"When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla."
Lines such as that is just one of the reasons I was counting down the years to read this book to Julia. I confess. I had never read the book-- only seen the movie in college, but when I found out there was a glorious book, I waited many years until I could read it to her. Last Christmas, I bought the one with my favorite cover and wrapped it up as her “Something to Read”. We began it shortly after the New Year and what absolute fun! As with almost ANY book, I found this one more enjoyable than the movie, although I think the Sullivan Group production is wonderful. I have one secret though. As we neared the end of the book, early one night, our reading got interrupted and we had to put it down at the most suspenseful “Anne Moment”. The night carried on as normal......until I went to bed. I could not sleep for thinking of Anne and what would happen next. I eased out of bed, not to awaken Jeff, found the book in the dark, took it to the couch and finished it! Then, I slept just fine.
As we read together, we quickly realized we could not keep up with Anne’s daily vocabulary. We needed a dictionary at all times! The seeming limitations of black and white book type did not hinder Lucy Maud Montgomery in the least. Her words portray Anne’s endearing qualities and quirky personality flawlessly. You feel you know her and your heart is immediately captivated by this vulnerable, precocious little red-head girl. There is no end to Anne’s theatrics and mishaps so with every chapter title, the anticipation surged. Even Julia understood and loved the hilarity of Anne’s high-powered propensity toward the dramatic.
"There's such a lot of different Annes in me. I sometimes think that is why I'm such a troublesome person. If I was just the one Anne it would be ever so much more comfortable, but then it wouldn't be half so interesting."
"You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair," said Anne reproachfully. "People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is."
(After falling off the roof) "No, Diana, I am not killed, but I think I am rendered unconscious."
"And people laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?"
“Can't you even IMAGINE you're in the depths of despair?”
"It's so easy to be wicked without knowing it, isn't it? "
The book is as enjoyable as it is profound. Ms. Montgomery had plenty to say back in 1908. The unwanted little girl, her longing for a family, her heartaches, her enthusiastic love, her struggles with self, her big dreams, her ambition, her absurdity, her passion, her insights speak to our hearts..... still. I like knowing that 100 years haven’t changed us all that much.
“My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That's a sentence I read once and I say it over to comfort myself in these times that try the soul.”
“I've never belonged to anyone.”
Anne always remembered the silvery, peaceful beauty and fragrant calm of that night. It was the last night before sorrow touched her life; and no life is ever quite the same again when once that cold, sanctifying touch has been laid upon it.
"It's all very well to read about sorrows and imagine yourself living through them heroically, but it's not so nice when you really come to have them, is it?"
For we pay a price for everything we get or take in this world; and although ambitions are well worth having, they are not to be cheaply won, but exact their dues of work and self-denial, anxiety and discouragement.
"Isn't it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive--it's such an interesting world. It wouldn't be half so interesting if we know all about everything, would it? There'd be no scope for imagination then, would there?"
"Marilla, isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"
"Well now, I'd rather have you than a dozen boys, Anne," said Matthew patting her hand. "Just mind you that-- rather than a dozen boys. Well now, I guess it wasn't a boy that took the Avery scholarship, was it? It was a girl--my girl--my girl that I'm proud of.”
I promise I will stop there! A month or so ago when we finished the book, Julia and I enthusiastically planned our girl’s night to watch the movie I had seen in college. (We privately celebrated when we found out Jeff and Brighton had been asked to a Rangers game.) We picked up Pappasitos' fajitas, spread out the blanket in the den, pressed play and found ourselves in the depths of delight.
A couple of days later, I texted a friend and told her we had watched the movie. She responded, “Are you in love with Gilbert Blythe?” My response, “After all these years.............”
And I think if Anne had eaten Pappasitos in 1908, she would not have been able to imagine anything more tasty.