Note: the following post contains a lot of random musings about everyone’s favorite imaginative redhead–I would like to emphasize the word “random.” Enjoy!
I finally carved out the time to read (almost) the entire Anne of Green Gables series. FINALLY.
Took me long enough. I was inspired by Netflix’s adaptation of the beloved series–while it was grittier than the books, the series did capture Anne’s ability to survive life’s hardships through optimism.
Disclaimer: while I loooooooove reading and writing and all things literary (former English major and current creative writing grad student here), I’m the kind of girl who can read a whole lot and then fall into a year-long slump in which I can’t seem to find reading material I truly enjoy. It’s been one of those years, but I’m working on it.
Anne has helped me discover reading again; returning to her world is like taking the first sip of morning coffee, sleeping in on a weekday, or having nothing on a must-do list.
I just love her. I love her, I love her, I love her.
Anne is so plucky and ambitious, especially early on. I adore the third book in the series–she attends Redmond College and learns what it means to live on her own away from Green Gables (with a group of delightful “chums,” of course), and she finally opens her eyes and her heart to the boy who has always loved her. She becomes a young principal of an entire school in book four, and she continues to win the heart of every reluctant soul around her. She marries Gilbert in book five and establishes her quaint and Anne-ish “House of Dreams.”
I have to admit, I love Anne the most when she’s single, books one through four. I love how she grapples with the world’s challenges on her own, and I love the relationships she forms with others along the way. Anne has a way of connecting with the misunderstood among society, and audiences aren’t treated to those relationships too much after she is married. Most often those difficult, “kooky,” or tormented souls are her “kindred spirits.” I love that about her–she’s unafraid of going against the grain, and she can win almost any heart with her unconquerable spirit.
Anne still has a way with others when she’s married, but she’s certainly more confined–not necessarily by Gilbert or her children, but by society at that time. Even though she was a successful educator and loved the world of academia, she does as societal custom requires (at least for the era) when she enters the world of marriage. She keeps an impeccable house: she grows gardens, sews clothes, has and raises babies, and keeps the House of Dreams and Ingleside in tip-top shape. She’s the matriarch of her little home(s), and while I know she loves it, I miss her free-spirited Green Gables or Redmond days.
Anne begins to settle as she grows older, which is both admirable (why not be content with the life you have?) but also bittersweet. She forgoes her childhood dreams of successful novel authorship, settling for the few publications in ladies’ magazines and newspapers. Those are still a wonderful accomplishments, but I wish she could have done a little bit of everything–I believe Anne could write the next great Canadian novel and still be a fantastic wife and mother.
No matter. Anne still has my heart, and I aspire to embody her optimism and grace. Revisiting Anne’s world has been so refreshing and so inspiring–L.M. Montgomery’s dreamy prose and Anne’s spirit is like a drink of cool water on a sweltering Prince Edward Island summer day.
Does P.E.I. ever even experience a good swelter? Probably not, but the effect of the Anne series on my soul is that of contentment and delight nonetheless.
What are you currently reading? I could use some suggestions for future library excursions.
As always, have a magical, imaginative, and zip-a-dee-do-dah day, my friends.