Anne of Green Gables: A Begrudged Love

I admit it: I can be a bit of a book snob.

If a series is ridiculously popular, I tend to turn my back on it. It look me forever to read Harry Potter (a good read but not great) and Lord of the Rings (one of my all-time favorites). I hated picking up a James Patterson novel (and hated every word), and I still haven't read Twilight.

But this year I'm trying to read books that are on "classics" lists; I've found some much-loved friends there, like A Tale of Two Cities and Middlemarch, but little Anne of Green Gables has always been at the bottom of my list, for multiple reasons.

Number One: I'm not all that fussed about children. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for kids. But I don't have much patience for drawn out tale of how your toddler found a stick in the yard. So a book about a talkative little orphan just didn't hold any appeal.

Number Two: The people who like the series annoy the hell out of me. In middle school, girls did their hair in braids and talked of finding their very own Gilbert. Even in college I knew girls who would "always spell Anne with an e." It's giving "30-year old asking if you're Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw" vibes. Or t-shirts with "Team Edward" bedazzled on the back.

(I warned you about being snobbish. I never want to judge anyone for liking something, especially when that something is a book. Yet I always find myself peeved when the love of a thing tends to eclipse the person's whole personality.)

Anyway. I finally picked up Anne of Green Gables...and read all 8 novels within 2 weeks.

I won't be braiding my hair anytime soon, but I'll hold a special place for Anne for awhile to come. I almost gave up on the fourth page of the first book, when Anne goes into a monologue about the dazzling lake water and angelic violets. But I stuck with it (another thing I'm trying to do in my reading journey this year) and found myself enthralled.

It's not the type of series I'd recommend to most people; it's incredibly old-fashioned, simplistic, and light-hearted. The way characters dote on nature earned an eye roll or two. But the central point of each book is to never extinguish the natural curiosity and light that so many children have; to see the beauty all around us; and to endeavour to be kind, and good, whenever possible.

Imagine the tone of Ted Lasso set in Wuthering Heights, and you'll get the idea. I think if I'd read this a few years ago, I would have tossed it aside as shallow. But I've learned to value simplicity and kindness lately, and Anne sure knows how to capture that feeling.

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