Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I first read Anne of Green Gables in the summer between third and fourth grade. It was love at first sight. That summer of 1994 was filled with the Anne books, and I re-read the series many, many times over the years. It’s been about six or seven years since my last re-read, and I was in need of something comforting. melanir and the new Anne show on Netflix (which, for the record, I’ve really been liking, even considering its darker tone and some maddening departures) inspired me to commit to a re-read this summer. And so here we are.
Anne Shirley is a child like no other. Orphaned as a baby and left to the care of overburdened neighbors, Anne grows up neglected and misunderstood. But her luck finally turns when she mistakenly adopted by a brother-sister family of the Cuthberts. She then grows up in Avonlea, a small and traditional town that has specific ideas about girlhood and imagination. But Anne’s sense of humor and wild imagination prevail, and she develops a lifelong friendship with Diana Barry and strikes an enmity with Gilbert Blythe. Anne’s tragedies and triumphs are chronicled from her 11th to her 16th years.
This book, for me, has it all: humor and pathos, childhood innocence, and the tragedy of misunderstanding. I was transported to my girlhood and teenaged self while re-reading, and I do think this was instrumental to my growing up. While I don’t have quite the imagination that young Anne did, I do think that some of my wild writing style came from years of reading the Anne books. If you’ve never read the series before, you should consider it. It’s a fun and sweet read, with just a touch of old-fashioned laciness about it for a bit of nostalgia.