I’m a bit behind on my reading challenge (what a surprise), but November was Young Adult month and I decided to go with Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I have lied so viciously about this book and series. I grew up loving the Megan Follows miniseries, and when they announced a new one in production I got very excited! I bill myself as a huge fan of AoGG, and yet I have never read a single book.
I did actually own the first book in the series for most of my life (much like I Capture the Castle), which makes all of this even worse. When I picked that copy up to dive in, I saw exactly how far I had gotten the first time I tried to read it. I also noticed my wonderful John Hancock on the cover page, which I can tell based on my handwriting evolution that I was in maybe fifth or sixth grade when I got this book. That would have been the best time for me to read it, I think. But nope.
It took me longer than expected to get through AoGG. I loved the characters, the beautiful setting, the fun in comparing it to the miniseries I loved, but honestly it felt like a bit of a slog. I was having a conversation with a coworker at the library about how it’s stressful for both of us to read short stories because we go through the emotional stress of reading a book over again for each story. It’s hard to explain what exactly that is, but she and I understood each other and that’s all that matters. I felt this way about AoGG I realized, because each chapter was just like a little vignette. I kept reading and reading waiting for the next major plot point to carry me through the book, but this isn’t that kind of book. It’s more of a beautifully painted picture of a young girl’s adolescence that gently rolls through the years. It mirrors real life in a very lovely way, but that made it hard for me to read. There was a lot of anxiety involved.
What was nice, however, was that it was a comforting look at a simpler life during a month where mine was kind of turning upside down. We had our election. It went not the way I planned or voted for it to go. Our political and social system exploded kind of. And I was still dealing with some family deaths and changes that were not pleasant. Anne was so delightful in her simplicity, and it was refreshing to spend time with a character whose priorities are daydreaming, treating her friends well, and working hard to make her family proud. It is for those reasons that I think I would have benefited from reading this book greatly at 12. I was very much like Anne growing up, but then in high school I lost my focus and was not as good to my friends, as faithful to my daydreams, or as devoted to working hard. I wish I had been! Anne might have been that positive role model that poked at the back of my brain as I grew!
Well, I can’t do anything about that now, but reading AoGG has helped me to decide to prioritize my life differently in 2017. I don’t have many New Year’s Resolutions, but they are basically to spend more time on myself by myself doing things that are good for me, consciously being a better friend and family member, and working hard for a better future (like saving more money, doing well at my job, becoming more politically active). I might have had a hard time getting through AoGG, but I did still appreciate it and enjoy it. Some of my favorite parts of the miniseries are still my favorite parts when reading the book. That includes when Anne gets Diana drunk by accident (I always loved that scene so much) and when Anne dyes her hair green. One particular scene that I loved so much more than the miniseries was when Matthew went to go get the fabric for the fancy dress he wanted to give Anne for Christmas. Oh my god I laughed so hard. Poor Matthew!
Despite my difficulties, I will absolutely be moving on with the series. I love the characters and the world so much. This is such an interesting time in history, right before the modern era we recognize begins to take real form, and I love seeing a window into that. The fashion is also a favorite of mine, and Anne’s obsession with the puffed sleeves is adorable. My 12-year-old self is greatly sympathetic. But I found that as I kept reading AoGG, I began enjoying it more. I then realized it was because I enjoyed her older more than when she was a kid. I also enjoyed the later miniseries episodes as a whole over the earlier ones. So I will absolutely be picking up Anne of Avonlea in the future!
The last month of 2016 is, of course, December, which is mystery/thriller for the Shameful Book Club. This December I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie! I love Christie so much, and yet I haven’t read nearly enough of her work, including this incredibly well known and popular novel of hers. I read it and loved it, so the post will be up very soon! I also tried out a new app called BookIt, which I will discuss more in depth next post. In the interest of transparency, I am actually caught up in my reading, just not my posting. This current month (January) is humor. My first pick of 2017 is a good one, and a shameful one. It’s Princess Bride. There. I said it. I’ve never read this hilarious classic. Read with me as we try to get through this slightly nightmarish month!