I just read this wonderful tribute to Anne of Green Gables that Margaret Atwood wrote for The Guardian. I couldn’t pass up the chance to write about this, as I have loved the Avonlea books since I was a girl, and Atwood is one of my favorite authors as well.
The first Anne book is 100 years old this April, and aside from a new edition of the first book and a biography of L.M. Montgomery, Atwood warns us that there are sure to be more products and Anne-related tchotchkes than you can shake a stick at. I knew that Prince Edward Island had some touristy stuff about Anne, but I had no idea there was a musical, or raspberry cordial for sale, or carriage rides with a fake Matthew Cuthbert.
Call me naive, but I never imagined people wanting Anne products–the books have always stood alone in my mind, and any material goods related to them would just take away from my imaginative pictures of the stories. (The films with Megan Follows were wonderful, but the actors’ faces have now supplanted my own mental images of the characters. Luckily I’ve read the books enough times that it’s not such a problem.)
In the article, Atwood explains why Anne is so popular in Japan, what a real orphaned girl might have faced at that time, the dark underside of the Avonlea books, and who the real central character is in the Avonlea books.
I may have lost my XY-chromosome readers here (the Anne books are decidedly girl-oriented), but I’m counting the days until my daughter (and maybe even my son) can read these books and hopefully love them as much as I do.