Tuesday 13 May 2014

Recommendation: Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

Title: Anne of Green Gables
Author: LM Montgomery
Obtained: Bought for Kindle
Why I read it: Recommended by Stacey
Genre: Children's classic
Very highly recommended

This has been on my list of books to get around to sooner or later for what’s probably most of my life. It's always been one I though I'd read eventually, but never got round to it.However after Stacey from prettybooks recommended it to me a few months ago by writing a fabulous guest post, I grabbed it on Kindle. Then, as I do, I promptly forgot all about it. I was reminded by her awesome My Indie Bookshop, which features 12 MG reads, 6 of which I’ve already read and loved, that she has possibly the best taste in books of anyone I’ve ever met, so I decided I should give it a try. I picked it up at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon – and read it in pretty much one sitting, stopping only to phone my sister to tell her “Read Anne of Green Gables, don’t wait 32 years like I did!” and to tweet the best non-spoilery sentences. (The joys of reading something out of copyright and where a lot of people are already familiar with what you’re enjoying!)

And there were a LOT of ‘best’ sentences. I tweeted about 50 in all, and am still stunned by how well LM Montgomery’s prose reads over a century after the book was first published. I was charmed and delighted by Anne from one of her early lines ‘’Mrs Thomas told me that God made my hair red ON PURPOSE, and I’ve never cared about Him since”, followed a bit later on by her plaintive ‘’But it’s a million times nicer to be Anne of Green Gables than Anne of nowhere in particular, isn’t it?’’ Despite the old and rural setting which may seem quaint to modern eyes, the characters and relationships are still vivid, fresh and will strike a chord with any readers – particularly the love and the sense of family that grows between Anne and the couple who take her in, Marilla and Matthew. As well, Anne is a really wonderful central character – smart, funny, and with a great gift for language and a brilliant imagination which combine beautifully to allow her to give us some fabulous descriptions.

I have a soft spot for books like this which take us through a character’s entire teenage years and it’s superb to see her develop from the headstrong, impetuous girl she is at the start to someone different and more mature – without losing any of the charm those attributes give to her – by the end.

It’s wildly funny at times – Anne giving Diana ‘raspberry cordial’ which isn’t what either girl thinks it is is hilarious! It’s also exciting in parts, romantic in others and truly heartbreaking in at least one chapter, which nearly made me cry. (The romance is an interesting part, actually – I know who Anne’s leading man is – I may be good at avoiding spoilers but there’s some things EVERYONE knows – and I was expecting him to feature more heavily; I found it really enjoyable that the focus was so strongly on friends and family here.)
Overall, this is an incredibly strong recommendation. Massive thank you to Stacey for her book-pushing skills!

Title: Valentine Joe

Author: Rebecca Stevens
Obtained: Review copy for The Bookbag
Why I read it: War story, MG.
Genre: MG time-travel
Very highly recommended

Short but massively powerful, with great characters and an amazing ending. Review over at The Bookbag.

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