So, I was all ready to pay homage to one of my literature loves for Valentine's day, but then life happened--I had a family emergency, and I missed Valentine's day on the blog. But I figured it's always a good time to celebrate our favorite red-headed orphan from Prince Edward Island! So, without further ado, happy belated Valentine's day! Here is a celebration of Anne of Green Gables, one of my most beloved book series.
Did You Know?
Did you know that Anne of Green Gables is actually book one of an eight-book series by Lucy Maud Montgomery? You probably knew there was more than one book, especially with the well-known 2-part movie rendition Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. But have you ever read past books one or two? I highly recommend it.
I grew up watching Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea produced by Sullivan Entertainment in the 1980s and swooning over Gilbert Blythe, just like every other female in my family. I love those movies, and if you're one of the few who has not seen them, they are gems! I received the book Anne of Green Gables for one of my birthdays as a teenager, and I finally got around to reading it during college. I was blown away! I read it a few more times after that, and several years later, I borrowed the entire 8-book series from my mother-in-law, and I adored it!
The Full Story of Anne With an "E"
If you are familiar with the movie series, you will recognize word-for-word, most of
book one, Anne of Green Gables, where we meet the beloved red-headed orphan as she is adopted by Matthew and Marilla, and enjoy all the delightful childhood adventures of the over-imaginative, dramatic, yet loveable 11-year-old.
The second movie, Anne of Avonlea, takes bits and pieces from books two, three, and four, and adds some new characters. But in the book series, we find a more complete telling of Anne's personal development as she matures into an adult,
her continued adventures, as well as many funny little side stories about people Anne encounters while teaching school, attending college, and serving as principal at Summerside High School.
Quite possibly the most rewarding part about the extended story of Anne in the book series is how much more rich and beautiful the love story between Anne and Gilbert is. You get to see their friendship grow and change and slowly blossom into love with many challenges along the way.
Finally, Anne and Gilbert are married by book five, Anne's House of Dreams, and that book is about their first few years of married life together. The final three books are actually a lot less about Anne, and more about her children and all their adventures.
The World Through Anne's Eyes
There is so much to love about the wonderful world of Anne that Lucy Maud Montgomery created! I would have to say my very favorite things about the Anne of Green Gables books is how Montgomery paints a picture of the world through Anne's rosy eyes. The books are rich with descriptions of the natural beauty of
Prince Edward Island, without being overbearing. Anne delights in Mother Nature and finds magic and wonder in things like Barry's Pond ("The Lake of Shining Waters"), the section of road lined with blossoming trees called "The Avenue" ("The White Way of Delight"), the way the moonlight shines, the changing of the seasons, the apple tree in the front yard of Green Gables ("Snow Q
ueen"), the red sands by the seashore, and even the red potted geranium on Marilla's kitchen windowsill ("Bonnie").
In some ways, Anne seems naive, caught up in the thrills of her imagination, and only seeing the happy side of things, but as you get to know her character, you realize that she is far from naive. She has seen and experienced many troubles, many ups and down, but my favorite thing about Anne is her ability to see the good, the hope, and the beauty in life, in people, and in her surroundings, regardless of how bad things may seem. Beyond that, she has the uncanny gift of bringing out the good in others, and turning bad situations around into good ones- the stuck-up Pringle family at Summerside, the bitter and cynical Katherine Brooke, nosy Mrs. Rachel Lynde and grumpy Mr. Harrison, the often stoic Marilla, the unruly little boy Davy that Marilla ends up raising, and shy Matthew. She is the ultimate optimist, and I am grateful for her example.
A Literature Love of Mine
These books are soothing to my soul, invigorating to my spirit, and resonate deep within me of the joys and sorrows of life, and the beautiful imperfectness of humanity. Anne, Gilbert, Marilla, Mrs. Lynde, Diana, and Matthew are like old friends, and reading the Anne of Green Gables books is like a breath of fresh air for me-- full of hope and "scope of imagination."
There is so much more I could say about these fantastic books, but I'll let you discover the rest for yourself, if you haven't already! I'd like to end with a short collection of quotes from the books. There are too many amazing quotes to choose from--I'm sure I have missed some very good ones, but here is a sampling. Enjoy!
Quotes From Anne of Green Gables Series
"It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will."
“It’s just that my life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes now. That’s a sentence I read once and I say it over to comfort myself in these times that try the soul.”
"If I really wanted to pray I’ll tell you what I'd do...I'd go out into a great big field all alone or in the deep, deep woods and I'd look up into the sky—up—up—up—into that lovely blue sky that looks as if there was no end to its blueness. And then I'd just feel a prayer."
"I had made up my mind that if you didn’t come for me tonight I’d go down the track to that big wild cherry tree at the bend, and climb up into it to stay all night. I wouldn’t be a bit afraid, and it would be lovely to sleep in a wild cherry tree all white with bloom in the moonshine, don’t you think?"
“I’ve done my best, and I begin to understand what is meant by ‘the joy of strife’. Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.”
“The year is a book, isn’t it, Marilla? Spring’s pages are written in Mayflowers and violets, summer’s in roses, autumn’s in red maple leaves, and winter in holly and evergreen.”
“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them-- that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.”
“It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”
“Don’t you just love poetry that gives you a crinkly feeling up and down your back?”
“Look at that sea, girls--all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.”
“But I believe I rather like superstitious people. They lend color to life. Wouldn't it be a rather drab world if everybody was wise and sensible . . . and good? What would we find to talk about?”
“I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string.”
“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one's life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one's side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps. . . perhaps. . .love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath. ”
“When I think something nice is going to happen I seem to fly right up on the wings of anticipation; and then the first thing I realize I drop down to earth with a thud. But really, Marilla, the flying part is glorious as long as it lasts...it's like soaring through a sunset. I think it almost pays for the thud.”
“Don’t you just love poetry that gives you a crinkly feeling up and down your back?”
“In imagination she sailed over storied seas that wash the distant shining shores of "faëry lands forlorn," where lost Atlantis and Elysium lie, with the evening star for pilot, to the land of Heart's Desire. And she was richer in those dreams than in realities; for things seen pass away, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
“I wonder if it will be—can be—any more beautiful than this,’ murmured Anne, looking around her with the loving, enraptured eyes of those to whom ‘home’ must always be the loveliest spot in the world, no matter what fairer lands may lie under alien stars.”
I hope you enjoyed taking a stroll with me through the world of Anne of Green Gables! Stay tuned next week for a little more about the cherished love story between Anne and Gilbert. Now go treat yourself to a book! :)