Anne of Green Gables (First Published in 1908) By Lucy Maud Montgomery (pictured, left) Anne Shirley is an 11-year-old orphan girl mistakenly sent (instead of a boy) to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The brother and sister had intended to adopt a farmboy to help on their Prince Edward Island land, but they are charmed by the carrot-topped girl and allow her to stay. The novel follows Anne's journey from childhood to womanhood, making many mistakes along the way at home with the Cuthberts, in school, and with her bosom friend Diana. Anne of Green Gables is a charming tale of rural life in Canada a century ago and it has sold more than 50 million copies. Excerpt: -You mean, hateful boy - she exclaimed passionately. -How dare you - And then-thwack Anne had brought her slate down on Gilbert's head and cracked it-slate not head-clear across. Avonlea school always enjoyed a scene. This was an especially enjoyable one. Everybody said -Oh- in horrified delight. Diana gasped. Ruby Gillis, who was inclined to be hysterical, began to cry. Tommy Sloane let his team of crickets escape him altogether while he stared open-mouthed at the tableau. Mr. Phillips stalked down the aisle and laid his hand heavily on Anne's shoulder. -Anne Shirley, what does this mean?- he said angrily. Anne returned no answer. It was asking too much of flesh and blood to expect her to tell before the whole school that she had been called -carrots.- Gilbert it was who spoke up stoutly. -It was my fault Mr. Phillips. I teased her.- Mr. Phillips paid no heed to Gilbert. -I am sorry to see a pupil of mine displaying such a temper and such a vindictive spirit, - he said in a solemn tone, as if the mere fact of being a pupil of his ought to root out all evil passions from the hearts of small imperfect mortals. -Anne, go and stand on the platform in front of the blackboard for the rest of the afternoon.- Anne would have infinitely preferred a whipping to this punishment under which her sensitive spirit quivered as from a whiplash. With a white, set face she obeyed. Mr. Phillips took a chalk crayon and wrote on the blackboard above her head. -Ann Shirley has a very bad temper. Ann Shirley must learn to control her temper, - and then read it out loud so that even the primer class, who couldn't read writing, should understand it. Anne stood there the rest of the afternoon with that legend above her. She did not cry or hang her head. Anger was still too hot in her heart for that and it sustained her amid all her agony of humiliation. With resentful eyes and passion-red cheeks she confronted alike Diana's sympathetic gaze and Charlie Sloane's indignant nods and Josie Pye's malicious smiles. As for Gilbert Blythe, she would not even look at him. She would never look at him again She would never speak to him When school was dismissed Anne marched out with her red head held high. Gilbert Blythe tried to intercept her at the porch door. -I'm awfully sorry I made fun of your hair, Anne, - he whispered contritely. -Honest I am. Don't be mad for keeps, now.- Anne swept by disdainfully, without look or sign of hearing. -Oh how could you, Anne?- breathed Diana as they went down the road half reproachfully, half admiringly. Diana felt that she could never have resisted Gilbert's plea. -I shall never forgive Gilbert Blythe, - said Anne firmly. -And Mr. Phillips spelled my name without an e, too. The iron has entered into my soul, Diana.- Diana hadn't the least idea what Anne meant but she understood it was something terrible. -You mustn't mind Gilbert making fun of your hair, - she said soothingly. -Why, he makes fun of all the girls. He laughs at mine because it's so black. He's called me a crow a dozen times; and I never heard him apologize for anything before, either.- -There's a great deal of difference between being called a crow and being called carrots, - said Anne with dignity. -Gilbert Blythe has hurt my feelings excruciatingly, Diana.-
About the Author
Canadian author L.M. Montgomery OBE (1874 - 1942) was known for her series of novels beginning with Anne of Green Gables. The central character, Anne Shirley, an orphaned girl, made Montgomery famous in her lifetime. Montgomery published 20 novels and more than 500 short stories, poems and essays. Many were set in Prince Edward Island on Canada's east coast. She was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1935. Montgomery's diaries and letters are studied by scholars and readers worldwide. Several years ago Montgomery's granddaughter revealed that the author killed herself with a drugs overdose at the age of 67. In an article for the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, she wrote: -Despite her great success, it is known that she suffered from depression, that she was isolated, sad and filled with worry and dread for much of her life.- Kate Macdonald Butler added that Montgomery coped with -her husband's mental illness and the restrictions of her life as a clergyman's wife and mother in an era when women's roles were highly defined-.