Anne of Green Gables is a bestselling classic novel by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery published in 1908. Set in 1878, it was written as fiction for readers of all ages, but in recent decades has been considered a children’s book. Montgomery found her inspiration for the book on an old piece of paper that she had written at a young age, describing a couple that were mistakenly sent an orphan girl instead of a boy, yet decided to keep her. Montgomery also drew upon her own childhood experiences in rural Prince Edward Island. Montgomery used a photograph of Evelyn Nesbit, which she had clipped from New York’s Metropolitan Magazine, and pasted the framed clipping on the wall of her bedroom, as the model for the face of Anne Shirley, the book’s main character.
I’ve been glued for three hours each evening (for a total period of fifteen hours) watching Sullivan’s (good Cork name) powerful epic 1980’s TV drama based on ‘Anne of Green Gables.’
It was drummed in to me by my tutor not to ever equate drama, per se, with written words in novels. So I was ever so conscious to differentiate between the two when watching the very acclaimed Sullivan Entertainment version. I had read the book twice, so was mostly cognisant of the differences.
I’ve been minus heating, cooking facilities and experiencing other maintenance problems etc, for nigh on a month. So – resultantly, I discovered that there was no better way to while away the long, cold; windy; rainy nights, than to wrap a duvet around oneself and get engrossed in Anne of Green Gables film. It was such riveting stuff!
I thought the acting was absolutely superb. The actors came across as being such a dedicated ensemble team. However, at first, I thought that Marilla, played by Colleen Dewhurst, was not my idea of the actor to play that part… but I was proven so wrong. She turned out to be perfect for the part. I also learned afterwards that she is such a brilliantlly seasoned actress in Canada, and had demanded to play Marilla, because of having had strong family ties with Prince Edward Island, and expert knowledge that left her highly emotional/nostalgic about AGG.
Marilla took no nonsense from the very precocious Anne Shirley and constantly kept putting the girl in her proper place. Anne, without knowing it, though, needed desperately to be grounded and sometimes chastised for her bumptious behavior. For example, when she dared to climb a roof in a stubborn schoolgirl bet, that caused her to injure herself severely. She was a very talkative live-wire with an incredible imagination. Her quirks were her sanity, given her past history. It was a slow process for the unmarried woman to come to warm to Anne (played fantastically by Megan Follows, She played Anne with an ‘e’ with such positivity) as she had no previous experience of children in her midst.
Anne was a role-model and never a victim, which is often-times the case with those who are orphaned so young. Anne was eventually blessed with a very secure and diciplined home-life, and people around her who believed in her and shared their friendship. She was also very gifted and intelligent, and doesn’t the world just love intelligent people; they do not have the propensity to bore people and are fun to be around.. well… that is… until they try to compete to be the best, then they become somehow obnoxious and insidiously devious and threateningly cruel to their peers.
I was first introduced to ‘Anne of Green Gables’ when my Canadian aunt gave me a present of AGG doll/book when she visited me in Ireland over a decade ago. However, it was not until my tutor (some years later) advised me to read the book – in order to familiarise myself with children’s classics – (that were denied me as a child) did I attempt to read the novel. So – a belated thank you to both Aunt Ethel from Edmonton Alberta and my American tutor respectively for opening my eyes to this glorious novel. It was such a pleasure to read. I now feel that I’m not bereft of the knowledge of this beloved classic novel.