I was sitting at the round table at church with some young people over a Sunday meal at church. A young lady made a reference to Anne Shirley, and I said, “Anne who?” Her jaw dropped. You’ve never read Anne of Green Gables?!” I confessed I hadn’t. It was on my bookshelf at home, though, and I put it on my mental “To Read list. I finally got around to it, and I’m glad I did.
Anne Shirley is an orphan who is brought to the Cuthbert home by mistake. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, elderly brother and sister, are looking for a young boy to help around the farm, but the orphanage sends Anne instead. She is almost sent back, but is so crestfallen at the prospect that they pity and keep her. Most of the book is taken up with Anne’s antics and escapades, from which she learns to grow up, and Marilla learns to parent. The parenting is the more important, it seems. The moral seems to be that for girls growing up there are certain things they must and will learn, and for adults there are some things to learn about parenting that they must, but don’t necessarily learn. The lessons are quite good, though. “Folks that has brought up children know that there’s no hard and fast method in the world that’ll suit every child. But them as never have think it’s all as plain and easy as Rule of Three – just set your three terms down so fashion, and the sum’ll work out correct. But flesh and blood don’t come under the head of arithmetic…” Add in some small town busybodies and romance, and it’s a cute little story. Some of the writing is a bit formulaic. Each chapter starts with a paragraph of rhetorical flourish describing nature, moves on to some action or event, and closes reflecting on that event. But all in all a good read for an 8 year old girl like mine.