Siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert have decided to take in a foster child. A strong boy who can help them with the work on the farm – work that has become harder for them as they grew older. But when Matthew goes to the train station to pick the kid up, he finds a girl – Anne Shirley. Not knowing what else to do, he takes her home anyway. And before they can clear things up, Anne has wormed her way into their hearts as much as the hearts of all of Avonlea.
I never read Anne of Green Gables as a kid but when I went to Canada (including Prince Edward Island) myself, I figured, I’d give it a read. I didn’t expect great things, but turns out, I absolutely loved the novel.
Anne worked the same magic on me as she did on the Cuthberts and the residents of Avonlea (who I also quickly learned to love). It’s not just her spirit, her fantastical inner life and her general good-heartedness – although that in itself would have been plenty – but it’s also the way Montgomery approaches her as a character: both with some ironic (albeit loving) distance, but also taking her completely seriously. That way you get Anne theatrically lamenting her fate and you kinda have to laugh at her antics, and yet the pain she expresses is absolutely real and you feel that, too.
And it was just really and honestly funny – I didn’t expect that at all. I thought it would be sentimental and sweet and fluffy. It is that, too, but it’s also witty and funny and has its critical moments.
Plus, even though I am aware that this entire novel builds towards a romance with Gilbert (even though that hasn’t happened yet), it is absolutely crystal clear here that Anne is actually totally into women. She’s obviously in love with Diana (they are meant to be) and she just as obviously crushes on Miss Stacy, her teacher, and Mrs. Adams, the Reverend’s wife. I mean, kindred spirits is obviously code for fellow wlw person. Okay, even if you read the entire thing from a straight point of view, the way Anne relies on other women/girls and looks up to them and is simply friends with them, is also beautiful.
In short, it was a lovely read and Anne is a great character. I’ll be happy to continue reading about her.