“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” – Anne of Green Gables
When I was a child, I read Anne of Green Gables and I remember enjoying it. I think I was probably sat down in front of the 1980s mini-series when I was at my Grandma’s house too. I have some vague memories of watching the story unfold on screen.
However, as a teenager and then an adult, I never picked up the books to read again until a couple of years ago. Rereading the Anne of Green Gables series as an adult is a completely different experience. I have so much more appreciation for the writing and the story and in many ways I relate to the series much more strongly as a woman. I am reading about Anne the girl, then the teenager, the young teacher, the student, the writer, the fiancé, and eventually the wife and mother. I am really amazed at the depth of L.M. Montgomery’s books. I enjoyed the story as a child, but I don’t think I even read all the books in the series. I may have only read the very first and most well-known book Anne of Green Gables.
The series is advertised as children’s literature but I don’t really think it is. Only the first book follows Anne as a child, the rest of the series deals with what it means to grow up. Falling in love, following your dreams, the realities of life and death. As the series progresses Anne actually experiences some really dark things, like losing her first child Joyce, who only lives for one day in Anne’s House of Dreams, or dealing with the grief of losing a son to World War One in the last book, Rilla of Ingleside.
Similarly, in Anne of the Island, Anne nearly marries the wrong man! She is so blinded by the fact that Royal Gardener apparently fulfils her fantasies of what love should look like that she nearly misses out on her true love Gilbert Blythe (I love Anne and Gilbert! But I can gush about that more another time…).
These moments would have completely gone over my head as a child. As a woman I am able to truly relate to Anne’s predicaments, as well as her joys. I never read this series as a teenager but funnily enough I have so much in common with Anne. She is one of the heroines in literature who I can really relate to and I’m so glad I picked up the books and read them again.
That isn’t to say I think the Anne series is perfect. When I started rereading the books I thought I would review each one on this blog, looking at what I liked or didn’t like about L.M. Montgomery’s approach. I may still do some reviews of the books over time. However, overall I have really enjoyed becoming reacquainted with Anne Shirley and her creator, L.M. Montgomery.