Anne of Green Gables was written by Lucy Maud Montgomery in 1908. The novel centers on the 11 year old Anne Shirley who, through a mix-up, has been adopted by the matronly Marilla Cuthbert and her brother Matthew Cuthbert. Their original intention had been to adopt a boy who would be able to help Matthew with his farm work. Instead, Anne is able to win the love of quiet, thoughtful Matthew on that first trip home and with time, she is even able to soften the rough personality of Marilla Cuthbert. What would become the first in a series, deals with Anne’s precocious personality, her first serious friendships and loves, mishaps and triumphs at home and in the classroom as well as the importance of spelling her name correct, “that’s Anne, Anne with an E”.
Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in 1874 in Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The release of Anne of Green Gables brought her almost immediate success and she would spend the rest of her life writing prolifically, including seven more novels in the Anne series. According to Penguin books, since its release, Anne of Green Gables has been translated into over 20 different languages and sold an impressive 50 million copies. In 1908, Penguin marked the book’s centennial with the release of a prequel which detailed Anne’s life before being adopted, including the death of her parents.
Originally seen as a novel for children, the popularity of this novel comes in part from how people can relate to the character in different ways at each point in their own life. The result of this, was that along with appealing to children, people of all ages came to love and admire Anne Shirley. Anne’s story before Green Gables is one of heartbreak and loneliness, and seeing her confidence and charismatic attitude carry her forward through life is one of the most rewarding aspect of these novels.
Along with critical success as a novel, Anne Shirley has been the subject of many film and TV adaptations, including a Japanese anime that has seen the character rocket to superstardom. The Green Gables farmhouse, can be found in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. Once owned by the cousins of L.M. Montgomery, it is now one of the island’s main tourist attractions. Fans from all over the globe flock here to see Anne’s room and other locations from the novels.