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Bookworm: Rereading childhood novels opens eyes to different insights

By Kathleen Duncan
May 15, 2013 at 12:15 a.m.


As children, certain books burrow into our hearts, wrapping their story lines and characters around our young minds and becoming a part of us for life. As we grow up, we associate them with being young, having adventures and dreaming about the world around us.

These books include the Narnia chronicles, Nancy Drew mysteries or one of my absolute favorites, "Anne of Green Gables."

I don't know the last time you tried rereading a book you loved as a kid, but sometimes the experience can be a bit harsh on that dreaming child we still have inside us.

Trying to reread Nancy Drew is disillusioning because suddenly as an adult, everything is completely obvious. The Narnia books will always be special to me, but now I can see the larger messages hidden behind the magical talking lion and disappearing entrance in the wardrobe, which of course, dulls the magic a little bit.

But then there are classics like "Anne of Green Gables." A spunky, young orphan is adopted by a brother and sister in Avonlea. This simple story of country childhood adventures and family is timeless, as charming today as it was to me 20 years ago.

We are introduced to Mrs. Rachel Lynde first, which is completely appropriate because she is the town busybody, and why not get our first glimpse of this town through her eyes? She is sitting on her porch in the warm June sunshine when Matthew Cuthbert, her neighbor, trots by with his horse and buggy.

Rachel, of course, is shocked. Shocked! He is dressed nicely and heading out for an errand she knows nothing about. Rachel decides she must get to the bottom of this immediately.

Rachel soon learns that Matthew and his sister, Marilla, are planning to adopt a boy from an orphan asylum in Nova Scotia. Then, as we all know, there is a mistake, and the delightful, talkative and energetic Anne arrives on the afternoon train.

Thus begins all of Anne's adventures in Avonlea.

Anne makes a best friend, gets into scrapes and generally causes a little more havoc than Avonlea is used to. Her story is filled with childhood troubles and imaginative escapades.

Over the years, despite her flights of fancy and quick temper, Anne becomes an accomplished and adored young lady whom Avonlea can't imagine living without. And once we've reached the last page of her story, we can't either.

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