You all have that one character, right? That one character, someone you grew up reading about, or just connected to deeply, someone who’s story you go back to again and again.
That’s what we’re talking about today as Back to School Week continues – the book I most connect to going back to school, and why it means so much to me.
For me the character in all of literature I connect to most is Anne of Anne of Green Gables Fame. The Anne of the movies is lovely and brilliant, and I do adore the first two films (the third is completely unrelated to the books and therefore incurs my darkest wrath), but it’s Anne of the novels I feel is my kindred spirit. And it’s the Anne of two books in particular who bolsters me up when I’m feeling down and reminds me of my best self, the self I am on rare occasions, the self I most want to be.
One of the reasons Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars are so precious to me is the descriptions. Both books evoke such a sense of place and belonging, and set a story against such a rich tapestry of geography and time. In both books Anne goes on many long walks, and the nature she sees and how it reflects her thoughts and emotions fills me with a sense of peace. It inspires me to observe the world around me more intently and to reach out for comfort and joy in the beauty surrounding me.
But the real reason is the hope and wisdom woven into those pages. Both books are really about Anne coming into her own and starting to understand who she is, what the world is, what love is and where it can be found, and beginning to make her mark. Those are some of the most important lessons we learn in the course of our lives, and they’re portrayed so poignantly here. Anne is imperfect and full of mistakes but also strong of heart and funny too, and I just connect to her. She is the quintessential NA character, long, long before NA was a thing.
To close the post, I’m going to share with you some of the quotes that have stuck so strongly with me – and maybe in return, you’ll tell me what character or book is your regular reread?
“It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”
― L.M. Montgomery
“There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves–so much in men and women, so much in art and literature, so much everywhere in which to delight, and for which to be thankful.”
― L.M. Montgomery
“Gilbert darling, don’t let’s ever be afraid of things. It’s such dreadful slavery. Let’s be daring and adventurous and expectant. Let’s dance to meet life and all it can bring to us, even if it brings scads of trouble and typhoid and twins!” (Anne to Gilbert)”
― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars
“When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does.” – LM Montgomery