Some books just take you back. Growing up in Alberta, there were a few made-in-Canada features that I treasured. One was the TV show Road to Avonlea which revolved around a small turn-of-the-century farming town and featured a main character also named Sara, though I forgave her lack of an “h” and watched anyways. I have fond memories of my family gathering together every Sunday to watch the latest episode. The other was the movie Anne of Green Gables, which I watched and re-watched innumerable times growing up. It’s no surprise that I liked both really, since Road was based upon the Anne world.
When I was younger I didn’t know that the movie Anne of Green Gables was based on a book, or a series of books. I just knew that I loved it. I wanted to be Anne. In some respects I thought I was her; a hot-headed bookworm who loved fiercely and usually talked too much. All I needed was red hair to complete the look, and as of the age of 13 or 14, I took care of that.
So when I saw the requirement to read a book from my childhood on my reading challenge, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to revisit Anne’s story from the original point of view. Being a Canadian treasure, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne series has been reprinted more times than I can count, but I found the most beautifully illustrated covers from Tundra Books and eagerly ordered the first in the 8-book series.
Everything I loved about the movies was there in the book. I didn’t know I could love the character of Anne more than I already did. The writing makes the village and the characters come to life, and the story seems to flow effortlessly from one anecdote of Anne’s life to another as we see the orphan become who she was meant to be, finally in a loving home. I already received the next two books for Christmas, and I anticipate ordering the rest very soon in order to complete the series on my bookshelf.
I was surprised to learn that a friend of mine was also reading this first book in the series at the same time as I was. This was her first foray into the Anne stories, as she has never read them nor seen the movies. And when we spoke of our thoughts about the book afterwards, I felt she captured it perfectly: this book is wonderful.