Whispered Watchword February 2005
Addicted to Anne
I first read Anne of Green Gables when I was making the transition from Junior High to High School. I immediately liked Anne's independent spirit and romantic imagination. She matures through the books from schoolgirl to teacher to wife. And as I was reading the Anne books, I was graduating from juvenile fiction to more adult fiction.
Anne is very real to me. The mistakes and misunderstandings that create drama in her life are things that could easily happen to me! Dying her hair green and getting Diana Barry drunk by accident are scrapes that could happen to any teenage girl. Anne's insistence that she is an Anne spelled with an "E" reminded me of my own fight to be an Amanda and not a Mandy.
Several years ago, I made the pilgrimage to Prince Edward Island. Lucy Maud Montgomery was born and raised on PEI and set all of her books there except for one (The Blue Castle). The Island has many tourist attractions based on Anne and the Anne books. L M Montgomery used her aunt and uncle's house as the model for Green Gables. The house is open to the public and the rooms are decorated as they are described in the books. You can also visit Montgomery's birthplace, the Green Gables post office, The Green Gables museum at Silver Bush and the Cavendish cemetery where Montgomery was buried in 1942. Also on or near the property of the Green Gables farmhouse is the Haunted Wood, Lovers Lane, and the Lake of Shining Waters.
In Charlottestown, PEI, the Confederate Centre for the Arts puts on Canada's longest-running musical production, Anne of Green Gables-The Musical. My Grandmother and I enjoyed seeing a production of the show when we were visiting Prince Edward Island. This show has run every summer since the Centre opened in 1964. The books have also been adapted into film and television shows. A silent film based on Anne of Green Gables was made in 1919. And until recently, CBC's The Road to Avonlea (based on characters created by L M Montgomery-Anne does not appear in the series) held the record as the most watched Canadian TV series for it's 1989-90 season. It was surpassed by Canadian Idol in 2003. So it is clear that I am not the only one enamoured with Anne.
The Japanese seem to especially enjoy Anne. L M Montgomery is part of the school curriculum in Japan. There are many national fan clubs. A replica of Green Gables can be found at a Canadian built amusement park in Japan. Thousands of Japanese visit PEI every year on "Anne Tours". The girls dress as Anne with long braids and puffed sleeves and the adults have wedding ceremonies exactly the way Anne was married in the books.
Anne's comic outspokenness, her fiery temper and her wild imagination lead her into many entertaining adventures. I have always admired her spunk and optimism. From Anne of Green Gables to Rilla of Ingleside, I highly recommend the Anne of Green Gables books!