In the late 1987 I was introduced to a little red-haired orphan named Anne Shirley when PBS aired the new movie Anne of Green Gables. I liked the story, but something came up to prevent me from viewing the movie in its entirety.
Some years later it was re-aired as a promotional tool to raise funds for PBS. This time I saw it from beginning to end. This time I was hooked on the story. I wished there was more.
Not too long after this I learned that this movie was based on books written by LM Montgomery. In the early 90s I received the entire set of books about Anne. I read the whole set of 8 books in a little over a week. Like many good books that are turned into movies I found that there was a much better story told through the written pages than is portrayed on screen.
A few years later I reread the series. This time I could not put the story to rest. There were parts of the story that I felt were left out. In order to get the "fill-in" stuff out of my head I wrote, what I later learned, was fan-fiction.
I am now a huge fan of LM Montgomery. I have read other books she wrote beyond the Anne series. These include: Kilmeny of the Orchard, The Story Girl, The Golden Road, the Emily series, The Blue Castle, and various short story collections that have come to my attention. I have yet to read everything that she wrote, but give me time.
I write about this now because the story of Anne Shirley was first published 100 years ago in 1908. The author, LM (Maud Montgomery) hailed from Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Canada. After writing the first two books she intended to leave the story there. But fans of the books clamored for more. The subsequent 6 books in the series were written here and there with a couple of the stories written out of chronological order. People simply wanted to know what happened between times.
"Cavendish is, to a large extent, Avonlea," Montgomery wrote in 1911. "Green Gables was drawn from David Macneill's house, though not so much the house itself as the situation and scenery, and the truth of my description of it is attested by the fact that everyone has recognized it."
Montgomery's home is no longer standing, but the restored Macneill farmhouse, now known as Green Gables, has become part of a national park and draws thousands of visitors each year.
That alone is testament to Anne's power to move the human spirit. "When the book was first launched, it was promoted as a book that drives away the blues," said Gammell. "It is uplifting, it does make you feel good." Carma Wadley, Deseret News, September 2, 2008
Huzzah to Anne and to the lady who created her, Lucy Maud Montgomery!!