Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery: A-

From the back cover:
New adventures lie ahead as Anne Shirley packs her bags, waves good-bye to childhood, and heads for Redmond College. With old friend Prissy Grant waiting in the bustling city of Kingsport and frivolous new pal Philippa Gordon at her side, Anne tucks her memories of rural Avonlea away and discovers life on her own terms, filled with surprises… including a marriage proposal from the worst fellow imaginable, the sale of her very first story, and a tragedy that teaches her a painful lesson.

But tears turn to laughter when Anne and her friends move into an old cottage and an ornery black cat steals her heart. Little does Anne know that handsome Gilbert Blythe wants to win her heart, too. Suddenly Anne must decide if she’s ready for love…

There were so many things to like about Anne of the Island that they almost allow me to forget the things I wasn’t wild about.

As usual, I loved anything that pertained to Anne and Gilbert. Some of Montgomery’s best writing yet was in the scenes between them, I thought, as well as the scene where Anne refuses Gilbert’s only serious rival for her affections. I also liked how, through various encounters with suitors and the true hearts of even gallant-looking men, Anne was stripped of many of her unrealistic romantic illusions. Lastly, I appreciated the wistful lamentations on the necessity of change.

The things I didn’t like may seem trivial by comparison, but they were irksome enough before the Anne and Gilbert bits overshadowed them in my memory. I would’ve liked more detail on Anne’s school life. There was occasional information about the subjects she was taking or exams she was studying for, but no scenes at all of her in class. It seemed there was actually more detail on Davy’s exploits than on her education.

And speaking of Davy, how I dreaded his appearances! I knew that he’d get up to something, be overcome with guilt, and then learn a valuable lesson. Every time. I was also beyond tired of his constantly saying, “I want to know.”

Finally, I disliked the bit where Anne and her roommates attempted to euthanize a cat simply for hanging around their house. Thankfully, the chapter was constructed in such a way that his survival was already known before the act was described. And then, a few chapters later, some dude is hanging a dog! What’s up with all the pet killing?! Also, a male cat is described as calico, which would make him an extremely rare genetic anomaly. It isn’t impossible, but I rather think Montgomery just didn’t know that tricolor cats are almost exclusively female.

Incorrect Item from Pantry Tally:
1. currant wine instead of raspberry cordial
2. linament instead of vanilla
3. red dye instead of freckle lotion
4. white pepper instead of ginger

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  1. This used to be my favorite book from the Anne series, but it’s not really any longer.

    Book 4 is an early victim of British/American editing weirdness. Anne of Windy Willows (the Canadian and British version) has some additional passages the US version is missing.

  2. I expected that this would be my favorite book, with the college setting and potential for much Anne/Gilbert goodness, but there was just too much Davy.

    Does the US version have any bits the Canadian version lacks?

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