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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Book Review: Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery


I think this may be my favorite Anne book, although it didn't start out that way. As usual, everything goes perfectly in Anne's life. She and Gilbert get married, he has an uncle who is a doctor in another town on Price Edward Island and wants to turn over his practice to him so no job worry and also no worry about having to leave PEI, and then he finds an adorable, charming house for them to rent, and Anne immediately makes steadfast friends. I want to vomit. I mean, I do like Anne, but her life is so idyllic that I can't identify with her at all. She also doesn't really have personality flaws and everything always works out for her. (She has one pseudo-flaw which is that she talks too much EXCEPT that in every book, Ms. Montgomery makes a point of saying that she's a chatterbox, except for when she appreciates being quiet, so even her one flaw isn't actually a flaw at all as she can just turn it off.)

Well this book is different in two ways. One of her fast friends, Leslie, is actually a pretty tough nut to crack. She doesn't especially want to be friends with Anne at first, and even when she does, Anne occasionally spots Leslie briefly shooting her dirty looks and Anne is convinced that deep down, Leslie kind of hates her. It's true in fact, although of course eventually worked out. And Anne in her infinite wisdom doesn't judge or question Leslie, instead shows patience and wisdom beyond her years to let Leslie work things out at her own pace. I just don't like my heroines to be so flawless.

But then a Very Bad Thing happens to Anne. I don't want to spoil it, but it's quite tragic and it isn't fixed in any way, and Anne will never be the same again. She will always have a pain in her heart that will never be assuaged. And for that, I like her. I'm sad that this horrible thing had to happen to her, but it makes her so much easier to empathize with. I think these books would have been better as a teen because even though at that time I also didn't know anyone with a perfect life, I aspired to that. I wanted to believe I could fall into wonderful jobs, meet interesting friends everywhere I turned, fall in love with a wonderful man and not have a single argument until after we'd been married for 2 years, and so on. Now though, I know that not only will those things not happen but that this kind of idealistic life with only sitcom-problems that can be solved in 24 minutes is beyond unrealistic, and perhaps isn't even wanted at all. After all, would we appreciate beautiful sunny days if we never had any rain? And finally, Anne has some rain.

I like how this book isn't a series of short stories but instead has a few through-plots. The best one is Leslie's unfortunately family predicament, and I must admit that Ms. Montgomery's solution to that problem was unique and creative! I really didn't see it coming, and it resolved things in a satisfactory way without any negative repercussions (whereas all the potential solutions I predicted had a negative side to them.) Captain Jim was a sweet character, and I also liked Owen and Cornelia a lot (although why name her Cornelia when in the very beginning of the book we find out that Diana's daughter is named Anne Cordelia? It was confusing at first.) I was a bit bummed that Marilla has only a bit part in this book and Diana barely appears at all (and I fear for the last), but in life we all do move on. In the end, Anne has a baby, and is most definitely growing up. I look forward to the next book!

This review is a part of Kid Konnection, hosted by Booking Mama, a collection of children's book-related posts over the weekend.

I borrowed this book from a friend.

1 comment:

Julie P. said...

This sounds wonderful. I so enjoy reading your reviews of this series.