Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (#AnneReadalong2017)

Well, that was life.  Gladness and pain…hope and fear… and change.  Always change.  You could not help it.  You had the let the old go and take the new to your heart… learn to love it and the let it go in turn.  Spring, lovely as it was, must yield to summer and summer lose itself to autumn.  The birth… the bridal… the death.

There’s something about giving a two-star rating to an Anne of Green Gables book that just makes me feel bad, guilty, like a Grinch.  After all, Anne Blythe and her family are so earnest and well-meaning, and the above quotation has some undeniably Zen truth to it, but Anne of Ingleside (#6 in the series) is my least favorite so far.  This one was mostly about the kiddos.  They were cute, precocious, mostly well-behaved… but after a while I grew weary of their antics.  Here’s a sad dog story.  Here’s another sad dog story.  Here’s where one kid is terribly naive and gets tricked into doing something naughty by a devious schoolmate.  Here’s another kid being gullible and doing something naughty at the behest of a different devious schoolmate.  By the time I got to Rilla’s story I just didn’t care anymore and I skimmed to the next anecdote.

77391It starts off with Anne being very pregnant and soon the kids are being shipped off so she can give birth at home.  The kids have no clue what’s going on, and they think Mom’s gonna die.  The whole thing made me intensely grateful for birth control and hospitals, honestly.  Then the reader is made to suffer along with the Blythe family through the extended visit of the delightful Aunt Mary Maria.  Oh my God!  She was horrible.  I thought she would never leave.  It did make me laugh that Anne finally ran her off by trying to do something nice for her.  The only thing that brightened the entire section was Susan’s wanting to fling a full gravy boat at her head.  (I wish she had!)

It wasn’t all bad, though.  I very much related to Anne whenever she took a moment to think about how quickly her children were growing up.  As the mother of a six year-old I am keenly aware of how quickly time is passing and am determined to enjoy my boy being “little” as fully as I can before he becomes too big to be sweet and demonstrative with his affections.  Those sections really resonated with me.

I also enjoyed the very last bit about Anne feeling tossed aside and underappreciated by Gilbert.  Gilbert appears to have forgotten their anniversary, or so Anne thinks, and instead wants to go visit an old flame, the glamorous and childless Christine Stuart.  Anne tortures herself with anxiety and doubt (“But did anybody really like red hair?”) and decides that Gilbert has grown tired of her.  (“Men had always been like that… always would be.”)  Gilbert gives a kind of lame excuse that he’d been terribly worried about a patient.  And his anniversary gift had been late in coming (so he didn’t even tell his wife “Happy Anniversary, dear!  Your present is late, I’m sorry, but I still love you and think you’re beautiful!”)  Hmmmph.  He says something like “Oh, Anne, I didn’t think you were the type to need things like that said to you.”  Clearly Words of Affirmation is not Gilbert’s love language.  Well, Anne is happy with his explanations, at least, and all is well as we end our time in Ingleside.  Gilbert tells her they’re going to go on a second honeymoon to Europe.  Please tell me we get to read about this in one of the last two books in the series!  I’ll feel terribly cheated if we don’t get to hear about their travels.

Two more books to go in the series before the end of the year!  (Yes, I’m a bit late with this review – should have posted it in October.)  I’m still glad I’m reading these, as they are beloved by so many book bloggers and are such a classic reading experience for so many.  Participating in the Readalong has given me the structure I need to keep going till the end!  I would have thrown in the towel on my own, so I’m grateful to Jane and Jackie for continuing to spearhead the Readalong with such enthusiasm!

If you’ve read this one, what did you think of Gilbert’s anniversary snafu?  Did you find the antics of the children tiresome?  What were some of the bright spots for you?  Is #7 in the series better?  Let me know in the comments.

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery (#AnneReadalong2017)

  1. I’m halfway through this, although it’s a re-read, so you haven’t to,d me anything I didn’t know. It’s not one of my favourites either, mainly because it comes over as too anecdotal and pre-planned around each of the children having their own chapter. My personal favourite is Anne of the Island, but then I’m a sucker for anything to do with academic life.

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  2. Is #7 Rainbow Valley? If so it is better — one of my favorites, even though there’s hardly any Anne. 🙂

    (Oh, I just checked. Yes, it’s Rainbow Valley. I hope you like it! It’s quite innocent & pleasant. For some reason it’s a favorite of mine in the series.) 🙂

    I’m super curious to hear what you think of #8! I wrote on it at my place, but my post is full of spoilers…

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  3. Lol aren’t all children’s antics tiresome after awhile? Haha

    I’ve never read these books, but it sounds like I would have a similar reaction to yours. And I’m the same way, when I read historical fiction I am intensely grateful for hosipitals and modern medicine!

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  4. I hated this one and promptly gave up the series at this point. This was not the Gilbert I loved and who was this insecure pathetic woman disguised as my lovely Anne? Ugh! It’s one of those books I wish I could un-read. It must be 40-odd years since I read it and yet I still hate it!!! I wish I’d stopped in the House of Dreams! So I think your two-stars is generous… 😉

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  5. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: all the even-numbered books are a bit bleh (with the exception of #8!!!). So, you’ve encountered the last bleh book! #7 is great, but notice that we’re focusing less and less on Anne. Book #8 was actually my favorite. I can’t wait until you read it!

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  6. You’ll like Rilla, at least, so the series will end on a good note for you. (There are still a lot of cute-kid-stories in RV – at least for my adult reading taste. Also, by this point, LMM was really tired of writing about Anne, but the fans kept wanting more!) Don’t you like sad dog stories?

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  7. WONDERFUL review, Laila! you hit on so many themes I completely agree with. While I love the stories about the Blythe children it got a bit too… sticky… for me. Those kids were so perfect and darling it was hard to swallow. That said, when I was in the right mood these stories made me feel great.

    I am so embarrassed that I never got my review for this book posted! I realized that when I did my October in Review. It’s going up now. Shocking!

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      1. I mean, did you read my two star review of Anne of Windy Poplars? I think you’re in good company. 😀 Besides, what’s the point of reviewing a book if you aren’t going to be upfront and honest about it? This is one of the many reasons I love reading your reviews.

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  8. How did I miss this post?! For all my love of everything LMM, I also love to read other perspectives – I’m aware mine are probably sometimes biased and possibly based on nostalgia. However, I think I would agree that this book is not one of her best. It kind of feels like she’s scraping the barrel for things to write about. But Rainbow Valley is better – still about the kids, but it actually ends up focusing mainly on the new minister’s kids. And Rilla is one of my favourites, and could really be a stand-alone if you wanted. One of the best parts of it, though, I have to warn you, is about Dog Monday. Dog Monday kills me.

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