Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Shifting Perspectives

In my other life, my non-IF life (ha there such a thing?), I have a blog I started in January of this year to keep track of the books I read in 2008. So far, I'm up to 39 (almost 40) books. My goal is at least 52, so I'm on track. You can access it here if you'd like. Through this blog and other book bloggers I found, I'm participating in a group read of Anne of Green Gables this month to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

Anne has always been a favorite of mine, especially since I have red hair also(though not as red as hers!) and was a lonely only child with a vivid imagination (that's what happens when you are forced to entertain yourself). It has always been a source of pride for me that people who know me who have read the book or seen the movies tell me I'm like her. To use Anne-speak, Anne and I have always been kindred spirits.

As I reread the first few chapters of the book, I was shocked by how I reacted to a few parts. In case you don't know, Anne is an orphan who hopes to find her forever home at Green Gables. Adoption and responses to adoption are prominent. A lot of the impressions of adoption are hurtful...Mrs. Lynde asserting that an orphan boy will burn down the house or put strychnine in the well and the idea that a child from a certain geographic location is preferable. As an IFer, I was really bothered by those comments, and I was unprepared for how it cut me to the quick. And as Anne recounted the rough early years of her life, I hurt for her. I just wanted to give her a hug and assure her that she was lovable, especially when she discovers the Cuthberts preferred a boy. She's exactly the kind of daughter I hope to have: charming, smart, adorable, quirky.

When I read the book when I was younger, obviously I didn't relate to the orphan/adoption aspect of the story as much as I do now. I felt bad for her and wanted her to find a home, but her life and indeed the book have an entirely new meaning for me now that I am coming to the book as a 30-year-old who will move to adoption in the next year if surrogacy doesn't work. I think that being able to relate and find meaning in a book in different ways throughout the years as one's life changes defines a classic. Anne of Green Gables is definitely that.


sara said...

I haven't read that one, but my mom picked me up like 6 books yesterday to try to keep me busy. I'll let you know if I come across any really good ones. Thanks for your kind words lately :-)

kate said...

Oh, I need to re-read that one! I LOVED the PBS mini-series when I was young, and read the book so many times... ah! Thanks for the reminder.