Going Solo (Roald Dahl’s Autobiography #2) by Roald Dahl: A Book Review

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“I was already beginning to realize that the only way to conduct oneself in a situation where bombs rained down and bullets whizzed past, was to accept the dangers and all the consequences as calmly as possible. Fretting and sweating about it all was not going to help.”

I liken Roald Dahl to ‘Lola Basyang “  (literally  Grandmother Basyang) in Philippine literature, a legendary grandma who has become a symbol for someone who has many short stories to tell, and the nom de plume of  Severino Reyes, the “Father of Tagalog Plays”.

His books are interesting and engrossing to read, so I never get sick and tired of them. They even make me feel like going back to my childhood when I was totally absorbed in children stories. Of course, he can also bear a striking resemblance to Hans Christian Andersen, best remembered for his fairy tales. However, a childish-adult-like reader like me can still prefer stories which can no longer sound superannuated, old-fashioned, or ancient. I am now in a modern era when literature is no longer what you see is what you believe.

Going Solo is another one I felt that how I was listening to a story teller or, formally speaking, a raconteur. I enjoyed most of the stories, notably his African adventures, despite that I could not relate to what a war freak is blabbering about.

Going Solo is said to be the sequel to Dahl’s autobiography, Boy: Tales of Childhood. The latter one is far funnier but more heat-breaking than the former one, something a reader should be sympathetic to. The former one is more on his adventurous and breath-gasping blow-by-blow account. It tells his perilous adventures in Africa where he survived the wild animals especially leopards and mambas. The account is new to me since I have read a great deal of wild African life. However, some of his stories seem to be hyperbolic and exaggerated. His anecdotes seem to be fictitious. I don’t know if Dahl intended to twist his real stories to not lose his readers’ interest. Probably, it could be a half-fiction and half-autobiography the same with his Boy: Tales of Childhood.

When I was drawn into his flying and war experience, at that moment, I lost my interest because most of the words are technical which I did not want to grasp any longer.  Perhaps, I was not interested in stories related to military service. Had I not read it deeply, I would have put it aside aligned with the other unread books. Nevertheless, Dahl has the talent to turn stories others may find irrelevant, inappropriate into interesting ones. His telegraphs to his mother, meeting with a beautiful nurse, and encounter with the Germans and bandits caught my attention. I told you so, he is a raconteur, indeed.

Finally, what I liked most of the parts of the book is the ending. I felt how a soldier misses his family so badly. In other words, I was not left clinging. I was very satisfied with it. It may be simple but this is one of the best endings I really finished in awe. Sooooo, I want another Dahl’s books!!!!

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

The BFG by Roald Dahl:A Book Review

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Oompa-loompa, everlasting gobstopper, snozzberry, whangdoodles, hornswogglers, snozzwangers, vermicious knids, scrumdiddlyyumptious, eggdicator: These are some of the examples of the wonderful words  in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that Google helped me jog my memory about, my first experience in  discovering Roald Dahl’s leanings for inventing new nonsensical words. At that time, I had to turn to a stack of different dictionaries in my house , or to the internet as the last straw to grasp their meanings. I wonder if native speakers who have read it have the same cognitive trepidation.

 The BFG , short for The Best Friendly Giant , is  another one  I was boggled at.  It is definitely   more rabid than the former one in that I almost wanted to toss it up in the air. It is riddled with many, many  nonsensical  words Dahl coined himself. My student and I since   it was part of our reading class called it TGL short for The Giant Language. Thus, the biggest challenge for us was how to understand it   because we are not native speakers . Our knowledge of English   vocabulary is limited.  In this case, we just try to guess with the context  clues  hidden  not anything but near the other sentences,  or as usual  with  my  comrade in time of   nasal hemorrhage  or  with a dictionary app  installed in our android phones.  However, most of the time, we just skipped them , for in doing so was a waste of time.

For  the newbie, to understand what I have been blabbering about, try to guess the meanings of the  following words  and  sentences.

Buckswashling

“Upgoing bubbles is a catasterous disastrophe!”

“Delumptious fizzy frobscottle…”

Gruncious

Hopscotchy

Propsposterous

Rotsome

Sqiubbling

“I cannot be squibbling the whole gropefluncking dream on a titchy bit of paper.”

You will be coming to an ucky-mucky end if any of them should ever be getting his gogglers upon you.”

“How whoopsey-splunkers! How absolutely squiffling! l is all of a stutter.”

To  the  readers who have read it, you may be pleasantly  squinting at the words  until now.  For me,  my favorite words  that my student and I made fun of were “ I watch telly telly bumkin box”, and “ scrumdiddylicious” which was also spoken in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. ^^

If you are such a logophile, maniac for  patting  down  all the words  in the book, you could  serve as  an interpreter  for  TGL.

Apparently, the   nonsensical words are the mainspring of having a hard time enjoying it to bits as to what I went through in Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Such literary device   may deaden or spice up   the excitement of the story depending on the   taste of the reader. In a metaphorical situation, I was like a stranger, lost in a lost world, fear-stricken of the thought that I would not be able to get back to where I came from because of the strange things, needless to say TGL , I had to be inured to until I was part of this “disgusterous, sickable, and rotsome” world of the giants.  But the truth is I don’t want to enter this story anymore, especially during witching hour: I am scared to have met the giants and talked to them in their language anymore; it would just put me in a nose bleeding and bone-crunching position.

Despite that the world I entered is creepily “disgusterous”, I found it amusing because of The BFG. He is such a naive but amusing character. I was like Sophia, the main character , enjoying his company because of  his funny hobbies and stories. I would hate but try eating his favorite food “snozzcumbers” which taste is beyond recognition. I would for sure enjoy his ejaculatory whizzpopper, a drink resembling a soda drink, but equivalent to farting reaction in our world.  I would not get tired of his thousand jars of dream collections. I would be fascinated by his elongated ears which have the ability to listen to sounds  a million times  far  away, and could serve as a hideout for  a small human bean  from human-bean eaters. Indeed, The BFG is not a giant everyone should be intimated by.

If I survived the world of the giants in that I was neither crunched nor gorged on , I would not just bear in mind the memories I spent with the BFG but also his sophisticated character. You might not realize that the BFG   has a literary symbol. For me, he is the anathema of the desire to change the old ways. Little did I realize that Dahl may have suggested that his story is about civilization and barbarism.Only the BFG has the willingness to be weaned on the currently revolutionary life , keeping behind the   old ways of the other giants. He exerts a lot of effort to educate himself by reading books, especially Charles Dickens’ works. Likewise, he does not want to eat human beans because of his “civilized conscience.” As a matter of fact, the story  indicates  that we can learn break our  uncivilized habits  like what happened to The BFG and other giants who have eventually been taught to lead the life civilized  people do. Now, this could be a question for a social science scholar: Is civilization a learned development?

The BFG is another book to reduce me to awe for Dahl’s mastery in storytelling although I am now at the stage of cognitive development when everything is no longer beyond a child’s understanding. Rather, I can cringe at the juvenile and puerile stories because such things can be deduced with logical explanations. However, I reckoned that we are dictated by society when we should act our age. In other words, there is no limitation to what books a reader should   read.  Thus, Roald Dahl is now my favorite children book writer. 🙂

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

 

 

Matilda by Roald Dahl: A Book Review

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I got the chance to finish Matilda by Roald Dahl on a  busy Sunday since all the Filipinos, including my family, were   preparing for the New Year’s Eve. I was just curling up with it at a bamboo chair in our living room, catatonic to the people bustling around. My absorption and enthrallment in it may have been so deafening to them, or they may have been intrigued   by  why I made different facial reactions whenever I turned the next pages. Then, it occurred to me that I had an important appointment with my best friend! But it was still past 2 O clock. Relief flooded over me and I kept at it. When it was already 4 O clock , I was on the verge of the last pages, but I was agitated.  I really had to go. She must have been waiting for me for minutes on end.  I dismissed   this guilty feeling, apathetic to whatever comeuppance I might get. Bahala na si Batman!

When I finished it, I blurted out ,“ I WANNA READ ANOTHER ROALD DAHL’s BOOKS!!!”  My younger sister and her friends who happened to have been playing in front of me gawked at me in surprise. I found myself clasping   my hands and   turning my head up. It was a childish and silly moment.

Although I have read some Roald Dahl’s books, I still was not his big fan. By golly, it has just occurred to me now that the only children book author I look up to and consider as my favorite one is Genaro Gojo Cruz, my countryman writer. Gee! I see. Anyway, I first read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory upon being fascinated by its movie adaptation. I liked the book so much because of the “psychological character” of Mr. Wonka played by award –winning Hollywood actor Johnny Depp. Thereafter, I wanted another one. However, I was disappointed when I read Charlie and the Glass Elevator because of its only-elementary-students-would-appreciate impact.  After all, I was anything but childish. Nevertheless, I still hung in there. I read and enjoyed Boy: Tales of Childhood . It’s not a fantasy, but a memoir of his childhood. The laconic  account of his miserable  but mischievous  childhood’s education  drove me nuts, reminding me of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes. However, I was not falling in love with Dahl yet. In fact, I gave one of his  short story  The   Landlady a very low rating . I was no longer  interested  in his other stories given that I had planned to have Roald-Dahl-stories marathon, except my hidden desire for  Matilda and The BFG. As you know, I could not afford such books yet.

In light of Matilda, I now consider Roald Dahl as one of my favorite   children books writers. I enjoyed it a whole a lot. First, I loved her character as a precocious child. I am pretty sure that even book worms out there would be exhilarated by her early interest in reading books, especially that she even read the adults ones which are supposed to be heavy for  a young reader whose  IQ  is still underdeveloped. Thus, I am ashamed to say that I did not have the chance to read the books at early age  such as The Secret GardenGreat ExpectationsNicholas NicklebyOliver TwistJane EyrePride and PrejudiceTess of the d’UrbervillesGone to EarthKimThe Invisible ManThe Old Man and the SeaThe Sound and the FuryThe Grapes of WrathThe Good CompanionsBrighton RockAnimal FarmMoby DickIvanhoeThe Red Pony and Peter and Wendy.

The most exciting part about the book is Matilda’s tricks. Since she is a brilliant child, I  can’t wait to know the next situation on how she will play tricks on her apathetic dad, on  how she will engage in an argument with Mrs.  Trunchball, and on how she will help Ms. Jenny to get her house and money back by scaring  the living daylights out of her. It is a whodunit scene.

The book is worth reading because it is replete with moral lessons.For instance,  Matilda embodies intellectual humility granted that she is still innocent. It is our perception that a gifted child is supposed to have la di da attitude.

One of the things I have observed since I read Roald Dahl’s books is that most of his stories’ theme is about parents’ negligence   and wrong educational system. In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mr. Wonka psychologically paints a picture of being an orphan, his hidden desire to get a paternal attention. In Boy: The Tales of Childhood, Dahl recollects his school life when he went through his teachers’ ill-treatment. In Matilda, Matilda’s parents are not responsible for their kids, depicted as apathetic and lazy parents. They are not even aware of Matilda’s brilliance mind. Furthermore, they don’t teach them good values. Rather, they inculcate their kids in the essence of business competition. Matilda’s father is a crooked businessman whereas her mother prefers pulchritude to intelligence.  Fortunately, despite her young age, Matilda is smart and mature enough to understand what is good or bad. Also, she is sensible and sensitive to the people around her.   On the other hand, the book   describes the rotten education system   represented by Ms. Trunchball. In this case, Roald Dahl appears to have used the same rhetoric patterns. It seems that he deeply drew  most of his stories from poverty, some kind of Charles Dickens style.

Supposedly, Matilda was part of my reading class with my Korean student.  My student was so generous to fault that she bought   me my own copy. In fact, we came to terms that I should not read it on weekends,except in our class. However, I could not hold back the temptation. (laughs) Whoa! I still have this tinge of Roald-Dahlic excitement. (laughs)

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( I really liked it.)

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling: A Book Review

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A million thanks to my Santa Claus from the US 🙂

This may be a revelation to my Santa Claus who gifted me with it: I am not a certified fan of HP series. I could   have been  when it was initially released in 1997 or  adapted for a movie in 2001. I could have been one of those fanatics  burgeoned  around the world  mimicking  covens of wizards , waving our replicas of  magic wands while enchanting  the magic spells we memorize by heart, ostentatiously displaying our   black garbs  riding our brooms, or puzzled by how we should use the other magical objects.  But I never  am! Perhaps, I was mesmerized by my best friend ‘s  bewitching addiction to it. Whenever she grumbled about it  and shrieked in disappointment  or excitement without any ideas of her idiosyncrasy, a sparkle of curiosity  would linger in my mind. Whenever   she  was a spoiler  since I was not interested in it at all, I would not brush off the idea that it could be a good read. So, I made it!!! I read book 1, 2, and 3 even their movie series. As a matter of fact, I just borrowed them from her given that I was almost so kleptomaniac to claim them as mine. Thereafter, I quit keeping up with all the series; my urge to be part of the covens of wizards in Hogwarts caved in. I let myself be part of the “Muggle”, denied of the right  to be wriggled under  the Sorting Hat.

When  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released last year, I was one of those bookworms who pretended to be interested in it.  I was, but I threw doubt on it ;I was aware of the fact that I was a “Muggle “ . In fact, I even broke the news pell-mell to my friends on Facebook with my screenshot   from Goodreads as if I were such a certified HP fanatic.  Well, I was still excited I could hardly contain myself.

Since I could not afford  its price, I accidentally searched its free pdf on VK, one of the largest European online social networking services based in Russia.

The first questions that had bothered me before reading it were:

  • Can I understand the whole story although I have not read nor watched all the series yet?
  • Is it a sequel or prequel for the first Harry Potter series?
  • How does it differ from novelization since it is a screenplay?

Surprisingly speaking, I could totally relate to the whole story   because   I happened to read the first series and watch  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I swear that from the beginning to the ending, I committed the scenes and acts  to my memory. I can even recite it in a nutshell   now   if you ask me what the dickens this book is all about! But don’t expect me to do so with a photographic memory. I was not born to be a precocious child. (laughs) I did so when I ate lunch with my friend who is also a big fan of HP. I could not believe   my ears what I was telling him about. Voilà! The most interesting is that even the magical objects namedropped  are still fresh in my memory despite that I searched them on Google to beef up their imaginary pictures. Now, the question is : Would you still understand it if you have not read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire yet?

The first comment   that had instilled in me when it was such a fever in the market was it was the prequel for the first Harry Potter series. I had been conditioned with this idea before I finally gave it  a hand. The revelation? It is a big NAH! I was fooled! I was made believed! I was disappointed! I was spoon-fed! What a shame! As the story went deeper, the feeling was like  knocking  the living daylights out of my gullibility. So, I dreaded reading the next stories to happen. I worried that I might not be able to understand it since I have not read all the series yet. But good grief! Thanks graciousness! The Harry Potter and The Goblin of Fire was my savior! Now, the next question is: Which one is supposed to be better, it were a prequel or sequel?

When The Harry Potter fanatics found out that   the book  turned out to be a screenplay, they  miffed.They may have not been used to reading Harry Potter series in a screenplay. They may have thought that they would not enjoy it; novelizing a story has a kaleidoscope of literary elements. Well, count me in them! Nevertheless, it is not that bad. Reading it is so light! You could finish it for one day. Believe you me! Alas, I read it for a week because my job steals my valuable reading time. Now my verdict: It could be more exciting if it had been novelized.

As far  as I remember, I quit reading fantasy books when I started studying psychology. My major taught me  that everything in the world happens for a logic . Then, I no longer believed in magic. For me then, fantasy could be contrary to the Natural Laws of the Universe. Rather, the only books I read were based on scientific and philosophical   discussions. However, when I was tempted to read the first Harry Potter series, I slid back to my childhood  , fascinated with all the mysteries in the universe. Such reaction must be the initial effect when anybody, regardless of age and religion, tends to get hooked on it. My co-teacher left behind The Harry Potter  can bear witness to this ; recently, he has watched its movie series and now he is playing  like a child imitating the wizards of the Hogwarts , casting a spell ,whatever comes to his mind, on whomever he meets by chance , just for fun! ^_^

Now I wish to read  all the series in 2017.( crossing fingers)

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

Billy Elliot: A Novel Based on a Motion Picture by Melvin Burgess: A Book Review

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I am also into reading novelized movies aside from watching adapted movies. I tend not to be content with watching movies with my mouth agape; I want to understand the whole story completely, for there are times that I can’t follow the dialogues because I’m not much familiar with accent with which characters speak.

Billy Elliot is the only movie that comes to my mind when someone asks me what my favorite movie is. It is a British dance drama film about an eleven-year-old boy desiring to be a professional ballet dancer. However, both his father and brother are inculcated in the negative stereotype of the male ballet dancer. Males into this kind of art in western society in the early 19th century were said to be weak, effeminate, or homosexual. In short, all boys in his countryside are supposed to do things only for males. So, it is a big decision for Billy, especially both his father and brother are miners struggling against the government’s plan to close all coal mines.

Reading the novelized movie has made me love the movie more. The novel and the movie have the same scenes. The dialogues became crystal-clear to me. The characters’ voices were even echoing through my head except Billy’s famous lines when a tutor asks him what he feels when he’s dancing. In the book, it goes, “When I dance, my body is full of fire, and I forget everything.”, but in the movie:

“Don’t know. Sorta feels good. Sorta stiff and that, but once I get going… then I like, forget everything. And… sorta disappear. Sorta disappear. Like I feel a change in my whole body. And I’ve got this fire in my body. I’m just there. Flyin’ like a bird. Like electricity. Yeah, like electricity.”

Also, it seems that the novel has been expurgated for the F-words steeped in the film. In the movie, I could almost hear quite a few bad words which seem to be a common way of communication among early Irish people. No doubt the movie has been censored for young audience as far as I know.

On the other hand, I have proven that Billy is not gay at all. Count me in those people who have the negative stereotype of the male ballet dancer. I deserve to be pilloried in public or put to the sword.(laughs)

The story is narrated by the main characters: Billy, Jack , his father; Tony, his older brother, and Michael, his gay best friend. So, I did not have a hard time reading it. In fact, the sequence of the plot is almost similar to the movie.

After reading it, I watched my favorite scenes in the movie again: when Billy dances to his father’s presence, when he auditions at the ballet school (definitely one of the unforgettable scenes) when one of the school tutors asks him what he feels when he dances, when he opens the letter whether he is in or not, when his father and brother go watch his major ballet concert and come across  his gay best friend Michael- the leave-me-in-the-air finale.

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My favorite scene in the movie when Billy dances to his dad’s presence

The major moral lesson of the story which is why it is one of my most favorite movies is that follow your dream no matter how harsh the culture you conform to. Such dilemma is still typical of our culture nowadays. There are still different traditional norms women and men should follow.

Aside from the novelized movies Billy Elliot and Brokeback Mountain, I also want to read the novelizations of Eclipse and Beach(2000) in which both starred by Hollywood actor Leonardo Dicaprio, Braveheart  directed  by and starring Mel Gibson,  3 Idiots (1999,India). I also wish that there are some available for my favorite pink movies such as Love of Siam (2007, Thailand), Boys Love 1 (Bōizu Rabu) (2006, Japan), and Prayer for Bobby ( 2009, USA), to name a few. 🙂

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it.)

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard : A Book Review

22328546When I tried to flip though the first pages ( since I don’t want to read PDFs), I noticed that the story seemed to be new to my taste :  I thought stealing was the theme. So, I talked through my hat that it could be the moral talk of the town. Is stealing really morally bad? It’s not a question at all.  With this  arousing idea, I  let myself  dig it  whenever I  couldn’t read a real book on a bus , or I didn’t want to bring my  bag full of the books I haven’t read yet. As the story went deeper, there were ambivalent revelations I had feared to read cynically. First, I found the themes, settings, and backdrops   garden-variety such as the love-story scenes, the climatic conflicts, and indescribable places beyond imagination, which could have been mutated from the ideas of other famous fantasy writers, and so on.  I’m almost familiar with them in other YAs I have read or in the movies I have watched. Nevertheless, what I liked about the book is its unconcealed but  irresistible  romance among the three main characters, theme on social stratification between the SILVER and the RED, and the unexpectedly tremendous  impact  upon me at the ending. Duh, I still can’t get over it.

In a world full of accessible and vicarious  information  where people tend to have the same ideas from one place to another, from one  generation to another, we tend to be almost familiar with the same work of different authors. Consequently, we look for something new whenever we are sick and tired of it. No doubt the culture  in different aspects changes. No doubt something unique stands out among the others. This case happens to a wide reader when he/she has read the same story over and over again. Let me now stop blathering. So when it comes to reading books, specifically romantic YAs,  for instance, I am almost familiar with the same settings such as a man meets a lady by accident. Then, they will fall in love with each other until they  have reached the  complete blissfulness . Of course, the climatic conflicts they will  go through is  the  love triangle.  The supporting-actor man will comfort the  main-character  lady , but he turns out to be a bad ass. But some YAs endings are so tragic that you may need a diaper for your unbearable flow of tears. Since the book is intended for young audience, nowadays, the theme should be about a la Edward –of-Twilight style- enchantingly dour and tough. Gee, for sure,  you may be tired of it if you’re no longer a teenybopper.

So when I noticed the blatant commonality, I was almost stooped to terminal boredom. I was somehow disappointed, and lost my interest. I wanted to X the PDF and find something new to read. Besides, I am sick and tired of the same   settings and backdrops  that have gone down in world literature. In fact,  the prose appears  not to be well-written but “ simple” , to put it mildly. Victoria Aveyard may have wanted  to reach out to all kinds of  readers   since it is a YA.  So, I should blame it on my literary standard.

To distract my careful scrutiny and make this book susceptible to my negative criticism, V.  Aveyard wants to impress me  by her  ingenious plot twists. She may have come up with a theme I as her audience might find new, fresh, and original. (I wish I were right. You may cite some literary works   from which she may have drawn impression. ) To be unique, the center of the theme is the social discrepancy between the Silver and the Red. The Silver are superior to the Red.They are powerful and the privileged, the god, but the Red are considered the dredge of society.All the rage in the story is the blood distinction. Your blood can be traced: If your blood is silver, you’re a Silver. You should not live in a world apart from the inferior- the Red whose blood is red. In short, the theme is literally about social stratification.  So, the book is shed with silver and red blood which curdled my blood.  

There is something somewhat different in this book despite that I did not feel these so-called “ romantic-excitement scenes”. The love triangle among the main characters is suppressible but irresistible, which somehow  gave me a little thrill. Hihihi Let me chortle in this coquettish way. In fact, I didn’t predict  the conflicts that would  center around them wherein the supporting  man turns out to be a protagonist despite the fact that I  could have predicted it too. Therefore, I was trapped! I wanted to cry bloody murder that I was betrayed too as the book has mentioned many times the quotable line:

Anyone can betray anyone.

When I was close to its ending, at that time, I lost sight of my finickiness. All the hell let loose. The clash of the Silver   revealed  the real drama of the bogus drama. I felt the adrenaline rush in my veins. I had this burning sensation of rage  as did the main  character: I also wanted to REVENGE , and now I am ready to do so in  the book 2: Glass Sword.  Grrrr!!!

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I  got angry.)

Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables #1) by L.M. Montgomery: A Book Review

12959529_10206307364744801_1558231329_oI was just a plain simple-minded student, ignorant of the things existed around me; I did not understand why I was in school . Day by day, I began to understand that I was there to study because someone was teaching us how to count 1, 2, 3 and how to read A,B,C . But still I sat there with my mouth agape, wondering why I had to study, staring at my other classmates how come they were so good at answering the questions traded by our teachers, why they were at the top of the class and  lauded by a faculty of teachers and a circle of unknown friends. I even thought then that my presence with my classmates inside the classroom was enough to complete the day. Eventually, I realized that I had to read , memorize, and partake in the class. Otherwise, I would have been ridiculed by the haughty students and abominated by the self-proclaimed highly educated teachers who ostentatiously displayed their credentials. In the end, I had  discovered what I really was in the eyes of the society:  I was an average student or less than that after all. Overtime, laced with the concept of the educational system, I tried to explore the uncharted territory of  how to develop myself intellectually. I tried to read, but it happened that way. I just wanted to read whatever reads at my disposal. When I got tired of the same books, I would borrow my friends’ or visit anyone I was acquainted with whose house was furnished with bookshelves. I would stay in their houses the whole afternoon after my school, rain or shine. However, despite my full effort, I still did not know then how to study nor write an essay efficiently. Fortunately, at that time, some Philippine TV stations capitalized on broadcasting Japanese animations. One of them was the adaptation for Anne of Green Gables. You know what happened? You might call me shallow or puerile then, but I don’t mind. In light of this animation, I decided to help myself on how I should be a good student. I tried to do the tricks as what Anne Shirley does, and which my bright classmates may have done scrupulously. I had to read the books in advance and commit their contents to my memory. Consequently, I could keep up with my classmates after all. I could answer my teachers’ questions because I had studied them. Thanks to the sympathetic character of Anne Shirley. My study tactic then was Anne-of-the-Green-Gables Approach.(laughs)

Anne of Green of Gables is a beautiful story. Through the character of Anne Shirley, the loquacious orphan who happened to be adopted by Mr.and Ms.Cuthbert, either young or adult  readers  can learn a great deal of things about life. Not that you will become as talkative as she is. Not that you will become as exaggerated and hyperbolic as she is , for she always imagines  everything around in different perspectives. As you know her favorite philosophy is, “ There is scope  for imagination.”  And not that you will learn not to be content with your physical appearances ,for she hates herself like her name  being spelled Ann without e,  her sharp elbows, freckled face , and  “carrot hair” as  her future husband Gilbert Blythe puts it. Not that you will be as clumsy as she is, for she has done many mistakes. Not that you will be as cowardly and pessimistic as she is, for she cannot face the reality of life.

Instead, Anne Shirley , during my feminine teenage,  taught me how to break the old tradition when children had to hold their tongues. There is nothing wrong if you reason out as long as you do it politely. However, applying it directly to my parents did not work; they were sticks-in-the-mud and the avatars of old traditions.  (laughs) In addition, Anne Shirley taught me to appreciate all the beautiful things in the world. When I look at a tree, it is not just the idea of the fact that it is a tree, but its state of being a tree. When I see a lake with its sparkling reflection, I don’t just describe it beautiful, but in its degree of beauty. When I wake up in the morning, I do not just think of its real existence as it usually happens every day; instead, I feel its connection to my existence. Can I just call her Monet-ian? ( giggles) However, it is sad to say that we are now living in a revolutionary era when the old patterns of beauty are overlapping with the beauty of technology. We can no longer distinguish what is beautiful in our environment.

Anne Shirley was one of the   influential   literary characters in my teenage life. Her character as an eager and enthusiastic learner proves that everyone, no matter how average your IQ is , can be a bright student if you are motivated to teach yourself. So, it has been my philosophy in education that all students have the potential to excel in any academic subjects. Everyone is special. It is just a matter of perseverance. However, in the context of psychology, it cannot happen without the ensuing moral support of the significant others.

As a matter of fact, Anne Shirley taught me to be no slouch when it comes to writing an essay in English. I was not confident enough about it yet. I tried to write and write in my own style despite my limited English vocabulary. I was even weaned on her quixotic style of poetry.

Another thing that I will not forget about this animation is its sentimental  theme. Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert, both sister and brother who  have been stuck in a time warp, will be emotionally transmogrified by Anne’s  delightful presence at the Green Gables. Ms. Cuthbert is known for being a stickler for her lifestyle while Mathew,a shy old man who seems to have never been used to socialization. Anne Shirley is the iconoclast in an idyllic  place that has left behind the modern era.

Finally, as what we teenagers who watched its Japanese adaptation  in the 1990’s, all the rage to the story is the intimate friendship between Anne and Diana  Barry and the suppressed but irresistible promising  romance  between Anne and Gilbert Blight.

Aside from its themes, what I liked about the book more is its well-written prose. All the sentences of how the author describes, narrates the story  are  perfectly matched with Anne Shirley’s exaggerated characters. I tend to cringe at the author’s intention, but it makes sense. Probably, L.M Montgomery   represents Anne Shirley because , apparently, she based this novel on her said rural life experience.

Whenever my college friend and I dropped into a second-hand bookstore before, the first thing she would ask the cashier about was  its sequels. She would not buy anything except this because she wanted to finish all the series first. So, after reading it, I understand now why she is so fond of it.  Now, it is my turn to do the same way. In fact, I have still been looking for them:Anne of Avonlea #2, Anne of the Island #3, Anne of Windy Poplars #4, Anne’s House of Dreams #5, Anne of Ingleside #6, Rainbow Valley #7, Rilla of Ingleside #8

When I have finished them all, for sure, I could join The Anne of the Green Gables Club out there. Could you let me in? 🙂

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It’s amazing.)