Erm. So, my memory of this series just gradually becoming less and less enjoyable is kind of true when it comes to this book. Not that it was bad, or completely boring. It was just kind of... flat. Some of Anne's many kids have adventures (her daughter Diana has basically the same adventure twice), but none of them are as winsome as Anne. They're more like each one embodies a small piece of Anne's personality, and what makes me love Anne so much is that she's complex. But the kids aren't all that complex. Sigh. Also, way too much gossip. So many chapters (or it felt like so many, anyway) of old women telling what are supposed to be humorous tales of weird things their neighbors or relations have done. Felt like filler.
However, the last 3 chapters, where Anne suddenly succumbs to melancholia and convinces herself that Gilbert no longer loves her -- that part was intensely awesome. She and Gilbert have been married for 15 years, and Cowboy and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary, and... I have no fears about my husband having ceased to love me, but I know there are days where everything just grates on me, or where he's tired from working overtime and doesn't say much, and... if several days like that piled up, I could totally see something like this being possible. That last section was far more believable and emotionally engaging than the rest of the book combined. And... it centered on Anne. Not on her kids. If Montgomery hadn't relegated Anne to being a side character in her own series, this book might have touched me a great deal more than it did.
And then there was Aunt Mary Maria. But the less said about her, the better.
Not looking hugely forward to Rainbow Valley, I must admit. Though I did always get a big kick out of the minister's children and their graveyard picnics. So I'll survive it.
Particularly Good Bits:
Her heart sang all the way because she was going home to a joyous house... a house where every one who crossed its threshold knew it was a home... a house that was filled all the time with laughter and silver mugs and snapshots ans babies... precious things with curls and chubby knees... and rooms that would welcome her... where the chairs waited patiently and the dresses in her closet were expecting her... where little anniversaries were always being celebrated and little secrets were always being whispered (p. 14).
She would hold all the threads of the Ingleside life in her hands again to weave into a tapestry of beauty (p. 55).
"I have never altogether liked cats myself, Miss Dew, but I maintain they have a right to wave their own tails" (p. 60).
Walter was again sitting on the steps with eyes full of dreams. Dusk had fallen. Where, he wondered, had it fallen from? Did some great spirit with bat-like wings pour it all over the world from a purple jar? (p. 213).
"An imagination is a wonderful thing to have... but like every gift we must possess it and not let it possess us. You take your imaginings a wee bit too seriously. Oh, it's delightful... I know that rapture. But you must learn to keep on this side of the borderline between the real and the unreal. Then the power to escape at will into a beautiful world of your own will help you amazingly through the hard places of life. I can always solve a problem more easily after I've had a voyage or two in the Island of Enchantment" (p. 244).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G for good and clean, if not particularly delicious.
This is my 42nd book read and reviewed for the Classics Club! And my 11th for the Women's Classic Literature Event.