Anne of Green Gables; the story of an orphaned girl sent to live with two middle-aged siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, who were expecting a boy to help them on their farm. Instead, they got Anne, red-headed, scrawny, freckled. A girl who is imaginative, passionate, prone to dramatics and extremely endearing. After much consideration, they decide to let her and stay, and the novel follows Anne’s adjustment to village life, navigating new friends and transforming the
I can confidently say that this book is one that really drew me in when I was younger.
Though there was nothing about Anne’s circumstances, her upbringing, her surroundings that represented me, her active imagination and her optimism is one that I adored. She was also brave, and confident and outspoken, things that I definitely was not, and I loved the chance to live vicariously through her.
I remember often wishing I was more like her, there was a character that shared my passion for reading and penchant for daydreaming, yet I didn’t have her unabashed way of expressing it. She was a character who loved to read as much as I did and had the self-confidence to express herself freely, what was not to love! She was the reason that I fell in love with the beautiful poem The Lady of Shallot by Alfred Lord Tennyson and though I can’t pretend I wholly understood it at that age, I thought it unbearably, tragically romantic. (I still do!)
Often when reading children’s characters, it’s very hard to find child protagonists that are likeable and remain so even when reading them in adulthood. Anne is definitely not one of those characters; she’s witty, articulate, and extremely likeable. I loved reading about the various mishaps and adventures that happened throughout the book. She is prone to long-winded dialogue, and reading this as a child, her chattiness was something I loved, but as an adult, it is less endearing which perhaps shows most adults’ reaction to Anne in the book.
The writing itself was gorgeous, Montgomery has a real gift with weaving words together especially when it came to setting description. It wasn’t difficult for me to envisage the meadows and the lake and the beautiful countryside scenery that was prevalent in the
story. She truly brings the rustic, Canadian terrain to life and we really do feel as if we are in the quaint fictional town Avonlea and are just as ready to join Anne in her “raptured voyages of exploration.”
The author’s descriptions of Anne, beyond her physical features, were also magnificent. One line in particular really embodies her; ‘Excitement hung around Anne like a garment, shone in her eyes, kindled in every feature’. Throughout the book, we see just how our eloquent our protagonist is. She doesn’t shy away from using her extensive vocabulary and refined manner of speaking saying; “if you have big ideas,” Anne insists, “you have to use big words to express them.”
Her unique way with words is perhaps what resonate with readers the most; and for me, her flair for the dramatics and her unfettered ways of self-expression is what captivated me and drew me to her character: “My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.”
Though Anne is the protagonist, we soon start to love the other cast of characters in the novel. Brusque Marilla with her practical ways and furrowed brows, shy, quiet Matthew, Diana with her loveliness and warmth. Watching their relationships unfold and change and
seeing the impact Anne has on their lives is very heart-warming.
If you’re intrigued, but not enough to read the book, there have been many on-screen adaptations over the years. The 1985 film is a joy to watch but recently I’ve enjoyed the first few episodes of the Netflix adaptation Anne with an E and it’s brilliant!
There is much more to say about this story, but I don’t want to disclose too much! I hope you experience the magic of Anne’s world and just how wholesome this book is. A story that transcends time, it is definitely one that I hope to share with my own children one day.
I shall leave you with one of my favourite lines.
“Dear old world,” she murmured, “you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.”