Wholesome. That’s the best word I can think of to describe the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. This series is easily a classic, with feisty, redheaded, freckle-faced orphan Anne (with an E!) Shirley leading the way. With the popularity of the Netflix series soaring, as well as in the wake of the many television and film adaptations of Anne Shirley, it’s important to remember where she got her start.
Anne of Green Gables was first published by L.M. Montgomery in 1908, and has been considered a children’s novel since the middle of the twentieth century. The first in the series tells about an orphan girl named Anne Shirley who was sent by mistake instead of the boy brother and sister Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert requested to help out around their farm. The book is filled with Anne’s attempt to win the Cuthberts over so they won’t send her back to the orphanage, but her temper and her mouth always seem to get in the way. Even though she has a heart of gold, Anne can’t seem to keep her opinions to herself when it comes to bullies, teachers, and classmates, alike. Anne grows from age eleven to sixteen in the first book, making and losing friendships, getting herself in and out of scrapes, and relying on her imagination and wits to see her through.
There are eight novels total in the Anne of Green Gables universe that follow Anne into adulthood and beyond. For over one hundred years, these books have been classics in almost everyone’s childhood.