Goodreads: Anne of Avonlea
Series: Anne #2
Now a teacher at Avonlea school, sixteen-year-old Anne Shirley has a lot of aspirations: inspire her students to greatness, study in preparation for college, and help Marilla raise a pair of orphaned twins.
Anne of Avonlea captures much of the charm of its predecessor, Anne of Green Gables. Anne and her friends seem to have aged naturally and gracefully; at the ripe old age of sixteen, Anne is now a school teacher and, in her eyes, a woman–and yet she retains just enough of her girlish delight in living to ensure that she is as endearing as ever. Diana, meanwhile, remains just as endearingly sensible as ever. One feels as if one truly has returned to Avonlea and met up with old friends.
And yet one can see a bit of the strain of writing. Montgomery seems determined to imitate the success of Anne of Green Gables by reusing some of its elements. The propensity for the sentimental can be seen in Marilla’s adopting of twins, Davy and Dora, ensuring that childish antics will still abound, even if Anne is now grown. And Anne’s character is split into two new characters–the mischievous Davy and the dreamy Paul. But neither fully captures her own original charm.
Anne, as the story itself points out, found herself in scrapes, but Davy is really bad–he lies, pulls feathers out of pet birds, and locks his scared sister up. Anne and Marilla love him for this–apparently he “needs” them more than his well-behaved sister Dora, who is consistently dismissed as “boring” because she behaves. We don’t hear much else of her. One suspects her new guardians forget about her a lot. At least, no one ever asks her what she is thinking. All this makes Davy a less compelling character than the young Anne–he’s naughty and rewarded with affection for it while his sister is considered a non-entity.
Paul Irving is the dreamy half of Anne now incarnate in a new child, but he, too, is less interesting than Anne, because the sentimentality really comes out in his depiction. He ends all his sentences with an aggravating “you know” and refers to his dead mother as his “little mother.” The narrator informs us that there is nothing “girlish” about him despite his imagination, however. Apparently even Montgomery worried he might seem a little too sickeningly sweet.
The strong parts of the book all deal with Anne, from her adventures in learning how to teach (But don’t worry about her. She has one year of high school and no experience on the job, and is handed the dream job of her choice immediately upon graduation–she’s fine.), trying to “improve” Avonlea, and meeting an unexpected kindred spirit. And, oh, there’s Gilbert Blythe. As Anne heads off to college, we can expect less Davy and more Anne. I’m ready to get started!
7 thoughts on “Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery”
Great review, Krysta! I agree – when I read through the book the first time, I wondered if Paul and Davy were supposed to be like replicas of Anne – glad I wasn’t the only one who thought so! I still really enjoyed reading this book though – after all, any book with Anne is one I enjoy! 🙂
Yeah, I think that’s something many readers are likely to pick up on. It’s just too convenient (and a little annoying, in my opinion). But I still love Anne!
I can tell you still love it despite its flaws: still a five star review!
It’s difficult not to love Anne. 😉
Lovely review, Krysta! I have a special place in my heart for Davy like Anne and Marilla. It’s funny that he does that despite being so mischievous (or perhaps because of it?). Haha everything does line up perfectly for Anne with her teaching job. I guess fate had some help from Gilbert. 😉
I guess Davy might at least be more interesting than Dora. It just disappoints me that people sort of seem to assume that Dora is a plodding little creature. Well, you’ve never really made an effort to get to know about her interior life. It doesn’t follow that she doesn’t possess one, Anne!
Ah, yes. That charming Gilbert! 😉
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You’re right. We really don’t get much about Dora. I wonder what’s going on inside her head.
Always love Gilbert 🙂
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