Tuesday, July 19, 2011

41. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Since we were in PEI and our next stop was Cavendish (the area upon which the Avonlea of the books is more or less based and now a major tourist center), I rushed through 20,000 Leauges and made sure I'd be reading Anne of Green Gables when I was there.  It turned out to be no problem to finish this book before we even left Cavendish, as it was a very enjoyable read that kept me turning the pages.

I can see why this book is so loved.  It really does grab you at the heart right from the beginning, when simple bachelor Matthew Cuthbert goes to the train station to pick up a male orphan to help with his farm chores and instead finds loquacious, imaginative Anne.  The rest of the book are short episodes of her slowly integrating into the community and the home of the Cuthberts, into their hears and of course into generations of readers.  What I really enjoyed about this book is how the uptight people are portrayed.  They aren't really all that uptight.  Usually, in western literature, whenever we have an overly artistic person in an uptight environment, the uptight people are super freaky and end up winning and we all have to feel tragic about it.  Here, the uptight people are actually okay in the end, but just a bit focused on practical matters due to their rough existence.  Ultimately, they are warm, accepting people and come to love Anne, sometimes despite and sometimes because of her foibles and differences when compared with the rest of the community.  I'm tempted to say that this element is what makes this book so Canadian.  It reminded me why I chose to lean on my Canadian side in life and politics, though I fear with the neo-con cultivation of selfish suburban values, that temperance and fair-mindedness is slowly being drained out of Canada.  We are being sickened by the same disease that is currently ripping America apart.  I recommend a re-read of Anne of Green Gables by every Ontarion that voted Conservative in the last election.

I can also totally understand the Japanese love for this world.  Anne's imagination is so animistic and colourful, where every living thing is actually some conscious creature, that it reminded me of a movie like Paprika or Spirited Away.

I will probably continue to read the series if the next one falls into my lap.  I'm tempted to watch the television series as well.

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