Feisty Female: Plain, old, unromantic Anne — with an e– Shirley. (But couldn’t you just call her Cordelia?)
Year we got to know her: 1986 (1985 if you’re Canadian)
Best known for: Her quick temper, red hair, dramatic elocution, fierce intelligence, and loyalty to her friends and family
Why she deserves a second look:
Anne of Green Gables was another childhood classic of mine because it was my sister’s favorite book AND movie. I think she read every book that L.M. Montgomery ever published. I didn’t have the patience to read the books, and I didn’t lurrrrrve the movies like she did (truth be told, I preferred the spin-off series Road to Avonlea), but, because of my sister, Anne Shirley certainly resonated with me. Anne Shirley seemed so sophisticated, confident, and mature– her imagination and optimism were compelling. I didn’t think I would ever be as smart or as old and mature as she was.
I went back and watched Anne of Green Gables during DC’s Snowmageddon, and I thought a lot about my childhood self and how I perceived Anne. In my mind, Anne personified everything that I thought it took to make you a confident and mysterious adult: a large vocabulary, an active and inventive imagination, a secret code, intelligence, and an uncanny ability to inflect everything with a touch of the dramatic. I was so impressed with Anne’s ability to stand up for herself to Mrs. Linde, her schoolteacher, Gilbert Blythe (and he was the cutest boy in school!)– and yet, she was so sensitive and vulnerable at the same time. She was the smartest girl in school and didn’t take crap from anyone. I wanted to have the same backbone that she did.
Pretty much: Anne Shirley rocks. She’s a wonderful role model for young girls (and I can think of a number of women who would do well to take a page from her book) and I am so glad that my sister spent a year not watching any television and received Anne of Green Gables (on VHS!) as her reward so that we could spend the next year watching it every chance we got.
Did you know? “Katherine Hepburn originally suggested that her niece Schuyler Grant play the role of Anne. Schuyler gave quite a good audition but Kevin Sullivan ultimately decided to cast Megan Follows as Anne and Schuyler as Diana Barry.” Even if Diana is boring, at least she’s related to Katherine Hepburn.
Haven’t seen the movie? Here’s a taste of Anne’s penchant for flowery prose:
Diana Barry: “I wish I were rich, and I could spend the whole summer at a hotel, eating ice cream and chicken salad.”
Anne Shirley: “You know something, Diana? We are rich. We have sixteen years to our credit, and we both have wonderful imaginations. We should be as happy as queens. Look at that [sunset]. You couldn’t enjoy its loveliness more if you had ropes of diamonds.”
Diana Barry: “I don’t know about that.”
Anne: “My life is a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. That’s a sentence I read once and I say it over to comfort myself in these times that try the soul.”
Here’s a Love Song, because you need one. When I texted my sister to tell her I was watching Green Gables, this was her reply: “ Isn’t Gil dreamy?” You decide.