My girls and I finally finished up Anne of Windy Poplars after a very protracted read-aloud experience which involved reading aloud using Face Time on more than one occasion. We went into reading this novel knowing that it really isn’t a favorite of any one of us; Lulu even admitted to having skimmed Anne’s letters in this one (shock and horror!). Reading it, though, reminded me of the specific things I love about L.M. Montgomery’s books:
- the characters who “mother” Anne and adore her unabashedly. They’re present in every book in which Anne is the main character, and they’re all wonderful. In this book it’s Aunt Kate, Aunt Chatty, and especially Rebecca Dew.
- Oh, the vignettes! How I love the delicious little stories that Montgomery stuffed into her overarching story of Anne. In this story Anne is quite the matchmaker and helps avert a disaster or two. This is my favorite thing about Montgomery’s novels–they’re chock-full of other, smaller stories. Without them, Anne’s story wouldn’t really be a story at all. Delightful!
- Montgomery provides ample opportunity to notice (and yes, even to point out) literary devices such as alliteration, personification, imagery, and allusion. I am facilitating a bookclub this year at our homeschool co-op, and one of the ongoing optional assignments is for the students to bring in examples of literary devices in the books they read. I try not to be too heavy-handed, but I can’t resist pointing them out to my girls as we happen upon them. Lulu even pointed out early on that it would be easy to find them while reading the Anne books. 😉
All in all, this was a satisfying read, despite its being very disjointed for us. I can’t help but recollect this post of long ago by Melissa Wiley, provocatively entitled “Books that Make Me Want to Write Letters,” in which she sings the praises of epistolary novels. I enjoy them, too. They make me wish I had more time to invest in writing for relationship and heartfelt communication like they did. (Or maybe I should say I wish I could manage my time better in order to be able to do this.)
A side note about the bookcover above: this is not the copy of the book I own (unfortunately–it has a sort of Nancy Drew-esque quality about it, doesn’t it?) This is the copy I own:
I think this is a strange interpretation of Anne’s appearance since this book follows on the heels of Anne of the Island, and the Bantam Starfire edition of this book has Anne looking very mature.