The story follows orphan heroine Anne (with an "e"!) Shirley who comes to live with aging siblings Marila and Matthew Cuthbert. The precocious young girl is a wealth of imagination and her vibrant spirit breathes new life into her adoptive family's world. L. M. Montgomery's descriptions of Prince Edward Island are wonderfully detailed, but it is the neighbors and townspeople that really make Anne's tale so charming. From town busybody Rachael Lynde to Anne's bosom friend Diana Barry, the cast is unique and entirely lovable. I was especially drawn into the relationship between Anne and Gilbert Blythe. From the television series, I knew love was in their future, but their early interactions, in which animosity and competition grow slowly into admiration and friendship, contained a sweet childish innocence that made me all the more appreciative of their relationship to come.
I also found myself reflecting a lot on Anne's character. She has a tendency to allow her daydreaming to carry her thoughts away, often in the middle of everyday chores and conversations. In real life, I think a person like this would probably drive me crazy. With so many tangents and seemingly irrelevant comments, I picture that I would be fed up with Anne after only a short conversation with her. However, in text, I loved every minute of her vivid imaginings and troublesome antics. Her creative naming of the ordinary things around her as well as her romantic spirit were lovely to read in a storybook character, and I know I was left wanting to incorporate a bit more of Anne's dreamy outlook in my own everyday perspective. Herein lies the true beauty of this book. Even those of us who have little in common with Prince Edward Island's fictional past can still savor the spark of color that a boisterous little redhead can impart on the world around her.