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Before Green Gables Paperback – February 3, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Acclaimed author's Wilson's (The Leaving) disarming prequel to the beloved classic Anne of Green Gables gets off to a slow start but picks up momentum when the focus shifts from the heroine's parents to Anne herself. Orphaned in infancy, Anne is shuffled from one family to the next; despite poverty, hardship and heartbreak, she retains her indomitable spirit and an intense hunger for knowledge. Raudman's childlike voice has an innocent quality in keeping with Anne's sense of wonder and hope. She keeps a steady pace, allowing readers to enjoy the story as Wilson masterfully rounds out Anne's early life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, the release of this prequel is sure to cause quite a stir among Anne Shirley fans. A heroine beloved by generations of girls and women, Anne Shirley continues to have a devoted following today. Though purists will object, those who have often imagined Anne’s life before Green Gables will devour this backstory. Everyone who ever read the original book remembers hints suggesting that Anne’s prior life was no bed of roses, and Canadian author Wilson paints an appropriately bleak portrait of the orphaned Anne’s early years. Still, she manages to remain true to the optimistic tone of the original book while relating the hardscrabble details of Anne’s first 12 years. The ready-made audience of women with fond memories of the classic coming-of-age tale will guarantee readership for this imaginative prequel. --Margaret Flanagan --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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First, I must point out one error that I read in "Before Green Gables." At one point, Anne is musing about how Mrs. Hammond must be very good at delivering babies after having done it six times. At that time, Mrs. Hammond had birthed two regular babies and two sets of twins, going on her third set. Arguably, she had only done it four times, but I suppose each baby might be counted individually.
Second, I must say that the author, Budge Wilson, missed just one important detail (from what I could tell.) She failed to mention that Mrs. Hammond told Anne that "God made Anne's hair red on purpose." which is why Marilla Cuthbert finds Anne so heathan-ish in the original "Anne of Green Gables." In case some of you are not as familiar with Anne as others, I will explain the story more properly. In "Anne of Green Gables", Anne tells Marilla that the reason she never prays or beleives in God is that Mrs. Hammond once told her that God made Anne's hair red on purpose so she never cared for him since. In "Before Green Gables" Anne simply loses interest in God after several of her prayers seem to go unheeded. Instead, she turns to the stars to pray at the orphan assylum.
Thirdly, Budge Wilson merely sped by the fact that the Hammond children all had croup regularly, which, in "Anne of Green Gables" is how Anne can help with Minnie May when she had croup. I was somewhat appeased when Anne helped Noah Thompas through the croup but it was not as effective, in my opinion.
Anyway, I wanted to buy the book it was adapted from, as I own all the Anne books and Miniseries and the Road to Avonlea DVDS, which I loved when it aired on the Disney Channel back in the 90s and still love now! Gus & Felicity forever! ^.~)
I found the book on Amazon at an amazing price and promptly bought it. It arrived very quickly and I read it as soon as it came. I was curious to see if it was very close to the incredible anime series that was based on it and if so, I was sure to love it.
Well, it has many of the points the anime used, but for me, the anime series was much more touching and beautiful. This book was a nice read but I do agree with some of the other reviewers that some of the language was too modern. Not much or in many instances, but enough that it brought you out of 1900 and into modern day. I believe Anne was captured very well, but the other characters weren't as satisfyingly delved into. In the anime that is based on this book, you really come to love the other characters as well as Anne. You find yourself rooting for 'Uncle Bert' and 'Aunt Joanna,' (In Japan, all older men and women are 'uncle' or 'aunt' to a child.) and cry terribly when Bert is run over by a train! He really loved Anne and the Christmas episode was so beautiful!! A must see! In the book, the Christmas scene occurs, and it's very nice, but so much more so in the anime! You will be weeping when Bert gives Joanna her gift, as they dance together...one last time; and when Noah gets sick. In the book, it's rather just glossed over, but in the anime, it's very deep and you come to love the whole family! Even Horace and the boys come to love Anne, as well as Randolph and Mildred! I was shocked in the book that those two never become Anne's friends as they do in the series. Also, Egg Man and Miss Henderson---in the anime, they are so much more personable, lively and FULL OF CHARACTER. In the book, we hardly know them. The coming of Lochinvar is also more fitting to Anne's story than how it is in the book, where they just get a cat. ^^;; Additionally, the Hammonds' story is so sad in the anime and in the book....there's not much to cry over---poor Mr. Hammond had no depth or soul to his character in it. So much more so in the anime! Miss Haggerty was very well done in the book and almost just like how she was in the anime, and Mr. McDougall was very amusing and kind. ^^ In the orphanage---Edna and Tessa are delved into (Tessa maybe too much) and Miss Carlyle, though strict, you realize she really does care about the orphans. Miss Kale is nice the whole time (though maybe laid back and weak) and at the end, you meet up once more with the Thomas Family and the Johnsons, when Anne receives letters from Joanna and Eliza, hand delivered by Eggman & Miss Henderson. It really wraps up her life with them and you have a wonderful, triumphant feeling. Joanna has survived, Bert's picture and a little hat that she meant to give to Anne but wasn't in time to do so, as her most prized treasures. The boys have become more kind and understanding. Eliza has a little girl and we see the birth and childhood of the daughter through the letters. In Anne's eyes, she can be free of any worry for her loved ones. A really wonderful way to end the story, as she climbs on to the ferry with Mrs. Spencer and Lily, to take her to her beloved Prince Edward Island.
The book, while very entertaining and gripping, was just not up to par with the anime series that was based on it. The series had so much more....heart. I still recommend reading it and did enjoy the first part with Walter and Bertha, since that part of the book was NOT in the anime series. (It started when Anne was about 4-5 years old) But the rest....I tried to imagine the characters I had seen, doing what they did in the book, but it was so difficult, as they were all so much more severe and cruel in the book and in the anime, though flawed or with faults, they were somehow 'real' with personality. You FELT for them. In the anime, there were bad times, sad times and cruelty. But overall, a triumph and moral and beauty. Anne was the one who brought light and joy to everyone she met at the end, while also receiving advice and happiness from others.
So, overall, the book was a great read, but after being spoiled by its incredible anime series, I couldn't enjoy it as much. I recommend watching the 'Hello Anne! Before Green Gables' anime series and then reading the book. Or vice versa. Either way, you will really come to love these characters and of course, the wonderful and amazing little Anne even more (if that's possible)!
Most recent customer reviews
Really brings things together.
Answers a lot of questions that you have been wondering when reading the series.
Great book.Read more