I went to the second-hand bookshop a few weeks ago after having the startling thought that I could afford to buy more books if I had to pay less for them. It took me this long to figure that one out. I left the shop with a Margaret Attwood novel, Philip Gourevitch’s We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda and Anne of Green Gable’s by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The man behind the counter made a remark along the lines of ‘quite a range you have there.’

Anne has to be one of the most delightful characters I have ever come across. While she did tend to prattle a bit she was so full of love for life that it became infectious. I built a rather healthy mental image of Avonlea in my mind (which was rudely shattered by google images) with the author’s beautiful descriptions of the trees, the houses, the people.

What I loved most about Anne was how unashamably intelligent and competitive she is. I kept saying to myself while reading, ‘I wish I was twelve years old again!’, a sentiment I haven’t felt since I was eleven.   Anne showed me so many beautiful lessons of the reward of hard work, even in dreaded geometry, and of competing with both boys and girls to win her rightful place within the class and in society.  As a girl who spent many of her formative years in Scouts surrounded by boys, I have always fostered what I feel is a healthy competitive nature (healthy is replaced with ruthless when board games are involved) and it was a real surprise to see a girl some 100 years previously doing the same thing.

For another take on The Anne of Green Gable’s story, it is worth listening to this The Book Show podcast http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bookshow/true-stories-behind-the-worlds-best-loved/2938760

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