CM . . .
. Volume X Number 11 . . . . January 30, 2004
As is the case with any abridgement of a beloved classic, however, there is the concern that by altering or attempting to simplify the original you lose its very essence, and I think that that is a very legitimate concern here. Lucy Maud Montgomery is arguably best known for the beautifully detailed descriptions she employed in her writing. To be introduced to the events of her stories without the exquisite prose through which she had so vividly rendered them is to lose out on perhaps the most important part of the experience. And one cannot truly "meet" Anne without enjoying her penchant for big words and long, passionate speeches, nor can this adaptation do justice to Anne's (and Maud's) unmistakable love for and deep appreciation of the natural world around them. This is absolutely intrinsic to Anne's story, and it simply cannot be experienced in this shortened version. Therefore, while many of the major elements of the plot are adequately summarized herein, the essence of Anne and her joyful, irrepressible spirit just cannot be captured in this abridgement. While this shortened storybook version will likely satisfy youngsters who are itching to delve into the Anne stories, and it could serve as an early introduction to Montgomery's "Anne girl," I would personally favour waiting until a child were old enough to appreciate the original to share all the wonders of Anne's world with him or her. But for those who can't wait until they are ready for the original text (or for parents who can't wait to introduce their young ones to the inimitable Anne Shirley) this could be an acceptable starting point. And since it is suitably vague in terms of the later events in Anne's life, it allows children to eventually go on to read the L.M. Montgomery novels at a later time without feeling as though they've heard it all before. This adaptation, therefore, can find a place on library or bookstore shelves.
Lisa Doucet is a children's bookseller at Woozles in Halifax, NS.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.