Thursday, April 24, 2008

My First Book Review: Before Green Gables

Well, amigas (and David), I finished the book a few hours ago. Then, my family insisted on eating, then I had some things to do. It's good I had the time, though, to settle down a bit and see what it is I actually thought about the book. I've never done a book review before... so bear with me.

Before Green Gables
by Budge Wilson

This prequel to Anne of Green Gables is a tale of my favorite wordy redheaded Canadian orphan before she came to live with Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. Here's the 'official' description:

A must-read for generations of book lovers. This remarkable, and heart-warming prequel to the classic Anne of Green Gables was specially authorized by L.M. Montgomery's heirs to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of the original novel.

Before Green Gables is the story of Anne Shirley's life before her arrival at Green Gables-a heartwarming tale of a precocious child whose lively imagination and relentless spirit help her to overcome difficult circumstances and of a young girl's ability to love, learn, and above all, dream.

Published in 1908, L. M. Montgomery's coming-of-age classic Anne of Green Gables has enchanted generations of readers, both children and adults. The story of the spunky red-haired orphan from Prince Edward Island is known to millions, and copies of the eight titles in the series have never gone out of print.

But when readers first meet Anne, she is eleven, and has just been sent from an orphanage to meet her new family. No one ever learned the events of Anne's life before she arrived at Green Gables.

Until now.

For the millions of readers who devoured the Green Gables series, Before Green Gables is an irresistible treat; the account of how one of literature's most beloved heroines became the girl who captivated the world.

Here's what I thought:

Overall: LOVED IT
I really actually enjoyed this book, would recommend it to others, and might even read it again.

Emotional Toll: EXHAUSTING
I cried at least 5 times, at least once out loud. This shouldn't be a shocker to anyone who knows Anne. I was so dumb. I fell in love with her parents as they got ready to welcome their baby. I even KNEW what was going to happen next. Hello... she's an ORPHAN! This couldn't end well. And it didn't. Still, I cried. I cried each time Anne's heart broke, which you could take as a sign of a well-written book, or you could take as a warning to be emotionally stable when you pick it up to read. You could also conclude that I am a total sappy crybaby. That is also true. I kept reminding myself that what Anne doesn't know is that Gil is growing up too, right there on PE Island, and that she truly would be loved right- eventually.

Christian Viewpoint: MEH.
Because I understand that Anne comes to Green Gables "next door to a perfect heathen," I am willing to see her inaccurate thoughts about who God is as appropriate to the story. However, the children's ministry girl in me wanted to burst in to the story and let Anne know about the hope and friendship she could have in Christ... poor Anne is robbed of even that. It's too bad she couldn't have met a nice old lady who would pray with her or something. *sigh* but this is not that story. This is the sad stuff that built up to Anne being on a train to Avonlea. And that's good. (that's what I kept telling myself anyway)

I think that the author took great steps to make the story accurate to the books. However, because I am a BIG fan of the movies (don't be ashamed, David... you aren't alone), I had to take issue with the fact that what happens with Mrs. Hammond in the films does not match what happens in this book. That's really the only thing that really stood out to me. I loved this little Anne almost as much as I loved her when I first met her at the train depot with Matthew. I wanted to scoop her up and protect her, tell her about Jesus, and never make her lift a finger again. I loved all the mentions of words that she learned, and little things
like her learning to use a bottle of ipecac, (foreshadowing clues, I suppose is what I mean to say here) that reminded me that I know this girl, that I know who she grows up to be, and that this was not a story of tragedy, but of hope!

In Conclusion: Don't worry, Halfmoon Girl. It's not too sad. It's just epically tragic, and dramatic... just like Anne herself. We know that she will eventually have Matthew, and Marilla, and Diana, and that she will have puffed sleeves, and win the Avery scholarship. We also know about Gil- so as long as we can keep that in sight, it's not so hard to keep yourself in check. We know that all these things have to happen for Anne to become the girl we know and love. There's hope right beneath the surface all along.

Just be sure to have tissues on hand.

So God has given both His promise and His oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us.
Hebrews 6:18-20a


Jenn said...

I loved this review - great job. My heart was sad for Anne but you made me laugh with "Hello... she's an ORPHAN!". I will have to borrow this from the library soon.

Tomorrow while I do laundry (shocked that I did not get it all done today?) I am going to watch all my Anne videos. I so need to upgrade and get the series on DVD.

Thanks for taking the time to do a book review! :o)

Shauna said...

Awesome review! I'll have to keep it in mind. Though, if they make the movie....*shrug*

Halfmoon Girl said...

Well, I almost cried just reading that! Great review. I am still undecided about reading it. I love the series- I am a happy endings girl and don't know that I want to go back to the beginning of her life. We'll see...

mer said...

Oh, thanks for your review. I didn't read it when I had it checked out from the library because I ran out of time, but I was partly nervous about this author possibly adding her voice the the original, and I wasn't sure what I thought about it.

I think I'll give it a go now!

Glad you enjoyed it, and wow, you read the entire book in one day? Impressive!

And hey, do you miss Gretchen too???

Becky said...

Families! You'd think they never get anything at all to eat, lol.

I'm going to put this one on my TBR wish list for sure. I love Anne...and if it took some tragic beginnings to mold and shape her into the lovable character that she became...I guess I can 'suffer' through it.

Deidre said...

Wow, great review. I'm putting this on my wish list.

His Girl said...


The Daily "B" said...

Great review. I had no idea they were coming out with a prequel. I love Green Gables and am going to visit Prince Edward Island someday... *fingers crossed*. =)

I am going to put this on my TBR list.

Cindy-Still His Girl said...

Ok, you've sold me. I didn't know if it would ring accurate! I'll read it but then have to follow up with the entire series again so I can get my happy endings. :)

Earen said...

How fun to read your review of this book. I'm a HUGE fan of the Anne movies and have loved them since I was little. Didn't know this book existed.

PJ said...

I haven't read Anne of Green Gables in . . . forever!!! I must now read the prequel AND re-read Anne!!! Life is so hard. Hee hee (No more home cooked dinners for us...I HAVE to read!)

blue-eyedchick said...

I love Anne! Your review definitely made me want to check out this book.:)

Tiffany Stuart said...

Thanks for your comment on Laced with Grace today about my Untamed post...

I see you are quite the reader. Good to know. I love finding new books. I'm more of a non-fiction reader though.

Have a great weekend!

Sing4joy said...

Great review. YOu could have another career on your hands!

Alana said...

What a great review. I'd put aside all my books right now to read that one! It sounds wonderful!!

Jenster said...

Sounds like a must have!!