A few weeks ago, Iris’ school had a dress up day for Halloween. The weekend before, she told me she wanted to go as an angel. She said everyone else was going as something scary and she didn’t want to.
It didn’t hit me then. I immediately started thinking of what she could wear that was already in her wardrobe. We managed to cobble together a white dress-like outfit and I put gold dust in her hair. It was only when we got to school and I saw all the little vampires, monsters, zombies with fake knives through their heads, the drawn on blood, etc, that I realised what an amazing decision she had made. She stood out just like an angel would and I was such a proud mum.
Similarly, I’m so happy I forced her to read Lucy Montgomery’s iconic Anne of Green Gables with me. This was another classic I’d missed in my childhood. Both of us fell in love with Anne and Avonlea. If you’ve never experienced this before, it’s a very special, unique experience to book lovers.
So what’s so great about it? Anne – her resilience; her love for life and seeing the good in everything and everyone; her spunk; her selfless ambition; and that despite having a really horrible childhood, she remains a loving, hopeful child who just wants to be a good, happy person.
Sure, her childhood wasn’t as ugly as some. She wasn’t abused, but she was orphaned, passed around, neglected and forced to work at a very young age. How often do we read or hear about someone committing atrocities because of their childhood trauma? Yes it’s sad but it’s not an excuse. There is a horrifyingly large number of people who have experienced childhood trauma who do not go on to become mass murderers or even just sad, angry people who hold on to their pain until it stains their whole lives and those they interact with.
Anne’s relationship with Marisa and Matthew had me tearing up often and her vivacious imagination and comic antics had us laughing out loud regularly.
Anne is 11 when the story begins and ends when she is 15 so it’s almost in the young adult category. She is also extremely hardworking, which I took pains to point out several times during our readings.
If you would like to revel in beauty and something that celebrates goodness in this world, then read this, get your children to read this. If you think a story without violence/sex/ugliness in human nature is boring then don’t.