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.
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.
In one of the early chapters of L.M. Montgomery’s, The Blue Castle, there is following quote:
“Fear is the original sin” Wrote John Foster “Almost all evil in the world has it’s origin in the fact that someone is afraid of something. It is a cold, slimy serpent coiling about you. It is horrible to live with fear; and it is all things degrading”.
Valancy Stirling is 29, single and still living at home with her domineering mother and unforgiving aunt. She has been a good girl her entire life, following the rules and the very narrow path that has been placed before her. Then she receives a letter and decided to take charge of her life. Her family thinks that she has gone mad, but she is actually changing the course of her life and opening herself up to new possibilities.
This book is nothing short of amazing. I understood Valancy immediately. I knew what her life is like with her well meaning, but ultimately emotionally destructive family. Her journey is an inspiration to all of us who feel trapped within our own fears and insecurities. By breaking free, Valancy finds the happiness that she is longing for.
We all have scars from our past and insecurities that hold us back. But we if can break free, like Valancy, then maybe we all can find what make us truly happy.