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Meet Me By the Lake of Shining Waters

A review of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, aka Little Jenny's greatest YA influence.

Meet Me By the Lake of Shining Waters

BOOK REPORT for Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables Book 1) by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Cover Story: Classic
BFF Charm: Y to-the- A to-the- Y
Swoonworthy Scale: 8
Talky Talk: L.M. Montgomery Ain't Nothin' To @#$* With
Bonus Factor: Orphans, PEI, Kickass Parents, Academic Competition
Relationship Status: I'll Never Have Another Bosom Friend...I Couldn't Love Anybody As I Love This Book

I've come to realize that as much as we all talk about Anne of Green Gables on this site, we had yet to actually review the books! So without further ado...

Cover Story: Classic

There are as many varying covers for this book as there are freckles on young Anne's face --each of them just fine-- but this one is my personal favorite.

The Deal:

(I like to imagine there's not a soul on earth who doesn't know this story, but just in case...)

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, brother and sister, confirmed in their own bachelor/ette-hood were getting on in years, and decided to take on a little orphan boy to help Matthew with the farming of their homestead, Green Gables. Their intent was misunderstood, and they were sent a little girl --one Anne Shirley, instead. Epic-ness ensues.

BFF Charm: Y to-the- A to-the- Y

I was fortunate enough to have read the first book before the movie came out, and already felt that Anne was my bosomest friend. Her imagination, her attitude, her force of will and her terrific temper resonated so deeply with me that I felt we could have been sisters (and reading her heavily influenced the development of those characteristics in myself --for better or worse). I found Anne at a time when my mother was trying to get me to branch out from reading horse and dog stories, and to be honest, I was loathe to pick up the book, due to my great dislike for the bevy of 'Christian books for young girls' that had been thrust upon me --books about sweet little girls who always made the right decisions and kept God in their hearts first, with obeying their faultless parents, second.

BUT, you guys! BUT, Anne was NOT like those other girls! She was like me! She had a ridiculously strong imagination, (even though that was considered somewhat sinful) and said things she shouldn't, and sassed and held grudges and wasn't always sincere. In other words, she felt REAL and WONDERFUL, and I GOT her! Anne made me laugh with her at her silliness (although I would have to be sure she knew I wasn't laughing AT HER --at her) and angry right alongside her at the injustices one sometimes endures at the hands of adults.

AND she made me wish I had red hair. I longed to console her and commiserate with her. I will summarize by saying that NO OTHER character more greatly influenced little Jenny than Anne Shirley.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe's names shall forever be written together with a big 'take notice' above them on the walls of my heart. Even though they don't ACTUALLY get together in this first book, every time Anne resolutely ignores Gilbert, and each time I read that he picked up the rose that fell out of her hair, slipping it into his lapel, or whenever she slips, saying "Gil- some of the other kids at school..." --I get a thrill that can only be described as pure, unadulterated swoon.

Talky Talk: L.M. Montgomery Ain't Nothin' To @#$* With

I re-read this book so many times between the ages of 10 and 13 (and ATE THAT S#@* UP! --apart from Ms. Montgomery's penchant early on in the book for describing how both Marilla and Rachel Lynde spoke as 'ejaculating'. That was just weird, and made me feel real embarrassed.) but hadn't actually picked it up again since then. As an adult, I may have viewed the rambling prose of Ms. Montgomery with a more critical eye, but she still made me laugh and sigh, and had me reading through tears more than a few times.

Montgomery holds the honor of having some of my favorite quotes of all time, including this one, that comes in at number 1:

Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet.

Bonus Factor: Orphans

This book (along with many others) made me long to be an orphan, so that I could overcome desperate times and finally find the family who would love me and live happily ever after!

It could also be one of the major reasons that I have always wanted to adopt my children rather than birth them.

Bonus Factor: PEI

Prince Edward Island! It's kind of like England! But closer!

Bonus Factor: Kickass Parents

Marilla and Matthew pretty much make me cry every time they are on the page from about half-way through the book until the end. When they realize that it was them that needed that little girl in their lives and not the other way around... I'm getting choked up just writing about it.

Bonus Factor: Academic Competition

Seriously, why don't more books feature academically competitive girls? Yes, some boys might be afraid of you if you're smart, but really? Who gives two shits? I'd love to see a generation of young girls whose power is in their brains, not written as 'juicy' across their bums.

Casting Call:

Okay, I'm going to go ahead and say it. I think the CBC's television movie adaptation of this book is the best movie adaptation, ever. (A Room With A View is a close, close second.) So why mess with perfection?

Jonathan Crombie and Megan Follows as Gilbert and Anne

Also, seeing this picture makes me realize just how much my teenaged self (and, um, current self, too) was inspired fashion-wise by Anne's outfits when she became a teacher!

Relationship Status: I'll Never Have Another Bosom Friend...I Couldn't Love Anybody As I Love This Book

Um, have you guys guessed by now how much I LURVE this book? How much a part of the very fibers of my being this book is? How much input this book had in forming my person? We truly are the best of bosom friends, and I have thoroughly enjoyed our reunion this week. I will continue reading the rest of the series, to continue to share my love with all of you. And I'm so excited, because --confession!-- I never finished the series when I was a young! (I got bored after Anne and Gilbert got married, so I just re-read the first ones over and over.) Now I'll get to finally read them, for you!

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.