As Anne Shirley has said, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers." While every October holds its own special charm, this one is all the more precious because it holds something I've been looking forward to for ages: Return to Green Gables. Alexa from Alexa Loves Books, Rachel from Hello, Chelly and I wanted to celebrate this kindred spirit, so we've got some fun things in store for you! Be sure to visit all of our blogs during the next week as we pay tribute to the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery.
My History with Anne
Before I ever met Miss Anne Shirley, I'd already fallen in love with one red-haired icon: Madeline (from the book of the same name by Ludwig Bemelmans). I had the entire book memorized before I could even read, and I was proud of the fact that I could "read" it to myself. I was captivated by her sass and spunk! Looking back now, I like to think that she was preparing my heart for my next great literary love.
There are two books that have had the most profound impact on my love for reading and have shaped me into the person and reader that I am today. One of those is Anne of Green Gables. I first met her after my aunt and uncle gave me a box set of the entire series for Christmas one year. I was still pretty young - and the books were probably a bit advanced for me - but I felt so grown up holding these classics in my hands. I can still remember reading the first book when I was in third grade. It made such a huge impression on me! I can't remember if I read the entire series that year, though I'm pretty sure that I did. Anne was more fanciful and prone to daydreams than I ever was, but I still knew I'd found a kindred spirit. She wasn't perfect, which made me adore her all the more. I laughed at her mistakes, was shocked (and delighted) by her temper, recognized her stubbornness and related to her love for learning. She had so much love to give, and I felt as though she welcomed me into her world with open arms.
It wasn't long before I became obsessed with L.M. Montgomery, too. I devoured everything I could find that she'd written, which solidified her place as one of my favorite authors. But while I loved many of her books, nothing ever came close to the joy I felt whenever I'd re-read Anne. I was charmed by the people that populated Prince Edward Island, and I wanted to see the world the way Anne did. I ADORED Gilbert Blythe - my first (and forever favorite) fictional love! I think I was swooning over him before I even knew what it meant to swoon... Honestly, I enjoyed everything about these books because they were like nothing I'd read before. And don't even get me started on the TV mini-series adaptation starring Megan Follows! I've watched it more times than I can count, and I never get tired of it. It's not always faithful to the books, but I don't even care.
Over the years, my obsession with Anne Shirley has only grown. I re-read the series many times, practically wore out my Anne DVDs, and now collect copies of Anne of Green Gables (and sometime the whole series if it's too pretty to resist). So, it's such a joy to co-host this event with two ladies who share that love! I re-read the whole series a few years ago (and again the past few weeks!) and was so pleased to find that I loved it just as much as an adult. It's a timeless story, and it's so clear to me why it's found a home in the hearts of so many readers.
My Love for Lucy Maud
As we were brainstorming ideas for this blog event, we decided it would be fun to include a little tribute to L.M. Montgomery, too. It seems only fair to recognize the person behind the pages - and the creator of this beloved character! As I previously mentioned, I've read a lot from Montgomery over the years. But it wasn't until I revisited the Anne series a few years ago that I truly became curious about what inspired her to write the book and learn more about her life. I read Lucy Maud Montgomery: The Gift of Wings by Mary Henley Rubio, and I was shocked by what I learned. It's one of the best biographies I've ever read, and I cannot recommend it enough. At almost 700 pages, it's considered the definitive Montgomery biography - and I can see why! It was a little intimidating when I started, but so worth it in the end.
She had a more tragic and heartbreaking life than I'd expected, especially for someone who wrote a character so full of joy. It was fascinating to see how her books and her life both overlapped and diverged! She was a prolific writer, publishing 20 novels and numerous short stories, poems and essays. She was highly praised when Anne of Green Gables came out but had fallen out of favor with the literary world by the end of her life. Although she was shut out of a world she dearly loved, her books eventually regained their popularity and have left a special legacy in Canadian (and children's) literature. To learn more about her, I'd recommend reading the book I mentioned above, checking out her journals (Volume I) or visiting the L.M. Montgomery Institute online.
and check back tomorrow for re-read reflections and series favorites!