Friday, April 4, 2008

Before Green Gables - Book Review

Before Green Gables
By Budge Wilson
Penguin 2008

This is the story of Anne (with an E) Shirley and her hardknock life growing up in Nova Scotia as an orphan. I read this book during my stay at the Sick Kids hospital.

This story reminds me of two other movies - Pollyanna and Annie. Pollyanna played the glad game, which Anne never did. Anne let her imagnination run wild and that is what helped her get through the tough times. But Anne was used by various foster families as free labour. And she did spend a short time in an orphanage. Anne certainly did have a hard knock life. She grew up knowing how to prepare and cook dinner for 11 people. She raised babies, she washed and cleaned the floors and the clothes. And she knew how to cure the croup.

Anne's one escape was school. At the age of 6 years old, her foster family was informed by the authorities that she MUST attend school - that it was the law. For the first time in her life, Anne was free to dream, to imagine and to learn how to read. She was curious - not so much about the world around her - but more about words and language. Even from an early age Anne's interest in words and language was very obvious.

Anne gets a few lucky breaks while she is growing up. Her school teachers adore her (Anne attends at least 2 different schools) - because of her intelligence and her love for learning. One of her teachers introduces her to Prince Edward Island - by showing a few postcards. Anne decides that her dream in life is to live on PEI.

Anne also find another mentor who teaches her 5 new words every week. Her vocabulary increases rapidly. Anne desperately wants a friend, but in her search for a "bosom" friend - she is betrayed by a few people, and she quickly learns that some people are just not nice.

This is an excellent novel, and well worth the wait to finally learn exactly HOW Anne came to be the person we know and love at Green Gables. I am reading this for the Canadian challenge.

It's a hard knock life - lyrics

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