Before Green Gables
by Budge Wilson
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:
Here's what I thought:
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.
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)
Authenticity: PRACTICALLY PERFECT
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.