Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Anne of the Island

****AS A NOTE OF REMINDER: The L.M. Montgomery Challenge, 2010, concludes this coming Sunday (the 31st). You need to make sure that all of your posts about Anne are linked up to the START POST! (Click on that link.) If you posted a review comment on any other post, it will not be included in the contest for the locket. I'll be selecting a winner from that particular post.****

If you are skipping my review because of a "spoiler" make sure you catch the links to other people's posts about this challenge below.

I finished reading Anne of the Island the other day and, while it's not my favorite in the whole series, it isn't my least favorite either. (My least favorite is Anne of Windy Poplars which I am trying to work my way through at the present moment.)

Reasons I like Anne of the Island:

1. Anne's world expands once again. It starts out small, at Green Gables, then encompasses her community (Anne of Avonlea) and then takes her to Redmond where she begins her years at college. As Anne's world grows, so does she.

2. Anne makes a new home at Patty's Place with three other girls who are fun and jolly.

3. Montgomery introduces her love of cats into the series in Anne of the Island which I consider quintessential Montgomery and so I'm glad that they are in there.

4. Gilbert.

Reasons I do not like Anne of the Island:

1. Anne's new friends lack the Diana quality. As Anne grows up, she realizes more and more that she can't hold on to the way things are. Things are always changing. She regrets it and yet she moves into it. But I have a hard time letting go of the past and of Diana. Diana's not gone exactly. She just gets married and starts moving in a different direction than Anne and so their ways begin to naturally part.

2. Anne starts calling everyone "dear." All her girlfriends are referred to as "dear." I HATE it when people address me with that term of endearment. I realize to some, pretty words like "dear" and "darling" etc. sounds dreadfully sincere. "Yes, dear, I would love to go out for a walk in the park." But to me, overuse of the word just makes it downright annoying and it's hard for me to take people seriously who dole out pet names right and left. Somehow it cheapens a relationship for me and makes me feel put down. (Maybe this makes sense to you and maybe it does not.) It feels -- patronizing is, I guess, what I'm trying to say. Don't ever call me "dear" please. I just hate that. And I wish Anne didn't give in to the urge. She'd have sounded more forthright and believable if she hadn't stooped. I don't know why Montgomery did that to Anne. Maud doesn't really strike me as the type who would go around "dear-ing" everyone to death. But for some reason - she did it with Anne and I find this mortifying and regrettable.

With all of that said, I liked addressing Anne of Avonlea by digging through quotes and I thought I'd do something similar with Anne of the Island. Here are a few quotes that really stuck out to me:

Marilla is cleaning out the old guest room so that Rachel Lynde can move into it. Anne is relaying to Diana what changes came over the room as Marilla cleaned it out:

"'So passes the glory of the world,'" concluded Anne, with a laugh in which there was a little note of regret. It is never pleasant to have our old shrines desecrated, even when we have outgrown them." (Chapter 1, Anne of the Island)

As humans, we're made to relate to one another and one of the ways we do that is through places and things. It's hard to see changes happen to the things and places we love in as much as it is hard to witness change in people themselves. It's humanity. It's beautiful. I like this poignant truth that Montgomery includes in her tale.

Now for two "LOL's" if you will:

Mrs. Lynde talking about the new minister:

"The one we have now is the worst of the lot. He mostly takes a text and preaches about something else. And he says he doesn't believe all the heathen will be eternally lost. The idea! If they won't all the money we've been giving to Foreign Missions will be clean wasted, that's what!" (Chapter 5)

Diana relates a story to Anne about dreadful Aunt Atossa:

"One time they had a minister in Spencervale who was a very good, spiritual man but very deaf. He couldn't hear any ordinary conversation at all. Well, they used to have a prayer meeting on Sunday evenings, and all the church members present would get up and pray in turn, or say a few words on some Bible verse. But one evening Aunt Atossa bounced up. She didn't either pray or preach. Instead, she lit into everybody else in the church and gave them a fearful raking down, calling them right out by name and telling them how they all had behaved, and casting up all the quarrels and scandals of the past ten years. Finally she wound up by saying that she was disgusted with Spencervale church and she never meant to darken its door again, and she hoped a fearful judgment would come upon it. Then she sad down out of breath, and the minister, who hadn't heard a word she said, immediately remarked, in a very devout voice, 'Amen! The Lord grant our dear sister's prayer!' (Chapter 11)

And lastly, on an interesting note, Anne is talking to Diana about writing a story and says the following:

"I'd like it to end unhappily, because that would be so much more romantic. But I understand editors have a prejudice against sad endings. I heard Professor Hamilton say once that nobody but a genius should try to write an unhappy ending.
And, "concluded Anne modestly, "I'm anything but a genius." (Chapter 12)

I know from reading about Montgomery's own life and opinion of the Anne-girl that she wanted to write unhappy endings every once in awhile. She also did NOT want to write as much about Anne as she ended up doing. But the public and editors demanded Anne and happiness and so Montgomery wrote it out that way for the masses. I, personally, enjoy the happy endings but I wonder if Lucy questioned her own abilities or was needling her editor with that particular quote.

The most admirable character in this book, in my opinion, is Gilbert. I won't copy out a kabillion quotes for you but I like the fact that Gilbert was a friendly guy, a hard worker, loyal and fun-loving and only ever had eyes for one girl with red hair and gray eyes. He's not the cad that you can't like and it's not so full of himself that he doesn't need you in the picture either. He's just happy. And sincere. And I like that. Even as Anne fumbles about, he remains steady and true and so, for my part, I think the winning character in Anne of the Island is not the title character, but the one who supports her in everything.


A few other reviews to check out:

Stephanie's Mommy Brain re-read Anne of Green Gables and didn't like her so much (as she used to). Sigh. (I forgave her, btw, and we've made up in e-mail land - ha!)

Abi and her daughter are reading Emily of New Moon together (so go egg them on so that Emily gets some air time around here)!

An Almost Unschooling Mom made PUFFED SLEEVES with her daughters! (You've got to go check out their craft!) I love it!!!


Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

I like Anne of the Island a lot--how could I not like Patty's Place? :-)

But I have a confession.

I like Anne less and less as she ages. By the time she marries and has children, she's almost not even there.


Elisabeth said...

Oh! This is one of my favorites from this series! Patty's Place always made me feel so peaceful.

Lisa Spence said...

I too liked Anne of the Island but I'm with Amy: I found Anne less and less interesting the later the book...

Stephanie Kay said...

Um... my review of the books 2 & 3 publishes tomorrow. Promise you'll still like me?!

I would love to have a "Patty's Place" with some of my real life and bloggy friends. It would be SO much fun!!!

Barbara H. said...

I don't know where you live, Carrie, but down South here people use terms of endearment a lot, "hon" being the most common, though someone at a drive-through called me "Boo" the other day. ???

Anne wasn't from Southern USA, but it was a different time and probably didn't sound patronizing then.

Can't wait to read these all again!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

I like Amy's comment. I'm almost through Rainbow Valley, which I'm loving, but I have to admit, I'm not sure I care for Anne - she seems aloof, and even self-centered, at times. Maybe, I need to read Windy Poplars, after all.

Thanks for the mention, though :) We are having fun with Green Gables.

Carrie said...

Stephanie's Mommy Brain - You are testing all decent bounds! ;D haha! Of course, I'll still like you.

Barbara H - I'm from the south originally and heard a lot of "honey" and "doll" etc. and it just always, always struck me as overly cheesy. It grates on me as being not very genuine. I don't know how to explain it, really, except that I can never take a person very seriously who address people that way. (To me, it's like saying everyone in the world is your dearest friend. How is that even possible?!) I wonder how many "honey's" and "dear's" they actually lay claim to and my brain can't handle it...

But then, I've never been fond of nicknames either. I've only ever had three that I could stand.

#1 - My mom called me Carebear which was shortened to "Care" with age and strangely I never noticed to mind.

#2 - A best friend of mine used to call me Carrie-girl and I didn't mind that because it was an Anne reference and she knew it pleased me and didn't annoy me. =)

#3 - My very dear friend calls me "Carrie Carrie" which is not offensive at all. It's friendly repetition and not overdone. I like it because I know she really cares about me and likes me as a friend and has her little way of saying so just by saying my name...twice. =D

Otherwise, I'm mostly just opposed to calling me anything other than plain ol' unromantic Carrie. And if you say my name while looking me in the eye with sincerity at the same time - all the better!

Beth said...

Anne of the Island isn't my favorite, but it ranks way up there because that is where Anne finally realizes that she loves Gilbert (that is the romantic side of me coming out).

I also love Patty's place and the camaraderie of all the girls, so much better than when she was at Queen's, plus Philippa Gordon is a total hoot!

I also wonder if the "dear" thing was a popular craze at the time the book was written or during a period of time in Montgomery's life--kind of like "awesome" was a popular saying when I was in high school.

Reading about Anne is making me want to dig all of them out again. Thanks for the great review!

Wendy said...

Anne of the Island IS my favorite (love college, love Patty's Place, love the funny bits, love the tragedy when Gilbert proposes), but I really enjoyed this post. I never thought much about how Anne says "dear" so much, but I think I read it sort of the opposite of you--Anne is so OVER-sincere, OVER-loving, especially as she grows older... I thought "dear" was used to show how VERY VERY CLOSE she was to her friends--rather than used casually the way some people use "hon" (I hate that, too).

Kristi said...

I should reread the Anne books sometime. I enjoyed them when I was young, but Emily of New Moon was my first L.M. Montgomery love, and still my favorite.

Janet said...

I'm so enjoying your posts on Anne.

I think like some others I like Anne best when she's younger and rough around the edges. I tried reading Rainbow Valley recently, but she seemed too perfect for me.

Framed said...

Annd of the Island was one of my favorites. I guess I didn't love Diana as much as others plus Patty's Place was magical.

morninglight mama said...

Oh dear. I know, dear, how much you'll scream if I once again state that I've never read any of the Anne stories, so I'll refrain from upsetting you, sweetie pie.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, hon!

(Will I find that I'm blocked from reading your blog now??) :)

Barbara H. said...

Once again I had to come back and reread this after posting my own review.

I didn't notice "dear" so much -- that seems to me to go with a certain era -- but I did notice "honey" and it grated on me. These days among women it's used almost sarcastically, though I know it wasn't meant that way in the books, but it was hard for me not to read a condescending tone to it.

I appreciated Gilbert's constancy but didn't understand why he would let everyone think he was engaged to Christine when he never was. I don't think it was to hurt Anne. Maybe it was so that no one would bug him and Christine abut dating others because it looked like they were a couple? I don't know.

I enjoyed this book. Maybe not as much as the very first one and the one about Anne's first year of marriage, but I liked it a lot. It brought back a lot of memories of college years.

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