Looking for Anne of Green Gables

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Today's book; "In June 1908, a red-haired orphan appeared on to the streets of Boston and a modern legend was born. That little girl was Anne Shirley, better known as Anne of Green Gables, and her first appearance was in a book that has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and been translated into more than 35 languages (including Braille). The author who created her was Lucy Maud Montgomery, a writer who revealed very little of herself and her method of crafting a story. On the centenary of its publication, Irene Gammel tells the braided story of both Anne and Maud and, in so doing, shows how a literary classic was born."

Today's book, which I certainly didn't pick based on it's bland cover, was quite good. Although I'm not sure if it would be of any interest to someone who isn't a huge Anne of Green Gables fan (which I am).

I learned some very interesting things about L.M. Montgomery (whose initials stand for Lucy Maud) and the Anne of Green Gables books;

  • One of her non-Anne books, Emily of New Moon, is an autobiographical novel. (Which makes me want to go read the book again right away - but don't worry dear readers, I'm not going to subject you to two days in a row of L.M. Montgomery related books).

  • Diana was originally named Laura. (Every feeling revolts. I actually like the name Laura better than Diana, and yet Diana couldn't be named anything but Diana. It would be like trying to change the name of Oreos. It would just be wrong.)

  • Lucy Maud, or Maud as she was known to her friends and family, was a tease. She had a habit of flirting with certain men for months and then as soon as they would show an interest in having a relationship she would slam the door in their phase (metaphorically speaking - although who knows, she could have slammed the door literally). And apparently the men in Maud's life enjoyed being treated this way, because they just kept coming back for more. If Maud had been born a little later I would have accused her of being a Rules girl.

  • Maud wrote a short story that was a sort of prequel to Anne of Green Gables, called The Understanding of Sister Sara, which tells the story of Anne's parents. (I sense a desperate Internet search in my future to find this story.)

The thing I found the most interesting in the course of reading this book is that I walked away from the book really disliking Maud. It's so odd to love a book and not be able to stand the person who wrote it. I'm going to have to block the thought of Maud's personality the next time I read Anne of Green Gables in order to keep it from getting tainted. But that book is the kind that I get so totally swept up in that I think I can easily ignore the thought of how much I dislike Maud while reading it.