Anne of Green Gables and I have been through a lot together in the past few months.
I’ve been reading a chapter to the kids most nights since what feels like forever.
When we first curled up on the couch together, Husband would laugh appreciatively at Anne’s breathless speeches. Then he got all grouchy about the sexist atttitudes to women (and the emphasis on their appearance) in the book and stalked upstairs to the bedroom whenever I started reading.
Then he left.
And still our nightly Anne ritual wended on.
About halfway through the book a strange thing happened. I started crying during almost every chapter.
I’d keep choking up and having to pause and swallow hard before I could go on. The kids would give me peturbed, sidelong glances. I tried to explain why I was crying … how proud I was of Anne … but it was a bit of a mystery to me as well.
I think it must be something primal from reading the book when I was a kid and relating to the characters inside it.
Anne the red-headed ugly duckling who arrives at Green Gables full of hope for a new life, only to discover Marilla and Matthew wanted a boy … Anne getting herself into all sorts of scrapes … Marilla and Matthew falling hopelessly in love with their adopted daughter … Anne achieving academically against all the odds her early life threw at her … Anne winning hearts … Anne losing her beloved Matthew … Anne giving up on her dream of going to college to care for Marilla … Anne forgiving Gilbert …
Sentences like this took many deep breaths to read: “Marilla would have given much just then to have possessed Anne’s power of putting her feelings into words; but nature and habit had willed it otherwise, and she could only put her arms close about her girl and hold her tenderly to her heart, wishing that she need never let her go.”
Anne of Green Gables ended up having a big effect on the eldest too. She refused to listen to the chapter where Matthew died, hiding in her room until it was over.
I’ve just bought the movie on DVD (with Colleen Dewhurst as the formidable Marilla) from an eBay seller who lives in Cessnock, of all places.
As for the next beloved book the kids and I enjoy together on the couch, I might try Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy … no chance of tears with that one (except of laughter).
What was your favourite book as a kid?
Song of the day: REM “Night swimming”