Original date of publication: 1908
My edition: 1998 (Bantam)
Why I decided to read: re-red of an old favorite
How I acquired my copy: Amazon, July 2011
Anne of Green Gables is a book that’s obviously a classic. Everyone knows the story of Anne, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, Anne’s “bosom” friend Diana, and Gilbert, and it was a pleasure to re-read this book—inspired by recently reading The Heroine’s Bookshelf, a collection of essays about life lessons learned from fictional characters. The lesson to be leaned from Anne is happiness—despite her circumstance as an unloved, unwanted orphan, she can still use her imagination to see her situation in a positive light. Anne could easily come across as too sugary-sweet for most people, but I think her optimism is refreshing.
What I’d forgotten about the book is how much time passes in the course of the story—Anne is twelve when she arrives at Green Gables, and sixteen or thereabout when she finishes school. So there’s a lot of character development that goes on in this book, with Anne learning to control her temper—and her personality never really changes. Anne still has the same outlook on life at the end of the book as at the beginning.
It intrigued me to learn that Anne of Green Gables was originally written as a book for adults—but it’s the kind of book, and series, that has universal appeal. It was also interesting to learn than Green Gables is actually modeled on a real house in Cavendish, PEI. The author also apparently modeled Anne physically after the model and actress Evelyn Nesbitt, an odd choice considering that Anne is supposed to be ugly and freckled. What I’d also forgotten about the book are the excellent descriptions of Avonlea and Prince Edward Island.