Literature teachers and literary buffs have all recommended me a classic at one point in time, but I've always listened through one ear and let it flow out the other. "Pride and Prejudice?" No thanks, not really my style. But during one boring summer, I started "Anne of Green Gables" out of sheer desperation for something to do. Much to my surprise, I enjoyed the book immensely.
I felt a connection with the protagonist, young Anne who committed mistake after mistake until she grew into a responsible young lady. Author Lucy Montgomery did a great job in developing her character and illustrating life as a bumpy road that one must get through in order to move onto greater things.
Anne's mess-ups ranged from accidentally getting her best friend Diana drunk to jumping off a roof and spraining her ankle, but no matter how bad it was, she tried her best to fix it and moved on. Over time, any turmoil she caused was forgotten, the people involved eventually forgave her and she learned enough to refrain from making the mistake again.
What I learned was that stewing on the past won't get you anywhere; you must move on and do things differently in order to end up in a better situation.
Anne had many layers to her (as most people do) that made her a complex, multidimensional character. She had insecurities about her appearance, specifically her red hair. Because of that, she often resented those who made fun of her insecurities, such as her classmate and future husband, Gilbert Blythe. After one mean comment about her hair, Gilbert received the silent treatment for more than five years.
This conflict brought to light the issue revolving around body image and self confidence that teenage girls have growing up and how such problems can impact personal relationships. If Anne had not taken the insult to heart, she could have become friends with Gilbert sooner and avoided any animosity towards her fellow classmates who supported Gilbert.
Therefore, what I took out of this was that no matter what your appearance, accept yourself and have confidence in your abilities (and of course, forgive and forget!)
Close to the end of the book, Anne's adopted mother, Marilla Cuthbert, was too old to tend to the farm so she planned to sell it to provide money for tuition. Anne, refusing to give up her childhood home, rejected her dream job for a much closer one so she could visit more often to run the farm. Her selfless act born out of love for her family made it a win-win situation which, besides being a great conclusion, emphasized the importance of supporting those you love and sticking by your family.
It made me realize all that my family does to assist me and to appreciate their efforts more.
Yes, "Anne of Green Gables" may have the reputation that most classics have: dreary, slow and old. But that does not mean it cannot be an amazing read for those hoping to learn more about themselves through endearing characters.