One Christmas, I can’t remember if I was twelve or thirteen, my parents gave me the Anne of Green Gables books as a present. I was already familiar with the story from the PBS movies and I was thrilled. Anne was perfect for me at that age, spunky and awkward in her uniqueness. I loved that she spoke her mind and didn’t fall for Gilbert just because he was hansom and liked her. In fact she kind of made it really hard for the guy.
I think it was the first time that I really related to a character. I understood how Anne felt as an outsider, being harassed and teased by the other children. I loved that her adopted “dad” Mathew always loved her just the way she was and never wanted her to change. His sister Mirilla, I later came to realize, had been much like Anne when she was younger and that is why she is initially so hard on her.
As Anne gets older, goes to college to become a teacher and moves away from Avonlea she finds life harder to navigate with love and tragedy but all ends up right. Of the later novels I liked Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars the best. These take place while she is in college and falling in love with Gilbert and then during her teaching and them getting married.
There are two novels that do not directly involve Anne in the series and when I was younger this bothered me but as I got older I recognized the author’s progression of the story as a whole. There is Rainbow Valley, which focuses on Anne’s insecurity that Gilbert does not still love her and their six children. I remember the children most from this books. Then there is Rilla of Ingleside, it takes place during WW1 and concerns Anne’s youngest daughter who’s love, along with her brothers have gone to war. I found this book to be much more grown up than the others.
There where things about the series as I got older that bugged me, like the writing style and long descriptions of trees and nature, but I never got tired of Anne. She will always live in my mind with Alice, Punky Bruster and Pipie Long-Stockings as those crazy amazing girls who inspired me to be myself and question the world.
I love the first two movies but didn’t see the third until much later. They are:
If you have a beloved story or series of books that inspired you to read or be more of who you wanted to be when you where young I would love to hear your story.