I know. We're halfway through July and I'm just getting to this. My children are with me all the time. No, really. All the time. Every night I fall asleep as I'm getting into bed and all my chores are accompanied by their questions instead of an Audible book. I need to try harder, but not yet. So, this report is late and also incomplete since I only read two books in June.
It's my classic for last month. After failing with The Brothers Karamozov, I had to have something I knew I would love. Anne Shirley is all optimism. Her imagination is so rich that she can find a way to be happy no matter what. That's why you can't help but love her - she is happy.
Montgomery's characterizations are clever. We know exactly what kind of person Mrs. Rachel Lynde is based on Anne quoting her. Now we know that Mrs. Lynde is saying all these things to or in front of Anne, which means Mrs. Lynde is talking all the time. Hilarious! And Marilla and Matthew stretching into new selves at the end of their lives because they have a child to take care of. Marilla worries constantly about spoiling Anne and teaching her the right way while Matthew wants to make sure Anne knows how much he cares about her and his confidence in her. Children do change everything, don't they.
The humor in Anne of Green Gables is so sweet. "Now you see why I can't be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair." "You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair. People who haven't red hair don't know what trouble is." :) I'm always with Marilla when she tells Anne to hold her tongue for a minute or to stop being a drama queen (not Marilla's words). But that imagination of Anne's is so winning! "Oh, Marilla, looking forward to things is half the pleasure of them." One of my favorite lines in the book is Rachel Lynde's description of Anne after she'd lived at Green Gables for three years. "She makes them [the other girls at school] look kind of common and overdone - something like them white June lilies she calls narcissus alongside of the big, red peonies, that's what."
And toward the end of the book Anne is waiting to hear if she won a scholarship and talking to her friends about it. "Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing." For real, right? The book had me teary many times. Mostly because of Matthew. If you've only watched the fabulous mini-series of Anne of Green Gables, the book is definitely worth your time.
I listened to this one narrated by Christopher Timothy. Herriot's story-telling style is delightful and the narration was superb, but the stories themselves kind of got old after several chapters. It's all about Herriot's real-life experiences as a country veterinarian in northern England in the 1920s (I think). He loves his work, he loves animals, he loves the countryside. It's all very soothing.
I think Herriot was at his best when he described dogs. He gets them. My favorite patient of his was a pampered dog name Tricky. Tricky writes to his "Uncle Herriot" and sends him packages and invitations to parties. It's perfect.
The same thing happened to me with All Creatures Great and Small as with Call the Midwife. I'm more interested in the emotional happenings in the story than I am the nuts and bolts of operations. A cow's temperature, the feel of a tumor inside a horse, etc. Nope. Not for me. And it was just a bunch of stories without a real point. As always, there doesn't need to be a point to make it a great reading experience, but it did kind of bore me.
I read somewhere that this book and others by Herriot are very popular in England and there's a TV show based on the books. Christopher Timothy plays Herriot in the TV show. It's wholesome and feel-good stuff, if you care to check it out.