"Anne of Green Gables" starts out with an older-but-not-really-old brother and sister living on a farm who decide to adopt an orphaned boy to help out with the chores. When the brother, Matthew, goes to pick up the boy they "ordered" from the train station, he is confronted by a super talkative, imaginative young redheaded girl named Anne. Unsure of what to do, he decides to bring her home and let his sister, Marilla, break the news that there's been a mistake and they need to send Anne back to the orphanage.
Anne is crushed when she receives the news, because she instantly fell in love with Green Gables and the surrounding town of Avonlea. Marilla's heart slowly warms toward Anne, however, and they decide to keep her after all. Anne is a slow learner when it comes to manners and housework, as her imagination makes her very easily distracted, but she becomes a help and a companion to both Matthew and Marilla. She becomes best friends with the nearest girl to her home, Diana Barry, and begins school in the fall.
"Anne of Green Gables" follows Anne through childhood into early adulthood, focusing on her relationships with her adoptive "parents", her friendships with other children, and her slow "coming of age" despite her reluctance to grow up. The story is easy to read (although sometimes reading Anne's rambling dialogue gave me a headache, because I "heard" it in the voice of my equally loquacious 4 year old daughter...) and I finished it pretty quickly. I then mourned the fact that if I ever want to get through this reading list, I couldn't immediately purchase and read all of the sequels to "Anne of Green Gables"-- I took the edge off of my anguish by looking them up on Wikipedia and reading summaries, so that I can take some comfort in knowing what happens to Anne until I have the time to sit down and read all the stories from front to back.
Though "Anne of Green Gables" is largely considered a children's book, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read for all ages (in my opinion) and is a book that I can't wait to share with my daughter. I think when all is said and done, it will end up toward the top of my "favorite classics" list.