Ranking the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Novels from Worst to Best

Disclaimer 1: I’ve only included the Anne of… books, and not Rainbow Valley or Rilla of Ingleside, since these are more focussed on Anne’s kids.

Disclaimer 2: This ranking is based on the musings of a fannegirl (me) rather than a thoughtful exploration of literary merit.

Disclaimer 3: SPOILERS AHEAD!

#6 – Anne of Ingleside

The sixth book is going straight in at sixth place, because unfortunately Anne has become a bit boring. She’s sniffy about who her kids hang out with, she pities women who don’t have children, and she doesn’t write anymore. She has become, in the words of Bridget Jones, a “smug married”.

So maybe it’s a good thing that the book spends so much time focussing on Anne’s children, who are every bit as prone to dramas and misadventures as Anne once was. Another thing that bothers me, however, is the absence of true friendship in the book. There’s a lot of focus on how much nicer Anne’s kids are than other kids.

#5 – Anne of Avonlea

I have no real gripes about Anne of Avonlea, but I do find it one of the less memorable books in the series. Anne works as a teacher at her local school before going to college, and there’s a pleasantly wistful sense of a girl who’s all grown up, but hasn’t yet ventured out into the world.

#4 – Anne of Windy Poplars

By modern standards, Anne seems ridiculously young and underqualified to be the Principal of a school, but this is rural Canada in the early 20th century so maybe the schools have, like, 30 pupils. Anyway, Anne throws her heart and soul into her work like she does everything else.

This book employs a familiar but charming narrative device of having part of Anne’s story told through letters to her fiancé, Gilbert Blythe. The letters veer from matter-of-fact, to poetic, to a wee bit risqué!

#3 – Anne of the Island

Friendship is one of the central themes of this series, so it’s a joy to watch Anne go to college and live happily (but sometimes chaotically) with three other girls. Her new friend Phil is one of my favourite characters because she is simultaneously a genius and an airhead. Also, Marilla Cuthbert and Rachel Lynde don’t need no men and are raising twins together.

#2 – Anne of Green Gables

The one that started it all by introducing readers to the imaginative young girl sent to live at Green Gables. This is Anne with her rough edges intact – hot-tempered, stormy-souled, and always making mistakes.

The first book also introduces a number of themes that run throughout the series, such as embracing the natural world, and finding love in unconventional families (Anne is raised by siblings who basically adopt her by accident).

#1 – Anne’s House of Dreams

My favourite book in the series was a delightful surprise because I thought it would be my least favourite. As a woman who doesn’t want marriage or babies, I thought this would be the point at which I lost interest. But Anne’s newlywed happiness is the genuine, giddy, infectious kind, and when tragedy strikes it hits like a sledgehammer.

This book also has something that none of the other books have – an absolutely batshit, telenovela-worthy subplot involving a friend’s unhappy marriage and a dude getting a hole drilled in his skull. You have to read it to believe it.

So there’s my personal ranking of the Anne books. Feel free to disagree, agree, rant or rave in the comments!

3 thoughts on “Ranking the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Novels from Worst to Best

  1. I must reread the ones I read and check out the ones I haven’t heard of! This has made me realise just how interesting that will be in the context of my age, life experience and self-knowledge now. The perfect reading challenge to mark my upcoming 50th birthday 💜
    Update: 99p on Kindle! Bought!

    Liked by 1 person

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