Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations

   cover

****Anne of Windy Poplars

by L. M. Montgomery

Reviewed May 7, 2002.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2002 (#5, Young Adult and Children's Classic Rereads)
First published in 1936.  Grosset and Dunlap Publishers, 1979.  246 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (JF MON).

If I want my mood to improve, all I have to do is open an L. M. Montgomery book.  This is the fourth book of the “Anne of Green Gables” series, which I am slowly rereading.  It was never one of my favorites.  Recently, I learned that she wrote this book out of sequence, much later than the other books, when she was heartily sick of Anne, but her publishers and readers were clamoring for more about her.

This book is really a series of short stories, loosely connected by having Anne figure in all of them, with a few plot lines that thinly weave throughout the book.  It’s set during Anne’s three-year engagement, when she was the principal of Summerside High School.  It’s a little hard to believe that Anne would really have gotten to know so many completely different sets of people found in the incidents of this book.  This time, I simply read the book as if it were a collection of short stories, and I found I enjoyed it more than ever before.  Perhaps being older and not requiring quite so much romance in a book helped, too!

Another important note is that L. M. Montgomery originally wrote the book as Anne of Windy Willows.  However, there was another book out that year with a similar title, so her American Publishers changed it to Anne of Windy Poplars.  In several spots in the book, Anne raves about the romance of the name, “Windy Poplars.”  I never understood it at all until I found out the original name.  I do wish that current publishers would switch it back!  Anyway, every time I saw the words “Windy Poplars,” I made sure I mentally changed them to “Windy Willows.”  It’s silly, but that did help me enjoy the book.

I must say that L. M. Montgomery is a master of the short story form.  Her characters are quirky, true-to-life, and hilarious.  In this book, written later in her life, you can detect more cynicism than her earlier books.  There is one episode with a gushing young girl named Hazel doting on Anne and proclaiming how no one else understands her deep feelings.  Anne ends up being quite cynical when those feelings end up being shallow.  I couldn’t help feel a bit for Hazel, since her gushings sounded something like Anne’s own expressions in the earlier books.  (This is why Anne is patient with her at first.)  I’m sure that L. M. Montgomery the famous author met all too many gushing fans like Hazel.  (I’ve read about them in her journals.)  She got her revenge!

Reviews of other L. M. Montgomery books:
The Blue Castle
Kilmeny of the Orchard

The Emily Series:
Emily of New Moon
Emily Climbs
Emily's Quest

The Anne Series:
Anne of Green Gables
Anne of Avonlea
Anne of the Island
Anne's House of Dreams
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside
The Road to Yesterday
Before Green Gables, by Budge Wilson


Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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