Hands-down the most popular book series in my 1980s North-Central Mississippi homeschool group (group motto: “homespun wisdom weavers”) was L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, an eight book series about an orphan girl growing up in rural Canada in the early 20th century. Red-haired, green-eyed orphan Anne steps off the train and wins over the stodgy small-town folks of Prince Edward Island. Was Anne-with-an-e Shirley the original manic pixie dream girl? Clearly we had our fingers on the pulse of the zeitgeist before Garden State was even a twinkle in Zach Braff’s eye.
The series had several appealing aspects. Old-fashioned: horses, puffed sleeves, raspberry cordial, one-room schoolhouses. Exotic: unfamiliar places like “Halifax” and “Prince Edward Island” (though not TOO exotic – it’s Canada, mind you). Orphans: love ‘em (see also: Annie! Oliver! Harry!). Gingers: the other Harry! Geri Halliwell! Ron Weasley! We meet dozens of loveable and unloveable characters, but Anne’s our girl. Continue reading