I recently reread Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. I found it on my teenage daughter’s bookshelf hemmed in between some anime’ and classic literature from high school courses. I’d forgotten that I’d given it to her with my best you’ve-got-to-read-this-book blessing. I was in the mood for a precocious character and Anne Shirley was the perfect fit. So I settled into my chair with a warm cup of coffee and allowed L.M. Montgomery to drift me away to Prince Edward Island where the most amazing characters live.
Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are the odd couple. Older in age, Matthew is quiet and Marilla will speak her mind and tell you you’re being irreverent. Matthew is patient. Marilla wants things in their place exactly as she expects them. She is pragmatic. That’s why she sent Matthew into town to get an orphan boy to help out with the chores around their property. Matthew brings home an imaginative, clever, red-haired girl named Anne who chatters on and on about “divinely beautiful” sunsets. Everything for the Cuthbert changes.
Also living in Avonlea is Rachel Lynde, the local busybody. She’s the antagonist throughout much of the plot. Marilla and Rachel interact a lot in the story. Touché moments between the two of them are very entertaining.
Twirling around in a sea of romantic word choice is our young day dreamer, Anne. Anne is eleven years old and has lived a rough orphan’s life. “My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes”, she tells Marilla. She hopes to find a kindred spirit in Avonlea. She hopes to find a bosom friend. Marilla hopes Anne will be seen and not heard. Good luck with that, Marilla!
As I reread Anne of Green Gables I couldn’t help but remember back to when I first read the book. I was 16 and had just moved from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Winamac, Indiana. Tulsa you’ve heard of…Winamac? Winamac is a very small town nestled in a grid of corn fields and county roads. Nice people in Winamac, but pluck an angsty teen from her friends and plop her down in a corn maze…those are ingredients to a bitter recipe. I was grinding a terrible grudge against my parents. At some point during the first few months after the move I found Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley made me smile. Anne Shirley gave me permission to use my best vocabulary. Anne Shirley gave me hope that there might be a kindred spirit for me too! Figuratively speaking, ANNE was my kindred spirit. But I really did begin to think that I could find a friend in that little small town. The book brought me back. Amazing how a book can change your life, isn’t it?
Anne of Green Gables is a “royally beautiful” book with characters that will be your kindred spirits. The character, Anne, has kindred spirits in more contemporary books, as well. She reminds me of KateDiCamillo’s character, Despereaux, and also Katherine Hannigan’s character, Ida B. If you haven’t read Anne of Green Gables…you need to add it to your TBR stack immediately!
Amy Bright teaches Fifth Graders at Cibolo Green Elementary in San Antonio, Texas. And hasn’t held a grudge against her parents since 1986.