Nathan Eilers's Reviews > Anne of the Island

Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery
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May 09, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: with-jen, fiction
Recommended for: teenage girls
Read from May 09 to July 11, 2011

New title: Anne of Bachelor Turn-downs or maybe Anne of Obvious Endings.

I enjoyed the first two Anne of books a decent amount. The first was best and the second just a bit less enjoyable. Montgomery loses me in this one.

First, Anne is always more interesting in Avonlea. That is where all of the most lovable and interesting characters reside. This novel needs more Marilla, Mrs. Rachel, and especially Diana, who marries some lame farmer and disappears from the narrative. Instead, Anne is off at Redmond College, earning her BA, which we are told is a big deal but never really hear much about.

Second, the characters at Redmond (Gilbert aside) are tedious. The author tries to make me care about Phil (who's a girl), but she's too snotty and annoying in the first half to make me like her when she changes (a bit) in the second. The other girls have token roles in the drama--they exist to fill the house, it seems. Most have no personality, and I can't remember any of their names.

Third, the entire book is one long effort at tarrying until Anne and Gilbert get engaged. Everyone knows they'll get engaged. All of the times Anne turns her suitors down in this book (at least 5 times, for Pete's sake!) make the overt gesture at what is sure to happen at the end--and does. Even Anne's random jaunts to help characters who don't matter are symbolic of Anne and Gilbert getting engaged. It's as if Montgomery wanted to write a book about Anne and Gilbert getting engaged but couldn't think of anything to put in it.

Now that I've trashed the book, let me admit that there are some entertaining bits in it. It's not an awful book. This is decent YA lit, but it is too contrived and belabored. I'm hesitant to read on in the series because I doubt Montgomery can't make me care about new characters, and new characters must be the future of the series.

One final note: why does Dora exist in these books? Davy is an interesting enough chap, but Dora is so boring and pointless that excising her from the books would alter nothing significant whatsoever. Montgomery even has her characters talk about how they love Davy and Dora, but don't know why they love the latter. I frequently forgot that she lives in the same house as Davy and Marilla. Get her outta there.
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Reading Progress

05/09/2011 page 21
9.0% "Continuing our journey alongside the vermilion-haired heroine."
06/07/2011 page 150
62.0% "Tbe farther Anne is from Green Gables, the less interesting the book is. I have no attachment to Prissy, and Philippa is flighty and bothersome. I'm waiting for Gilbert to make the move he's obviously going to make."
06/24/2011 page 225
93.0% "This book should be called Anne of Marriage Turndowns. Sheesh. She's up to 5 marriage refusals thus far. Waiting on the eventual Gilbert/Anne make up."

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