There’s a whole subset of children’s literature that I missed when I was little, the “girl’s novel”. I read Little Women, but that was about it. So when I read Margaret Atwood’s essay about Anne of Green Gables, I decided it was time to go back and visit a classic. And what a classic it is. Oh my goodness, as Anne would say, I’m desperately sobbing at the tragicallness of me not having read this magnificent tome when I was in my youth.
All silliness aside, I would have loved Anne when I was little. (I love her now!) I think I would have understood her, and would have felt understood knowing that she “existed”. I would have spent days and weeks imagining that she was my bosom friend, and probably would have started my own story club with my sister and so many other things. I love the imagination and optimism and joy of that sweet, smart, little redheaded orphan girl. I can’t wait to introduce her to Zoe.
But as Margaret Atwood pointed out, the book isn’t just about Anne and her misadventures, it’s really the story of Marilla, the spinster who takes Anne in and comes to love her. As the years pass she opens her heart and by the end is a changed woman, a mother. And I would have completely missed that reading it as a child. So now I’ve decided I need to go back and catch up on the books I missed- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Pollyanna (although I know the story); I should probably read at least the first Little House on the Prairie book; are there any others anyone suggests? (I’ve read The Secret Garden, but not as a little kid- an older little kid.)
I also read My French Whore by Gene Wilder. Yes, that Gene Wilder. It surprised me too, and what surprised me even more? He writes like a saint! Like a modern day Ernest Hemingway without the angst. Every word is perfectly chosen and so precise that it seems effortless, but a huge world is contained in his tiny little book. It’s the story of an American soldier who gets caught by the Germans in WWI and on the spur of the moment, decides to impersonate a famous German spy. It works, for a while, and during that while, he meets and falls in love with the woman of the title. It’s a sweet, charming book, and Mr. Gene really is an excellent writer.
I just finished Girl, Nearly 16, Absolute Torture by Sue Limb, the followup to her hilarious Girl, 15, Charming but Insane. This book is just as good, just as adorable, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself from beginning to end. This adventure includes the multiple graves of Thomas Hardy, an urn of Grandfather’s ashes, copious text messaging, and so very much more. Fred, still, is one of my favorite characters of all time, and now that I think about it, really would be great friends with Anne of Green Gables.
In other book news, my wonderful husband bought me for Mother’s Day not one, but all three of the sewing books I really really really wanted. I literally squealed and jumped up and down when I opened them. I’ll be making skirts and pillows and comfy pants (and maybe even a shirt that fits) in no time!
Current Total: 27
Just finished: Girl, Nearly 16, Absolute Torture by Sue Limb
Next Up: Everybody Kills Somebody Sometime by Robert J. Randisi