I finally managed to cross off the first book from my Reading Classics challenge, yay!!! Anne of Green Gables sounded like a good starting point and it really was. The story about this little orphan girl that gets delivered to Green Gables by accident is really heartwarming. It took me a while to get into the story though because Anne is pretty obnoxious in the beginning. She talks all. the. damn. time. Oh brother!
But in the same way that Anne grows on Marilla, the woman who took her in, she grew on me. It happened gradually but at one point I realised that I was really enjoying the story and found it quite interesting. It all starts when Anne is about 10 and ends when she is 16-ish so she goes through lots of changes in that time.
When Anne moves to Green Gables she finds a best friend in Diana Barry and they are inseparable. I understand that it was a way of writing when this book was published at the beginning of the 20th century but a gay woman like myself definitely sees the shipper opportunities between Diana and Anne. Especially Anne finds boys gross for a long time. Also things like this happen a lot:
Diana and I are thinking seriously of promising each other that we will never marry but be nice old maids and live together forever.
Like I said, I know how it is meant but there is just so much possibility of reading into it, if only they were not little girls, it would be more fun to do so.
But the book also offers a fair amount of societal commentary; for example from the women in town not in favour of letting women vote. The people in town are divided on this subject. And it gets more interesting later on, when Anne starts going to Queen’s to earn a teaching degree because a woman should always be able to support herself, whether she needs to or not. I like that way of thinking and I enjoy reading this ever so more when I think of the time it was published and that this story was aimed at younger girls.
I believe in a girl being fitted to earn her own living whether she ever has to or not.
Jane says she will devote her whole life to teaching and never, never marry, because you are paid a salary for teaching , but a husband won’t pay you anything, and growls if you ask for a share in the egg and butter money.
I found myself reflected in what I read and that is important because it lets you connect with the story so much better. And as obnoxious as I found Anne to be, I could see bits and pieces of myself in her character and in some of the things she said. And sometimes, she just hit home. The end really hurt and I cried like the crier that I am. Not that I regret anything. Anne turned wise and even more reflective by the end.
I’m not a bit changed – not really. I’m only pruned down and branched out. The real ME – back here – is just the same. It won’t make a bit of difference where I go or how much I change outwardly; at heart I shall always be your little Anne, who will love you and Matthew and dear Green Gables more and better every day of her life.
God, just reading it again could make me tear up if I weren’t careful. I deeply enjoy a story that tugs at your heartstrings. I’m kind of bummed I didn’t read this when I was younger as it should have been though of course I would have picked up different things back then and I really did not need more encouragement in the feminism department (I did fairly well on my own) but still these would have been interesting memories to take with me. To summarise my babbling, I really loved Anne of Green Gables and will hopefully one day get around to reading the following books and watch the miniseries.
Have you read Anne of Green Gables? What are your thoughts on the story?