Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sunsets Notwithstanding

47. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery

When I got home for Thanksgiving, I didn't intend to fully reread this childhood favorite, but between last night and this afternoon, I did. Obviously, I'm not the one making the meal! I remembered the charming characters and events and wanted to revisit those passages that bore resemblance to my own experience at college. I'm afraid my social life has not quite lived up to Anne's, but it hasn't fallen too short either. I haven't received so many proposals yet, but that contributes more to my relief than anything else.

Anne of the Island chronicles the college experience of Anne Shirley, formerly of Green Gables. Montgomery expresses many timeless sentiments through Anne and her "chums" and their house mother, Aunt Jamesina. They experience the pressures of studies and social lives, along with the rarely mentioned but present tension of being among few female students. Anne reflects on turning twenty, and the establishment of her character. Her friend Phil tries to conquer her general indecisiveness as well as decide who to marry. Sidenote: Philippa Gordon or "Phil" is one of my favorite characters in any book ever. She reminds me of a couple of my most light-hearted, impulsive friends. Anne wrestles with money woes, scholarly woes, literary woes, and romantic woes as well. She writes a story for which the most just criticism is her liberal descriptions of sunsets. Reading this book again, and paying attention to detail, those passages are interspersed everywhere. L.M could no more resist flowery descriptions than Anne, and while it is undeniably overkill, there is still something sweet in it, one feels she really did appreciate beauty that much.

I can never get enough references to fairyland and "kindred spirits," there is something one finds in the Anne books, and all Montgomery's books really, that you either relate to or you don't. It is like Aunt Jamesina's definition of gumption, " Any one who has gumption knows what it is, and any one who hasn't can never know what it is. So there is no need of defining it (206)."

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