Manga Review: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, Crystal S. Chan, Kuma Chan

Anne of Green Gables has been adapted into a manga! This was the perfect occasion for me to revisit a childhood classic I really enjoyed as a teen. It is the type of girly read I still like to indulge in, sweet and uplifting. By principle I don’t reread books, there is too many works out there to discover, I know I have to make a selection and go wide if I want to explore the most stories possible in my lifetime, so an adaptation gives me an excuse to delve back into the past. I was really glad for the opportunity offered me by NetGalley for this ARC.

For those who don’t know, Anne of Green Gable is about a romantic 11 years old orphan girl (in the sense her imagination is overflowing with love for nature and starving for friendship) who is accidentally adopted by an elderly brother and sister who needed a boy to help them on their farm. It is one of those countryside novels where not much happens, set in the turn of last century, but that awakens some soothing countryside living melancholia in those prone to that type of feeling. Almost all characters are good natured and the drama rises from the misunderstandings and natural life events that occurred at the time.  

The pictures are lovely, full of bubbly manga happiness and the usual attention to details we find in them. I loved getting the full map of the house at the end of the book, and the insight into the adaptor’s thinking and feelings on the novel. The artists were very respectful of the original book and there was a lot of love in their work. I think the book will particularly talk to the people who love the new TV series on Anne, or people who want a new Downton abbey. I can imagine teens also will enjoy this quick read, and I think it can replace the novel. 

It is a good adaptation, but personally I was shocked to realise I didn’t actually care about the original story any more. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up, if I was not in the right frame of mind for that type of peaceful work, but the charm didn’t operate again and I ended up wondering why Anne of Green Gable was such a classic. As I read I remembered all the passages of the book, but I couldn’t see the point anymore. Some events felt rushed or glossed over and I remembered they also were in the novel, and this time around it bothered me. I admit it made me a little sad that it didn’t touch me anymore. Maybe I’m in too much of a hurry these days and couldn’t appreciate its slow pace and call to see everyday beauty. Anne was also less adorable to me in this adaptation, due in part to some mannerism convention of the manga that I had not pictured in my mind.

Even if I was not completely taken, I think this manga will make teens and new adults who are discovering Jane Austen, Little Women and other similar works, very happy. It is pretty and made with lots of insight and care. I think it is in fact the perfect way to introduce reluctant classic readers to what they are missing and might make them want to dig deeper.

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