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!
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.)