Now, at age thirty, for the first time, I've read Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island. Here are the verdicts.
I loved Anne of Green Gables. I wish I could have read it as a kid because I think I would have loved it even more. The writing is perfectly descriptive and Anne herself is such a joy of a character. Now I know who Flavia de Luce reminds me of, a little. I have to admit that my imaginings of the book and its characters were helped along by the wonderful TV movie that was made in the 80s. Reading the book made me want to watch the movie all over again. And I suspect that watching the movie would make me want to read the book all over again.
Anne of Avonlea, on the other hand, was such a disappointment. Where the first book was perfectly sweet, this one was cloying. Where the first book was endearingly cute, this one was overly precocious. And so help me, I wanted to punch little Davy in the face every time he appeared on the page. Hmph. I see now why the movie cobbled together characters and plots from this book and reduced their influence on the main story.
Thankfully, Anne of the Island was lovely again. I guess Montgomery figured out what she did wrong in Avonlea and fixed most of those problems (though Davy still makes a few appearances). A few years ago, I made the daring assertion that Anne would have been better off with Morgan Harris rather than Gilbert. A lot of commenters disagreed with me. I now stand corrected. Anne and Gilbert are EPIC. Besides, the movie's Morgan Harris doesn't really exist in the book except as an amalgamation of Royal Gardner and Mr. Irving, so there.
I'm so glad I've filled this particular hole in my literary repertoire!