Friday, May 19, 2017

Anne with an E...not my cup of tea (possible spoilers)

153277: Anne of Green Gables Novels #1: Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables Novels #1: Anne of Green Gables

By Lucy Maud Montgomery

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert have decided to adopt an orphan. They want a nice sturdy boy to help Matthew with the farm chores.  The orphanage sends a girl instead - a mischievous, talkative redhead who the Cuthberts are sure will be no use at all.  But as soon as Anne arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she knows she wants to stay forever.  And the longer Anne stays, the harder it is for anyone to imagine Green Gables without her.

That is what Anne of Green Gables is about. An adorable orphaned girl. Yes, we learn she has had a miserable childhood prior to coming to Green Gables, but we also learn that she has an indomitable, creative spirit. As a result, the difficulties in her past are barely blips in the scope of her future.

This is not the Anne in the new Anne with an E series on Netflix. Here's a trailer for it if you haven't watched it yet. 

What we generally assume from the book as Anne's quirky, imaginative, lively characteristics are turned into post-traumatic, survival mechanisms.

While entertaining, it is not the Anne of Lucy Maud Montgomery. It is a gritty, realistic view written by Moira Walley-Beckett, a writer known for her work on “Breaking Bad." The saying "consider the source" applies well in this situation. 

This Anne is more violent.
She is more worldly (not by her own fault, but she still is.)
Yes, there was feminism in the book but it was first wave feminism. Think suffragists. But Anne with an E presents more of the third wave feminism we face today. 
Attempts to flesh out other characters brings additional topics not mentioned in Montgomery's like attempted suicide and lesbianism. 
It shows victimization without victors.

As Annie Holmquist noted in her commentary, 

What Anne Shirley Teaches about Dealing with Victimhood:

The main, praiseworthy characters, such as Anne, Leslie, and others, were those who had endured genuine suffering – including sexual harassment, bullying, and poverty - but rose above those tragedies and determined not to fixate on them. They moved on with life and seemed happier and better adjusted than those who had minor problems, but chose to continually air them to everyone who would listen. In other words, Montgomery gives the subtle message that dwelling on one’s victimhood – no matter how big or small – only makes things worse.

So, while we have watched it, I don't fully recommend it. One benefit of watching, however, is that my daughter wants to read the book now to meet the "real" Anne!

If you want to view Anne of Green Gables, check out or purchase the Megan Follows versions click the picture! 

722072: Anne of Green Gables, DVD

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