I’m not sure I have ever felt as many emotions reading a book as I did reading Anne of Green Gables. I’m not sure if it’s because I see parts of myself in Anne, if I see my brother in Anne’s imagination, if I see some of my heartbreaking students in Anne, or if L.M. Montgomery is a writing genius. I’m going to go with the fact that Anne wears her emotions bare and I am a Cancer and so I’m susceptible to getting carried away on Montgomery’s rollercoaster.
Honestly I was afraid to read this book because I love the Megan Follow’s series so much. I don’t remember reading it as a kid, but I do remember watching it, and watching it often. Anne: she doesn’t let life get her down. She has an indefatigable spirit and it’s infectious. She sees the good in people and works hard to find the thing in them that is beautiful and tries to draw that out of them in her conversations and interactions. She is not afraid to imagine, dream, and wish for things both romantic and pathetic. Throughout the novel, you can see the positive impact she has on those around her. I use the word ‘impact’ because she does create head-on collisions in her refusal to be negative or to let others change her. She sees each part of creation as magical and wonderful and gives names to trees and flowers. Even after Matthew dies, she hopes that the souls of each of the roses Matthew loved are in Heaven with him to welcome him.
Montgomery creates such a fantastic figure for girls and women: she works hard to see and love others, she finds value and meaning in true friendships, she is brave and courageous in developing and showing her talents, she is fierce in accomplishing her goals, she values education and self-improvement, and she does it all despite the nay-sayers. Anne seeks her own way and in the process allows those around her to think and grow. Also, she has some amazing female role models: Miss Stacey, Miss Barry, Mrs Allan, Marilla, and Mrs Lynde. These women highlight different attributes that Anne seeks to cultivate. Montgomery’s portrayal of women at a time when most thought like Mrs Lynde (women shouldn’t be educated, women shouldn’t be ministers, etc.) is telling of the kind of woman Montgomery was. If in her own life she couldn’t be this strong and independent, she certainly wrote about female characters who defied parts of society to follow their own path.
So after reading Anne of Green Gables, I can’t help but consider L.M. Montgomery a kindred spirit. And I am so grateful that generations of young girls and women continue to find solidarity and inspiration from this Anne-girl, Anne with an E.
“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.” (Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables)
“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” (Proverbs 18:24)