2017, first published 1908
Anne Shirley has red hair, freckles and a vivid imagination. All three often get her into trouble. She is an orphan and adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. They’d really wanted a boy. She gets into and survives a multitude of scrapes. In many ways this is a coming of age story, even though these are normally reserved for older readers. Anne grows up but does not lose any of her charms.
We certainly get an insight into life on Prince Edward Island at the start of the 20th century. L M Montgomery writes with the senses and we have a vivid picture of that place.
The characters are richly drawn. Montgomery writes engagingly.
The book has many characteristics that would suit the teen reader as well: -a love interest, peer pressure, fashion. However, it is so much of an earlier era that it isn’t quite sophisticated enough for an older reader.
It will be a challenge for the upper primary school student. The language register is high. It is 392 pages long, in blocked text and with an adult font.
I myself have just read it for the fourth time. It’s not like me to reread books , especially three times. I read it first when I was nine years old. My teacher gave it to me to try to wean me of Enid Blyton. I enjoyed it then but it was quite hard work. I reread it just before I started my MA in Writing for Children. I’m writing a history of children’s literature, so that has made me read it again. I’ve now bought a boxed-set of all of the Anne stories and that has brought me to it once more. This time I’m reading for leisure, at the time of the lock down because of the coronavirus pandemic. It is such a delight and a fantastic escape.