Anne of Ingleside #20BooksofSummer #AnneofGreenGables #YAlit

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Anne of Ingleside #20BooksofSummer #AnneofGreenGables #YAlit

Anne of Ingleside, by L.M. Montgomery

Book #6 of the Anne of Green Gables series

Be sure to read my reviews of the previous books in this series! The links are at the bottom of the page in my #20BooksofSummer reading list.

After the birth of Jem in Book #5, Anne and Gilbert buy a larger home: Ingleside. The last of the story describes Anne’s deep sorrow over leaving her beloved House of Dreams. Anne of Ingleside picks up with a full house: Anne and Gilbert Blythe; their live-in maid from Book #5, Susan; and their children, Jem, Walter, Nan, Di, Shirley, and one on the way. The children’s names get confusing because they’re almost all given nicknames and are named after other characters:

  • James Matthew Blythe is “Jem” (he’s named after Captain Jim and Matthew Cuthbert)
  • Walter Cuthbert Blythe (no nickname; he’s named for Anne’s father and the Cuthbert family)
  • Diana Blythe is “Di” (named for Diana Barry) and Nan’s twin
  • Anne Blythe is “Nan” (named for her mother) and Di’s twin
  • Shirley Blythe (named for the Shirley family)
  • Bertha Marilla Blythe is “Rilla” (named for Anne’s mother and Marilla Cuthbert)

Anne of ingleside

The synopsis on the back of the book makes the novel sound like an exciting story: Anne’s going to have a baby, Gilbert’s annoying aunt won’t leave after her two-week visit expires, and Anne thinks Gilbert doesn’t love her anymore. I thought this would all tie together. What I get is the LMM curse: all the even numbered books are disappointing. The new baby isn’t much of a story; Rilla is born early in the novel. Gilbert’s aunt hangs around for a few chapters and leaves for an unusual reason. And Anne’s concern that Gilbert doesn’t love her? Not even mentioned until page 255 (the book is 274 pages long).

Instead, I was given another Windy Poplars — a book basically full of stories. In fact, LMM gets so lazy as to write declarations of how it’s another characters turn to be in the spotlight. Each Blythe child is featured in a small story arc that doesn’t tie in with the rest of the story arcs. Except Shirley. What is Shirley doing the entire book?? I forgot he existed at times. Mostly, I was bored because I couldn’t see where the book was going, even though it covered years.

The individual spotlights on a child were predictable because they were all the same: a child felt bad about something (perhaps defying a parent), live-in maid Susan threatens them with castor oil (a medicine prescribed for everything, it seems), the child solves the situation on his/her own, and then bawls to Anne about what happened anyway. Finally, the child decides Anne is the best mother ever (Jem calls her “mother dearwums,” which made me want to throw up a bit).

The adults, including Anne, tend to say stupid, hurtful things in Book #6. Walter is afraid for his mother; he’s heard she’s sick (readers know she’s in labor) and asks Susan if his mother is alright. Susan replies, “…she was never in any danger of dying this time.” Why would you tell a boy, who doesn’t know the difference between “sick” and “labor,” that his mom’s almost died, and Whew! she didn’t this time? After the birth of Rilla, Anne says, “All our babies were sweet, Gilbert, but she is the sweetest of them all.” How does one determine the “sweetness” of a baby, and why would one rank her children?

Beautiful people rule in the land of LMM, and she makes it known more than ever in Book #6. Nan and Di are twins, but they aren’t identical. Nan is declared the “much prettier” twin. In another instance, we learn Rilla loves her teacher and is so glad she got her teacher and not the other teacher, because the other teacher is ugly, and “Rilla couldn’t bear an ugly teacher.” Nan goes to meet a new neighbor and is sad to learn that she’s old . . . “and fat!” At school, Di decides to choose a best friend. Perhaps forgetting she is the not-pretty twin, she considers her two options based on looks. Di realy likes Laura. “But Laura was rather plain, with freckles and unmanageable sandy hair. She had none of Delilah Green’s beauty and not a spark of her allure.” The adults are just as bad; Anne and Gilbert visit an old college friend. Gilbert says, “she’s got fat. Thank goodness, you haven’t got fat, Anne-girl.” As if the worst thing a woman who gave birth to seven children could do is get fat. I’ve been paying attention, too, to see what fat means. Diana Barry is described as “fat” at 155 lbs. The average American woman weighs 164.3 lbs. The attention to looks gets exhausting, and you start feeling bad about yourself.

One positive was the change in the author’s descriptions. Although in past books everything was described as misty or fairy or elfin-like, LMM’s descriptions are stronger in Book #6. The author uses simile effectively:

“Snow in April is abominable,” said Anne. “Like a slap in the face when you expected a kiss.” Ingleside was fringed with icicles and for two long weeks the days were raw and the nights were hardbitten. Then the snow grudgingly disappeared and when the news went round that the first robin had been seen in the Hollow Ingleside plucked up heart and ventured to believe that the miracle of spring was really going to happen again. . . . Spring was trying out her paces that day . . . like an adorable baby just learning to walk.

Throughout, the descriptions are less abstract, so I got a better picture of the setting, which I enjoyed! Distracting though, are the missing coordinating and subordinating commas. LMM’s punctuation had been a thing of beauty in her previous books. What happened?

Overall, I didn’t enjoy Anne of Ingleside. The children were boring, the adults rude, and the plot…what plot? I typically highlight a lot in the Green Gables books, as the tend to be very funny (even the books I don’t like). In Book #6, almost nowhere. The only times I enjoyed myself was when Miss Cornelia (that’s Mrs. Marshall Elliot, now) popped in for a visit. Here’s one of her gems to end on a positive note:

“What I had against Mr. Dawson,” said Miss Cornelia, “was the unmerciful length of his prayers at a funeral. It actually came to such a pass that people said they envied the corpse. He surpassed himself at Letty Grant’s funeral. I saw her mother was on the point of fainting so I gave him a good poke in the back with my umbrella and told him he’d prayed long enough.”


20booksfinal

#20BooksofSummer

This book was read as part of Cathy 746’s challenge to read 20 books between June 1st and September 5th. Here’s the roster:

  1. Harley and Me by Bernadette Murphy
  2. On Air by Robin Stratton
  3. Single Stroke Seven by Lavinia Ludlow
  4. Girls of Usually by Lori Horvitz
  5. Retelling by Tsipi Keller
  6. The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick
  7. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  8. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
  9. Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America by Jonathan Kozol
  10. Terror in Taffeta by Marla Cooper
  11. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  12. Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  13. Anne of the Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  14. Anne of Windy Poplars by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  15. Anne’s House of Dreams by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  16. Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  17. Rainbow Valley by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  18. Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  19. Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher by Monica Nolan
  20. Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore
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31 responses »

  1. I don’t really remember what I thought about this one, to be honest, but LMM’s insistence on making all the good people beautiful always starts to grate on me too at this point. There is a story–I think it is in Rainbow Valley, which it looks like you’ve read so hopefully this isn’t a spoiler–where a character goes to visit two sisters. Every visit, he talks to the clever, opinionated, plain one, and looks at the pretty one–and then he marries the pretty one. Now I just think that’s ridiculous, but I remember being genuinely upset by it as a (clever, opinionated–and plain) teenage girl!

    I like Rainbow Valley, so I’ll be interested to see what you made of it, but I *love* Rilla of Ingleside. I think it’s a very different sort of book from the rest of the series, but I really like it nonetheless.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m hoping Rilla of Ingleside is different because it’s #8, and all the even numbered books have been meh. LMM tends to focus on small plot arcs–short stories, really–and shove them together. I would rather read her short story books because then she won’t have to force all the stories to use the same setting and characters unnecessarily. I, too, was surprised that Mr. Meredith married the pretty woman. I thought there would be a great twist and that he would marry Ellen, but that’s not what LMM’s world is like. I was glad Ellen wasn’t left in the dust, though, and got back with her sweetheart. We’re never told why Norman Douglas broke up with her so long ago. He’s mean and expects people to take it; today, when we get upset over such jerks, we’re told we’re too “sensitive.” I hate that.

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  2. Oh dear. This sounds like a dud. But, I find it too adorable that Anne & Gilbert have twins that they name after Anne & Diana. That is quite perfect (a little too perfect).
    And seriously – Anne thinks Gilbert doesn’t love her anymore? Not sure I want to read this one! But I will…sometime…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Don’t kill me, but I haven’t read any of the series 😅 Here in my country they aren’t as popular and I spent my childhood in Malory Towers, St Claire’s and Puck’s boarding school haja

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah, I didn’t like this one either and it was after this that I gave up on them – went back many times to the ones I loved, but didn’t read any more. It was the idea of Anne thinking Gilbert didn’t love her – what?? Not possible! I don’t want adult sillinesses to intrude on my childhood heroes and heroines thank you very much!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Miss Cornelia definitely has all the good lines. 🙂
    I think maybe you’ll like Rainbow Valley better. I thought it was pretty funny.
    And, Rilla of Ingleside is wonderful (at least, I think so!). I’m holding my breath…

    As for all the descriptions of people’s looks – I agree that it’s awful, but I also think a lot of people do think that way (even now), even if they don’t realize it. For example, children do probably tend to hope for the prettier teacher, or want to be best friends with the nicest-looking girl in the class. At least until they get to know those people, and then may change their minds about them. LMM may overdo it, but I feel like most of the time she is just being honest and telling it like it is. I really don’t like that line about Gilbert being glad that Anne hasn’t gotten fat, though. And, I really don’t think Gilbert would say a thing like that. I don’t know what LMM was thinking! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, there are a few things Anne and Gilbert say that are uncharacteristic as the books go on, like LMM forgot who they were just a little. I’ve also heard a few people say the last book is their favorite, so it’s not just you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Although I wouldn’t say it was my favourite, I was content to have Rilla be my last taste of the series (I’d left it unread for about 30 years) and enjoyed it more than AoI and RV. Round about where you are, I was wondering whether it was worth completing (as you know, I wasn’t a fan of Anne’s marrying) but I’m very glad I persisted and I think you will be too!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh dear – how interesting your reviews are, as I had these painted in rose-coloured tints even though I haven’t read them for literally YEARS. Time for a quick check and some more room on my shelves, maybe! And well done getting through your 20 Books so well, looks like you’ll do it!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Rainbow Valley #20BooksofSummer #YAlit #AnneofGreenGables | Grab the Lapels

  8. It’s so strange that everyone’s ‘prettiness’ is such a big deal. I don’t remember Anne being *that* obsessed with looks. It’s so funny how we remember things the way we want them to be!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Too bad you didn’t enjoy this one as much as some of the others. Rilla sounds a little like Anne, a tad vain where other people are concerned. I do think some stories work better when there aren’t so many installments, but on the other hand, it’s nice to follow a character for years. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pingback: Bobby Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher #20BooksofSummer #LGBT @KensingtonBooks #ReadWomen | Grab the Lapels

  11. Pingback: Rilla of Ingleside #20BooksofSummer #WWI | Grab the Lapels

  12. Pingback: #20BooksofSummer DONE! Congrats on a solid season of reading and reviewing, everyone! | Grab the Lapels

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