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~The "Anne of Green Gables" series~

by L. M. Montgomery

Heroines: varied


          When aging Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert sent away to an orphanage for a youngster to give them a hand around their farm, they were expecting a sturdy lad to arrive at the local train station.  But instead what they got was a slip of a girl with bright orange hair, an inquisitive mind, and a nonstop mouth.  Preparing to send her back, Anne begs the brother-sister pair to consider keeping her, stating that she can do all the work a boy could. Softened by her heartfelt pleas the Cuthberts give Ann-with-an-E Shirley a trial period at Green Gables, and though it is a close thing, they decide to keep her. 


          Poor Anne has the worst time settling into her new home.  Her runaway mouth offends the neighbors and her impulsiveness is forever landing her in trouble, whether she is turning her orange hair green, breaking her slate over the head of handsome class tease Gilbert Blythe, or nearly drowning herself in a leaky rowboat while reenacting "The Lady of Shalott".


         Fortunately Anne's loving nature wins her more friends than her mouth earns her enemies.  The little orphan girl is soon adored by her foster parents and most of her peers, particularly her shy neighbor Diana Berry, who becomes Anne's "bosom friend".


What worked for me:


            Anne is my bosom friend too!  She's always felt like a real person to me because she's so spunky yet sweet.  And I can certainly relate to her impulsiveness, though my hair turned hot pink rather than bright green. I do admire her ability to stick to something, but not her grudge holding.  Poor Gilbert spent years trying earn his way back into Anne's good books!  (The romantic in me just adores the on-again-off-again relationship between Anne and Gil.)   


            Size-wise Anne was a skinny little girl with carroty hair who wished she was plump with nut brown tresses or had sleek raven locks like her best friend Diana.  Ironically, she grows up to be fashionably slender and it is then comfortably-built Diana who pines to be more like Anne.


What didn't work for me:


            There are a couple of instances in the series where people considered to be larger than pleasingly plump are not cast in the most flattering light.



              Fans of historical and juvenile literature should enjoy these books. (Fans of sweet romances should also adore them because of the relationship between Anne and Gil.)


Note of interest: this series has been turned into three movies and a television series, each drawing with less and less accuracy from the original books but still quite entertaining.


Warning:  The story is sweet but also deals with harsh life realities at times.  If you are planning to read this to a youngster, be prepared for possible questions on these matters.


If you liked the "Anne of Green Gables" series you might also enjoy the "Little House" series.

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