Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Before Green Gables

Did you know that there was a movie about Anne after she was all grown up and grandmotherly? There is. I watched it last year all excited to see how Anne's life ended; it was a terribly depressing movie. I just couldn't picture the young energetic always optimistic Anne being so sullen and lifeless. It was such a terrible disappointment I wanted to turn it off, but was determined to see it through in hopes it would be better. Personally, I even found the ending disappointing.

So, did you also know there was a Prequel to the book series? I didn't. I don't often get the chance to peruse the adult section of the library because when I do my children go around asking the librarians if they've seen their mother. They can give an exact description of what I'm wearing, what I look like, what my name is and what isle I'm most likely down. In fact, I found it so incredibly silly and slightly embarrassing the last time it happened I now only take the time to go over there when I can plunk my children down on a couch or chair near the isle I'm down.

Which means I'm often caught checking out the junior section of the library. Taking notes of books that look good for our upcoming read aloud times, or making notes of books I'll read in spare time. However, while waiting for the boys to make final selections of books they were going to take home I looked up and caught sight of Before Green Gables. I smiled at first mistaking it for the original series which had been begging me to check it over the past few months.

I consider myself a bosom friend of Anne having lived and breathed her stories. I still remember when the movies first came out on television and Dad dutifully taped them for our viewing pleasure. And by "our" I'm quite certain my brother didn't take much pleasure in it. I even remember going to see a live play {how I love plays!} with my mother and bestest cousin in the whole wide world. When we came home from that event my brother's only words were, "Did she break her chalkboard over that boys head?" He was devastated to find out Anne had indeed committed the act on stage and he'd actually skipped out of seeing the play. My boys are still in awe of this too..

Needless to say I brought the book home, but didn't expect much of it. I mean, the final movie had been so pathetically sad in living up to the true nature of Anne that I just couldn't bear the thought of reading an awful story about her previous life. I was, however, pleasantly surprised! The author has done a great job filling in the missing stories of Violetta & Katie Maurice and all the other people that Anne so fervently spoke of to Marilla. It was fun to imagine how Anne made it to Green Gables, how she learned her amazing vocabulary, how she coped with caring for so many sets of twins, the lives she touched along her journey.

Don't be fooled though, the story is sad and painful at times. It also has some great big grownup kind of situations and emotions inside. Things like a drunken father who is abusive when he drinks, mother's who willingly allow their children to be pawned off, death, and birth..  The story was most certainly emotional and it made a person very aware of the plight of some children many years ago, took you through the horrifying effects of typhoid fever, and even gives you some incredible information about the history of Canada and it's schooling laws.

If you read the book, you really must read the acknowledgements at the back of the book! The amount of research put into the book was absolutely amazing {all though I'm sure Anne could have found much bigger and more beautiful words to describe it..} and it made me smile. The author was clearly captivated by her work!

I'm pretty sure, that while my guys aren't going to be hearing this book anytime soon, I might just be able to convince them to listen to Anne Of Green Gables if I make promises or the raspberry cordial and Green Gables pound cake recipes they are offering over on the Before Green Gables website.

Which means, it won't just be Jayden and I who are eager to nip off to Canada. Did you know when you go to Prince Edward's Island you can actually go to Green Gables? I'm in awe. So is Jayden, but apparently that's just because it's been his life's ambition to always go to Canada. I'm not entirely sure why it's his life's ambition though..


Ellie said...

Hi!! Lurker here! And fellow ROWer.... You should totally come and visit Canada! of course, I am a little bit biased.... We live in Nova Scotia and we are a 3 hour drive from PEI..once you go there, you never want to leave! I love Anne and all things PEI! It is charming, the people are friendly, the scenery is gorgeous and if you like lobster, you hit the jackpot!

Hope there is a trip to Canada in your future!!


Diane said...

I have always loved the Green Gables series. Watched the movies countless times. Daughter has read the first book. I remember as a teenager watching the series on PBS (which was the only place you could see it). PBS always showed it on their fundraising weekends which meant you always had long breaks during the movie while PBS was trying to raise money and it took all weekend for them to show it. But I still stayed around and watched the whole thing. Now I can get them from the library whenever I want. I have shared the first movie with my daughter and see enjoyed it too, just waiting for her to grow up a little bit to enjoy the others.