Saturday, June 03, 2006

Anne With an "E"

Anne Shirley
As a young girl, I never thought much about Anne of Green Gables. I began reading the first book sometime in primary school - I'm not sure when. But I do recall faking having read it all for a book report when I was only around two-thirds through.

Recently, I have picked it up again, and gone through it from cover to finish - alright, perhaps I re-started it around Christmas time, left it around the same area I did as a child, and finished it just recently, but I've read it all the way through now. And I'm glad. It turns out that we have a lot in common, Anne and I. Not that I would have thought so back then, besides the hot temper. But there's something about her girlish imagination and way with words that just draws me in, so delicately, like a rainbow dipping it's toe in the pool before deciding to take a swim. And the book is full of gorgeous analogies and metaphors like that. It's so beautiful that reading Lucy Maud's work just leaves me BEAMING.

Of course, now that I've completed Anne of Green Gables (a couple of weeks to a month ago), I've been slowly but steadily enjoying the first in a long line of sequels - Anne of Avonlea - in which Anne starts out as 16 going on 17 but already practically an adult in that old P.E.I. society, and becoming a "schoolma'am". Within the pages there are many endearing encounters with the children, my favourite of whom is Paul Irving; a sweet, gentle boy with deep blue eyes and a soul and an imagination to match Anne's. Of course, he can hold his own in a fight. He has such a way of expressing himself... And it's simply beautiful. One of my favourite things is when he writes Anne a letter about his Rock People, and tells her all about them and then at the end tacks on a "PS: You know I was just making this up." And whenever he talks to her about something of fancy he says "you know, Teacher". Just SOOOOO cute!

I really find the book refreshing - especially after all that has happened to me as of late. Anne's love of nature, and her imagination... it's so pure. It's such a delight. I remember telling Alex about a week ago (perhaps a bit more) that after reading a few chapters on the bus ride to his place, I just HAD to go for a walk outside... and after about a block on the way to his house, I finally noticed how BEAUTIFUL it was outside that day - it was the first time in a while - I hadn't noticed right away because my mind was still on the book, of course, and I may have been looking at the pavement and my feet as I am oft to do.

So, it's causing me to live again. I really just want to be me. I think, reading this book is helping me find myself once more - my true self - because I think lately I've become just so absorbed in Alex - not necessarily a bad thing, but I've begun to let myself just be "his girlfriend" (or should I make that "his fiancé" now that we've been engaged for nearly a month?) rather than having my own thoughts and feelings and desires and needs - I believe it is because of my Uncle's death. It was a huge shock, and then after the week of shock was over it left me ragged for quite a period of time. I thought a bit ago that I had already been done with grieving. Tuesday, I cried for Gary's sake again and I realized that I'm not yet. I knew it true to not be simply ever "over", but I still thought I was starting to feel normal again. Now that I know I will still occasionally grieve from time to time, because I'm NOT above that, and I've experienced a bit of a lap already, I can truely say that things are beginning to come to their NEW normal for me, and it's not that bad - except it's left me with a bitter and jaded side, which I left before only for my prospects of my dream career of acting. That is why I find the Anne of Green Gables series so crucial to my survival - for it's washing away the new bitterness and replenishing my child-like, carefree soul - at least in part - and it's something I'm truly, deeply grateful for.

Thank you, L. M. Montgomery!

I will one day put up a list of suggested books and series that I recommend to people who love imagination and reading... Here are some of the titles I will include:

Anne of Green Gables (and the series to follow) - L.M. Montgomery
Both Sides of Time (and the 3 sequels - Out of Time, Prisoner of Time, and I forget the last title) - Caroline B. Cooney
The Face on the Milk Carton (and the subsequent books) - Caroline B. Cooney
The Secret Garden - Frances Hodges Burnett
The Little Princess - Frances Hodges Burnett
The Forbidden Doors (series - 10 books in all) - Bill Myers
The Chronicles of Narnia (series - 7 books in all, I suggest reading them in chronological order rather than original published order) - C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters - C.S. Lewis (apparently this also had a shorter follow-up book).
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings (trilogy) - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Wizard of Oz (and other Oz books) - L. Frank Baum
The Dig - Allan Dean Foster

And MUCH more.


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