Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Reader's Diary #1845- Lucy Maud Montgomery, adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler: Anne of Green Gables

I'm wrapping up another year of participation in the Canadian Book Challenge and once again I was scrambling to find a book from PEI to read. I wasn't terribly excited to read Mariah Marsden's graphic novel adaptation, feeling I was already familiar enough with Anne of Green Gables, but I'd heard good things and in any case, wouldn't take a lot of time.

I'm certainly glad I did though. Marsden has done a wonderful job with this adaptation, choosing many wordless scenes to help set the tone and pace of the story and zeroing in on those quintessential moments (the "carrots" episode with Gilbert, the inadvertent intoxication of Diana, and so on). Nothing is lost and most importantly Anne's strong, loveable, curious, and melodramatic personality shines through, as infectious as ever.

Illustrator Brenna Thummler's work here is amazing. Charming and rich, highly stylized, with a flow that of a old China tea cup design. The characters' faces may not be to everyone's fancy, with eyes simplified to simple circles (a la Little Orphan Annie) and noses that are coloured a darker pink to form almost perfect triangles. Nevertheless, they are consistent and still manage (sometimes with a mere eyebrow lift) to convey a wealth of emotion.

A few stray thoughts:

  • Though the book was dedicated to Lucy Maud Montgomery, I thought it off that her name did not appear anywhere on the cover
  •  I've only been to PEI once but I don't recall trees quite as large as depicted here
  • I found myself wondering if Marilla isn't a good metaphor for PEI itself. PEI has a reputation for not exactly welcoming newcomers to the island but must, I would imagine, be won over by some folks.

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