|I didn't have this puppy, so I would use masking tape to make a house floorplan on my bedroom floor.|
When I got to the end of the series, I would start over; at one point I remember feeling vaguely like maybe I should read something else, but ANNE was all I wanted to read, so ONE MORE TIME. That's just the kind of groove I get into now with 30 Rock on Netflix so, as they say in Quebec, plus ça change.
For all that, I discovered in conversation with some friends this winter that I had mostly forgotten what the books were about. I mean, I recognized various incidents ("oh yeaaaah...") but I couldn't have summarized anything to save my life. So when I saw this very attractive Oxford Children's Classics edition:
|the book magpie strikes again|
Actually, as it turns out, the book holds up pretty well! A lot of that has to do with one of Anne's key characteristics: that she is a whiz kid at school. There's no conflict about this in the book; I hate hypotheticals like this, but if it were a historical novel being written today, would the author have refrained from making "Anne is made to feel unfeminine for being smart" a major plot point? As I was reading, I both recognized that this is why I identified so intensely with Anne and also that this book, with its glorification of studying to win top marks, really shaped the way I approached my schoolwork as a kid.
And, not unrelatedly, Gilbert is still such. a. dish.*
Let's review, shall we? Gilbert Blythe (SIGH sigh sigh) is a boy who teases Anne about the color of her hair and she not only schools him good at the moment, she swears eternal hatred. Anne and Gilbert battle it out to be the top student in school on every assignment, exam, etc. Gilbert is clearly attracted to this girl who is so able and willing to fight back. Anne is mostly contemptuous, but by the end of the book they agree to be friends.
Amen amen, my fellow Ameriwomen, you can put away your tired "ooo, Disney princes gave me unrealistic expectations" meme, because that right there is kryptonite. Oh, you mean the most handsome boy in school will only love me more if I whoop him on spelling tests? I CAN DO THAT. And definitely, an antagonistic relationship like that will resolve in mutual respect and eventual love. Oh yes; Gilbert Blythe (SIGH sigh sigh) remains my one and only fictional crush.
* I've never seen the Canadian TV movie (series?), mind you. It seemed relevant to mention that at this particular moment.