I remember the first time I met Anne Shirley. I was a young girl not knowing that I was looking for a heroine. This spunky, dramatic, and orphaned redhead who just wanted to be loved struck a cord with me. Though decades have passed, she is still one of my favorite literary characters.
Author Brina Starler‘s new novel, Anne of Manhattan, transports Anne of Green Gables from Prince Edward Island in the late 19th century to New York City and the fictional town of Green Gables on the East End of Long Island. Anne Shirley is now a twenty something graduate student living with friends and balancing school and part time work. She is not looking for romance. But it comes to her in the form of Gilbert Blythe. Back in the day, Anne and Gilbert used to play the game of academic “top that”, in addition to the question of “will they or won’t they”.
This book is easily one of my favorite books of the year. It is the perfect blend of the original text and what it is to be a modern woman in 2021. I’ve read many modern reboots of classic novels. This is how it should be done every time. It would have been easy for the author to do a literal cut and paste, replacing a horse and buggy with a car. What she did so brilliantly was to transport the soul and the voice of Montgomery’s work into our time while still retaining the magic that continues to enchant readers generations after its initial publishing.
For multiple generations of readers, Anne Shirley will always be one of their favorite literary leading ladies. The heroine of L.M. Montgomery‘s beloved novel Anne of Green Gables, Anne is a spirited young woman with a wild imagination and an open heart.
The Netflix reboot of the series, Anne with an E, ran for three reasons. Stepping into the hallowed shoes of the young Miss Shirley is Amybeth McNulty. Playing her adopted parents, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert are Geraldine James and R.H. Thomson.
I only watched the first episode and I couldn’t help but smile. McNulty is the perfect young actress to play Anne. Her take on the character is everything we expect from Anne Shirley. James and Thomson as the unmarried, middle aged Cuthbert siblings are equally well cast. James is severe while Thomson is willing to give the newest member of their family a chance.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Anne with an E is available for streaming on Netflix.
If one were to do an overview of human history, they would note that for every three or four men who sat on the throne, there is one woman who sat on the throne.
The television series Reign (2013-2017) is a loose (and I mean very loose) retelling of the story of the life of Mary, Queen of Scots (Adelaide Kane). When she is a teenager, she is sent to the court of France to marry her betrothed, Francis de Valois (Toby Regbo). Along the way, she will encounter both sexual and political innuendo.
I wrote about this series back in 2014, defending its merits. Looking back, I can now see the major flaws in this program. It is nothing but a teenage soap opera set in the 16th century. In the beginning, the initial draw was Megan Follows (Catherine de’ Medici). Her portrayal of Anne Shirley in the Anne of Green Gables series from the 1980s and 1990s is still my favorite version of the character.
But even that was not enough to keep me watching to the very end.
When readers meet Marilla Cuthbert in the initial chapters of Anne of Green Gables, she is middle-aged, stubborn and unyielding.
Sarah McCoy’s new book, Marilla of Green Gables: A Novel, takes the reader back in time. Decades earlier, Marilla Cuthbert is thirteen. Her life changes forever when her mother passes away. Now she must take her mother’s place as a farm wife.
The only way out of farm life is her aunt. Elizabeth “Izzy” Johnson never married and earns a living as a seamstress in St. Catharines. Izzy encourages her niece to expands her world. This expansion includes joining the local Ladies sewing circle and helping to raise money for an orphanage that is part of the Underground Railroad. Along the way, Marilla falls in love with John Blythe, the son of a neighboring family.
It seems that her future is set. But politics, history, and personal choices have a hand in changing that future.
I loved this book. I am also a huge Anne of Green Gables fan, which was the main reason I picked up this book in the first place. In telling the story of Marilla’s early days, Ms. McCoy is able to draw a complete picture of Anne Shirley‘s adopted mother.
Though this book is not strictly for the hardcore Anne of Green Gables fans, I would recommend that the reader goes into the book with at least some knowledge of the world that Lucy Maud Montgomery created.
My only criticism is that the beginning of the book is a little slow. But when it takes off, it really takes off.
For many young girls, L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel, Anne of Green Gables is the literary gateway drug to more mature novels.
It’s no surprise that in 1985, the book was made into a television movie. Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert (Colleen Dewhurst and Richard Farnsworth) are a middle-aged, never married brother and sister duo. With onset of time and age, they send for a boy to adopt and help around the farm. Instead they get an imaginative, dramatic and impulsive ginger girl named Anne Shirley (Megan Follows). Matthew quickly takes Anne into his heart as the daughter he never had, but Marilla is the harder nut to crack. Marilla agreed to keep Anne, but only if she acts as a young lady should (the key word here is but). That is where the fun begins and that is where Anne Shirley become Anne Of Green Gables.
For many fans of the books (myself included), this adaptation is the definitive adaptation. Megan Follows is Anne Shirley and will always be Anne Shirley. There is something iconic and wonderful about this adaptation. It holds up against the book and is everything a filmed adaptation of a book should be.
There is something comforting about watching a television show from your childhood. While you look at the show with adults eyes and adult experiences, a part of you is still watching with the eyes and the experiences of the child you once were.
From 1990-1996, Avonlea, based on the stories by Anne Of Green Gables author L.M. Montgomery was part of the television lineup.
The focal point of the show was the King family living on Prince Edward Island at the turn of the century. Hetty King (Jackie Burroughs) is the oldest of her five siblings and the family matriarch. After the death of one of her sisters, Hetty has agreed to raise her niece Sarah Stanley (Sara Polley). Alec King (Cedric Smith), is the oldest son. Married to Janet (Lally Cadeau), they have two children, Felix (Zachary Bennett) and Felicity (Gema Zamprogna). The youngest of the five siblings is Olivia (Mag Ruffman), who is still being coddled by her elder siblings, despite the fact that she is a grownup.
The thing that I always remember about this show is that is not just that the kind of show that the family can sit around and watch, but it is quality entertainment. There are very few shows that can legitimately fall into the category of quality, family friendly entertainment without being too sweet or predictable. I have fond memories of this show and I wish there more shows on television like it.
Anne Shirley is one of those characters. Every little girl who loves books (especially the redheads, myself included) adores Anne Shirley for her spunk, vivaciousness and imagination.
Yesterday, PBS aired a new adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s classic novel, Anne Of Green Gables. Anne Shirley (Ella Ballentine) is an orphan who has landed in the home of the never married, middle aged brother and sister duo, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert (Martin Sheen and Sara Botsford). Matthew and Marilla requested that the orphanage send them a boy to help them around farm. What they got was a talkative, imaginative and fiery 11-year-old girl whose hair matches her temperament. Matthew is immediately taken with Anne, but Marilla is a little unsure about the new edition to the family.
I adore Anne Of Green Gables. I adore Anne Shirley. Redheads are only 2% of the population. Positive role models, especially for young girls with my coloring are far and few between. Anne Shirley is one of the few that we can call our own. I did not adore this adaptation. The biggest issue is the behemoth that is the 1980’s miniseries with Megan Follows playing Anne. Follow’s Anne Shirley is as iconic as Colin Firth playing Mr. Darcy in the 1995 Pride And Prejudice miniseries. It’s a hard act to follow.
While I did not have an issue with the casting, I had an issue with the narrative. It felt too fast, certain plotlines that are within the book and the previous adaptation were discarded. While I get that it was a 90 minute television movie and not a full miniseries, I just wish there was more meat on the bones, so to speak.
Do I recommend it? If you as the viewer are new to the world of AOGG, then yes. But if not, I would say no. There are too many changes for my taste.
Starring Martin Sheen and Sara Botsford as the supposedly curmudgeonly brother and sister duo Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert and Ella Ballentine as the title character, Anne Shirley is an orphaned girl adopted by Matthew and Marilla. They were expecting a boy to help them on the farm, what they got was a red-headed, uber imaginative, fast talking girl.
While the trailer is promising, only time will tell if this adaptation lives up to its predecessor.
My only wishes are that this new adaptation remains true to the books and Megan Follows has a cameo.
To the millions of readers who have read Anne Of Green Gables and watched the miniseries based on the books, Jonathan will always be remembered as Gilbert Blythe.
Gilbert starts out as Anne’s tormentor. He goads her and gets her in trouble. He will soon realize that he is in love with Anne, but Anne takes a little bit of time to return Gilbert’s affections. For many young female bookworms Gilbert Blythe was our first literary crush.
My thoughts and prayers are with those who knew him best. RIP.