Apr 6, 2008
The Return of Anne-girl
I don't mean to say that I can compete with the Japanese, but I am a tremendous Anne of Green Gables fan. Have been, ever since a friend told me at age 16" "Read this book. You'll like her - she's a lot like you." I did. And she was. I went on to read every thing Lucy Maud Montgomery had written, whether it was about Anne or not, and was pretty much thrilled by it all.
Lots of my friends know this, so when it was announced that a "prequel" was being written, in honor of the 100th year anniversary of AOGG's publication, they began asking what I thought.
What I thought was, "I'm not sure I WANT to read a prequel." Two unrelated episodes kept me from it, at first: when the third PBS Anne movie came it, it was so god-awful and different from those first two lovely movies, I felt wounded. Also, I had eagerly dived into the Peter Pan sequel last year only to find I could NOT finish it. So, hoping to keep my Anne memories intact, I didn't intend to read it.
Then fate intervened, and my good friend Lisa handed me the galley of the book and said "I want to know what you think." Not intending to read it was one thing, but when it's sitting right here in front of me...OK, so I opened it up. And pretty much didn't put it down until I finished it.
It's wonderful! Budge Wilson did a magnificent job pulling various clues and threads from the Montgomery books, and weaving them together to imagine what Anne's life was like before she came to live with Matthew and Marilla: her lovely parents, their tragic death, her various "foster homes"...but she also imagines new characters, and Anne's connections to them, that absolutely ring true. She really captures Anne's voice, and her descriptions read uncannily like Montgomery's. What a tribute the book is.
I can't imagine that anyone who loves Anne wouldn't like this book - it's as if we discovered an unpublished Anne manuscript in Montgomery's attic. By the end of the book, all I wanted to do was dive right into the originals and read them all through again.