My love of reading stems from a lifetime of access to books. I spent many hours perusing the bookshelves of my local library and being thrilled at each new find. My first edition of Anne of Green Gables was gifted to me for my eighth birthday. The cover was a child friendly interpretation of Anne Shirley, standing outside Green Gables. The cover pulled me, and left me with a longing to discover more.
The first time I read Anne of Green Gables, I was entranced by her. I found her peculiar, and couldn’t relate a lot to her. Her imagination was incredible. I breathed in the scent of the flowers as they bloomed along Avonlea, I could envision the beauty of the ‘Lake of Shining Waters.’ I sat alongside her in that one room classroom as she discovered formal education for the first time. I grew up along with her.
Her best friend Diana Berry is actually the character I related more to. Her quiet disposition, class and grace was the perfect balance to Anne’s wild side. While Anne was busy creating the imaginary world, Diana contributed the tiniest of details that pulled the world together. Her compassion and character made me want to be friends with her too.
I was given a paperback set of the first three books shortly thereafter. The editions weren’t pretty, but they were the more “grown up” versions that were easier to read. I never really got into the later books in my younger years, as grown up Anne wasn’t as compelling as child Anne.
I found my first older edition of the novel in a thrift store. I was so excited when I read the publisher page and discovered it was a “First Canadian Edition.” For a brief moment, I thought I’d stumbled across a real life first edition and got so excited. Turns out, it was actually a special edition print from the 1940s, and mildly collectible. Still cool nonetheless. It’s cover is a simple lighter green with a sketched portrait of Anne. She is in an oval shape background staring silently at the would be reader.
My next of Anne that I own is one that was in a box of old books passed down from a great aunt of mine after she passed. The pages are musty and faded. The cover has a hint of water damage from sitting somewhere damp. It’s a hard cover edition, and a plain dark green with the title inscribed on the cover. It is definitely not the prettiest copy I own, but I do love the nostalgia behind the novel. The fact that it was at one time beloved is enough for me to hold onto it a little while longer.
The last edition of Anne that I currently own is actually a “pretty” hardcover edition that I bought for my daughter before she was born. I purchased it for her bedroom decor, and it sits silently on a shelf in her room with a fresh binding. I hope that one day she discovers the joys of the world of Anne and her journey into discovering her family in Avonlea.