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Before Green Gables (2008)

by Budge Wilson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6743529,960 (3.79)48
An authorized prequel to L.M. Montgomery's classic series about the irrepressible red-haired orphan follows Anne's early years before her adoption by the Cuthberts.
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» See also 48 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Anyone who knows me knows of my love for Anne. I know, as an adult, the things Anne may have suffered as a child. I’m not ready to read the horrors my mind can conjure up. But I did want to know more of Anne before. I admit I wanted a watered down version of events that my mind know could have occurred. This book took me there.
There were times that I forgot the ages and would be startled to realize how young Anne was. For those who say oh she couldn’t do this, that or the other by the age in the book, perhaps you are forgetting this is fiction. Anything can and does happen in fiction. I know, I have a difficult time myself with remembering that Anne is a fictional character. But she is. I would like to pose the question, too, who are you to say what is or isn’t possible anyway? I taught myself reading when I was 3 using magnetic letters and picture cards. I took it upon myself to learn Spanish at 5 listening to records that my parents had purchased but not used. To say oh she couldn’t know this word or that one is an insult to everyone. You are capable of learning, and are learning, from conception on. I’m not special and I believe any child could learn as I did. I think many have and I hope many will continue to do so. Aside from this, in the Anne books one of her endearing qualities was her speech. She had a love for, and frequently used, big words. She was using them on the ride to Green Gables when speaking to Matthew. Do you believe she suddenly developed advanced language skills on the train ride? No she learned them, like any child, from the people around her. I believe Anne had a love for language which gave her an ear for hearing remarkable words and a brain for storing those words. We all knew the harshness of Anne’s early life. It was hinted at over and over in Green Gables. We were told how early she was put in charge of infants and younger children. This too is nothing new. Look how many siblings are put in charge, some before they are truly ready. Look at slavery. Look at different cultures. Look at the pilgrims and pioneers. Life is often harsh. This book could have been a lot harsher. The pregnancy problems, domestic violence, alcoholism all were hinted at in Anne of Green Gables. Not one of those issues is a new one. Maybe they weren’t talked about until recently or given a name back then, but they existed. To say that men were given a pass in this book with domestic violence and excuses perhaps is a hard truth. Do I think the author should have it about them another way? No. This will probably not make me popular but men were given a pass with excuses for many, many years. To attempt to change history destroys the lessons we have learned. As a survivor of domestic violence, I heard those excuses when I called police, when I dared to say how I was injured, even when I spoke of them to family and friends. To say we must rewrite history so that men don’t have these excuses makes me feel as though I should be ashamed. Once again, I am the problem. I need to hide my experience because I, obviously, wasn’t strong enough or smart enough, or good enough to slay those excuses when they were repeatedly being given to me by everyone. Domestic violence was accepted in the time Anne lived. Excuses were made. Blame was placed. Women, and many men, fought a hard fight for years and years to change things for domestic violence victims. Let us not forget what we have learned. Let us not hide the truth. Because in changing history we open the door to repeating history.
Before Green Gables is Anne’s early life. In it we are taken through events that made her the 11 year old who showed up with unstoppable dreams of a better future. Isn’t this what we all want for any child, or any adult? The unshakable belief that if we keep focused on our dreams of a better tomorrow and we work tirelessly towards fulfilling them, we will achieve them. That is what I learned from Anne in Lucy L Montegomery’s books and it is the message I found in Budge Wilson’s book. ( )
  Wulfwyn907 | Jan 30, 2022 |
It's been many years since I last visited the world of Green Gables. It's a world I discovered because a friend loved the series--that same friend even went to P.E.I. to see some of the tourist sites related to the series.

Though this book is written by a different author, it was apparently done with the blessing of the Montgomery heirs. The tone of the book is very similar to what I remember the series as being. I'll have to leave it to others more familiar with the series to determine if any of what's in this book contradicts anything in the series itself.

I'm not sure if the author leans more toward the nature side of nature vs. nurture. Anne seems to "inherit" the fancifulness of her mother (stories, love of language, dreaming) and the intelligence of both parents even though they both die when she's only 3 months old.

The book follows Anne's life after that and stops as she's arriving on P.E.I. with Mrs. Spencer to go to the Cuthberts. (About where the series begins if I remember correctly.) ( )
  JenniferRobb | Sep 21, 2020 |
4.25 stars

This book tells the story of Anne Shirley before L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables books. AofGG starts when Anne is already 11 years old, and although we are given hints to her life before that, Budge Wilson has detailed that life for us. The book starts with Anne's parents before she was born, their deaths when Anne was only 3 months old, and Anne's life and all her hard work caring for all the Thomas's children, then the Hammonds' children (all those sets of twins!) when she was still a child herself, then her time at the orphanage before coming to PEI.

I was really impressed with this book. I thought the author really captured Anne's personality. I was afraid she wouldn't be done justice, but I really liked this. I love Anne! I listened to the audio and thought the narrator did a very good job, as well. She also really captured Anne very well (and did a good job of the other characters and the narration, in general). ( )
  LibraryCin | Apr 1, 2019 |
What a fun read! I love Anne and the avonlea books/movies, so this was a treat. ( )
  Crystal423 | May 1, 2018 |
I did want to like this book... but I couldn't, much. Wilson did a good job of collecting every scrap of information about Anne's backstory and assembling it into a coherent narrative. But in order to fit all the available data into the space of a single childhood, Anne had to be depicted as preternaturally capable and verbal, and even remarkably large (for her age). This was notable from time to time during a first reading (here she goes AGAIN), but only in retrospect did the cumulative effect become somewhat disturbing. And how did this strange child become the ebullient Anne we later come to know?

Not even to mention the anachronistic blunders. Wilson is not sufficiently immersed in the culture of mid-19th century rural Canada to write believable historical fiction. Rereading this more than five years after I wrote the review and got rid of the book, I realize I should have given examples. What could be so egregious that I'd remember it after all this time? I can say that the entire treatment of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding shows a late-20th century sensibility and some medical information that the characters would have had no way of knowing until decades if not generations later. ( )
1 vote muumi | Dec 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Anyone who loves Montgomery's original books (she went on to produce a whole series) will probably be able to read this prequel without minding the occasional jarring note. What may grate, though, is the cover design in which the UK publishers have clothed this Anne of Green Gables for a new generation. While the story works hard towards achieving historical and geographic authenticity, Puffin has given us Anne as a deracinated figure in what appears to be modern dress. And the freckles are hard to spot, too.
 

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Budge Wilsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Raudman, ReneeReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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This book is for Alan and Glynis and Andrea.
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Bertha Shirley stood at the door of their little yellow house, and waved goodbye to Walter as he turned on to the road that would eventually take him to Bolingbroke High School.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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An authorized prequel to L.M. Montgomery's classic series about the irrepressible red-haired orphan follows Anne's early years before her adoption by the Cuthberts.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141384123, 0141323590

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

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