Friday, August 12, 2011
Question about Anne
Sunshine has been making her way through the Anne series this summer and wants to start Anne of Windy Poplars. I have not read this far in the series myself so I am wondering if anyone can tell me if there are any issues to be concerned about in this book and the ones that come after. I would appreciate knowing about even the teeniest, tiniest concern for a sensitive girl so that I can check it out myself and forewarn her. Thanks in advance!
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It is available online http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks01/0100251h.html which is nice because you can search and find text. Katherine is a fairly unhappy character. There is discussion of writing love letters. I would suggest reading Rilla of Ingleside before deciding if you want your daughter to read it.ReplyDelete
Oh, the Anne books are so good! I've having a baby girl in October and can't wait to see her enjoy the world of Anne. I haven't read a few of the books recently but I seem to remember that (SPOILER) in Anne's House of Dreams, Anne and Gilbert lose a baby, either to miscarriage or just after birth. And in Rilla of Ingleside, a very beloved character dies and it takes place during World War I and so has some darker themes. I can't remember anything disturbing about Anne of Windy Poplars but I haven't read that one in several years. They're all so wonderful. Read them all if you get a chance!ReplyDelete
I can't remember anything. I'm not sure what you mean when you say "sensitive". The miscarriage (in Anne's House of Dreams), which I gather was rather late, was handled in that very vague way which doesn't give all the details but allows the characters their privacy. An immature reader might miss it entirely!ReplyDelete
I'd agree that Rilla contains some of the most "mature" subject matter, but even then, they're written so beautifully. One complaint that I heard by The Modern Mrs. Darcy (I think) was that Rilla is only loved for her beauty and she's very childish. Though the war does make her grow up!
You should read them! I've only read them as an adult, and I think they're hard enough that they shouldn't be attempted before 8th grade, but they're some of my very favorites.
Actually Anne's first baby is not a miscarriage, but the baby girl is born full term and dies a few hours later. So, I definitely would not read that right now - KWIM? My opinion is that you should space the books out to correspond to your daughters stage in life. She'll be able to enjoy them better. Although if she's already seen Anne through Redmond College and romance there, she should be fine with Windy Poplars. The last chapters of Anne of Ingleside concern middle aged marital angst on Anne's part, but the misunderstanding is cleared up in the end. Rainbow Valley is very delightful with the enjoyment and small drama of large family life. Rilla of Ingleside has some darkish elements - WWI, death which hits home (I won't spoil it) and a school teacher who has troubling visions. There is also more romance. The romance is innocent enough, but kind of shallow from a Christian perspective.ReplyDelete
The only other issue I can think of is in Rainbow Valley. There is talk of the children having their " little seances" (sp?) and lots of talk of ghosts and ghost stories. It all depends on how sensitive your reader is. Although the seances irk me, personally. Otherwise, I still enjoy reading Anne myself.ReplyDelete
Anne of the Windy Poplars was and is still one of my favorites of the Anne series. Most of the book is written in the form of letters between Anne and Gilbert while he is in medical school and she is teaching. It really shows the loveliness of their romance. This book spoke so much to my romantic heart and waiting for God's timing to be perfect. The frienships she has with her girlfriends too during this time is quite nice. They call each other on and support one another. A good read. Later books have issues to be read before hand by you, as mentioned by others.ReplyDelete
One more thing I remembered about Rilla of Ingleside: it's very heavy on the type of WWI propaganda popular at the time, often highly inaccurate (like the German Huns bayonetting babies) heavily anti-German, and oversimplying the conflict. So, it wouldn't be good to get your WWI history from the book, although it probably accurately portrays Canadian sentiment.ReplyDelete
Another thing I thought of last night - Montgomery is sort of like a mild Canadian version of the Bronte sisters with their belief in spiritualism. At least it seemed so to me. But she tells a good story.
We recently read all of the Anne books aloud and we all greatly enjoyed them. There are certainly plenty of episodes regarding various trials and suffering in life, but that is life (and death). There are lots of colorful characters - some obviously foolish and some wicked, but also many, many with extraordinary fortitude of character.ReplyDelete
I did skip over one instance of an offensive term (typical of the time period in which the books were written) in Rainbow Valley.
PS I do think the experience of reading them aloud together is very different from handing a book off to a child to read alone. The heavy 'issues' are much easier to process while taken in the friendly atmosphere of the family around the kitchen table. And my kids certainly saw me tear up numerous times throughout the series...
The baby's death was very well handled. I don't think your young reader would miss it. And the two of you should talk about it. The topic was handled so beautifully and sensitively. Quite amazing for the time period really. I don't think people talked about those things as much back then, just to avoid causing more pain. Do read the rest of the books before giving them to your daughter. It may seem like a lot of work but they are quick reads for an adult. Or perhaps your sister would be willing to read them for you both. I'm sure she knows her niece well enough to know if anything in the books would upset her.ReplyDelete
I loved the Green Gables books and read them both as a young teenager and as a young woman. As a very sensitive teenager, I can certainly relate to your daughter and your desire to know of any concerns. I can say that I enjoyed the books dealing with some of the adult issues in Anne's life much better as an adult.ReplyDelete
Some of these things include: a point in Anne's marriage when she doubts Gilbert's love and thinks she's "losing" him in Anne of Ingleside... the death of the baby in Anne's House of Dreams... and most especially, the situation of a Anne's friend, Leslie, in Anne's House of Dreams that has a disabled husband and actually begins to fall in love with another man, despite the fact that she was still married, albeit, to a man who was disabled in mind. This latter incident, I believe, could have been handled much differently considering that it is a series read by young girls.
Rainbow Valley is by far, the most family-oriented and fun book of the series. Highly suggested reading! :)