This is my L.M. Montgomery collection. I’m a fan. I remember the day my mother put the library book Anne of Green Gables in my hand. “You should read this,” She said. “It was one of my favorites when I was a girl.”
I remember thinking something like, Yeah right. I’ll humor her. I wasn’t really an adventurous reader when I was young. I tended to find certain books I loved and read and re-read them. Little Women, the Trixie Belden series, Chronicles of Narnia, Thornton W. Burgess’s series of animal books—those were my jam. Like Frances and her bread and jam (Google it), I knew what I was getting when I read and re-read those books. There were no unpleasant surprises.
Anne was a leap of faith. It took me a day or two to pick it up. I opened that cover with trepidation, not knowing the beauty and magic that awaited me. Nor that reading about her would later lead me to reading about her sister in literature Emily, who had the same “flashes” that I sometimes did—and then I’d realize that I must be a writer like Emily and Anne.
When our local community theater decided to do a play based on Anne of Green Gables, I knew I had to be involved somehow. Fresh off the success of A Christmas Carol (in which I played one of the only non-singing roles of “Woman 3”), I gathered my courage and, for the first time ever, auditioned live for a part in the play. It paid off and I got the part of Mrs. Barry, and now I’m living some of the scenes I once read and dreamed about as the overbearing mother of Anne’s best friend Diana. My favorite has to be the iconic scene in which Diana drinks currant wine by accident and comes home drunk. I also have a wonderful bit where I trade gossip with Mrs. Lynde.
Seeing Matthew and Marilla in living color has been a treat, but most lovely of all has been watching Anne and friends really come to life through the efforts of the talented young actors playing them. Anne is dreamy and creative, Diana is sweet and loyal, Ruby is beautiful and histrionic, Gilbert is earnest and competitive, and all the others of the Avonlea gang are brought to life in true form. Avonlea has already appeared in all its magic to me on that stage, and costumes and set haven’t even been finalized yet!
My dream is that our little theater performance of Anne will bring others to go on adventures with her. Other mothers may put that beautiful book into their dreamy daughters’ hands. “Read this,” they’ll say. And the dutiful daughters will reply, “Sure, Mom. Whatever.”