Saturday, January 25, 2014

Audiobook Review: Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Completed: January 22, 2014
Length: 10 Hours, 2 Minutes
Narrated by: Shelly Frasier

Synopsis from Audible:
When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables send for a boy orphan to help them out at their farm, they mistakenly get Anne Shirley, a feisty, independent but warm-hearted 11-year-old girl. Fortunately her sunny nature and quirky imagination win the hearts of her reluctant foster parents and everyone in the community. But not a day goes by without some memorable adventure or prank in the tragicomedy of her life. Early on she accidentally dyes her "cursed" red hair green. Later, in an effort to impress a neighbor, she bakes a cake, but with liniment instead of vanilla.
Lucy wrote that Anne is an extension of herself and represents the independent, "new" woman of the emerging 20th century. Individualistic, resourceful, and of a great humanitarian heart, she remains a great role model for girls and women today.
In 2014 I made it my goal to read all of Lucy Maud Montgomery's books. In some cases these are rereads, like with this book, but in other cases I am going to be reading them for the very first time. It's a great project for my TBR in that sense because I have had many of them sit on my shelves for years unread. A few years ago I purged all my classics because you can get them for free as e-books. I kept my Montgomery's, though. I remember when I was about 10 I collected the entire Anne series and read them all. It was university before I read Emily and I STILL haven't read that trilogy entirely.

Fiction or Non-Fiction? Genre?: Classic Canadian Fiction.

What Lead You to Pick up This Book: Well, the project all started because I saw a few bloggers rereading Montgomery last year and it made me want to revisit her. I am sort of reading in order of publication. The deviation from this is that she only wrote short stories between 1896 and 1908 when this book was published. I read short story collections slowly, so I will work them in as the year progresses. I chose to listen to Anne, instead of read it, because Shelly Frasier narrates, and I really liked her narration of Stiff by Mary Roach.

Summarize the Plot: It's pretty simple, really. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert make plans to adopt a little boy to help Matthew out with the farm. Wires get crossed, though, and a little girl is sent instead. Matthew was too shy to tell her they didn't want a girl and takes her back to Green Gables. At first Marilla had planned to send her back, but Anne wins them both over. The rest of the book is Anne growing up and having unique adventures.

What Did you Like Most About this Book? I love Anne. I know that some people like Emily better, and if I actually finish her books this year my opinion could sway, but ultimately Anne represents my childhood. I read the books, remember buying each book with my own money, and watched the shows. Anne is such a strong, vibrant character that even now I felt like I was just revisiting old friends. (It helps that I have actually been to Prince Edward Island and saw a lot of what is mentioned in the book.) I am pretty sure this series of books, with Marilla, Matthew, Diana, Gilbert, etc, has stayed with me more than anything else I have ever read.

What Did you Like Least? I have read this book so many times over the years that I can't really say anything bad about it.

What Did You Think of the Writing Style? What I always do with Montgomery... She is big on simplistic settings, morals, and the idea of right and wrong. It is definitely a view of her up-bringing and place in the world. To be honest, Montgomery is not a writer I would generally like at all. I just discovered her when I was young, I guess, and can overlook the syrupy writing that I would be less likely to ignore with other authors.

What Did you Think of the Main Character? I love Anne! She is vibrant, imaginative, and captivating. She definitely comes to life in these books. She is one of my favourite literary characters.

What Did you Think of the Ending? There are no cliffhangers in Montgomery's book. At the end everything is tied up nicely and if there was never another book you wouldn't really feel you were missing anything.

Thoughts on the Audio: Well, this was a hard one to get into in the beginning. First, Stiff and Anne of Green Gables are so completely unrelated that it was a bit weird at first. And then there was the fact that I have seen the mini-series too many times and had different voices in my head for the characters. At first I even thought the audio was a bad idea, but once I got going I was fine. I plan to listen to Anne of Avonlea, too, because Shelly Frasier narrates that one as well.

Overall, I am glad I tried out audio for something different. I still love this book and am glad it is not one of those books that loses something when you are older.


  1. I have never read the Anne books but they sound like such great classics. Actually the only Montgomery book I've read is The Blue Castle which is just such a delight. Love it!

  2. Well, as I've said a lot of times, I love Emily, but when Anne's your whole childhood, that's hard to beat! Emily of New Moon was my childhood in that way -- I read her books over and over, and I don't know if I even finished reading the whole series with Anne Shirley. I got bored of her once she got married. (I know, I'm the worst.)

  3. I'm an Anne fan myself. I like Emily but I like the side characters in Anne so much more. Gilbert, Matthew, and Marilla beat Teddy, Aunt Laura, and Aunt Elizabeth hands down in my opinion. Though like you I read Anne to pieces as a child and only discovered Emily as an adult.

  4. I love Anne of Green Gables. I grew up with her too, and she is one of my literary heroines. I read all of the Anne books growing up, and they often pop into my head at odd times. I'm delighted you are reading all of LM Montgomery's books this year!

    I also read all of the Emily series, which I seriously adored - as Emily is a writer, and I always wanted to be one too. It's a very different series, but just as good. Aunts Laura and Elizabeth are interesting, and then there is Emily herself, dark haired, and slightly fey. You have so many fun books to read this year! Magic for Marigold is one I read long ago, and haven't seen since. Enjoy your reading challenge, Kelly!

  5. Someday I will read these books. Maybe with my daughter.

  6. I started rereading this series a couple of years back, but I stalled once I'd worked my way through my library's audio collection. I really need to go back and finish, since I enjoyed revisiting them ever so much!

  7. I'd love to revisit this series myself. I read it for the first time in high school and loved it. Like you, I most identify with Anne.


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