Book Review: Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

Title: Anne of the Island
Series: Anne of Green Gables #3
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Year: 1915 (ed. 1983)
Pages: 272
Dates Read: March 17-24, 2017
Format: Paperback
Genres: CH, R, YA
Rating: ★★★
Note: Slightly spoilery.  If you haven’t read the first two books or seen any adaptation of these novels, you may not want to read this review, but there’s nothing in here that could ruin them for you.

Summary: The novel follows Anne Shirley on her academic journey at Redmond College, where she makes new friends, while keeping and losing some old ones, and develops into young adulthood.  And, if she were to be asked about the matter, there may be a few too many proposals for Anne’s liking.
Favorite Quote: “She felt very old and mature and wise—which showed how young she was.”
A note before we begin: Anne is very important to me.  Perhaps the most important character in all of literature in my heart.  This is because of the time I discovered her.  I first encountered Anne when I was eleven years old, in sixth grade.  My friends had the movies on VHS, and I borrowed them.  Inevitably, I fell in love.  I related to that bright, spirited little girl so much.  No, I’m not an orphan.  I’m not Canadian.  I don’t even have red hair.  But still, in Anne there is such a love of literature, writing, and education that seeped down into the depths of my being.  I had always done well in school, but for some reason there was this stigma that doing well, or being nerdy, was not the thing to do.  “Reading books is boring,” my friends and classmates would tell me.  I was unfortunately influenced by this mentality.  I cut back on my recreational reading and played video games more than I even thought about books.  I don’t have anything against video games in particular, but they can never compare to books in my heart.  When I listened to Anne reciting Tennyson, something stirred in me that had been dormant for far too long.  I saw in this little orphan girl a connection—a kindred spirit, if you will.  I started reading for fun again.  When we went on field trips, I took books with me and even bought them in gift shops.  In middle and high school, I wrote poetry for an annual competition between schools in our area and sometimes won.  In my senior year of high school, I took an English test in the same competition and won, both regional and state.  Later, in college, I wrote a short story that was published in our art and literary magazine.  Now I have a bachelor’s degree in English literature and work in a library.  Perhaps I would have accomplished all of these things anyway, without Anne.  But I doubt it.  Sometimes, you encounter a story or a character and know, without a doubt, that nothing and no one could ever replace them.  Anne can never be replaced.
Review: For me, even though I love the story and the elements that make it up, this book was a little disappointing.  I already love the story because of the 1980s movies, but this book just felt slow to me.  There were quite a few parts where I just skipped forward a bit because I didn’t care about the characters involved.  It’s funny, though, because this is my favorite part of the story so far, when Anne and Gilbert finally (officially) get together.  That final scene plays over and over in my mind even now.
So, despite being disappointed in how slowly the novel read for me, I still quite enjoyed it.  There are, of course, places and characters who never even get a mention in the films, so they were new and interesting to me, which made this a more enjoyable read.  Just thinking about it makes me want to start rewatching them right now.
I look forward to reading the five remaining books in the series, although I will take my time with them.  I approach this story and these characters when I’m ready and in the right mood for them, lest I spoil the reading experience.

You can find this in print at The Book Depository, on the Kindle at Amazon, or at your local library. You can read more about it and find similar books on Goodreads.

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