Friday, December 01, 2023

85. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Mongomery (reread)

So this is my second time reading this Canadian classic.  This time I read it to my daughter.  It is an ideal night-time reading book as it is divided into fairly short chapters, each of which is an episode of its own.  I don't have much to add on this second reading beyond my first-time feelings.  It holds up and maybe even gets stronger on a re-reading (also really helps to have a listener who one hopes is absorbing the goodness).  I teared up several times and was basically crying at the last chapter (to the somewhat sympathetic but mainly derision of my tween daughter who is in her anti-sentimental phase (at least I hope it's a phase).

One thing that struck me on the second reading is how powerful and important Anne's relationship with Matthew is and yet how actual little real interaction they have in the book.  Their relationship is basically static and wonderful.  I don't quite know what to make of this but when I think of it, Anne has no direct relations with any other adult male either.  Maybe this is just that we are in a woman's world here, maybe something deeper about men being an unchanging external force which Anne's spirit reacts to or elides.  

This edition was published in the states and has a very nice afterword by Jennifer Lee Carrell which has an opening sentence that captures the book very well: 

...a bright dream of paradise:  not an ecstatic vision of heaven but a gentle glow of domestic happiness hedged with just enough shadow to make it precious.

Anyhow, a classic and deservedly so. Read it.

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