Lucy Maud Montgomery was born on this date in 1874. Thanks to the nifty doodle on Google (https://g.co/doodle/uwwgbh) paying homage to her most well-known work, Anne of Green Gables, I was reminded of that fact. The doodle undoubtedly spawned a thousand ships, and I want to take just brief moment to add my own note of homage.
It would be an understatement to say that Anne of Green Gables shaped my childhood. I first encountered the story through the film staring Megan Follows when I was probably in first grade. Soon after, as the result of much pestering, my mom purchased a copy of the novel for me and I immersed myself in Anne’s word of poetry, imagination, and adventure. Anne was a heroine who, though she lived at the beginning of the 20th century, began to define for me what was possible for my life. Anne’s ambition, her passion, her spunk, her dedication, and her integrity became traits that I aspired to embody. Her misadventures with her bosom friend, Diana Berry, brought cheer to many a dreary day. Her romance with Gilbert Blythe, which unfolds over the course of the first four books of the series, is still one of the sweetest and most healthy that I’ve seen in children’s lit/YA. It is not an understatement to say that I have read that novel more than 100 times over the course of my life, so much so that I can quote certain passages verbatim and it ranks on my list of the top ten lessons I’ve learned from YA.
And lest you think that this is just a bunch of hyperbole, let me tell you five things that I did as a kid to be just like Anne:
- Gave a recitation of “The Highway Man” during eighth grade English. (It did not win me quite the same effusive praise that Anne received. Have you seen the length of that poem?)
- Became a devotee of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
- Used words like excruciating and phrases like “the iron has entered my soul,” with all the gravitas a second grader could muster.
- Searched for places with “scope for the imagination.”
- Became a writer.
I have to say, it has always tickled me that Lucy Maud and I share the same initials for our first and middle name. I was a little delighted, when I threw my pen into the writing ring, that I might join two other L. M.s whose writing I have loved (Louisa May is the other).
On Lucy Maud’s birthday, I have this gift for you. Leave a comment on this post by midnight on 12/3/2015, and I will select one winner to receive an ebook edition of the entire series for Nook or for Kindle. Also, I’ll include a copy of my on trilogy of skinless novellas, so you can see how book boyfriend’s Gilbert and Luca compare.
Bonne Anniversaire, L. M.!