Green Gables Readalong: Anne of Ingleside

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Lindsey at Reeder Reads is hosting a Green Gables Readalong, in which we are reading one Anne book a month between January and August. This month we are talking about Anne of Ingleside. If you want to catch up, here are my reviews for the first five books: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, and Anne’s House of Dreams

This is my favourite cover out of all the ones I own. This Anne still looks young and dreamy, and motherly all at the same time. And, I have always loved that yellow dress.

In Anne of Ingleside, Anne is a mother of six. She is about to give birth to her 6th and last baby at the beginning of the book, and by the end, that baby is almost 6 years old.

Most of the stories told in this book are about the children and the trials of growing up. Many things have stayed the same between now and then; children still get into trouble, their imaginations still get the better of them, and they still agonize over things that seem trivial to adults. Luckily for the Ingleside children, they have Anne for a mother.

Susan Baker is a big part of the lives of the Blythe family; she is the housekeeper/cook/nanny. When I was young, I didn’t like her. I resented the fact that she took so much responsibility for Anne’s children and household. I thought Anne should be able to do everything herself. I was curious about whether or not I would still feel so strongly about her, but this time I get what it’s like to have children (and Anne has twice as many as I do). I do like her better than I used to, but I also admit to still feeling slightly put off by her. Does anyone else feel the same way, or am I crazy? Maybe I just wish she lived with me instead.

I like that Anne’s kids are not perfect. They get mad, they keep secrets, they get into trouble, they make friends with with the wrong kids, they make bargains with God, they eavesdrop on the Ladies’ Aid women, they throw perfectly good cakes in the river (you’ll have to read the book to find out why). Poor Walter is taken to a friend’s house when Rilla is born, and he is in agony imagining that his parents don’t love him anymore and that his mother is dying. Jem desperately wants his own dog to love, but continues to have bad luck finding one. Di falls victim twice to girls who embellish, exaggerate, and outright lie to her. Nan is told she was switched at birth with another baby (a girl whose Dad is known as six-toed Jim), and she believes her life at Ingleside is over. Each of Anne’s children have their own distinct personality, and it is fun getting to know them.

The children and the family are the main focus of this book, but Anne and Gilbert get put through the wringer a few times. At different times in the book, Walter, Jem, and Nan go missing. Aunt Mary Maria comes for an extended visit and makes everyone miserable. The tension is thick in the house when Anne is sick with pneumonia. And, near the end, as Anne and Gilbert approach 15 years of marriage, Anne starts to wonder whether Gilbert still loves her; she doesn’t feel as though he notices her anymore. Then, an old flame of Gilbert’s comes to town, and Anne’s imagination takes flight once again. Some things never change.

Favourite quotes:

“Oh, Susan, there is no such thing as a common day. Every day has something about it no other day has.”

“Don’t you find life here rather dull?” an old Queen’s classmate from Charlottetown had asked Anne rather patronizingly one day.     Dull! Anne almost laughed in her caller’s face. Ingleside dull! With a delicious baby bringing new wonders every day… with visits from Diana and Little Elizabeth and Rebecca Dew to be planned for… with Mrs. Sam Ellison of the Upper Glen on Gilbert’s hands with a disease only three people in the world had ever been known to have before… with Walter starting to school… with Nan drinking a whole bottle of perfume from Mother’s dressing table… they thought it would kill her but she was never a whit the worse… with a strange black cat having the unheard-of number of ten kittens in the back porch… with Shirley locking himself in the bathroom and forgetting how to unlock it… with the Shrimp getting rolled up in a sheet of fly-paper… with Aunt Mary Maria setting the curtains of her room on fire in the dead of night while prowling with a candle, and rousing the household with appalling screams. Life dull!

She stooped repentantly, gloatingly over them. They were still hers… wholly hers, to mother and love and protect. They still came to her with every love and grief of their little hearts. For a few years longer they would be hers… and then? Anne shivered. Motherhood was very sweet… but very terrible.

“They are newcomers, Mrs. Dr. Dear,”… much as she might have said, “They are crocodiles.”

“I heard Dorothy say that Frank was the best match but she really couldn’t abide the thought of seeing that nose sticking out over the sheet every morning when she woke up.”

“Have I any right to be so happy when other women are so miserable?”

Her nose was still definitely good. Anne patted it as a friend, recalling certain moments of life when her nose was all that carried her through. But Gilbert just took her nose for granted now. It might be crooked or pug for all it mattered to him. Likely he had forgotten that she had a nose.

Acceptable Covers:

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Unacceptable Covers:

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Who are these people?

 

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The second one (yellow) looks like The Sound of Music, and why is the girl on the third cover so angry?

Undecided:

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I would like the second one here, except that the woman’s hair is all wrong.

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29 thoughts on “Green Gables Readalong: Anne of Ingleside

  1. whatmeread says:

    I didn’t know there were so many Anne books. How many are there? Did you read them all when you were younger? I think I must have only read three or four, because most of these aren’t familiar.

    • Naomi says:

      There are 8, including Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside which focus more on her children. And, yes, I owned and read them all more than once. So, be ready for 2 more! 🙂

      • whatmeread says:

        Maybe I’ll read them. Anne of Green Gables was not only great nostalgia, but it was much better than I expected. Somehow I’m always afraid that I’ll return to old favorites and find out they’re really not that well written or something like that. That sort of happened to me with Little Women, so now I’m afraid to re-read my favorite, Eight Cousins.

      • Naomi says:

        I have really loved re-reading the Anne books. I find they are holding up very well! Almost better than ever. 🙂

      • whatmeread says:

        I think as an adult you notice different things than you did as a child. Sometimes that’s a good thing, sometimes not so good!

  2. TJ @ MyBookStrings says:

    I agree with you that the third unacceptable cover is indeed unacceptable, even though it is the one I had as a child. (Although it is not as bad as the first undecided cover with the squinting lady…) As with the last book, I never really read this book. I didn’t want Anne to be “old” and a mom. I will have to reread it to see how I feel about it now. I will probably wish to have a Susan Baker in my house, too.

    • Naomi says:

      The good thing is that she is still very Anne-ish. She makes a good mother because she can imagine what they are going through when they’re troubled. From here on in though, most of the focus is shifted onto her children, which is good, because it really is hard to imagine Anne getting too much older. I can picture her as a young mother, but late 40s and 50s is pushing it for me.

  3. The Paperback Princess says:

    You are always so bang on about the covers.

    I’m bringing this one to the lake with me this weekend! I can’t wait to get to it. This is kind of the last one that features Anne so prominently. Everytime I think about Walter…I can’t. Even after all this time. I’m a little nervous to get started on these last three books.

    • Naomi says:

      Me too! I really have to try not to think of it until I can’t avoid it any longer. Even when she makes reference to Dog Monday in Anne of Ingleside, I started to choke up.

  4. Carolyn O says:

    Oh dear. I confess I’m rather glad I didn’t read this book, because I have to admit that I start hating the Anne books around book 4. (I adore Anne of Green Gables, though, and most of Anne of Avonlea). It burns me up that Anne is just as smart, probably smarter than Gilbert, and he gets to have it all–the career he loves, the big family, and Anne–but she has to give up her career. And [SPOILER] she almost dies giving birth the first time and he still thinks it’s somehow a great idea to have another six kids?!?!? As the books progress, she fades further and further into the background as the spotlight turns to the other people around her (kids, neighbors)

    I know, I know: it’s a series of books of its time, but after the great proto-feminist promise of the first books (not to mention the beloved series), I couldn’t take the rest of the series (also the writing gets too episodic, but that’s another issue). I’d read the first two books to my son, though.

    • Naomi says:

      It does bother me that she seems to stop her writing after the kids are born. And, it’s odd that she does, because her creator didn’t stop after having kids. But, I also think that some people are perfectly happy and fulfilled being full-time mothers, and maybe she’s one of them. There’s nothing wrong with that, either (even if you’re smart and capable of doing anything).
      Have you read Rilla of Ingleside? I remember it being different than the rest and really liking it. It’s also very sad in parts, which I love. But, we’ll soon see how well I’m remembering it.

  5. Carole Besharah says:

    Gahhh… I totally wimped out on this readalong. I got bogged down with homework in the first few months and let it slip away. Congrats for keeping up! I’ve enjoyed reading your Anne insight. 🙂 And the covers… OH THE COVERS!!! Thanks for sharing, Naomi.

    • Naomi says:

      I have had more fun than I even expected reading the Anne books again. And, it will never be too late to read them, Carole – I still would love to hear what you have to say, if you ever get to them!
      The covers have been so fun for me!

      • buriedinprint says:

        I got behind too because I was just leafing through for the first few months and not properly rereading, but I’m trying to catch up now. I’m in AHoD now and I’ve been keeping notes along the way, so I hope to do a summary of the first six and properly join in this month. That’s the same copy of AoI that I have and yes, yes, yes, how I loooved the dress (the one on AHoD was my second-favourite) but I never cared for the *books* in which Anne was older, when I was a girl (only her dresses apparently). I reread the early books incessently but lost interest in the 5th.

      • Naomi says:

        Anne’s House of Dreams is one of my favourite. Maybe you’ll feel differently about it this time around. The last 3 concentrate a lot more on her kids, but I do remember loving the last one (Rilla of Ingleside) in which the kids are mostly grown. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

  6. Cathy746books says:

    I loved this post! That cover with grumpy girl on it? What’s going on there?! I’ve never read Anne of Green Gables, but I think I’ll read it to my daughter when she’s a little older.

  7. Lynn @ Smoke & MirrorsP says:

    Nice post as usual, Naomi! Love the covers!! That’s always fun!
    We chose one of the same quotes. I didn’t even mention Anne’s fit of jealousy–glad you did! It rang so true for me and yet at the same time it seemed so funny! Anne is so good with her children! Not perfect, mind you, but very patient, kind, and respectful, always aware of their feelings and takes them seriously. I think all those characteristics are so important to parenting! Can’t believe we only have 2 more books to go! Anxious to see how Montgomery ends it all.

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