Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anne of Ingleside

Anne of Green Gables, hailed by Mark Twain as the most lovable childhood character to be dreamed up in his time, is the one I most empathized with as a child, and carried with me into my adulthood. I am not completely sure whether or not I actually read the entire series, however. I remember getting bored by the love letters that went back and forth between Anne and Gilbert, and perhaps skipped over one or two titles in favor of the more exciting childhood escapades of Anne's children in Rainbow Valley.

Inspired by a post in Faith and Family on re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery, I went to my daughter’s bedroom where there are two copies of the series. One is the one that my mother purchased for me when I was her age. The other is the one I purchased for her, having misplaced some of the volumes of my own series. The essayist had suggested that one could get the most out of Anne’s character by reading about her at the stage in which one is in herself. So I picked up Anne of Ingleside, which is about Anne as a mother of six, married fifteen years like me. I chose the older copy because I liked the artwork better, and appreciate the feel of a well-loved paperback whose pages are in constant danger of falling out. I also did not want to risk damaging my daughter’s untouched volume while we were poolside.

Anne has a lovely visit at Green Gables, while Susan is at home crocheting “mysterious booties”. I just love how her pregnancy is veiled in secrecy, in comparison with today’s irreverent celebrity “baby bump” shots. When she returns to Ingleside, the kids wonder why they are being sent away, one by one, to various relatives. Her poetic son Walter sneaks back home after his hostess’ children tease him that his mother is dying. Each of the children has some kind of escapade similar to one we all have experienced as children, but told in the most sympathetic and charming way. The story ends on their wedding anniversary, which Anne believes Gilbert has forgotten, imagining herself for a few whole hours to be a withering and unloved middle-aged woman. But of course she is not, and the joy of hearing those simple and tender words “I love you” transform her back into her Anne-ness.

Filled with wonderful descriptions of the natural beauty of Canada’s landscape and weather, this is a great read for August. Personally, following my own wedding anniversary and coming up on my next birthday, the timing could not have been better. I find it very fitting that my two-hundredth milestone post should be devoted to such a great author, and one I hope to emulate. Thank you, L.M. Montgomery, for your beautiful and unforgettable stories.

No comments: