Anne of Green Gables is a children's novel of thirty-eight chapters by the Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. It was first published in 1908. It is the first of eight books about Anne Shirley, her children and the many people whose lives she changes.
Anne Shirley is an orphan who dreams of being part of a family. She has many dreams and fantasies that have helped her cope with a harsh life and which give her hope for the future. But sometimes they distract her from other things and get her in trouble. She is part of a program to place older orphans with families that can use a young person's assistance. Anne (spelled with an "e") is placed at Green Gables, a farm on Prince Edward Island, Canada. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, the brother and sister, who run the farm where Anne is placed, are getting older, and thought a young orphan boy could be helpful.
Instead they get Anne, a young, optimistic, chatterbox who is a bit flighty. Matthew is a quiet, shy bachelor, who while slightly alarmed initially at finding Anne at the train station instead of the desired boy to help out as a farmhand, quickly becomes engaged by Anne's imaginative ramblings. Marilla has run the household on her own for years. She is a respectable member of the community and has long since stopped questioning the order of things. Anne's daydreaming ways bump into Marilla's practical and duty-ruled habits to the benefit of both.
Anne attends the local one-room schoolhouse. She joins in community activities, such as regular church and Sunday school attendance. These things give the reader a view into the daily life of the time.
As an outsider, Anne learns how to fit in and the stories touch on things like expectations of youth of the time, medical problems, the education system, the kinds of chores in a farm house and more. Each chapter tells an almost independent story with another episode, making this an excellent one-chapter-a-night bedtime story to read together with different generations.
- Anne Shirley
- Matthew Cuthbert
- Marilla Cuthbert
- Diana Barry
- Rachel Lynde
- Gilbert Blythe
If you like this series, consider the Little House on the Prairie or Blue Bonnet series. Both are set over a century ago and give a glimpse of what life was like for girls of their time. You may also enjoy the many other books by L. M. Montgomery, particularly her Emily trilogy.