I was in grade 5 when my teacher decided that she would start reading to us from this Canadian classic called Anne of Green Gables. Typically when the teacher would pick a book to read to us, it was not my cup of tea, and I would multi task during the book. But this book was different. I was captivated once she started reading it and really looked forward to the next part of the story everyday. I had already been a fan of books about young girls in Canada, including the Booky series by Bernice Thurman Hunter and this was another viewpoint about life in Canada’s past.
When I learned that this was the first in a series of books, I was so excited. I would get to learn of Anne’s next chapters? I immediately started getting the books from the library and devoured them. For Christmas, I requested my own copies of the books because I loved them so much and would read them over and over again.
And when I learned that there was going to be a TV movie starring Canadian Megan Follows, I was so excited. I watched that first night of part 1 with laser focus. And I have to say that it was perfectly cast. For those of you who have never read the books, Anne is an orphan, who is accidentally sent to live with an older brother (Matthew) and sister (Marilla) who had wanted a boy to help at their farm. But they decide to keep Anne and the love and bond that grow between these 3 is so beautiful. Matthew is played by Richard Farnsworth, who was perfectly cast as a quiet, introspective but kind man and the casting for Marilla had Colleen Dewhurst in the role and she was perfection. Prickly, but kind hearted and loyal. Whatever I had imagined reading the books was manifested in the casting. The cinematography in PEI is perfect and it captures the Town of Avonlea perfectly, with its supporting characters.
It left such an imprint on me. I watched all of the sequels starring Megan Follows and even if the last ones deviated a lot from the book, I still enjoyed them. Even though at surface level, I did not have a lot in common with Anne, I think that anyone reading the book who feels like a bit of an outcast growing up (being the only South Asian in my group of friends) and is trying to figure their place in the world, will resonate with this character.
And the books are magical for me. You see Anne developing her own confidence, and her own life with her children and husband and the magic that she weaves for them using her imagination. It was highly comforting for me. Aspirational.
And during the pandemic, I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce it to my kids. I honestly thought that they would have the same reaction that I did, and was deeply disappointed when they could not connect with the material. Instead, they teased me because they did not understand my connection with the story and the characters and I gave them fantasy up!
But it still remains near and dear to me. We had to move my books off site while we were doing some renovations, but I am looking forward to finding all of the books in the series and re-reading them again.
Something to look forward to. The restorative powers of re-reading old favourites (see my post on Rejuvenation!)
But that’s just one Diva’s view.