Alyssa's Reviews > Before Green Gables

Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
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Jul 15, 2011

really liked it

It's not perfect. I don't think there is any way a modern author could accomplish the doubly impossible trick of going back in time and jumping into another author's head. I honestly can't imagine the book being any better, even while I note its flaws.

One of the difficulties of imagining Anne as she must have been before she arrived in Avonlea, is that Anne was extraordinary at age 11. What forces caused her to become that 11 year old child? Who influenced her, what events shaped her? In trying to answer these questions, the book creates a little girl who isn't always credible. The very young Anne is a bit too extraordinary to believe. Yet, at the same time, reading this book does indeed feel like reading a book about Anne, so on some level the author succeeds in showing us what Anne might have been like at a younger age.

The first part of the book, which is devoted to loving description of Anne's parents, nearly bored me to tears. I think I took half a star off just for those chapters. Anne's parents were dull, dull, dull. It's incredible they managed to produce Anne at all.

Reading about Anne's life was at times heartbreaking. So many tragedies in so little time. The author did a brilliant job of getting emotion across. It was easy to feel Anne's sorrow, loneliness, betrayal, hopelessness, and, at times, joy and hope.

Overall, and in spite of other reviews I have read, I must conclude that the book was satisfying. It was never going to be perfect, so we might as well just abandon that expectation from the get-go. However, it's a moving account of what Anne's life might have been like prior to the events we all know from Montgomery's books. That account was very much desired by fans, and as far as I'm concerned this book delivered adequately. More importantly, it added to the books, rather than possibly ruin them or take away from them, as some feared might happen.

Final verdict: Fans of Anne should definitely give this one a chance, but understand that it is what it is, and is not perfect.
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message 1: by Molly Amber (new)

Molly Amber I'm thinking of reading this, but the problem is I haven't read all of the Anne books. I've just read the first two. Is that going to be a problem if I read this book anyway?


Alyssa No, it won't matter at all. In fact, someone could start reading the Anne series with this book. Everything in it happens before the events of Anne of Green Gables, and it ends exactly where Anne of Green Gables begins.


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