Written by Lucy Maud Montomery in 1980, Anne of Green Gables relates the adventures and mishaps of 11 year old Anne Shirley (Anne spelled with an E), who is mistakenly given to Marilla Cuthbert and her brother Matthew to be adopted. The Cuthberts had originally wanted to adopt a boy to help Matthew on their farm, Green Gables, but Anne wins the love of quiet, thoughtful Matthew as he is taking her home from the train station, and she is allowed to stay. With time, she is able to work through Marilla's rough shell and become very dear to her. The first book of a series about Anne's life, Anne of Green Gables relates the various parts of Anne's precocious personality and the mishaps and triumphs that come of it, at home, at school, and in her relationships. Besides the Cuthberts, the two people who have the biggest impact on her life are her best friend Diana Barry and close enemy Gilbert Blythe.
Born in 1874 in the town of Clifton on Prince Edward Island, Canada, L. M. Montgomery spent her life writing novels, including seven more books in Anne's series and more concerning Avonlea, the place where Anne lived. The release of Anne of Green Gables brought Montgomery almost immediate success, and has continued in its popularity; according to Penguin Books Publishing, since its release Anne of Green Gables has been translated into over 20 different languages and sold about 50 million copies.
Originally published as a children's novel, Anne of Green Gables has come to appeal to people of all ages, in part because of the ways in which people can connect with the character. Anne's cheerful outlook in spite of difficult circumstances and a hard, lonely past, her inability to fit into the social norm, her vivid imagination and stubborn pride all connect the audience with her character. People enjoy witnessing this far from perfect girl work through her life like anyone else would, building relationships, dealing with grief and frustration, and growing from a child into a woman.
Corresponding to the wide success of the novel, the story of Anne Shirley as been told in many film and television adaptations, from cartoons and a Japanese anime to the four-film series directed by Kevin Sullivan. The Green Gables farmhouse in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, has become a popular tourist attraction for the many fans of the novels. People from all over the globe come to see the setting of the books, once owned by Montomery's cousins and now one of the main tourist attractions of Prince Edward Island.