Summary: Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to adopt a boy to help on their farm, Green Gables. But instead of a boy, a spirited, red-headed, orphan girl named Anne Shirley is waiting at the train station when Matthew arrives. Matthew brings her home despite the mix-up, and Anne quickly finds a place in both of their hearts with her bumbling yet earnest and ultimately endearing ways. Anne’s gradual growth into an accomplished young woman brings Marilla and Matthew more joy than frustration, and in the end it is clear that this unlikely trio has become a family.
Number of Pages: 329
Age Range: 13-18
Review: What does one say about the most iconic teen book in Canadian culture?
When I was young, Anne of Green Gables was about subtle romance. Anne and Gilbert’s fraught relationship kept me interested because I knew they were meant to be together.
But today’s re-reading surprised me, because this time I found myself focusing on the family aspect. Marilla and Matthew are siblings that have never married. For one it was because of being stubborn, and for the other it was because of being shy. But Lucy Maud Montgomery shows us that both are capable of a deep love when it comes to accepting and raising Anne Shirley, the girl who was never supposed to be theirs. Montgomery’s tale is chiefly about growth and love as Anne grows into a young woman, Marilla and Matthew grow into their roles as parents, and the three grow into a loving family together. Anne of Green Gables showed us back in the early 1900s that families don’t have to be traditional to work.
Intermixed is a little bit of romance, a lot of imagination, and the fiesty, unforgettable character of orphan girl, Anne Shirley, and the result is a book that has become part of the fabric of our culture for over one hundred years now. I wonder if there is something precise that gives this book its staying power, but maybe it’s just the fact that I can’t imagine my childhood without it, and I know there are many others who feel the same.
I listed the age range as 13-18 because part of the beauty of this book is that there is something for everyone.
Memorable Quotes: I think of this book more in scenes than in quotes.
Some of my favourite scenes are:
When Anne smashes the slate over Gilbert Blythe’s head.
Anne and Diana trying to sleep in the spare room.
Matthew buying Anne a new dress.
Anne’s expression of her commitment to taking care of Marilla.
Anne and Gilbert walking home together as friends.