4 Jan 2015

Reread 2015: Anne of the Island

I read this book as part of the Reread Challenge 2015, hosted by Hannah and Kelly.

First Published: 1915
Country of Origin: Canada
Pages: 336

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I do know my own mind. The trouble is, my mind changes and then I have to get acquainted with it all over again.

I first read Anne of the Island when I was in high school (year seven or eight), and although I loved it, I haven't picked it up since (school libraries are a wonderful thing).

Anne of the Island is imprinted on my mind as the book where Anne finally admits that she's in love with Gilbert. Watching Anne refuse to admit it and it taking Gilbert having a near-death experience for her to realise is incredibly frustrating. I remembered Phil, mostly because she's hard to forget. In her own words, "Admit it: I make life way more fun. Imagine how boring the would be if everyone was always in deep, deadly earnest about everything." Phil's willing to tell Anne exactly how it is, pointing out to Anne that her notions of what romance entails is ridiculous (and therefore turning down Gilbert's marriage proposal because he didn't meet her ridiculous ideals was... ridiculous), and mocking Anne for getting upset over the fact that Gilbert's hanging around some other girl when Anne doesn't love him 'that way.' I remembered that Priscilla mad a reappearance, although I didn't remember Stella or Aunt Jamesina AT ALL (oops). Even though I knew that Gil would have typhoid fever and the outcome, I still stayed up late rereading this one, because of the experience after all. And Ruby Gillis. Poor, poor, Ruby Gillis. I still bawled my eyes out when she died.

 It's always fun to revisit a childhood favourite, especially when you haven't reread it in so long. I've actually been on a bit of an Anne of Green Gables kick lately. Between Green Gables Fables and finally purchasing copies of the 1985 and 1987 adaptations, I've just been wanting to reread the series.

 I love all of Anne's friends in this one. I love reading about her friendships with Diana and Priscilla and Phil and Stella, they just jump off the page. While I love Diana - she's loyal and kind and sweet - she does seem to do things solely because Anne suggests them. In this one she seemed to develop more of a personality and did lovely little things - like sending a copy of Anne's story in to a competition, and the funny stories she told Anne in her letters. Phil is wickedly funny and probably my favourite of the bunch. She's so much fun. And I love Priscilla and Stella and Aunt Jamesina and the relationship they have with Anne and Phil, and the hijinks they all get up to living together! Patty's Place is every bit as charming as Green Gables.

I love the descriptions of Anne's feelings about Gilbert - when he touched her hand and she could still feel it there hours later, when he stops writing letters to her and she's too afraid to ask Diana how he is, when her realising her feelings for Gilbert is compared to a book of Revelations.

I have to admit, Mrs Skinner's "jog along, black mare" was rather irritating. I can deal with Mrs Lynde's "that's what" and Davy Keith's "I want to know," but that catch phrase just got under my skin. It was always awkwardly placed, and just when I got into the rhythm of her story, out would come "jog along, black mare" and completely throw me off.

 Oh, yes! I gained so many new favourite characters during this reread, and there will probably be at least a few skimmings of the last few chapters, just because I love watching Anne come to the realisation that she loves Gilbert, and Gilbert asking Anne if he should propose to her again.

The next book I will be rereading as part of the Reread Challenge 2015 is Anne of Windy Willows (Anne of Windy Poplars in the US).

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