The Great American Read

S1 E6 | CLIP

Anne of Green Gables

Margaret Atwood and others discuss Lucy Maud Montgomery's novel, Anne of Green Gables.

AIRED: October 09, 2018 | 0:03:42

(gentle music)

- [Woman] Of course we love all of our books equally

but this final novel truly reflects all of the attributes

and themes we've examined tonight.

We're talking about one of your all time favorites,

the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

In the first novel, an elderly spinster named Marilla

and her brother Matthew decide to adopt a boy to assist

on their farm but instead they are sent Anne, an unruly,

unpredictable, red-headed girl with a heart of gold.

As the series of books progresses, Anne grows up

and falls in love with a neighbor boy named Gilbert

and together they share a lifelong romance.

- Anne of Green Gables was an inspirational book.

A girl orphan succeeds in winning over Marilla,

the older woman who was at first against having a girl

'cause she's not gonna be any use and she undergoes

a personality change much more

than anybody else in the book.

(gentle music)

- [Woman] In Anne of Green Gables, Lucy Maud Montgomery

wrote the happy family that she herself never had.

- When you know about the life of the author,

you see it going a different way because she

was stuck with these elderly relatives.

She never converted them to this moment in which they said

they loved her, they were always strict and mean with her.

And you can see her writing this story,

you know this is what I wish would have happened.

I wish that they had had this Marilla moment

and finally accepted me but that never happened.

I'll read you one of the conversion moments of Marilla.

Matthew has died and Anne says, "Oh, Marilla,

"what will we do without him?" and Marilla,

this crusty old spinster says, "We've got each other Anne.

"I don't know what I'd do if you

"weren't here - if you'd never come.

"Oh, Anne, I know I've been kind of strict and harsh

"with you maybe - but you mustn't think I didn't love

"you as well as Matthew did, for all that.

"I want to tell you now when I can.

"It's never been easy for me to say things out of my heart,

"but at times like this it's easier.

"I love as dear as if you were my own flesh and blood

"and you've been my joy and comfort ever since

"you came to Green Gables."

(gentle music)

- The Anne of Green Gables books really have it all.

They have family love, they have first love,

they have romantic love, you see friendship love

in these stories and then you have

Anne and Gilbert's enduring love.

Gilbert isn't as famous as Mr. Darcy but he is one

of my favorite heroes in literature.

The minute he tugs her braid and calls her carrots

and she smashes her slate over his head

and it starts out with this intense hatred at first.

Only on her part though, he loves her from the beginning.

- I love Anne of Green Gables.

It is full of surprises at every turn

but also things that you know you're gonna find

and things that you're anticipating.

There's so much in this story that I think

is relatable and fresh and modern still.

I'm Siobhan Adcock, I'm voting for Anne of Green Gables

and you should too.