3 Jan 2015

Reread 2015: Anne of Avonlea

This is my very first re-read review for the Reread Challenge 2015, hosted by Hannah and Kelly! While I absolutely adore Anne of Green Gables, it's the only book in the series that I've read more than once (and up until recently, the only book in the series that I owned multiple a copy of). Despite having read Anne of Avonlea before, it's been a very long while since I read it, and went in thinking that it would be about a three star read - about average, as sequels usually are. I am so happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised and it was every bit as good as I remembered!

First published: 1909
Country of Origin: Canada
Pages: 352

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I first read Anne of Avonlea when I was in high school... year seven or eight, I think. I borrowed it from my school library and absolutely devoured it. 

 I actually didn't remember a whole lot going in. I remembered Anthony Pye (because who can forget a Pye?) and Anne's dismay about whipping him, and I remembered Mr Lynde getting sick and Marilla asking Rachel Lynde to move in with her so Anne can go off to college, and I remembered the whole Paul Irving/Miss Lavender Lewis plot. Davy and Dora somehow managed to completely slip my mind, though!

 It's been so long since I've read the books, and I've always loved Anne of Green Gables. Forever jealous of Anne Shirley's red hair, and finding her ever-so-relatable, Tundra Books' re-release of the books in hardcover was the perfect excuse I needed to dive back in to Avonlea!

 To be honest, I have an issue with Davy Keith. Or rather, I have an issue with the attitudes towards Davy Keith. He is deemed to be more interesting than his twin sister, Dora, because he is forever getting into mischief and has enunciation issues. Dora is very prim, proper and unobtrusive, doing everything she is told and never having to be shown how to do something twice. However, Davy is also deliberately cruel to his sister, doing things like locking her in a barn and refusing to let her out (without food) or tell anybody where she is because he thinks the commotion will be funny (and then he gets in trouble for telling a falsehood, because apparently he doesn't know any better) or dragging her into a pigpen because she won't make mud pies with him. With Anne so often mentioning how love-starved her childhood was until she came to Green Gables, I must admit that I did find it a little troubling that she would so openly favour Davy over Dora. There is a lovely passage where Anne tells Davy that she loves Paul because he is Paul and she loves Davy because he is Davy - in other words, they are very different children and she therefore loves them in different ways. It would be lovely if Anne (and Marilla) could love Davy because he is Davy and love Dora because she is Dora, but in the end Dora just comes off looking overlooked and neglected. 

Gilbert Blythe, although barely in this book, is swoon-worthy, as always. Diana and Anne's friendship will most likely go down as one of my favourite fictional friendships in history. Anne is still Anne, in some ways: she still has her flights of fancy and an attachment to the places she creates in her imagination. She still gets into scrapes (although significantly less than she used to), and she still adores Diana Barry with every fibre of her being (and vice versa). Yet Anne seems a little too perfect, with her ability to be universally liked and to win over those who don't. Charlotta the Fourth tries to copy Anne's way of walking and talking and carrying herself. We are given hints of Anne's future development in the final chapter or two, but for the most part, Anne of Avonlea is a slightly more refined and polished Anne of Green Gables.

Yes, absolutely! Like Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea is such a charming little book. It's not just Anne who is charming - Paul and Miss Lavender and Charlotta the Fourth win your heart. Even Gilbert Blythe, who barely features in this one, still manages to make your heart melt. Now that I have my own copy (hurrah!) this will probably become a favourite to reread, especially with a certain red-headed niece of mine.

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