Anne of Green Gables
August 27, 2019 9:34 AM - by L. M. Montgomery - Subscribe

The cherished favorite featuring everyone's favorite red-headed orphan, Anne With an E. Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression.
posted by bq (70 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Realized about halfway through listening to an audio version of AOGG this month that I’m actually much closer to being than Anne.

I loved these books when I was younger and it was a relief to realize that the memory of cloying sweetness that I had must be mostly from later volumes in the series. I quite liked Angry Anne and ADHD Anne.
posted by bq at 9:37 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]




I flash back to puffed sleeves, kindred spirits, broken slates, and the Lady of Shalott.
posted by rather be jorting at 11:44 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


AOGG's one of my favorite books - I must have reread it literally 50 times at least. The rest of the series never quite gripped me as the first book did, though I read them all (except the very most recent one, which I just found out was published in 2009!).

That's interesting about the Anne books being cited as a way of introducing thoughts about gender beyond traditional roles in Japan - though the BBC piece correctly notes that Anne also ends up becoming more... conformist, later on. (Can we spoil later books in the series?) Perhaps that's why I'm so much fonder of the first book and younger Anne's more unique shenanigans.

The Megan Follows production was the one I grew up with and she's forever associated with the image of Anne Shirley to me. I've been told the latest Netflix adaptation is decent, but I can't quite bring myself to start it yet. Maybe after I finish my Deadwood rewatch, where it will be a nice change of pace.
posted by rather be jorting at 11:54 AM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Am I weird because I'm the opposite of rather be jorting? I like the more adult Anne than the super super precious child Anne.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:52 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Not weird at all!

At least part of my fondness for young Anne stemmed from being a "good kid" who vicariously lived out my mischievous streak through fictional hijinks. I was also first introduced to Anne when I was a few years younger than her, so 11 seemed like an interestingly older age back then, and Anne's various quirks felt more like unique eccentricities rather than preciousness.

I'd be more inclined to think of her children and their friends as super precious (at least until the WWI installment), but it'll be interesting to give the later books another shot now that I'm older.
posted by rather be jorting at 4:27 PM on August 27


I am extremely here for any and all Anne things, and in fact my 10-year-old son is currently reading Anne!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:04 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


We spent a chunk of our honeymoon on PEI, and can confirm there are many, many tourists who have come there all the way from Japan. And that raspberry cordial is everywhere.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:58 PM on August 27 [6 favorites]


I've never read the books, but unexpectedly enjoyed the heck out of the Netflix Anne - is it faithful at all?
posted by porpoise at 8:29 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


I haven't re-read the books in ages. I remember the first time I read it when I was a kid -- my mother had bought it for me for bringing on a vacation somewhere, and I wasn't interested by the cover or summary. But Mom finished whatever else she was reading and started on 'Anne of Green Gables', and then kept bursting out laughing as she read, so then I had to read it after her to see what was so funny, and I loved it, and then read the series. (As a lasting consequence - Anne was so severe about how redheads could never ever wear pink that it took me years to realize that wasn't an absolute rule, and that I could in fact wear pink myself if it suited me.)

I've been told the latest Netflix adaptation is decent, but I can't quite bring myself to start it yet. Maybe after I finish my Deadwood rewatch, where it will be a nice change of pace.

rather be jorting, I thought the Netflix 'Anne' was monumentally bad, and probably not as much of a change of pace from Deadwood as you'd expect for an Anne of Green Gables story, given that the show-runner was a former 'Breaking Bad' writer who dismissed criticism of her adaptation by saying there were 'other adaptations for five-year-olds.' Check out the Fanfare threads if you're curious, the most savage review links are in the finale thread.
posted by oh yeah! at 8:33 PM on August 27 [4 favorites]


The CBC series starring Megan Follows was so good. Is it streaming?
posted by bq at 8:41 PM on August 27 [2 favorites]


Looks like the CBC series is available for rent/purchase here.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 9:18 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


> I thought the Netflix 'Anne' was monumentally bad, and probably not as much of a change of pace from Deadwood as you'd expect for an Anne of Green Gables story, given that the show-runner was a former 'Breaking Bad' writer who dismissed criticism of her adaptation by saying there were 'other adaptations for five-year-olds.' Check out the Fanfare threads if you're curious, the most savage review links are in the finale thread.

oh yeah!, you are a mensch for warning me, thank you. As much as I adored Breaking Bad, such a condescending and contemptuous opinion of the prior adaptations bodes ill for the showrunner's mindset going into the Netflix adaptation. I checked the finale thread and now I am yelling inside, lol.

> I've never read the books, but unexpectedly enjoyed the heck out of the Netflix Anne - is it faithful at all?

porpoise, based on just a small listing of some very key changes, I'm guessing not particularly so. I'm intentionally toning down my written reaction because I've enjoyed other adaptations of other books that people thought were bad for changing the source material so much, and am wondering if maybe the impression I got of the Netflix show before was because people hadn't gotten to the finale yet - there's some major changes to Matthew's character, for one thing. But don't let that discourage you from checking out the books - they're just going to be a different thing from the Netflix show, more of a separate work that kind of inspired the show, rather than direct source material. The first book especially has more of a Studio Ghibli movie vibe.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:48 PM on August 27 [1 favorite]


Ooh, just found this TIFF 2017 retrospective from Megan Follows called "Anne: the Accidental Feminist," in which Follows reflects upon Anne's character, illustrated with a few clips from the CBC adaptation.

Got real emotional at the clip of Follows' Anne saying, "You don't want me? You don't want me because I'm not a boy?"

I haven't watched all 12ish minutes of Follows' audition for Anne of Green Gables yet, and I have my childhood biases going on - but even in the first few minutes of this VHS footage alone, with Follows looking like she just stepped out of Stranger Things and a landline ringing in the background, I could only see Anne Shirley talking like brought historic Prince Edward Island with her into that little room.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:55 PM on August 27 [3 favorites]


Oh, Anne is not accidentally feminist! Lucy Maud Montgomery is full-on smashing the patriarchy via poetic descriptions of Canadian natural beauty. It is 100% deliberate and it is crazy progressive for the era, which is probably part of why it holds up so well today. It's part of LMM's artistic triumph that she made such a subversive story so gosh-darn charming.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:27 PM on August 27 [16 favorites]


The Youtube clip title's somewhat misleading (and I definitely don't want to leave the impression that I'm agreeing that Anne's only accidentally feminist), so I'll transcribe a bit in case the "accidental" puts people off from viewing Follows' interview:

"Is that not by definition what every feminist would want for every woman, every young girl on this planet? The right to have her voice, the right to equality, the right to be seen as an individual person, not based on their gender, but on the quality and content of their character?"

As for the 100th anniversary edition, thanks for writing so much about it, truly! Had no idea it existed and don't know when I'll get the time to sit on down and read it, so I'm digging the additional info on the name shifts and structural reframing without denigrating the femininity of the earth, and so on. (I also liked your follow-up comment later in the thread about LMM's depiction of the passion and intensity of female adolescence, and the creation of spaces and safety... lots to ponder!).

As for the details on LMM's own adult life being such a sharp contrast to Anne's (as I read Wikipedia) - wow. No wonder the later books are how they are, and certainly more nuanced than the general outline of events I had recalled. I'll keep that in mind for my eventual revisit of the books, whenever that may be. MeFi is constantly inspiring me to want to read more, in defiance of time and sleep, rip :(
posted by rather be jorting at 12:21 AM on August 28


"The Youtube clip title's somewhat misleading (and I definitely don't want to leave the impression that I'm agreeing that Anne's only accidentally feminist)"

Yeah, I didn't mean to pick on you, but on the title. :) I get a little salty when LMM's work gets undersold or dismissed as sentimental fluff for women and children.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:39 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


I last re-read Anne of Green Gables a couple years ago, when I had a rambunctious toddler at home, and it was a complete shock to empathize with and UNDERSTAND Marilla for the fist time. When I read (and re-read and re-read) the books (and watched the movies) as a kid/teenager/young adult I always read it for Anne and her perspective. But the first time I read it as a mom was a revelation. I even came to see Rachel Lynde as a realistic character with issues of her own, instead of just a grouchy, mean, one-dimensional grownup.

I always intended to finish the series but rarely made it past book 4. I found the random neighbor side stories to be frustratingly unnecessary tangents (NEED MOAR ANNE), but maybe as I’ve aged I’ll have more patience for the broader narrative.

My husband spent his early years in Canada and said the boys in school dreaded the annual showing of the CBC film adaptation in class. I would have loved it!
posted by Maarika at 6:40 AM on August 28 [5 favorites]


"rarely made it past book 4."

3 and 4 are the weakest books in the series, and were written much later, at the behest of her publishers, who wanted her to fill in the years between Anne of Avonlea and Anne's House of Dreams. (I do love 3 because I love all the girls renting the house together, but all the love interests are boring.) I feel like it all picks back up with a lot more Anne-focus in book five.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:48 AM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Oh, I love the third book! I have such a complete, detailed picture of Patty's Place in my head.

Rilla of Ingleside is the last in the series, from the perspective of Anne's teenaged daughter during World War I, and is one of my very favorites.
posted by something something at 7:01 AM on August 28 [3 favorites]


Book 3, which is Anne of the Island, was not written much later. It was published in 1915, six years after Anne of Avonlea and two years before Anne's House of Dreams. It was Anne of Windy Poplars (Book 4) and Anne of Ingleside (Book 6), which were published in 1936 and 1939 respectively, and at the insistence of Montgomery's publishers, after she was sick of Anne. She was hampered in what she could do with her characters' lives given that whatever she wrote had to fit the course of events in her other Anne books, so she ended up writing very episodic novels using materials cobbled together from a number of her previously published short stories. They have a warmed over feel, and are also quite anachronistic in places. Montgomery did much the same thing with The Blythes Are Quoted, which she completed in 1942, just before her suicide. Those three potboilers are the weakest books in the Anne series.
posted by orange swan at 8:30 AM on August 28 [4 favorites]


That explains a lot! For my 8th birthday I got a three-volume in one Anne of Green Gables mega-book with Megan Follows on the cover, and it had books 1, 2, and 5. Looks like those publishers knew what was up! I still have it, so I will track down book 3 and then skip book 4 with a clean conscience :-).
posted by Maarika at 9:20 AM on August 28


Oh, hello! I just got back from taking my mother on an epic pilgrimage to PEI for all things Anne! We listened to the audiobook in the car (we drove from Boston, so plenty of time for the whole thing), visited her home (The Anne of Green Gables Museum) and Green Gables Heritage Place (which is where you can see the house on which she based Green Gables, as well as walk the Haunted Wood and Lover's Lane.) It was all absolutely delightful and made my mother (for whom Anne was extremely formative) so happy. I can also wholeheartedly recommend Anne and Gilbert, The Musical, which was much better than we expected and was enjoyed even by my husband who is not into Anne or musicals. :)
posted by tangosnail at 10:20 AM on August 28 [9 favorites]


For my 8th birthday I got a three-volume in one Anne of Green Gables mega-book with Megan Follows on the cover, and it had books 1, 2, and 5.
I had that same volume! She was sitting by a tree eating an apple.
posted by acidnova at 10:30 AM on August 28


Wow, I am surprised people do not like Anne of Windy Willows (I just checked the title on my bookshelf and it says Willows in my edition) because that's my favorite. And apparently the author did not like it either, go figure.

One more downvote on the Netflix adaptation. I only watched the first two or three episodes and I disliked it immensely. Not only was it much darker than the book but it seemed to revel in its darkness. The new adaptation also changed a few key scenes in a way that I think contradicted the spirit of the book. I do not think Marilla Cuthbert would act in the way that the Netflix Marilla did. Too bad, because I think they had the right idea - to show some of the historical context without sugarcoating how hard it was for children back then. There were some scenes that were spot-on. But overall it was just too much IMO.
posted by M. at 12:32 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Ohhhh I wonder if that's the same volume I have -- it also contains Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne's House of Dreams, but it's a hardcover that lost its slipcover long before it was handed down to me by some family member. It's still my only copy of those volumes, although I've since supplemented with the standard paperbacks (I discovered Anne of the Island much later, and I loved it just because of the ideal vision of college and Anne's friends. I, too, always yearned to live at Patty's Place with them!).

I have another hardcover three-volumes-in-one set (also missing its slipcover) of The Story Girl, The Golden Road, and Kilmeny of the Orchard, so both those books were good friends for me when I was growing up as an idealistic, dreamy child who would lose herself in fictional worlds. LM Montgomery was definitely a favorite author because I felt (dare I say?) like such a "kindred spirit" to all her heroines -- not just Anne, but Felicity, Pat, Emily (who I probably related to more than Anne, if I'm honest), and, in later years when I'd stumble on The Blue Castle in the YA section (and not the children's section, where I'd found all the others!), Valancy.

I think it's about time I sit down and reread these, since even though I feel like there are passages I could recite by memory and all the characters still feel as real to me now in my thirties as they did when I was child and first discovered Anne, it's been many years since I've actually read the books. I'm going on holiday soon and was trying to figure out what reading material to have at hand, and I apparently have downloaded the free versions of these to my kindle long ago, so now I know what kind of comfort reading to have on the long flight!

Oh, and I've long loved the CBC adaptation -- that's the adaptation of my heart and the one I grew up with (even when as a child I was so pedantically outraged that they had changed so much from the original version, especially in the second film), so I'm joining the crew of Megan Follows is Anne (just like Jonathan Crombie was Gilbert, sob). I understand what the new Netflix version was trying to do and I'll still watch it, but it didn't really satisfy me (especially the changes to Matthew's character!).
posted by paisley sheep at 12:33 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Actually, with some googling, I have discovered that this one is apparently the volume I have! I'd forgotten about the copies of the original illustrations that were included in this version.
posted by paisley sheep at 12:56 PM on August 28


Even the minor characters' casting in the CBC adaptation is terrific. That Josie Pye!
posted by something something at 1:24 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


Ok I think we have enough enthusiasm for a book club. Give me a couple weeks to read the next volume and I’ll post as I read.
posted by bq at 1:49 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


For anyone looking for an audio version, I enjoyed Shelly Frasier's reading very much, and many libraries have it available to download.
posted by asperity at 2:27 PM on August 28


This is the version I had with Megan Follows on the cover
posted by acidnova at 3:39 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Gosh. Seeing "Club: Avonlea" pop up on this page immediately filled me with such a peaceful, soul-satisfying feeling, like returning home or seeing an old friend you haven't had the chance to meet up with in a while.

Thanks for getting all this started, bq!
posted by rather be jorting at 5:04 PM on August 28 [2 favorites]


This is by far one of my favorite book/book series growing up. I also grew up in the era of PBS playing the adaptation with Megan Follows on a yearly basis, usually accompanied by a fundraising drive of some sort.

The book always resonated with me, as a kid who also preferred the imaginary world to the real one (trauma coping mechanisms for $500, Alex). Which is also some of why I very much dislike the Netflix adaptation. The literal point of the novel is that Anne escaped a world of poverty, neglect, and abuse, and entered the kinder world of Green Gables and Avonlea itself, which was better in almost every respect than what she came from. It allowed Anne to come out of her imaginary realm and have a real, full life, with friends, and ambitions, and people who loved her, while still keeping enough of her rich imagination to add spice to her life. The Netflix adaptation wasn't satisfied with merely making her pre-adoption struggles more explicit, which would have been fine on its own. They also felt the need to have Marilla and the town at large behave as her adversaries, including characters that were her allies in the book, like Reverend Allan. Admittedly, I only watched the first three episodes, but I was so disturbed by it all that I couldn't go on. And I admit that this is very likely because the book served as a coping mechanism for me as an abused kid. Maybe if I had just read it as a normal happy kid I wouldn't have such strong feelings of revulsion over what the new adaptation did to it. But enough about the Netflix adaptation.

One thing I will note for readers who maybe haven't read the whole series, there is a bit of timeline wonkiness going on. It's fairly clear that Montgomery meant for the first novel to be set in the 1890s. There's the clues with the puffed sleeves and a few other mentions of technology or politics that fit with that time period. But later on as she wrote more novels, the original action got pushed way back. If you count back the timeline from Rilla of Ingleside, the novel where Anne's children are involved in WWI, given Anne's age in that novel and the ages of her children, it actually means the first novel is set in the late 1870s/early 1880s (the time of Montgomery's own childhood). You can see the timeline for all the books here.
posted by katyggls at 6:04 PM on August 28 [6 favorites]


This is going to be fun!

Shelly Frasier’s audiobook is the one I just finished, although the digitization is, shall we say, not seamless.

I put up a post in the book club’s page asking for discussion of read order and any other suggested materials like biographies, cookbooks, travelogues, literary commentary, etc.
posted by bq at 7:07 PM on August 28


If anyone is looking for a free audiobook option, I've listened to this one on Spotify before and I thought it was pretty well done.
posted by katyggls at 7:23 PM on August 28


"It was Anne of Windy Poplars (Book 4) and Anne of Ingleside (Book 6),"
I am covered in shame!


Should we, like, actually discuss the first book?

Also I totally threw a party with an Anne of Green Gables theme and, yes, I made raspberry cordial. (YUM)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:52 PM on August 28 [1 favorite]


Yes, let's get into the book talk!

I was skimming the Netflix show's Fanfare threads and I really liked corb's comment about book-Matthew, specifically this part: "the beauty of the Montgomery books is that he was still Anne's hero even in his quietness, his shyness, his lack of traditional heroic masculinity."

He's one of a kind. For the past however many years, I've mostly been immersed in fiction focusing on tough guys where even the anti-heroes tend to fall under some portion of the traditional heroic masculinity umbrella, and the gentler men are still associated with some type of violent skill or acerbic wit - cut with words instead of a blade, wound with one's mind instead of a physical weapon. And that ain't all bad, but it's just... nice seeing LMM write Matthew as he is, shy and contemplative and kind, warming up to Anne's much different personality on their way back from the orphanage, and sticking up for her later on in the book, and being brave in his own way.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:35 PM on August 28 [4 favorites]


The titles of the first three chapters (as Project Gutenberg's chapter listing reminds me) still crack me up:

CHAPTER I. Mrs. Rachel Lynde is Surprised

CHAPTER II. Matthew Cuthbert is surprised

CHAPTER III. Marilla Cuthbert is Surprised
posted by rather be jorting at 9:43 PM on August 28 [7 favorites]


Don't forget CHAPTER IX: Mrs. Rachel Lynde Is Properly Horrified
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:59 PM on August 28 [5 favorites]


> For the past however many years, I've mostly been immersed in fiction focusing on tough guys where even the anti-heroes tend to fall under some portion of the traditional heroic masculinity umbrella, and the gentler men are still associated with some type of violent skill or acerbic wit - cut with words instead of a blade, wound with one's mind instead of a physical weapon. And that ain't all bad, but it's just... nice seeing LMM write Matthew as he is, shy and contemplative and kind, warming up to Anne's much different personality on their way back from the orphanage, and sticking up for her later on in the book, and being brave in his own way.

Yes! And it's so interesting, because for all that Matthew is so afraid of most women and girls, he actually seems to have a somewhat feminine coded mastery of emotional language, at least more so than Marilla. Of the two, he's more likely to instinctively understand Anne's feelings and be able to react to them with empathy and affection, which comes to Marilla only later. A quote from chapter 6:
There, there, Marilla, you can have your own way," said Matthew reassuringly. "Only be as good and kind to her as you can without spoiling her. I kind of think she's one of the sort you can do anything with if you only get her to love you." Marilla sniffed, to express her contempt for Matthew's opinions concerning anything feminine, and walked off to the dairy with the pails.
posted by katyggls at 10:06 PM on August 28 [3 favorites]


My parents went to PEI recently on vacation, and when they got back, I immediately asked, "Did you go to Green Gables?"

My mom: No, did you want us to?

Me: (small voice) ... No.

However, when they were showing me where they'd gone, on a google map, I was all "White Sands! There's a hotel there with electric lights!" and my dad just looked at me kind of funny and shook his head.
posted by basalganglia at 4:08 AM on August 29 [6 favorites]


I did not read the book but I did watch the series when I was young in the 90s. I remember loving it, that there was a handsome man, that a gazebo played a role, and that ipecac syrup is an expectorant. That is all.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:14 AM on August 29 [1 favorite]




I was rereading the ridgepole chapter last night (a.k.a. CHAPTER XXIII. Anne Comes to Grief in an Affair of Honor) and I literally laughed out loud at almost every other sentence. Just a few faves:

- “Anne, are you killed?” shrieked Diana, throwing herself on her knees beside her friend. “Oh, Anne, dear Anne, speak just one word to me and tell me if you’re killed.”

- “No, Diana, I am not killed, but I think I am rendered unconscious.”
“Where?” sobbed Carrie Sloane. “Oh, where, Anne?”

- “Don’t be very frightened, Marilla. I was walking the ridgepole and I fell off. I expect I have sprained my ankle. But, Marilla, I might have broken my neck. Let us look on the bright side of things.”

--

Something else I liked when I was rereading the first few chapters, this description of Marilla already starting to warm up to Anne right after they meet: "Something like a reluctant smile, rather rusty from long disuse, mellowed Marilla’s grim expression."
posted by rather be jorting at 10:51 AM on August 29 [7 favorites]


Yeah, while I love Matthew, I almost enjoy Marilla's development in her relationship with Anne even more. Early on, it's mentioned that Matthew loves hearing Anne talk, and Marilla does too, until she catches herself becoming too interested in what Anne has to say, and then she curtly tells her to "hold her tongue". Marilla is someone who has become someone so accustomed to denying themselves joy, that she treats it somewhat suspiciously.

You see this development very clearly in the chapter when Mrs. Lynde comes to visit, because Marilla first surprises herself by praising Anne and then again when she defends Anne to Mrs. Lynde and tells her she shouldn't have picked on Anne's appearance.
posted by katyggls at 12:18 PM on August 29 [4 favorites]


I read the first few Anne books for the first time a couple of years ago with my kids, and what struck me - apart from the profound gentleness and humour - was how sharply Montgomery defines her characters through their language. Each one has such a real feeling idiolect, once you’ve met them there’s no need to pay attention to names, they’re just them. It’s masterful writing. So much more than the sentimental kids’ stuff I’d assumed it was from a distance.
posted by threecheesetrees at 3:39 PM on August 29 [3 favorites]


I have always identified at least partly with Marilla. She is the classic introvert who both admires and is exasperated by an extrovert and that is about 90% of my friendships.

When I stumbled on people talking about how Anne is probably actually in love with Diana the book made more sense to me too. Because Diana is not that interesting as a friend, but makes sense as a crush.
posted by emjaybee at 9:20 PM on August 29 [6 favorites]


Yes, there certainly are a lot of ‘bosom friends’ and protestations of eternal loyalty.
posted by bq at 10:18 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


I was trying to figure out why I feel like AOGG is more like the Little House books than it is like Little Women; I think it’s because there’s not very much moralizing? It seems like every other chapter of LW has a Weight Message, and LH and Anne just.... don’t.
posted by bq at 10:20 PM on August 29 [1 favorite]


bq, I've always thought there is lots of moralizing in the Anne books, just not in a didactic "the moral of this episode is..." way. It's pretty overt that Matthew and Marilla had a dull life until Anne's antics and imagination shake them out of their shells. There's a lot about the healing power of the natural landscape -- and LM Montgomery's nature writing is just stunning -- that's reinforced by the difference between Mr. Phillips' teaching style (old-school, Victorian, hits on teen students) vs Miss Stacy as a role model (young, feminist, takes kids on field trips) for young Anne. I'd say the real moral of the books is that with The Right Mindset (i.e. imagination and spunk), Barry's Pond becomes The Lake of Shining Waters. It's a type of moralizing that fits with modern sensibilities -- until you come across the startling casual racism, like this bit from when Marilla discovers Anne has dyed her hair:

“Anne Shirley, how often have I told you never to let one of those Italians in the house! I don’t believe in encouraging them to come around at all.”

“Oh, I didn’t let him in the house. I remembered what you told me, and I went out, carefully shut the door, and looked at his things on the step. Besides, he wasn’t an Italian—he was a German Jew. He had a big box full of very interesting things and he told me he was working hard to make enough money to bring his wife and children out from Germany. He spoke so feelingly about them that it touched my heart. I wanted to buy something from him to help him in such a worthy object.


Montgomery's gently mocking Anne's naivete at falling for that sob story, but she does it in a very specific, racially-charged way. The depiction of the French Canadians, like Young Mary Joe, as docile idiots is another example. They are good books, and often a little subversive in depicting Miss Stacy/Anne as a New Woman, but at the end of the day, reinforces the "innate" (from the books' POV) superiority of Scots-Irish Protestants. (I mean, when Anne gets in trouble at school for reading a novel, it's Ben frigging Hur.)

(I don't want to derail with the moralizing in Little House, but it's basically "self sufficient pioneers rah rah," often by eliding the real story.)
posted by basalganglia at 4:29 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


Yes, I agree with you that the moralizing in both series is present but less overt than Little Women and also significantly less religious, which is kind of surprising, because Anne does contain a lot of overt Romantic sensibility, while avoiding religious sensibility almost entirely or maintaining it in a church-free atmosphere.
posted by bq at 7:36 AM on August 30 [3 favorites]


When I stumbled on people talking about how Anne is probably actually in love with Diana the book made more sense to me too. Because Diana is not that interesting as a friend, but makes sense as a crush.

I think part of it is that Anne wants to be Diana - raised in a stable household in a beautiful place, with the dark hair and clear fair skin Anne dreams of for herself. Diana sure is boring, though, I agree.
posted by something something at 7:39 AM on August 30 [5 favorites]


yes...Anne has more in common with Priscilla and Stella than she does with Diana.
posted by brujita at 8:37 AM on August 30


Diana may be "boring" and somewhat lacking in imagination, but I think Anne does see other qualities in her that make her worth keeping as a friend. I agree that the initial attraction was as something something says, that Diana seemed to be everything Anne wished that she was, raised in a nice home, conventionally pretty, etc. But as time goes on, Diana proves herself to be a good friend to have. She's loyal, good-natured, always up for Anne's schemes, etc. An obliging, even-tempered sidekick type person may seem somewhat boring on their own, but she's the ideal friend for a headstrong natural leader with a tendency towards wild mood swings like Anne.
posted by katyggls at 12:18 PM on August 30 [8 favorites]


I think that the reason ipecac worked is because it wasn’t what we call croup now. I think it was diptheria.

I think this writer is correct, largely because of something that occurs in a much later book, Rilla of Ingleside. Anne's daughter Rilla, still in her teens, adopts a "war-baby" who faces the possibility of life in an orphan asylum, and he becomes ill with what is also called "croup." Mary Vance, a neighbor girl with whom Rilla has had a dicey relationship, turns up at the height of the crisis.

"'We have tried everything,' said poor Susan dully. 'It is not ordinary croup.'

"'No, it's the dipthery croup,' said Mary briskly, snatching up an apron. 'And there's mighty little time to lose—but I know what to do. . . Got any sulphur in the house, Susan?'

"Yes, we had sulphur. . . Presently Mary came back. She had tied a piece of thick flannel over her mouth and nose, and she carried Susan's old tin chip pan, half full of burning coals.

"'You watch me,' she said boastfully. 'I've never done this, but it's kill or cure that child is dying anyway.'

"She sprinkled a spoonful of sulphur over the coals; and then she picked up Jims, turned him over, and held him face downward, right over those choking, blinding fumes. I don't know why I didn't spring forward and snatch him away. . . Jims writhed in those big, firm, capable hands of Mary—oh yes, she is capable all right—and choked and wheezed—and choked and wheezed—and I felt that he was being tortured to death—and then all at once, after what seemed to me an hour, though it really wasn't long, he coughed up the membrane that was killing him. Mary turned him over and laid him back on his bed. He was white as marble and the tears were pouring out of his brown eyes—but that awful livid look was gone from his face and he could breathe quite easily.


I'd love to tell her she's right.
posted by dlugoczaj at 2:15 PM on August 30 [8 favorites]


Book three is by far my favorite! I didn’t realize it was written later. I also have a soft spot for Windy Poplars/Willows—I actually like the episodic stories of the various families in the town (especially the gothy Tomgallons).
posted by exceptinsects at 11:17 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Let's talk about Mrs. Lynde. As much as I love the 1985 adaptation, I always felt like she got a raw deal in it. In the book, she's so much more complicated than the adaptation makes her out to be. Yes, she's a busybody and an overly plain speaker at times, but in the book she also has quite a few wonderful qualities, like generosity and even a bit of wisdom where children are concerned. She conspires with Matthew to give Anne the dress with the puffed sleeves and even has a whole inner monologue where she disagrees with Marilla's odd plan of dressing her plainly. And when Anne was having trouble in school with Mr. Phillips she took Anne's side, and even advised Marilla to just let her stay home for a bit until she cooled down enough to want to return to school herself. In Anne of Avonlea, Anne tells Mr. Harrison that one of Mrs. Lynde's hired men stole a crock of butter from her dairy, and his wife, not knowing he stole it, told Mrs. Lynde it tasted like turnips. And Mrs. Lynde just said she was sorry it turned out so poorly. I like her a lot in the books, and it's sad that the various adaptations tend to make her a bit meaner than she actually was.
posted by katyggls at 6:51 PM on September 3 [6 favorites]


I liked Mrs. Lynde a lot in the books, too! While rereading the earlier chapters recently, I especially liked how quickly she forgave Anne after that dramatic apology and how she was able to acknowledge her own flaws in the process. Pretty cool of her. I also liked her later conversation with Marilla:
“She’s a real odd little thing. Take this chair, Marilla; it’s easier than the one you’ve got; I just keep that for the hired boy to sit on. Yes, she certainly is an odd child, but there is something kind of taking about her after all. I don’t feel so surprised at you and Matthew keeping her as I did—nor so sorry for you, either. She may turn out all right. Of course, she has a queer way of expressing herself—a little too—well, too kind of forcible, you know; but she’ll likely get over that now that she’s come to live among civilized folks. And then, her temper’s pretty quick, I guess; but there’s one comfort, a child that has a quick temper, just blaze up and cool down, ain’t never likely to be sly or deceitful. Preserve me from a sly child, that’s what. On the whole, Marilla, I kind of like her.”
That's a kind way to look at a quick temper in a kid, and also I'm just fond of people being drawn to Anne's charisma despite themselves, and how Mrs. Lynde expresses empathy for Anne's circumstances - she's just a kid, she didn't have an easy life, no wonder she is how she is. And even as she is, Mrs. Lynde freely acknowledges that Anne's still likable with all those rough edges, so now that she's met her and gotten to know her a bit, she no longer feels as surprised or sorry for Matthew and Marilla. That's cool of her. I'm not used to reading about people good-naturedly acknowledging their preconceived notions weren't accurate and being open to changing their minds once they have actually really started getting to know the person they had those notions about.

I also liked the little exchange Anne and Mrs. Lynde had regarding Anne's "terrible red" hair after that apology:
"It can’t be denied your hair is terrible red; but I knew a girl once—went to school with her, in fact—whose hair was every mite as red as yours when she was young, but when she grew up it darkened to a real handsome auburn. I wouldn’t be a mite surprised if yours did, too—not a mite.”
I thought this was also a kind thing for Mrs. Lynde to say. She took a characteristic that Anne felt down on herself about, and recast it as something more positive. I kinda also see it as giving Anne hope that she won't always be the person she currently is dissatisfied with being, that the future could be better than she thinks it might be. Maybe that's a bit too broad a take on a discussion about hair color, idk, but I liked how it ended up reassuring Anne the way it did.
posted by rather be jorting at 9:24 PM on September 3 [9 favorites]


Yes! I love Mrs Lynde too. I think it’s really lovely how she eventually moves in with Marilla after her husband dies and Marilla starts losing her eyesight—they’re able to help each other and stay independent as they get older.
(And they each have their own kitchen so they don’t get in each other’s way, so smart)

Did any of you watch the web series Green Gables Fables? It was a little uneven but overall I really enjoyed it and I thought they did an interesting job of translating the characters to the modern world.
I especially liked Mrs Lynde’s twitter account.
posted by exceptinsects at 11:25 PM on September 3 [5 favorites]


> I'm not used to reading about people good-naturedly acknowledging their preconceived notions weren't accurate and being open to changing their minds once they have actually really started getting to know the person they had those notions about.

Yes, I love this quality about her. Towards the end of the novel she says of Anne:
"I never would have thought she'd have turned out so well that first day I was here three years ago," said Mrs. Rachel. "Lawful heart, shall I ever forget that tantrum of hers! When I went home that night I says to Thomas, says I, 'Mark my words, Thomas, Marilla Cuthbert'll live to rue the step she's took.' But I was mistaken and I'm real glad of it. I ain't one of those kind of people, Marilla, as can never be brought to own up that they've made a mistake. No, that never was my way, thank goodness. I did make a mistake in judging Anne, but it weren't no wonder, for an odder, unexpecteder witch of a child there never was in this world, that's what. There was no ciphering her out by the rules that worked with other children."
exceptinsects, no I didn't catch that web series. I did find it on youtube, so I'll definitely give it a watch. Thanks for the rec!
posted by katyggls at 10:51 AM on September 4 [4 favorites]


I just need to tell y'all how much I am loving the Rachel Lynde appreciation society here.
posted by asperity at 11:55 AM on September 4 [5 favorites]


And when Anne was having trouble in school with Mr. Phillips she took Anne's side, and even advised Marilla to just let her stay home for a bit until she cooled down enough to want to return to school herself.

I was so surprised by that!
posted by bq at 1:54 PM on September 4 [1 favorite]


Also, I love "lawful heart" as an exclamation!
I figured there had to be a term for this sort of blasphemy euphemism (I'm guessing instead of something like "lordy") and of course there is, it's called a minced oath. Thanks, Wikipedia!
posted by exceptinsects at 5:28 PM on September 5 [4 favorites]


I figured there had to be a term for this sort of blasphemy euphemism (I'm guessing instead of something like "lordy") and of course there is, it's called a minced oath.

And don't forget Marilla's "fiddlesticks!".
posted by katyggls at 6:39 PM on September 5


I'm a fan of, "stuff and nonsense!"
posted by acidnova at 7:45 PM on September 5


I know this is supposed to be a "that's what she said" joke but it made me think of Mrs. Lynde
posted by exceptinsects at 9:59 AM on September 9 [3 favorites]


Mini McGee is reading Anne of Green Gables right now (on my kindle; the first day he said, "This is going to take me TWO AND A HALF HOURS to read?" and I didn't have the heart to tell him, "No, sweetie, it would take ME 2 1/2 hours, it's going to take you a lot longer). Over the last three days he got to Anne getting Diana drunk and the aftermath, and was SUPER DISTRESSED. "She got her drunk, but it was an accident! It wasn't on purpose! I don't want them not to be friends anymore! It was an accident!" Today he finally got to Anne saving Minnie May and being allowed to be friends with Diana again, and he was SO RELIEVED.

Also he is super-fixated on the fact that dinner is lunch and supper is dinner, we talk about that on like a daily basis.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:09 PM on September 9 [6 favorites]


Ah yes, the affair of the currant wine. To be honest, this is the one scrape, as amusing as it is, that I don't quite "buy". As a kid it seemed totally plausible, but now as an adult who has had both currant wine and raspberry cordial, I can't for the life of me figure out how Diana downed three glasses of the former thinking it was the latter. And she even admitted that she'd had cordial before so she knew what it tasted like. There's just no way. I doubt an 11 year old child could even bear the taste of red currant wine enough to drink three glasses in a row. Sorry Lucy, I'm not falling for this one. ;)
posted by katyggls at 11:19 AM on September 10 [2 favorites]


To be fair, Diana does say "It's ever so much nicer than Mrs. Lynde's although she brags of hers so much. It doesn't taste a bit like hers." Whether it's plausible that she could like the wine better I don't know, but she can tell the difference.

When looking this up in the book I was surprised to see that this scene was almost halfway into the book. I had remembered it as being right near the beginning. The story is really heavily weighted toward the beginning - Anne arrives in June and the currant wine scene happens in October - while the entire year she spends at Queen's is covered in ten pages!
posted by Daily Alice at 12:06 PM on September 10 [2 favorites]


Yeah the book details a lot more of Anne's first few years at Green Gables and then sort of speeds through ages 14-16. Maybe Montgomery felt it'd be less plausible for an older girl to always be getting into "scrapes", as I notice most of Anne's amusing misfortunes also happen when she's younger. Her last real misadventure is almost drowning on The Lake of Shining Waters while pretending to be a lily-maid, and that happens in the summer after she turns 13. From that point forward, most of the book deals with her academic adventures (studying for Queen's and the entrance exam and Queen's itself).

The early, episodic structure of the novel makes sense when you recall that Montgomery wrote many such pieces for so-called "Sunday School papers", which were essentially magazines for children that reinforced Christian or moral teachings and were distributed in church Sunday Schools. AoGG was both conceived of and initially published as a Sunday School serial, and when it proved popular, Montgomery developed it into a full length novel.
posted by katyggls at 1:13 PM on September 10 [1 favorite]


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