matthew's pride of and care for Anne especially warmed my heart and Marilla reminded me of my grandmother in her harsh but loving way. The ending was so sad that I actually cried, which happened the last time to me at the ending of A Tale of Two Cities.
Oh, and I am very curious what will become of Gilbert Blythe, I think I see some romance coming. Usually I don't care too much for long series and I don't promise I will read all eight Anne books, but I guess it's safe to say that Anne of Avonlea will be among my birthday presents this year.

Kommentare:

  1. Oh, I'm so glad you liked it! Yay! I think you'll like Anne of Avonlea too.

    You don't have to read all of them, but you do have to read one or two more, plus Rilla of Ingleside, which is #8. It's one of my favorites. Um, except it takes place during WWI and they don't much care for the Kaiser. I don't think Austrians ever come into it...

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    1. I'm looking forward to Avonlea very much, for in it Anne actually is my age. Besides, I'm really curious about the fates of all those characters I've come to know.

      So I'll just be picking out the highlights? Sounds like a fantastic plan :)
      I'm totally in favour of literature which depicts us Austrian as bad during WWII, I don't even want to think about what would have happened if Hitler had won! But I'm quite fond of the Kaiser...we'll see if I can neglect that for Anne!

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    2. Wait, which Kaiser do you mean? I forgot that Emperor Franz Josef would maybe also be called Kaiser. For some reason in English if we say the Kaiser we mean Wilhelm (sometimes called Kaisier Bill). I don't even know what Franz Josef's proper title would have been in his own empire...that's kind of embarrassing.

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    3. It would never ever have occured to me that Kaiser could be referring to a German emperor! We use that title almost exclusively for emperors from the house of Habsburg. So Kaiser means either the Kaiser of the Holy Roman Empire (under an Austrian ruler) or Kaiser von Österreich.
      In fact most Austrians would find it rather offensive that such an ur-Austrian title is associated with Germany. Besides, there were dozens of Austrian Kaisers and only three German.
      Never challenge the rivalry between Austria and Germany ;)

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    4. Ack! I apologize. :) Just know that when an English book says The Kaiser, they mean Kaiser Bill. I guess because he's the one they fought with. Probably we find the Habsburgs too complicated to even think about.

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    5. Oh, there's nothing to apologise for! A matter of speaking is not your fault.
      Besides, I should probably be glad that our poor old Franz Josef was not the arch-enemy :)

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  2. I loved this as a child, although not quite as much as I liked A Little Princess. I read the next two or three books in the series but never made it all the way to the end.

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    1. I only read nonsense when I was a child, but at least that leaves all the lovely classics for me to explore them now :)
      But I loved the movie of A Little Princess! I have a tiny obsession with all thing connected with colonial India.

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    2. Oh yes, I remember forcing you to watch it, because I knew you would love it... Now I guess I'll have to read Anne of Green Gables as soon as I'm back to Austria :)

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  3. The Anne books were among my favorite as a child, and I've probably reread Anne of Green Gables more than any other book. Actually, I'm hoping to return to them this summer! I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this so much. I liked books 1, 2, 3, and 8 the best, so those are the ones I would recommend if you don't read the whole series.

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  4. Don't forget to ask for the third book in the series, Anne of the Island. It's my absolute favourite of the bunch! I'm so thrilled to hear you enjoyed becoming bosom friends with Anne Shirley. She's very near and dear to my heart. :)

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