Anne of Green Gables
I first watched Anne of Green Gables on PBS in 1985 at my friend Jill Boroom’s house. Realizing the mini-series was based upon a series of books by L.M. Montgomery, I was eager to read them. The first book captured my imagination as much as the series did. In fact, I took to giving all the landscapes around me romantic sounding names.
Smiley Road had a stretch the often smelled in the hot summers, so I called it Sewer Sill. There was a part of the road up on a hill that overlooked a valley, hence the name Valley View. And across the road was Lake View There was a house hidden back behind a bunch of trees which I named The Mysterious Mansion. Not that it was an actual mansion, but I imagined it to be so. I also tried to found the speech she recited about the Lady of Shallot and learned the words to the poem by Tennyson.
I continued on in the series reading Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside, Rainbow Valley and Rilla of Ingleside. I also tried to read the Emily of the New Moon series, but couldn’t get into it. Later I picked up the Chronicles of Avonlea, Further Chronicles of Avonlea and Kilmey of the Orchard.
I also imagined that my best friend Jill was like Diana and I was like Anne. We were never forbidden from seeing each other and our relationship held a lot less drama than Anne and Diana’s. Eventually she and I drifted apart. However, she remained close to home and got married like Diana, while I went to college, traveled and taught like Anne.
I’m not sure what my favorite book in the Series is. Although I enjoyed her banter with Gilbert Blythe in the first three books, I enjoyed the particular Gothic Romanticism in Anne of Windy Poplars. Anne’s House of Dreams, Anne of Ingleside and Rainbow Valley were okay. For some reason I connected to Rilla of Ingleside. For awhile I toyed with the idea of naming my son Walter after Anne’s son who fights in WWI.
However, I must say I disappointed by Kevin Sullivan’s follow up to the1985 mini-series. Anne of Avonlea, which aired in 1987, was a combination of Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars. It was not a good idea to combine them all into one. I had hoped for him to follow the books more closely. I was even more upset by the third movie in the series, which strayed from the series completely. It had Anne living and writing during WWI. Instead of having her sons go off to war as they did in Rilla of Ingleside, she was the one to experience the horrors of war first hand. Anne was supposed to be married, have children of her own and be quite a bit older during the time period they put her in. Instead, it as if no time had passed from Anne of Avonlea, which was some twenty years previous.