02 November 2006

Children's Book Nostalgia #3: Anne of Green Gables



My early teens were filled with Anne of Green Gables. I don't know why orphans are so appealing to young people, particularly red haired ones, but for some reason I was obsessed.
Anne Shirley, L.M. Montgomery's most well-known character, is a highly imaginative, intelligent girl who ends up in the home of the Cuthberts, aging brothers and sisters who really wanted a boy to help them with their work. Of course, they are won over by Anne, though Marilla is quite disapproving at first. On the TV version Marilla is played by Colleen Dewhurst, whose name was an influence on my Dad's nicknaming Baby "Duforth". Seriously.
The first book is probably the most captivating, and certainly put Prince Edward Island on the map for me. We meet Gilbert Blythe, who obviously has a thing for Anne but is shunned by her for calling her "carrots" upon their first meeting. Anne is so sensitive about her hair color, even though I envied her and even considered dying my hair when I was old enough. (I kept my hair natural, though, and will continue to do so until the greys start taking over. Maybe then I'll go red?) Anne's obsession with puffed sleeves makes the reader sympathetic: she's a bit unusual, which is a good thing, but most teenagers would rather be normal than anything else. I can't read the account of Matthew Cuthbert's death without losing it each time.
Bonnie and I had a little competition regarding Anne. First, who would finish the series first? I did, by a close margin. That sort of thing really doesn't matter to me anymore, but I think I had a little pride, being the older sister. The other issue was who looked more like the actress who played her? Back then, she did: I looked like Napoleon Dynamite. Recently then, someone told me out of the blue that I looked like the actress, and though I wasn't as excited as I would have been 15+ years ago, it was still kind of cool. Though last time I saw her was as an arsonist on Law and Order. Yikes.
I've read most of L.M. Montgomery's books; there's Emily, Marigold, Pat, Jane...but Anne will always be the big one for me.
And how funny was it when she was forbidden to see her "bosom friend" Diana because she'd accidentally made her drunk?

5 comments:

k said...

now THIS i can completely relate to! I too was obsessed, not only with Anne of Green Gables but the whole Avonlea TV series. and I also wanted to dye my hair red--because of her and Lucille Ball who I thought was the most beautiful woman ever. Remember how Marilla used to tell her that her temper was as fiery as her hair? and that one time she told off the nosy neighbor lady (Mrs. Lynde I think her name was?) and then made this dramatic apology on her knees? and hello? the whole scene where she recited Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott" while floating in a rowboat. i loved Anne. she made me feel less ashamed of being sensitive and (ok fine) melodramatic.

best post ever, gata--good memories!

Gata said...

"The Lady of Shalott" scene was the best ever - including the outcome.

Stevie ~ mono no aware said...

Anne of green gables...I was introduced to by a sister named Kim...Do u remember her? I was in my late twenties and did not think I'd appreciate reading a pre-teen series, but she convinced me that they were worth it. I wound up liking the series (books) and for some reason the one thing that stays in my mind was a character that Anne was intrigued by named Leslie. I don't remember it all but I did like Anne, her curious and questioning mind and integrity to go against the majority. I saw an old film from the fourties which is great.

.:.marie.:. said...

Late twenties, huh Stevie? Guess it's not too late for me. I haven't experienced them yet.

BonBon said...

Anne of Green Gables was the best!
Actually, most of L.M. Montgomery's books were a pleasant escape. I'd like to read some of them again.