Everyone knows the story of Anne of Green Gables: A plucky orphan girl who comes to Prince Edward Island after being adopted by the stern but loving Marilla and her brother Mathew Cuthbert.
Anne is eleven when she comes to Prince Edward Island to be adopted. Mathew Cuthbert, having driven most of the day to the train station to pick up a boy they wanted to adopt, is shocked to find a red haired, freckled girl waiting for him instead.
Not wanting to crush the girl’s tender spirit by telling her she is not wanted, Mathew takes her home and hopes that Marilla will tell her instead. But, things do not go according to plan. Despite plans to send Anne back and get the boy they wanted to replace her, they decide to let Anne stay if she is willing to prove herself.
Thus begins one of the most beloved novels of all time. It is indeed beloved the world over and has been translated into several languages and has never once been out of print since its initial publication in January of 1908.
Having been a long time fan of the movies starring Megan Follows, I had never had the pleasure of reading the actual book. I thought I knew all there was to know about Anne Shirley and her story. Thankfully, I was very wrong indeed.
While looking for something to read in a local bookstore, I saw a display that intrigued me. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Anne of Green Gables, the display held copies of two books: Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson, an authorized prequel and a collector’s edition of Anne of Green Gables. I bought the two books immediately.
In them, I knew I would find a piece of the childhood that I hadn’t been able to have, that I hadn’t experienced. I knew that inside those pages, I would be able to discover something wonderful.
I read Anne of Green Gables first and I wasn’t disappointed. The collector’s edition is a facsimile of the book from when it was first published in 1908 complete with original spelling mistakes and punctuation errors. However, I never saw the errors.
All I was able to do was lose myself in the wonderful, amazing story of Anne of Green Gables. What makes the story so magical I think is it’s wonder, it’s abundant joy. Anne is a remarkable protagonist and from the moment we meet her, we feel for her, ache for her. She is real.
I think that Anne is the child within all of us. As I read Anne of Green Gables (and Before Green Gables) I fell more deeply in love with Anne. She is the embodiment of joy and is just as lovable today as she was one hundred years ago.
When Lucy Maud Montgomery penned Anne of Green Gables, I don’t think even she knew how well the book would do, how much people would grow to love it. I doubt she knew that it would be read by generation after generation for a hundred years.
For me, Anne of Green Gables was sheer delight and pure magic. As I read her story I was transported to another time, another place.
As fresh today as it was a hundred years ago, Anne of Green Gables is a literary treat and perhaps the most enjoyable book I have read in years. I know that I will be reading Anne’s story again and again in the years to come.
For every time I open the book, Anne’s spirit comes alive.