So says Anne in the brilliant classic Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I read this book once when I was a kid, and I liked it, but I relate to it so much more now. Anne’s fits of fancy and flights of adventure delighted me, and reminded me of the ones I had when I was kid. The Haunted Forest, Idlewild, the romantic ideals. I’ve had all of those. And I reminisced as I felt all the same woe and delight as Anne got into scrape after scrape. Reading it again, I was delighted that the movie was so similar to the book.
When Gilbert Blythe calls her carrots and she cracks the slate over his head, I had to admit that I laughed like none other. It is one of two of my favorite parts. As you’re reading, you know that neither of their lives will ever be the same. If she had just paid attention to him like everyone else, he would have moved on to something more “exciting.” But with that move she captured him forever. It’s cute.
Matthew Cuthbert was, as ever, my favorite character. He’s the first real kindred spirit Anne meets in Avonlea. He understands her and spoils her and loves her like no one else, not even Marilla. I wish that I had known him, and that he had loved me too. I cried at the end, when he passes. It’s such a tragedy and determinedly not fair.
My other favorite part also involves Gil and Anne. I love because it sounds like something I would have done had I read Tennyson when I was 14. Anne and her friends Ruby, Jane, and Diana (her bosom friend) decide to re-enact Tennyson’s The Lady of Lake. In the tragedy, the Lady Elaine falls in love with Lancelot, who loves Guinevere, King Arthur’s wife. Because Lancelot says he doesn’t love her, she arranges to have her body rowed to Camelot and decidedly perishes ten days later. Anne is Elaine and gets into a boat to float down the river and be mourned by Lancelot, Arthur and Guinevere. Before she gets there, the boat sinks and she has to hang on for help. Who would rescue her but Gilbert?
He’s a perfect gentleman and even apologizes for the carrots thing (which happened two years previous, she’s still holding a grudge). She says she’ll never forgive him and storms off. However, it’s the first time she really notices Gil and sees what could be, even if for merely a millisecond.
“Anne,” he said hurriedly, “look here. Can’t we be good friends? I’m awfully sorry I made fun of your hair that time. I didn’t mean to vex you and I only meant it for a joke. Besides, it’s so long ago. I think your hair is awfully pretty now–honest I do. Let’s be friends.”
For a moment Anne hesitated. She had an odd, newly awakened consciousness under all her outraged dignity that the half-shy, half-eager expression in Gilbert’s hazel eyes was something that was very good to see. Her heart gave a quick, queer little beat. But the bitterness of her old grievance promptly stiffened up her wavering determination.
I love it. I’m such a romantic.
Another reason I like Anne is because she, like me, has a quick temper and holds grudges. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it makes her a kindred spirit, even if it’s only a fictional one. When she first meets Rachel Lynde (Green Gables wouldn’t be the same without Rachel Lynde), Mrs. Lynde comments on her haggard appearance and her red hair (a sore topic with Anne).
Anne flies into a temper and calls Rachel fat and nosy. Her apology is epic.
“Oh, Mrs. Lynde, I am so extremely sorry,” she said with a quiver in her voice. “I could never express all of my sorrow, no, not if I used up a whole dictionary. You must just imagine it. I behaved terribly to you–and I’ve disgraced the dear friends, Matthew and Marilla, who have let me stay at Green Gables although I’m not a boy. I’m a dreadfully wicked and ungrateful girl, and I deserve to be punished and cast out by respectable people for ever. It was very wicked of me to fly into a temper because you told me the truth. It was the truth; every word you said was true…What I said to you was true, too, but I shouldn’t have said it. Oh, Mrs. Lynde, please, please, forgive me. If you refuse it will be a life long sorrow to me.”
She goes on a little longer, but I think you get the point. She really relishes apologizing, because she gets to be a little dramatic.
But the former [Marilla] understood in dismay that Anne was actually enjoying her valley of humiliation–was reveling in the thoroughness of her abasement.
There are so many adventures and such fun to be had in this book I recommend for everyone. I’m gonna write my review of Anne of Avonlea next, so come back!