The Anne ofs

Green Gables House, PEI August 1982
Green Gables House, PEI August 1982

When I was in my early teens, visiting my Aunt and Uncle (Bev’s parents, for those of you who read Bev Brenna’s books), my Uncle asked me one day, “Have you read the Annuvs?” The WHAT? “The Annuvs. Annuv Green Gables, Annuv the Island…”

I had definitely read the Annuvs. And loved them. In fact I’ve read them so many times over the years that I can quote passages at random. I take particular pride in the fact that my eyes are “green in some lights and moods, and gray in others,” and that when naming me, my mother insisted that my middle name, Anne be Anne-with-an-e, because of Anne Shirley’s influence on her own life.

The Annuvs are dear to my heart. That’s why I was delighted to come across an article in the LA Time Review of Books in which the writer talks about the life lessons she learned from L.M. Montgomery’s books. Read on to learn some of the things I’ve learned from Lucy Maud’s writing:

In no particular order:

One person’s bane is another person’s blessing: Anne’s freckles (and her red hair) were the bane of her existence. All my life I’ve yearned for freckles. I even went so far as to paint freckles on my nose and go to school like that once in elementary school. After getting some very odd looks, I washed them off. I still envy people who have freckles upon freckles.

Imagination is a wondrous thing: Although imagination can be a two-edged sword (Anne’s Haunted Wood, and my tendency to anxiety being two cases in point), being able to go off on flights of fancy help to brighten life and lighten life’s load, and indeed, such flights are essential for a writer of fiction. When I was growing up, Anne’s vivid imagination was an affirmation to me that to imagine is not strange or weird, but on the contrary, is a good thing, and a character trait to be cherished.

 Losing someone to death hurts dreadfully, but you go on: Some of my first encounters with death were in the Anne books. I still cry at Matthew’s death, as well as the death of Captain Jim, and of Walter. But when I look back on those fictional deaths, I see that they were guiding me to see that life does go on, you do laugh again. And when you encounter something that the person once loved, you perhaps have a catch in your throat, but you smile at how they would have enjoyed it.

 “Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet”: That one is a direct quote, and it’s so true. Isn’t it good that we’re given the opportunity to start anew, over and over again?

You never know what might be around the bend in the road: So be ready to be surprised and delighted!

A red Island road, PEI, August 1982
A red Island road, PEI, August 1982

Have you read L.M. Montgomery’s books? Besides the Anne series, I particularly like Pat of Silver Bush and Mistress Pat, but there are so many others! For a complete listing, as well as information about L.M.M., here’s a link to the L.M. Montgomery Institute.

There is also an L.M. Montgomery Research Group, the Green Gables House museum (pictured above), a musical version of Anne of Green Gables, performed annually at the Charlottetown Festival, even a Green Gables store! (If you’re wondering why the store has Japanese as well as English on its welcome page, Anne is very popular in Japan, and every year countless Japanese tourists flock to Prince Edward Island to experience Anne’s Island.)


19 thoughts on “The Anne ofs”

  1. What lovely quotes, Beth. I haven’t read an Annov book in years, i ought to read them again. Would love to visit p.e.i too a critique partner lives there.

  2. My very favorite books. There are quotes that stick with me too, but I do love “Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes..” And, I love watching the Anne of Green Gables movies to this day. You always feel so good after losing yourself in Anne’s story. Great post.

    1. You’re so right that “you always feel so good after losing yourself in Anne’s story.” Well said, Pat. It’s so delightful to learn that other people share my love of the books!

  3. Yep, love the Annuv books…. except one of my favourites of that series is RILLA of Ingleside! *grin* But still, I’m a kindred spirit!

    I also adore the three Emily books — something about her *flash* is akin to my feelings many times.

  4. I loved the Anne books best, but I also loved Emily of New Moon. They are all on my list of things to re-read soon.

    1. A lot of votes for Anne and Emily today! I like the Emilys, too, but haven’t read them as often as the others. Perhaps it’s time I re-read them!

  5. Over and over and over and over. In junior high/high school I thought I had read all of them, and then discovered Rainbow Valley at a used book sale. Why they didn’t have this one at our library, I don’t know. I still remember the absolute thrill I got when I realized what was in my hand.

    1. Oh wow, what an exciting experience to discover Rainbow Valley. Had you read Rilla of Ingleside, but not RV? My grandmother gave me the books up to Anne of Ingleside, but I don’t remember when or where I got Rainbow Valley or Rilla.

    1. Yes, there’s a whole series, Erik. Let’s see if I can get them in order without looking them up (I’ll check afterwards, before I post this comment!)

      Anne of Green Gables
      Anne of Avonlea
      Anne of the Island
      Anne of Windy Poplars
      Anne’s House of Dreams
      Anne of Ingleside
      Rainbow Valley
      Rilla of Ingleside

      They follow Anne’s life from her childhood, to her own children’s growing up years.

  6. I always use the line, “Tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it” with the early learners I work with. This phrase seems to renew their spirits when I say it to them. I love it when our Public Television station does an Annuv weekend marathon for their fund-raising efforts. That’s how I got my nieces to love the books.

    1. Fantastic phrase to use with early learners! Delighted that you’ve “hooked” your nieces on the books as well!

    1. Wonderful that you have 3 generations of Anne fans in your family! You will LOVE PEI (and perhaps Amanda will, as well 😉 )

  7. Beth,
    I’m embarrassed to say that I only know ‘the Annuvs’ through the television that was aired on PBS in the States when my son was young, and that we watched avidly at the time. I hadn’t realized that there ere quite so many books, either. I suspect I;d become completely addicted to them and visualize reading them all in a row over a series of long summer evenings on the front porch. The photograph of the red dirt road on PEI is very evocative. But most movingly, the wisdom of the books comes through in your list of what you have learned from them, which you express so beautifully that lessons could come off as trite are instead entirely fresh, as if expressed for the first time. Thank you for reminding me, not only of the books, but also of how much of my attitude to life comes from my childhood reading.

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