Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson (Published in 2008)
I just read this book a couple of weeks ago.
I should have read it earlier, but to be honest, I forgot about it. I remember a co-worker reading it in 2008, but at the time, my son (the first one) was struggling for his life and then died, and then we were packing up to move 1,800 miles away. I just did not have the time or energy just then. And then I forgot about it. Perhaps I forgot about it on purpose, because it was not written by my beloved L. M. Montgomery. Nevertheless, it happened, and a couple of months ago, it was suggested to me as something I might like on GoodReads.
I have been more active again on GoodReads in the last few months because I was mostly curious about what recommendations it could produce based on what I’ve read. I still don’t have everything I’ve ever read listed there. I am still short, a bit, on LibraryThing, where I have been a full member for over five years as I still prefer it over GoodReads any day. I’ve been trying to get every book I’ve ever read listed on there, but that will be difficult because even though I started keeping lists of books I’ve read age age 11, I only counted books that were 50 or more pages in length. Picture books I am way behind on. I am already trying to remember.
Anyway, I borrowed this book from the library, and reluctantly started reading it. Within the first ten pages, I had trouble putting it down. What I liked the most were the glimpses into the short lives of Anne’s parents. There was not really enough about them! (One of my only criticisms of this book.) The saddest parts were how Anne cannot go to school very often due to the circumstances of the families she lives with. She wanted so badly to go to school. She wants so badly to have real family and friends. Actually, it is fairly depressing at times – but I had to finish the book anyway to make sure everything would lead up to Matthew picking up Anne in Bright River.
The author does not try to capture L. M. Montgomery’s voice, which was good, because that would have been difficult to do. The author herself does a fine job in her own voice trying to capture the story of Anne before she arrives on Prince Edward Island.
I award this book five stars, despite it being rather depressing at times!
One more note: The most upsetting section of this book is when ALL of Mrs. Hammond’s children are given away. She does not get to keep even one of them. That did make me want to vomit. Perhaps I will give this book 4.5 stars instead.