I have come to ADORE Anne Shirley and the Anne of Green Gables books. Yet, as uplifting and wonderful as these tales are, nothing is ever perfect. Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf and I have taken some time this week to reflect on how we might improve upon the Anne of Green Gables series– specifically, what we would love to change about these books. Montgomery creates a beautiful world for Anne to grow up in, but there are a few things which don’t sit well with me, as you’ll see below.
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And without further ado…
Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Change About the Anne Series
1 – Diana Barry’s obsession with her weight
Diana Barry is never really described in a fashion which would imply she is overweight. Yet, starting in Anne of Avonlea, Diana begins to lament over how large she has grown. This continues throughout the rest of the series, too! She never gets over it, even when Anne tells her everything is okay and Diana is beautiful. I understand that this book series was written in a different time. But Montgomery was so ahead of her time when it came to so many things– it would have been nice for Diana’s weight to merely be described to us instead of a recurring lamentation.
2 – The Death of Matthew Cuthbert
Okay, spoilers for book 1. My bad. But seriously– I felt like the death of Anne’s father figure was completely unnecessary. I adore Matthew and how he broke down Marilla’s walls and helped Anne grow into the person she is today. His death merely was a way to keep Anne in Avonlea to teach, but honestly, Montgomery could have just found another way for Anne to take that teaching job. It makes me sad that as future books are read no one steps into the void Matthew left in Anne’s life. It might even be implied that Montgomery felt father figures were unnecessary.
3 – The Book-Long Absences of our Avonlea Friends
A recurring theme for the “odd-numbered books”, Anne’s gang of friends and family from Avonlea quickly take a backseat. I don’t mind as much when Anne and Gilbert get married and move off to Four Winds, but when Anne is still in the same township I struggled with it. I still crave more about Anne’s relationship with the girls she grows up with. Or, even Dora and Davy! Miss Lavandar? Paul? Anyone?! I feel like there were so many amazing moments untapped. Alas. It was not to be.
4 – Anne Shirley Gives Up Writing
Anne grows up and becomes a fully devoted wife and mother, dedicating herself to penning “living epistles” by raising her flock of children. But… seriously? It feels by the time we get here, Montgomery has gotten bitter and jealous of the life Anne leads. Instead of continuing her pursuits as a writer, Anne drops it all completely to become a mother. There’s nothing wrong with being a full-time Mom, but dropping her passion for writing feels completely un-Anne-like! I wish Anne had at least continued to pen children’s stories or something.
5 – The treatment of Dora Keith
Okay. This is my biggest problem with the Anne of Green Gables series. Be prepared– this will be a bit of a soapbox. Dora and her twin brother Davy are adopted when they are 6-years-old by Marilla Cuthbert after their father, a cousin of Marilla’s, dies. Dora is a quiet, unobtrusive and obedient child. Davy is a devious child whose acts of malice are thought-out and deliberate. He enjoys making trouble and causing people distress, particularly if that person is his sister Dora. But no one ever comes to Dora’s aid! In fact, many people comment to themselves how much more they love Davy than Dora. Dora just fades into the background as the “unremarkable” perfect child.
And yet. Dora is also an orphan like Anne. Anne spends a long chunk of Anne of Avonlea considering the neglect, emotionally and spiritually, she felt growing up. This is the perfect opportunity for Anne to reach out to Dora and love her. Montgomery sets her characters up to provide a strong moral lesson about learning from the past and helping others. It just never comes to fruition. Poor Dora is stunted in so many ways. Growing up in the same environment as Anne Shirley no one came to her aid throughout any of the following books. In the end, Dora grows up far too quickly, and even fears become an old maid because of the social pressure and comments from the world around her. I’m heartbroken over this whole ordeal.
Other Top 5 Things I Wish I Could Change About the Anne Series
Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf
What do you think?
- What would you like to change about the Anne series?
- What on my list do you agree or disagree with? Why?
- Did you create a Top 5 post? Link up below!