Anne of Green Gables, by L. M. Montgomery;
Simon & Schuster: New York, 2014; $7.99
Few books copy the whimsy of childhood. Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is a remedy to that lack of adolescent joy. To me this book also represents perseverance, to survive through the bad times to get to the good.
When I was going into third grade, my family moved to a new school district. At eight, I was incredibly shy and self-conscious. Even when I went to my first school I had few close friends. To me the move was the end of the world. How was I going to make new friends? Would the teachers be nice? As I walked into the classroom on the first day of school, I was terrified. What could make it worse? I already knew what the teacher was teaching. Instead of going to recess, I took tests to measure my skills in math, language arts, and science. The school district decided that I would skip a grade. For the first week everything was perfect. I received tons of attention, but soon everything changed. Being so shy made me hate to answer in class, people would ask me to do their homework, and teachers thought I had to get a perfect on every test. In that school year, I had lots of difficulties, and one of the things that helped me get through the year was Anne of Green Gables.
Anne was orphaned as a baby. Until age eleven she moved from house to house, working as a maid and caregiver. She helped me believe that my situation wasn’t that bad. If she could still be so happy and intelligent, even though she had no parents, then how could I be angry over being teased? How could I complain over a bad grade on a test, when Anne didn’t get to go to school until she was eleven? To me, Anne is stronger than any other character in this book. Even though life gave her a terrible deck of cards, she made the best of it.
Anne of Green Gables was first published in 1908. At that time, women were expected to stay in the home and raise children. Anne proves that girls can be anything they believe they can be. Even though Anne didn’t start her education until eleven, she soon rose to the top of her class. She went to a junior college to get her license in teaching. Because of her hard work, Anne received her license in one year and won a full-ride scholarship to a university. Anne is an inspiration to me. That she could achieve so much, yet with so little to work with.
Now I have read Anne of Green Gables for the second time, and it still makes me smile. This novel will make you have empathy. No, it’s not an action novel, full of violence and guns, but is a story of how hard growing up is. This book is more than paper and ink. It is a symbol of childhood that I hold close to my heart.