#AnneReadAlong2017 : Top 5 Things I Learned Reading Anne of Green Gables

December 22, 2017

I am ashamed at how absent I’ve been with blogging and reading lately. I am a book behind with our read along (but almost done! Review to come ASAP!)– a horrible shame as I am co-hosting with Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf. But, as we learned from Anne, life can be unpredictable sometimes. More on that in a future post– let’s focus on Anne!

Now that we’re wrapping up our read along with Rilla of Ingleside and Anne is fading into the background of her children’s lives, it’s time to focus on all the great things Anne has taught us. Each chapter of every book comes with a wonderful life lesson. But what are the lasting ones I will walk away with? It was challenging to select only 5 lessons, but they are some of my favorites.

Feel free to join in our Top 5 List posts and link up below. Our schedule is merely recommended– you’re welcome to join in whatever you’d like whenever you’d like!

And without further ado…

Top 5 Things I Learned Reading Anne of Green Gables


1 – Appreciate the world around you. 

I find the way Anne Shirley finds beauty in the world absolutely charming. She is completely in love with nature no matter the season. Anne always stops to smell the flowers. She wants to get lost in the forest and stop to watch the sunset. Anne isn’t afraid to spend her time doing things most people might find “unproductive” — just being outside and appreciating the world. But I think this is something we are missing and need to get back to. The world is magical and waiting for us. We shouldn’t miss the beauty it provides.


2 – Don’t be ashamed of who you are.

Yes, early on Anne Shirley is distressed that she has red hair and freckles. But she soon learns to love herself for who she is. I adore how she is unafraid to be a fiercely competitive academic, an outdoorswoman, and be desirous of a dress with puff sleeves. She knows she’s a poor cook and owns it. Anne Shirley owns her mistakes just as much as her successes no matter what. 

Related to this, Anne is never ashamed of the opinion she holds, even if it isn’t popular. As Anne and her family settle in Four Winds, she is constantly chatting with Susan Baker and Miss Cornelia. She doesn’t often agree with them, and she rarely allows herself to be persuaded to change her own opinion. Anne holds true to her own beliefs, no matter what those around her believe. 


3 – Having fun should always be a priority.

This is consistent throughout the Anne of Green Gables series. Whether Anne is a child or Anne is a mother she always prioritizes fun. Life is far too challenging to take seriously all the time. While I don’t agree with everything Anne does as a parent, the thing I hope most to take from her parenting examples is to prioritize fun. She laughs with her children and encourages their imagination. Life is hard sometimes. When an opportunity to have fun shows up, seize it. 

As Anne says, “You can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.” And she’s right. Even when the people around her were determined not to have fun, Anne made an attempt to pull them in. Everyone has a right to joy.


4 – Don’t be afraid to love.

This lesson shows itself in so many ways throughout the book. The most obvious to me is the transformation of Marilla over the course of the first novel. Marilla starts out stern and strict, the self-appointed rigid conscience of Anne. But Anne slowly melts her heart. Anne’s laughter, openness to accept her self, and her easy-going nature eventually persuades Marilla to take Anne deeply into her heart. Marilla, Matthew, and Anne become an incredibly tight family wrapped together by love.

This shows in other friendships, but it also shows in Anne’s passions. She loves to spend time outside, to read poetry, and to bring joy to other’s lives. She would despair over being unable to attend a show or go to a party. Anne’s passion for these events is another form of love. While not quite the same, I learned through this that it’s okay to be vocal and content with your personal passions.


5 – Never stop dreaming. 

Growing up, I didn’t realize having dreams was more than just having ambition in life. Now I realize it is so much more. Anne’s dreams envelop the world around her. I believe this is what makes her so magnetic. She pulls everyone into her dreams as well. This manifests in the brilliant, vivid, imaginative locales all around Avonlea such as Lake of Shining Waters or Lover’s Lane, but it also manifests in her dreams for the future. Anne’s House of Dreams comes to pass because she convinces Gilbert to join in these dreams with her. After all, imagination makes life exciting and passionate!


If I had to summarize all the lessons from Anne of Green Gables into a single statement it would be: Don’t forget, life is a wonderful adventure. No matter how dark or complicated, Anne and her family are able to turn back towards the sun. Happiness and joy are the keys to living a wonderful life.

As we go into 2018, I hope to keep all these lessons close to my heart. These lessons are the intention I choose to set for the upcoming year. Thank you, Anne. Thank you L.M. Montgomery. Thank you all for teaching these lessons to me.

Other Top 5 Things I learned reading Anne of Green Gables 

[Your post here!~]

What do you think?

  • Are there other moments from Anne of Green Gables you think illustrate the lessons I mentioned above?
  • What lessons did you learn from reading the Anne of Green Gables books?
  • Are there any lessons you found from these books which didn’t suit your tastes?


  • Ann Marie December 22, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I still haven’t read the book but I think those are excellent intentions to set for the new year. Number 5 especially. As I get older, I find it does’t come as naturally as it used to but I think it’s probably pretty important to take time to remember that our potential doesn’t actually diminish. We just seem to consider it less. Or at least I do.

    • Jackie B December 22, 2017 at 5:16 pm

      Thank you, Ann Marie! I completely understand what you mean about dreaming. For me it’s not so much that I feel my potential is diminishing, but it’s that I feel the obligation of adulthood and the expectations of society so strongly that I push those dreams down. I have more fear as an adult that I did as a child. I love my job– but how often does it get in the way of me doing something I’d rather be doing? That doesn’t mean I should quit. But it does mean I should consider my priorities and make certain I’m a part of that. I struggle to prioritize my own dreams.

  • Sarah Emsley December 22, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Oh, those PEI sunsets. This one is my favourite:

    … the Avonlea hills came out darkly against the saffron sky. Behind them the moon was rising out of the sea that grew all radiant and transfigured in her light. Every little cove along the curving road was a marvel of dancing ripples. The waves broke with a soft swish on the rocks below them, and the tang of the sea was in the strong, fresh air.

    “Oh, but it’s good to be alive and to be going home,” breathed Anne.

    • Jackie B December 31, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      What a BEAUTIFUL quote, Sarah! Thank you for sharing. It’s these descriptions which make me realize all the things I’m not appreciating. I really need to do better at stopping and smelling the roses. This prose… it’s just so beautiful!

      Which book does this quote come out of?

      • Sarah Emsley December 31, 2017 at 7:34 pm

        It’s from Anne of Green Gables, Chapter 29, “An Epoch in Anne’s Life.” That part of PEI is so beautiful, and Montgomery describes it so well. It isn’t my home, but it’s definitely one of my favourite places in the world.

        • Jackie B January 4, 2018 at 4:20 pm

          I can see why! I haven’t visited PEI myself yet, but after reading so much of Anne, I know I need to go some time. It sounds beautiful. Plus, there is so much history to learn!

  • MyBookJacket December 22, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I’ve always prioritised what other’s think I should do for fun and never ended up having fun.Lol. I really should read the rest of the series and learn from Anne.

    • Jackie B December 31, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      I can relate to that, Vicky! It’s a challenge to break free from the expectations of others in many ways. But it’s so important to have your own fun. I hope that you find time to read the rest of this series– it’s so uplifting!

  • Dani @ Perspective of a Writer December 22, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    This is such a great post Jackie! I love learning life lessons from books… I’m constantly told by the women in my life that fiction books can’t teach you anything that they are “just for entertainment” and its just NOT true! <3

    • Jackie B December 31, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Thank you so much, Dani! Fiction books teach us EVERYTHING. What I love about fiction in particular is that the author has the ability to make the text more gripping and relatable. Stories in real life can be gruesome and dull. I want to be able to connect to the text and learn from it. Without fiction like Anne of Green Gables I might never realize that I’m not having fun! So many wonderful lessons to be learned. And reminded of, as well.

  • Theresa @ TheCalicoBooks December 22, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    I love this, and I so agree with you on the lessons that Anne has taught you! ☺️❤️

    • Jackie B December 31, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      Thank you so much, Theresa! There are even more lessons in the pages, too. It was so hard to only pick 5!

  • Laila@BigReadingLife December 23, 2017 at 11:31 am

    These are terrific take-aways from your AnneReadalong. I feel like I’m learning a lot from Rilla of Ingleside already! ( I’m about 90 pages in so far.) Just the way the women and the community bear the hardships of wartime with courage and eagerness to pitch in, even with their fear and sadness.

    Also, don’t feel shame about getting behind on blogging! I say that to you because I feel it myself – I was feeling bad that I’ve barely been on WordPress in a week (I had the week off work and when I’m off I just am not in front of a computer much.) But here we are, and the most important thing is to enjoy our reading, no matter how much or how little we can read with life obligations/events. I’m trying to remind myself of this too! 🙂

    • Jackie B January 2, 2018 at 12:27 am

      Thank you so much, Laila! I cannot wait to read Rilla myself; everyone has such wonderful things to say about it.

      It’s amazing how much pressure we end up putting on ourselves when it comes to blogging, right? We have all these expectations and aspirations– but sometimes, well, there are more important things. I’m completely with you that we need to enjoy our reading and that’s the core of why we do this. Thank you for the reminder I am not alone!!

  • Jane @ Greenish Bookshelf December 23, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    A lovely list, Jackie! So many wonderful lessons in Anne!

    I think I will do a similar list after Christmas. Perhaps in connection with my wrap up post for the readalong. Can’t believe we’re already to the end!

    • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 12:28 pm

      Thank you, Jane! There are so many more lessons I feel like I was unable to articulate. There are so many things that I gleaned and lost over time as new ideas and inspirations came to me. I cannot wait to re-read this some day with my children. I think I’ll take away even more not only from a second read, but from experiencing it through the eyes of a child. I’m so sad I never read this growing up!

      I can’t wait to see your list. 😀

  • Anna @MyBookishDream December 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Anne has thought you such amazing things! Wonderful post! ❤️

    • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Thank you so much, Anna! There is a lot more I didn’t articulate there. There is so much magic in this series.

  • Grab the Lapels December 24, 2017 at 9:01 am

    One passion that I love most in Anne is her writing. It’s only in the early books, though, such as when she and her girlfriends have a writing/workshopping group and when she wins the story prize sponsored by the baking soda company. I don’t remember Anne writing after book….three, I want to say?

    • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Anne’s writing is inspirational to me, honestly. I didn’t expect her to aspire to be a writer in the 1900’s setting! You’re right that after book three is almost vanishes, with the exception of when she writes the Eulogy poem in Anne’s House of Dreams in both that and Anne of Ingleside writing is mentioned indirectly, but once the kids start appearing it more or less vanished. It would have been lovely for that to stick around, don’t you think?

  • theorangutanlibrarian December 27, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    Don’t worry- bloghopping is hard- take your time with it I say 🙂 I absolutely *love* this post btw!! Just every single point on this is so lovely!! I so adore how Anne appreciates the world around her *and* how she appreciates herself 😀 And yes to having fun, dreaming and believing in love!! Really beautiful tribute to the series!

    • Jackie B January 2, 2018 at 11:09 pm

      Thank you so much! Both for the compliment on the post and the blanket forgiveness about bloghopping. I love connecting with other bloggers, and I want to do it in a meaningful way. I hate popping by and only giving one sentence in a comment. It feels… trite.

      You nailed it! Anne appreciate the world around her AND herself. Now, in the first book she is still figuring things out, what with wanting to have straight raven-black hair and no freckles, but she gets there in the end. Anne Shirley Blythe is just a wonderful role model!

      • theorangutanlibrarian January 3, 2018 at 11:01 am

        You’re welcome! I totally get that- I do that sometimes, usually because I’m tired, but if I start doing that, I realise and put it on hold for a bit- so I totally get that.

        Thank you!! Absolutely lovely way of putting it. Totally agree!! 😀

  • Amanda @Cover2CoverMom January 4, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    As per usual Jackie you have captured the essence of Anne wonderfully! I actually made a post similar to this before you guys had set up the Top 5 lists, and I had been saving it for this topic. Obviously I was hoping I was going to be able to post it… and I still might despite the fact I’m only on book 7 🙂

    • Jackie B January 5, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      D’aw. Thank you, Amanda! Oooh, I cannot wait to see your list! I wrote my own list here without having read Rilla of Ingleside yet, so I think you’ll be okay. 😉 I just got a bit behind in my reading. Oops!

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