I still regularly read childhood favourites, and reading classics like Anne of Green Gables as an adult is a very different experience as a women in my 30s than when I first read it more years ago than I care to remember. The awful scenario of a child who has lost both parents and suffered a string of less than appropriate home situations since she was a baby has much more impact on me now and reaches much deeper levels.
I didn’t know much about Lucy Maud Montgomery as a child, beyond the blurb that appeared on the back of the 1980s editions of the Anne books I borrowed from the library. I think generations of girls grew up knowing one piece of Canadian geography from the books, namely, the existence of Prince Edward Island. I’ve been planning on getting her journals and collections of little published works since accumulating a lot of out of print books like Kilmeny of the Orchard and what’s become one of my favourites, The Blue Castle.
It is a cliche and three quarters and an unoriginal thought in the extreme, but it is very sad that someone whose books brought me such joy and continue to inspire, challenge and entertain me as an adult had such a difficult road through life. Rilla of Ingleside is a brilliant read 100 years on from the Battle of the Somme and I think I was too young the first time I read it. As Anne said in another book about a chilling funeral, I shiver now when I read it, and feel only adult me can really appreciate how appalling the Great War was for the people fighting abroad and those left behind to worry.