2008 is the 100th anniversary of the publication of Anne of Green Gables, by LM Montgomery. The first in a series of 8 books, AGG introduced legions of young girls to the life of one Anne Shirley, a spunky 11 year old who changes the life of the people in the town of Avonlea, from the brother and sister who become her foster parents, to her peers like Diana and Gilbert, not to mention the eccentric villagers who are brought to life by Ms. Montgomery. Since the publication in 1908, millions of the books have been published, translated into dozens of languages, and turned Prince Edward Island in Canada into a literary tourism center. Young Japanese women are particularly inclined to go on Anne inspired tours, going as far as dying their hair red, and painting freckles on their faces. Not to mention holding wedding ceremonies near the tomb of the author!
I read Anne of Green Gables as part of an annotated book series as a child, but it was only when I found the entire series available through Penguin that I indulged in escaping in Anne's life. Anne may have been the Canadian version of Pollyana or Heidi, but as one of the few fully fleshed out characters in young adult literature, and one of the few that have managed to last as long, she's in a class of her own. The books have been made into a long running musical, a miniseries, and movies. I enjoy re-reading Anne of Green Gables and the first sequel, Anne of Avonlea, as Ms. Montgomery's ability to evoke scenery and the gentle sweetness of village life makes the books classic.
If anyone is planning to head over to Canada for a bit of touring, considering joining in on the Anne of Green Gables festivities, running till November. For my part, I will dig out my books and imagine myself walking arm in arm with Anne, Diana, and the Cuthberts in the enchanted forest.