While the first book in the LM Montgomery series rolls along with one incident after another, Anne of Avonlea is more sedate. Anne is older and staying in Avonlea to teach and help out Marilla with the farm–especially when they find themselves taking on a set of six year old twins as a family obligation. The scrapes and hair-brained schemes belong less to Anne than to the wild child, Davy. Now, that doesn’t mean that Anne doesn’t get into any trouble at all, but the problems are a little less frantic and more “could happen to anyone”–with the possible exception of the incident over Dolly the Jersey cow.
By the end, the twins are permanent residents at Green Gables, Rachel Lynde moves in, and Anne and Gilbert are headed off to college. There is even a blue meeting hall, an engagement, and a wedding. All in all, things are settling down in Avonlea as Anne grows up.
This book is ever so much more focused on moving couples together. While I understand that is the way of things for people to pair off and marry–and probably a serious concern for girls at the time–it feels a bit thick for me in the 21st century and in some instances–like with Miss Lavendar and Mr. Irving–too contrived (sweeping romance novel-esque). I do appreciate the fact that Anne, although she loves watching romance around her, understands that she is not quite ready to take that step.
What did I learn from this book? Do not teach a parrot to swear. [I have parrots so this is an important lesson!] In all seriousness, this book seems to demonstrate the value of family and community as a whole. It makes me want to live in a very small town–or perhaps just wish the pace of our society were different. Avonlea makes me feel that modern life is too rushed. Perhaps there is something in learning to slow down and enjoy what comes.
I would recommend this book. I can’t wait to jump in to the next one!