Well, I finally did it. I read Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I really enjoyed it. I must admit that a boxed set of Anne of Green Gables books has sat on my daughters’ book shelf for years. I never touched them. (I’m not sure they did either until recently!) However, in June, after my son shot part of his thumb off & I was as traumatized as he was, my friend, Judy, mailed me a copy of this book and thought I should read it. I loved the sentiment, but must admit that when I started it, I found it too wordy to read aloud to my 8 year old daughter and not quite “intriguing” enough to read it for myself.
This Christmas, I asked my adult children to simply gift me a with a book of their choice for me to read in the new year. My daughter, Lori, chose to give me Anne of Green Gables. OK, I get it. I needed to read this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m not sure if I would’ve if it hadn’t come so highly recommended, but I trust Lori and Judy and I read in earnest.
Amazing! Anne of Green Gables is full of intrigue. Why did Judy choose it for me when I was going through an extremely difficult time with my adoptive son? Was it because Anne has the ability to look at every situation with rose colored glasses on? She is extremely grateful and uses her imagination to dream away any sorrow. Was that what I was supposed to do? It certainly would’ve helped. Or did Judy think I should read about how Anne of Green Gables became part of a family because in addition to Anne’s sunny disposition, there is some real foster/adopt stuff going on that I could relate to. This book was written in 1908 and much of it applies today. On page 7, Marilla gets to hear what many of us get to hear when we hint that we may be fostering or adopting. Mrs. Rachel, the “well meaning” neighbor, speaks her mind: “Well, Marilla, I’ll just tell you plain that I think you’re doing a mighty foolish thing – a risky thing, that’s what. You don’t know what you’re getting. You’re bringing a strange child into your house and home and you don’t know a single thing about him nor what his disposition is like nor what sort of parents he had nor how he’s likely to turn out. Why, it was only last week I read in the paper how a man and his wife up west of the Island took a boy out of an orphan asylum and he set fire to the house at night–set it on purpose, Marilla –and nearly burnt them to a crisp in their beds. And I know another case where an adopted boy used to suck the eggs — they couldn’t break him of it. If you had asked my advise in the matter–which you didn’t do, Marilla –I’d have said for mercy’s sake not to think of such a thing, that’s what.” Some of us have heard very similar versions of that story when we made our intentions known. And, some of us live and struggle with those stated behaviors!
By page 12 most people would start to diagnose Anne with ADHD. Oh the chattering about anything and nothing! Words, words, words. Was she trying to block out her reality as she drives to a new place with a strange man? Can you imagine how she must’ve felt heading to an unknown place with only the clothes on her back? There are about 400,000 Americans in foster care now who know.
Now I’m not going to tell you the rest of the story…this isn’t a book report, but I do want to challenge you to read this book. Anne is a child who is charming, annoying, quirky, and comes to her new family with a lot of baggage. She is a survivor and so are her foster/adoptive parents. She can teach us a lot. Now, if you don’t have any interest in the foster/adoption part of the story, I think you will benefit to possibly trying to think like Anne a bit. She is inspiring with her imaginings and there are timeless quotes that we should all take to heart.
“Tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it.”
“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
Thanks Judy! Thanks Lori! True kindred spirits!