The Prequel to Anne of Green Gables
Yes, that Anne of Green Gables, most recently reimagined as a Gothic nightmare on Netflix as “Anne with an E.” The Montgomery book was one of my favorites in childhood. Then I reread it in my children’s lit class in library school and loved it even more. Gothic nightmare is so not for me, but this book, this prequel, most certainly is.
The original (and subsequent sequels) are ostensibly children’s books but adults will certainly find much to enjoy as well. This prequel is an adult book and I don’t think it works the same way backwards; most children would probably not enjoy this but I sure did.
I have a new supervisor at work and she asked about a shelf full of children’s books that were in the reference workspace, including several copies of Anne of Green Gables. I explained that one of our librarians had attempted an adult book group that would read children’s literature, including Anne. It didn’t go well, I’m very sorry to say. But I mentioned how much I loved that book and she asked if I had read the prequel that came out a few years ago and my jaw dropped – I had missed it completely!
In the original, we meet Anne around age twelve when she is adopted. The book hints at some unhappiness in her past, and this prequel expands on it. We learn what happened to Anne Shirley before she got adopted and I was mesmerized, first by the writing, so reminiscent of the original, and then by the story itself. If you are a fan, you probably read this already but if, like me, you somehow missed it, do yourself a favor and find a copy. I’m so very glad I did.
6/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
BEFORE GREEN GABLES by Budge Wilson. Berkley; Reprint edition (February 3, 2009). ISBN 978-0425225769. 400p.