Showing posts with label Reflections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reflections. Show all posts

May 30, 2024

Anne of Green Gables in Fukuoka

Anne of Green Gables model waiting at the Hiroshima train station

While traveling in Japan, among several personal quests, I wanted to find signs of Anne of Green Gables. I wasn't sure if I would spot her, but I did. I managed to find Anne Shirley in Fukuoka.

I was spending some time in JR Hakata City, a giant mall with a major train station hub at its core. While there, I visited the Bandai Namco Crossstore. The place was kind of mesmerizing, with a giant Pac-Man video game and lots of toys and other games. One section of the store had hundreds of capsule machines. You drop 400 yen into a machine, turn a lever, and receive a random toy from a selection of toys pictured on the machine. I walked around a bit, wondering if I might spot a machine featuring World Masterpiece Theatre toys, and I found one pretty quickly.

World Masterpiece Theatre capsule machine containing an Anne of Green Gables model in Fukuoka, Japan

The machine contained five toys, and among them was an Anne of Green Gables (Akage no An) model. It took a bit of trying, but I got the toy I wanted.

Anne of Green Gables model contained in a capsule

Above, you can see the model out of its capsule. Little Anne Shirley is waiting at the Bright River Station. She's not in PEI though. She's actually waiting with me at the Hiroshima station on a bullet train to Tokyo. We're keeping each other company.

Image credits:
Photographs by World of Anne Shirley.

Created May 30, 2024.

May 24, 2024

Megan Follows on Playing Anne of Green Gables

Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in the 1985 Anne of Green Gables miniseries

Megan Follows is known for playing the outspoken, imaginative and talkative Anne Shirley in the 1985 TV miniseries Anne of Green Gables, which was based on L.M. Montgomery's novel. In December 2023, Follows reminisced about how playing Anne Shirley changed her life in a podcast conversation with the CBC's Tom Power. In the introduction to the podcast, Power mentions how the conversation made him rethink Anne of Green Gables and consider how radical the story was then and how relevant it still is today. I loved their conversation. Give it a listen!

Sometimes actors dislike being identified with a particular role, but not Megan Follows. She expressed gratitude about playing Anne Shirley and emphasized how great it was to play a character that was "a girl that got to express rage." When asked about her relationship with the character, Follows responded, "I love Anne...She and I have a great relationship. We're tight. We're bosom buddies. I think she's an extraordinary character, and uhm, I always felt incredibly grateful to have played her and to have been introduced to a strong-willed, female-driven story where you got to be number one from the point of view of a story." Often, Follows reflects, women are the appendage in stories and not the backbone or driving force. In contrast, Anne has a driving force to belong and to be seen for herself, and Follows believes that this is what resonates with people.

Megan Follows delved back into L.M. Montgomery's stories in preparing to record an Emily of New Moon audiobook a few years ago and then to direct a new Audible Anne of Green Gables audiobook featuring Michela Luci, Catherine O’Hara, Victor Garber, and Sandra Oh. Follows remarks that her deep dive back into the stories allowed her to discover "the subversiveness of the text." She had previously understood Montgomery's humor, but now she observed her way of pointing out hypocrisy through Anne. Follows feels that the power of the character scares people.

Follows sees Anne's compulsive talking as coming from a dark place where Anne chooses to go toward the light, not out of naivety, but for her own survival. As an example, she mentions how Anne planned to sleep in a cherry tree at the train station. She believes that Anne came up with this idea for safety, but that Anne focused on the beauty of the blossoms because she was terrified to be abandoned and alone in the world. Follows says that Montgomery used poetry because children don't actually speak this way.

Follows also reflected on her amazing experiences working with Colleen Dewhurst (Marilla Cuthbert) and Patricia Hamilton (Rachel Lynde). She discussed how Richard Farnsworth (Matthew Cuthbert) was only available for six days of filming, so she worked very long hours with him to film his scenes. Later, she did scenes with a grip stand with a hat on it as a stand-in. Follows also talked about the raspberry cordial scene with Schuyler Grant, who played Diana Barry. They were giving Grant glasses of watered down grape juice or Ribena, and she really did get sick after filming the scene multiple times. Follows briefly mentioned that her heart always smiles for Jonathan Crombie and that they laughed a lot.

Power asked Follows about her audition for Anne. Strangely, the day after her audition, her tape disappeared, and she had to redo her audition at the last minute. Follows mentions that there was another actress who was the first choice for Anne Shirley and that she had to fight for the role. Luckily, she had advocates at the CBC and someone at PBS who believed that she was the right fit for the role.

Later, when asked about how the success of the miniseries affected her, she reflected that she is grateful that she did a good job playing Anne, and that she has received a tremendous amount of goodwill because of the character and how much the character and writing mean to people.

Toward the end of the conversation, Follows talked about how she is currently developing a limited series on the life of L.M. Montgomery, her legacy and the power of her writing. I can't wait to hear more.

Image credit:

Photograph of Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables © Sullivan Entertainment.

Created May 24, 2024.

May 23, 2024

The Golden Road and the Brattle Book Shop

Postcard-sized image of the 1913 cover of The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery with art by George Gibbs in The Brattle Book Shop, Boston

A few months back, I wrote about how I encountered an old copy of The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery unexpectedly. Today, I was looking through old photos on my phone, and I realized I had another encounter with The Golden Road last summer.

At the time, I was exploring the Brattle Book Shop in Boston. It's one of the oldest book shops in the U.S., having been established in 1825, and it's one of my favorite places. While I was wandering through the store, I spotted a postcard-sized image of the 1913 cover of The Golden Road with art by George Gibbs. The picture was affixed to the side of a bookshelf. 

The Golden Road
was first published in Boston by L.C. Page & Co in 1913. The Page Company was once located at 53 Beacon Street, just across the Boston Commons from the Brattle Book Shop. It's a short, less than 10-minute walk, between the publisher's office and the book shop. I imagine that first editions of L.M. Montgomery's novels were once sold in the Brattle Book Shop. I looked for an old copy of one of Montgomery's novels there, but had no luck finding one. Maybe next time.

Image credit:
Photograph by World of Anne Shirley.

Created May 23, 2024.

May 15, 2024

Alice Munro (1931-2024)

Photograph of Alice Munro's book The Lives of Girls and Women in front of Munro's Books in Victoria, Canada

Alice Munro passed away this week. She's a Canadian legend, a literary giant, and a writer whose short stories about the lives of women were poignant, shocking, challenging, and devastating. She was a marvelous storyteller who didn't waste words. For her work she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.

As a child, Alice Munro loved to read. Her Nobel Prize biographical page describes how she enjoyed reading books by fellow Canadian author L.M. Montgomery, as well as Dickens, Tennyson, and Emily Bronte. After Alice Munro completed college, she moved to Victoria, British Columbia. She and her then-husband James opened a bookstore. Munro began publishing stories of everyday women, often set in rural Ontario, Canada, stories that others might not find worth telling about women that others might never notice.

I sometimes think about the fact that three of my favorite authors are L.M. Montgomery, Alice Munro, and Margaret Atwood. All three authors are Canadian women who have written memorable and meaningful stories about girls and women.

One of the most poignant and puzzling films I've watched in the past couple years was Away from Her (2006), a film directed by the Canadian filmmaker and writer Sarah Polley. There's an L.M. Montgomery connection here too. Sarah Polley once starred as Sara Stanley in Road to Avonlea, a television series that was based on L.M. Montgomery's stories. After retiring from acting, Sarah Polley began telling stories in her own way on film. Away from Her was Polley's directorial debut. The film was based on Alice Munro's short story, "The Bear Came over the Mountain," which was published in the short story collection Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. I re-read Munro's short story a couple years back and reflected on it here. It's the story of what happens to a man and his wife when the wife develops Alzheimer's disease.

Two summers ago, I visited Victoria, British Columbia for the first time. I had read about Munro's Books as being a special bookstore to visit, at first not realizing that it was once Alice Munro's bookstore. But once I knew, I had to go. Visiting the store was somewhat of an unintentional pilgrimage, but maybe one that was meant to be. I bought a copy of one of Alice Munro's books there (pictured above).

Image credit:
Photograph by World of Anne Shirley.

Created May 15, 2024.

May 10, 2024

Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel

Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler

Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel (2017) is an adaptation of L.M. Montgomery's novel by Mariah Marsden with illustrations by Brenna Thummler. The graphic novel is 232 pages in length. The lovely dedication reads: "To Lucy Maud Montgomery, who reminds us that nothing is more powerful than a girl with an imagination."

Here's the publisher's description of the book from the Andrews McMeel website:

Schoolyard rivalries. Baking disasters. Puffed sleeves. Explore the violet vales and glorious green of Avonlea in this spirited graphic novel adaptation.

The spirit of Anne is alive and well in Mariah Marsden's crisp adaptation, and it's a thrill to watch as the beloved orphan rushes headlong through Brenna Thummler's heavenly landscapes. Together Marsden and Thummler conjure all the magic and beauty of Green Gables. Like Anne herself, you won't want to leave.
 — Brian Selznick, author/illustrator of “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” and “The Marvels”

The magic of L.M. Montgomery’s treasured classic is reimagined in a whimsically-illustrated graphic novel adaptation perfect for newcomers and kindred spirits alike.

When Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert decide to adopt an orphan who can help manage their family farm, they have no idea what delightful trouble awaits them. With flame-red hair and an unstoppable imagination, 11-year-old Anne Shirley takes Green Gables by storm.

Anne’s misadventures bring a little romance to the lives of everyone she meets: her bosom friend, Diana Barry; the town gossip, Mrs. Lynde; and that infuriating tease, Gilbert Blythe. From triumphs and thrills to the depths of despair, Anne turns each everyday moment into something extraordinary.

I read this graphic novel last year and enjoyed it a lot. The illustrations are bright and crisp with the glorious reds, greens, and blues of Prince Edward Island.

Some readers have found Anne's green, pupil-less eyes to be blank, puppet-like, and somewhat off putting. And it's true that her eyes are curious and odd.

Scenes between Anne and Matthew from Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler

Anne's strange eyes also made me smile. They reminded of a wonderful set of books I was given as a child (and still have today) that were part of a series called "The World of Fairy Tales" by Froebel-Kan. The tales featured photos of puppets in elaborate sets as a form of storytelling. Some of the puppets had blank stares too (see photos of my Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk books below). Don't the puppet's eyes look like Anne's?

Book covers of Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk from The World of Fairy Tales series by Froebel-Kan featuring photographs of puppets to retell classic fairy tales

Using puppets to create scenes helped retell classic fairy tales in a unique way in the Froebel-Kan series. Similarly, Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel is a unique retelling of Anne Shirley's story. I especially liked how the graphic novel captured Anne's most over-dramatic moments in spectacular fashion. You can just feel the drama.

Scene where Anne Shirley is crying that no one wants her from Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler

Some of the most beautiful and touching pages were the ones without words, like this scene where Anne visits Matthew's grave.

Illustration of Anne Shirley at Matthew Cuthbert's grave from Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden, illustrated by Brenna Thummler

I really enjoyed this retelling of Anne's story and recommend it.

Official Websites:
Andrews McMeel website
Brenna Thummler's website

Image Credits:
Book cover and panels from Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel by Mariah Marsden and Brenna Thummler. Photographs of  Froebel-Kan's Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk book covers from "The World of Fairy Tales" series by World of Anne Shirley.

Purchase and read Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel:

Created May 10, 2024. Last updated June 4, 2024.

May 03, 2024

Ten Books You’ll Enjoy if You Love Anne of Green Gables

Image of ten book covers: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter, The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Which books strike the same chord as L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables? What stories have charming, imaginative heroines and themes of discovering one’s place, finding true friends, and self-discovery? Here is a list of ten books you might enjoy if you’re a fan of Anne of Green Gables:

  1. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – Published in 1905, the tale of Sara Crewe is one of my favorite stories of all time. Sara has a vivid imagination and a kind heart. Her father sends her to a boarding school in London after she lived with him in India. Sara has enjoyed a life of luxury, but her beloved father’s sudden death leaves her a penniless orphan who is alone in the world. Like Anne, Sara remains optimistic despite her grim reality.

  2. The Emily of New Moon series by L.M. Montgomery – Like Anne, Emily Starr becomes an orphan after losing her father, but in contrast with Anne, Emily has an extended family that raises her. L.M. Montgomery based many of Emily’s qualities on herself. For example, Emily loves to write and is determined to be a writer. She has dreams and goals that she actively works towards.

  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – Alcott’s Little Women is the well-loved story of the four March sisters, who are growing up during the Civil War. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy have unique personalities and their own goals and dreams. I often wish that Jo ended up with Laurie, as Anne did with Gilbert.

  4. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Secret Garden is the story of Mary Lennox. Mary is orphaned after a cholera outbreak in India and is sent to live with her uncle in Yorkshire, England. Mary’s uncle is reclusive, so she begins to explore his vast estate alone. Mary discovers a neglected garden that was locked off and surrounded by walls. She begins restoring the garden, finding purpose and peace, and making friends along the way.

  5. The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace – This series of books is the story of Betsy Ray, her best friend Tacy, and close friend Tib as they grow up in Deep Valley, Minnesota. Betsy is imaginative and charismatic and dreams of becoming an author. A member of the Sullivan Anne of Green Gables forum recommended these books to fellow Anne fans years ago, and I read and enjoyed them all. The stories are a beautiful example of deep and lasting friendship that spans across the years.

  6. Heidi by Johanna Spyri – Heidi is a cheerful young girl who was orphaned as a young child. She is sent to live with her cranky, reclusive grandfather in the Swiss Alps. Heidi’s joyful nature wins her grandfather over. Later on, Heidi must leave her grandfather and the mountains she loves to work in Frankfurt, but homesickness overwhelms her. Much like Anne, Heidi has a sense of where she belongs and where she is needed.

  7. A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter – This is the story of Elnora Comstock, a girl who lives on the banks of the Limberlost Swamp in Indiana. Elnora is resourceful and intelligent, but must cope with her cruel mother who attempts to spoil her dreams. Determined to pay for her own education, Elnora sells artifacts and specimens that she collects in the Limberlost. Stratton-Porter’s writings show her deep love and appreciation for nature, similar to L.M. Montgomery's stories.

  8. The Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder – These stories are based on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s childhood growing up on the Western frontier. Young Laura and her family travel west as pioneers and encounter many adventures along the way. The books and TV series are beloved classics.

  9. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter – Published in 1913, the novel tells the story of an eleven-year-old orphan named Pollyanna Whittier. She is sent to live with her stern Aunt Polly in Vermont. Pollyanna has a bright and optimistic philosophy, which positively influences those around her. She plays what she calls “The Glad Game” and attempts to always find something to be glad about to cope with difficult situations.

  10. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin – Published in 1903, this novel tells the story of ten-year-old Rebecca Rowena Randall who goes to live with her two aunts on their farm in Riverboro, Maine. Rebecca is sent there to help relieve the economic burden on her family following her father’s death. Much like Anne, Rebecca is bright and imaginative with a keen love of beauty. She names their farm Sunnybrook.

Image credits:
Combined graphic of ten book covers: A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace, Heidi by Johanna Spyri, A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter, The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin.

Created May 3, 2024. Last updated May 13, 2024.

May 02, 2024

L.M. Montgomery and the Magic of Spring

Baby blue eyes flower in spring

As winter gives way to spring, there is freshness in the air. Sprouts emerge from the cold soil, leaves take form on bare tree limbs, and animals return to activity.

L.M. Montgomery captured this sensation as she wrote in her journals on May 1, 1899 in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island:

"There is a magic about the spring—some power that revives half-dead hopes and faiths and thrills numbed souls with the elixir of new life. There is no age in spring—everybody seems young and joyful. Care is in abeyance for a little while and hearts throb with the instinct for immortality."

In spring, Montgomery feels that everyone is ageless. The return of warmth brings cheer; the sense of revival in nature brings hope.

When Montgomery wrote Anne of Green Gables, she again reflected on the magic of spring, writing:

"Marilla, walking home one late April evening from an Aid meeting, realized that the winter was over and gone with the thrill of delight that spring never fails to bring to the oldest and saddest as well as to the youngest and merriest."

Today, like L.M. Montgomery, I’m glad it’s spring—a season that warms spirits, revives half-dead hopes, and allows us to feel youthful and joyful.

Image credit:
Photograph by World of Anne Shirley.

Rubio, M.H. and Waterston, E.H. (2017). The Complete Journals of L.M. Montgomery: The PEI Years, 1889-1900. Oxford University Press.

Created May 2, 2024.

February 09, 2024

The Golden Road Finds Me

The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery on a bookshelf with other old books

Sometimes our lives intersect with people, with places, and with stories in unexplainable ways. These moments can feel like manifestations of serendipity, unexpected occurrences in life that bring us untold joy.

Earlier this week, my husband and I went out to dinner, and I experienced one of these unusual moments. We were walking down a beautiful staircase lined with books. I was admiring the design of the room and the old book covers. As I walked along, there was an old copy of The Golden Road by L.M. Montgomery directly in front of me. Although I was scanning the shelves, I wasn't looking to find any book or author in particular. But somehow this book found me.

I stopped and stared at the book's blue spine for a moment. As I pulled my phone out of my purse to snap a photo, I called my husband back and pointed to the book. He looked at the book in surprise and bewilderment, asking me, "How did you find it?" I didn't have an answer. I hadn't been looking. Montgomery just tends to find me at various moments, on sometimes significant days, and in improbable places around the world. I'm left in wonder at the reason.

Image credit:
Photograph by World of Anne Shirley.

Created February 9, 2024.

January 08, 2024

Anne of Green Gables and the Newness of Tomorrow

Drawing of Anne Shirley running down a red road on Prince Edward Island from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables

"Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?"

The new year is a time for reflection and renewal. It provides an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, dream big, set goals, and make changes. Everything feels fresh, and the world is full of possibilities.

Anne Shirley felt this way with each new day. She didn’t have to wait for the new year to begin. Instead, Anne started her mornings with those feelings of freshness and renewal.

In Anne of Green Gables, Anne feels disgraced after baking Mrs. Allan a cake that she flavored with liniment instead of vanilla. Anne lamented, "I shall always be pointed at as the girl who flavored a cake with anodyne liniment." Mrs. Allan comforts Anne saying, "My dear little girl, you mustn’t cry like this...Why, it’s all just a funny mistake that anybody might make." Anne responds forlornly, "Oh, no, it takes me to make such a mistake." After they talk more, Mrs. Allan helps turn things around so that Anne finds some enjoyment in the evening.

Later, Anne tells Marilla, "Marilla, isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?" The ever-practical Marilla responds, "I’ll warrant you’ll make plenty in it...I never saw your beat for making mistakes, Anne."

In Anne of Avonlea, Anne arrives home at Green Gables after a hard day teaching. She recounts her day to Marilla who listens to the whole story. Marilla responds by quoting Anne’s old words back to her: "Well, never mind. This day’s done and there’s a new one coming tomorrow, with no mistakes in it yet, as you used to say yourself. Just come downstairs and have your supper. You’ll see if a good cup of tea and those plum puffs I made today won’t hearten you up."

At first, Anne cannot take Marilla’s words to heart, and she responds, "Plum puffs won’t minister to a mind diseased." But, in the end, Marilla’s words and her delicious plum puffs worked wonders, and Anne did hearten up over their cheerful supper. Then Anne "had a good sleep that night and awakened in the morning to find herself and the world transformed."

As she got dressed for the new day, Anne sings,

"Every morn is a fresh beginning,
Every morn is the world made new,"

Anne Shirley believed that the world could transform over night. Isn’t it nice to think of a new, fresh day with no flaws, blunders, or misunderstandings? No matter how bad a mistake might feel, one can start fresh and begin again tomorrow.

Image credit:

Drawing of Anne Shirley running down a red road on Prince Edward Island from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables.

Purchase and read Anne of Green Gables:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables Book Set by L.M. Montgomery

Created January 8, 2024.

September 05, 2023

Lane Moore on Anne of Green Gables

Lane Moore and Megan Follows playing Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables

This week, I finished reading a book called You Will Find Your People: How to Make Meaningful Friendships as an Adult by Lane Moore. She's a writer, musician and comedian.

Having moved this summer, and feeling lonely in general, I thought the book might be helpful to me. I’m always searching for kindred spirits and hoping for that ideal bosom friendship depicted in L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I think that this belief in true and lasting friendship is a common bond shared by people who love the Anne series. What I didn’t know when I started reading You Will Find Your People is that its author Lane Moore loves and identifies with Anne Shirley too and that Anne would turn up in her book.

In Chapter 2, Moore talks about Anne Shirley and Diana Barry’s friendship as being an exception to the general categories of female friendship depicted in the media. She writes:

"There are of course so many beautiful exceptions in pop culture. Particularly, Anne Shirley and Diana Barry's lifelong, deeply devoted, Platonic Soulmates friendship in Anne of Green Gables. (Though, their friendship is arguably two people who are totally in love with each other, and I will forever stand by this correct assumption, but that's for another book.) But if such a Platonic Soulmate exists, where do you find that devotion that sees you through adolescence, into adulthood, into marriages and kids and moving and new careers? Where do you find that magical, poetic friendship where you both grow on parallel tracks—even if they're not the same tracks exactly—into people who still connect deeply, not only as the people you once were, but also as the people you're constantly becoming?"

I wonder that too, where do you find that truest of friendships depicted in Anne of Green Gables? Sometimes I’ve wondered if this type of friendship really exists or if it’s simply fiction, but I still hope it’s something real and attainable.

Later on in the book, in Chapter 14, which is titled, "Friend Breakups: How to Know When to Leave, How to Do It, and How to Cope with the Grief," Lane Moore begins the chapter with a quote from L.M. Montgomery’s novel:

Even though we meet as strangers now I still love her with an inextinguishable love.
-Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables

Anne's statement really captures the grief when a friendship feels lost.

After finishing the book, I read a beautiful essay where Lane Moore talks about friendship and Anne of Green Gables called, "I Want a Bosom Friendship Like Anne Shirley and Diana Barry." She wrote the essay for Powell’s Books Blog on April 25, 2023. (Until just a couple months ago, I used to live a few blocks from Powell’s). Moore's essay is really lovely, and I think any fan of Anne of Green Gables should read it.

Moore writes about her lifelong goal, saying, "For me, I want a bosom friendship like Anne Shirley and Diana Barry from Anne of Green Gables more than just about anything in this world." She writes, "When I was a kid, I would read Lucy Maude Montgomery's words describing bosom friends, which boiled down this very romantic sentiment: two people who were absolutely platonic while at the same time being absolutely soulmates." She continues, saying, "I knew I wanted bosom friends. I wanted friends who I could be openly romantic with, maybe a little dramatic with, and also extremely silly with, who I could get drunk on cherry cordials with…"

I love her description of Anne and Diana’s friendship: "Their friendship was about full acceptance and full support of each other. In the face of cruel classmates, and a frustrating world, Anne had Diana's back and Diana had hers just the same."

No wonder so many of us long for a friendship like theirs.

Moore has also mentioned Anne of Green Gables in the following interviews. Check them out:

"What Attachment Styles Teach Us About Our Friendships: They’re Not Just for Romantic Relationships" by Lane Moore, Elle (June 28, 2023)

"Lane Moore: 5 Books That Make Me Feel Less Alone" by Lane Moore, Strand Book Store (October 30, 2018)

Image Credits:
Left: Photograph of Lane Moore from her website.
Right: Screen capture of Megan Follows as Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel © Sullivan Entertainment.

Created September 5, 2023.

April 12, 2023

Anne of Green Gables and the Comfort of Reading Books

Drawing of Anne Shirley reading a book in front of Green Gables from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables

"'My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.' That’s a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it over to comfort myself whenever I’m disappointed in anything."

As a lonely orphan, Anne Shirley finds solace in books. Reading provides her with comfort and room to explore, learn, and grow. We learn about Anne's love of words, stories, and books early on in the novel Anne of Green Gables.

In Chapter 5, Marilla has decided to take Anne back to Mrs. Spencer. She expects that Anne will be returned to the asylum in Nova Scotia. Aware of her fate, Anne decides that she will still enjoy the buggy ride to Mrs. Spencer’s home. Anne looks around and sees beauty in an early wild rose and comments on how the color pink is "bewitching."

When Anne asks Marilla if she ever knew anyone whose hair was red when she was young that changed to a different color when she grew up, Marilla coldly dashes Anne’s hopes. Anne then quotes a sentence she read once telling Marilla, "Well, that is another hope gone. 'My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes.' That’s a sentence I read in a book once, and I say it over to comfort myself whenever I’m disappointed in anything."

Marilla is prosaic. She doesn’t see anything comforting in Anne’s quote. Anne explains that she finds the words, "nice and romantic, just as if I were a heroine in a book." Anne's imagination saves her and comforts her and provides her with hope when things are dark.

Just as Anne finds comfort in stories, quotes, and reading, the readers of Anne of Green Gables find comfort in L.M. Montgomery’s creation. Anne Shirley is a character who somehow brings comfort and joy to readers everywhere.

Image credit:

Drawing of Anne Shirley reading a book in front of Green Gables from Akage no An, the anime production of Anne of Green Gables.

Purchase and read Anne of Green Gables:

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables Book Set by L.M. Montgomery

Created April 12, 2023.

May 10, 2022

What's in a Name? Rainbow Valley: L.M. Montgomery, Johnny Cash, Love Affair, and John Wayne

Steve Ellis of Love Affair singing Rainbow Valley, Johnny Cash, L.M. Montgomery's novel Rainbow Valley, poster for Rainbow Valley starring John Wayne

I recently finished a book called Forever Words: The Unknown Poems by Johnny Cash. This collection of Johnny Cash's poems and lyrics was published posthumously in 2016. It's a great book if you're a fan of The Man in Black.

So how does this relate to L.M. Montgomery? Well, as I was reading the book, I read the lyrics for a song Johnny Cash wrote in the 1970s called "Chinky Pin Hill." (It's now been recorded in a beautiful rendition by I'm With Her). The third stanza of the song reads:

We'll stop in Rainbow Valley
Where the church is standing still
And we'll be newlywed married
On Chinky Pin Hill

Seeing the name "Rainbow Valley" got my attention because it's the name of the seventh book in the Anne of Green Gables series. L.M. Montgomery's Rainbow Valley was published in 1919.

Johnny Cash had capitalized Rainbow Valley as a real, definable place. Could Cash have come across Montgomery's Anne series on a bookshelf somewhere and remembered the name? Or was there a real Rainbow Valley out there?

I started digging around the internet. It turns out that there is a Rainbow Valley on Mount Everest where many climbers have fallen to their deaths in their colorful gear. Well, I was clearly following the wrong thread there.

I continued searching and came across a cheerful song called "Rainbow Valley" by a band from London called Love Affair from 1968. The lyrics are sweet and charming:

The sun always shines
down in my Rainbow Valley.
There's one that's always mine,
down in my Rainbow Valley.

Maybe this song title made its way into Johnny Cash's lyrics? I also wondered, could Love Affair have been inspired to name their song by L.M. Montgomery's book?

Going back even farther, there's a 1935 film titled Rainbow Valley starring John Wayne. I wonder what inspired the title of this film. Were all these people simply influenced by rainbows in valleys, or could they have been inspired by one another?

What's in a name? My hours of digging provided me with no definitive answers. Sometimes art is all about hidden dialogues and connection, picking up inspiration from people, words, sounds, and observations and putting them all together in unexplainable ways to create something new.

Created May 10, 2022.