I just finished reading Anne of Avonlea for the L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge hosted by Carrie at Reading to Know. Last year I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time (linked to my review).
Returning to Anne was lovely. I won't post a full review, because most of you are familiar with Anne, and if you aren't, the quotes below will give you a taste. I will say that if you are a fan of Jan Karon's Mitford, or Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie, and you've never read Anne of Green Gables, I say "Get thee to a library!"
As I read, I kept dwelling on what was so delightful -- about the character of Anne and about L.M. Montgomery, who created her thoughts and the other characters and the observations that they make.
I read this on my Kindle (for free--wooohoo!), so I don't have page numbers for my quotes, but I believe that it's in the public domain anyway:
"Anne, walking home from school through the Birch Path one November afternoon, felt convinced afresh that life was a very wonderful thing."
"'What a nice month this November has been!' said Anne, who had never quite got over her childish habit of talking to herself."
That's what I mean -- Anne, her whole world, and the thoughts she expresses are just warm, comforting inspiring.
I marked other quotes on marriage, childhood, and childrearing, and I think that I'm just going to have to devote another post to that tomorrow.
I also posted my thoughts on sequels at 5 Minutes for Books today. Check out my On Reading column about The Comfort of Series.
As for 11-year-old Amanda, who tried to join me again, she did like Anne of Green Gables (linked to her review), but she found Anne of Avonlea to be "boring." She liked the start of it, and we both laughed over Mr. Harrison (as we read it separately). I loved how she said that there was no kindred spirit in him, because I knew that she would probably regret that rash judgment.
Amanda read about 100 pages, and then abandoned it for good. However, I really thought that she would enjoy meeting Miss Lavender, so I told her that she could skip the middle, and I'd tell her where to pick back up. As I leafed through the book (we checked out a "real book" from the library for her to read), and decided that she would enjoy Diana and Anne's preparations to meet Miss Morgan, and then the later encounter as well, which occur before Miss Lavender comes on the scene. So I moved her bookmark about 50 pages forward. She says that she's going to read it, but it still leaves about 150 pages, so we'll see if she does.
I think that she can definitely revisit Anne in a few years, when the narrative style and nostalgia will hopefully be more appealing to her. I've no doubt that she'll still like finding out "what vain little Anne will do next" (a quote from her review of Anne of Green Gables).