Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Anne- vs. Laura-Girl

I have a friend who recently posted about how readers of the Anne of Green Gable books and the Little House on the Prairie books usually identify with one heroine over the other.  She identified herself as a Laura-girl, which on reflection, was understandable.

There is a lot to like about Laura: her spunkiness, her independence, her intellect, her loyalty to her family, etc.  I really like Laura and as a child, identified with her in many ways.  But nothing compares to my love and near obsession to be Anne.

I have not talked about my Anne-obsession before besides mentioning that I chose Prince Edward Island to go on my honeymoon because it is my Homeland.  I read the Anne books during my very impressionable youth.  My third-grade teacher introduced me to the series, and I have re-read them more times than I feel comfortable saying (not that I could even do a reasonable accounting).  I was young and easily influenced by what I read.  I lapped up L.M. Montgomery's descriptions like a sponge.  Anne took everyday surroundings and imbued them with mystery and fantasy with the simple act of giving them a name.  I, also, wanted to have special places.  I named almost every single tree and bush in my yard.  Some of the plants had prosaic names like the two blue spruces in front (Ann and Bob).  But others were more whimsical.  The weeping cherry was named Rapunzel and the almond tree was Napoleon.  There was a nearby church garden that I liked to visit because it was tucked away and had a stream(!) running through it.  I could easily pretend that my friends and I were the only ones that knew of it's existence. 

It devastated me that my hair wasn't red.  However, I felt with a surety that my SOUL was red-headed even if my physical body didn't show it.  I won't tell you how ridiculously excited I was (and am) to find red highlights in my hair under certain light conditions.  It makes it easier to imagine myself an authentic red-head.  Unlike Anne, I never considered the possibility of dyeing my hair red.  Maybe I learned from her (albeit fictional) wretched dyeing experience.  There are worse things in life than one's natural hair coloring.  Green hair.  Green hair really is worse.  I also fantasized about having a red-headed daughter and basically ignored any genetic evidence stating the improbability of that ever happening even if I could find the appropriate sperm donor.  And don't think that I didn't quiz Mr. F. to determine if he had any red-headed individuals in his direct family line.  (The answer is, unfortunately, no.)    

And then there is Gilbert.  You can't have Anne without Gilbert.  (Thank Goodness!)  For the longest time, I toyed with the notion of writing a pretty formal research paper on why Gilbert is the perfect man.  I planed to use citations from the whole series to build my case.  Currently, I feel a little less passionate about the subject as I formerly did.  Plus,  I don't think it would be fair for Mr. F. as Gilbert is, after all, a fictional character, and is going to come out ahead.  The main reason why Gilbert was the perfect man (and this is a trait that Mr. F. possesses which is why I married him), is that he was attracted to the "June Lilies" vs. the "Flashy Peonies" of the world.  Meaning, he was much more interested in a woman's personality and character than in "flashy good looks."  I was holding out for a Gilbert in my life, and I am pretty sure I found him. 

One of the best present I ever received was this:

My sister gave this to me on my 27th birthday.  Of course I am Anne and of course I am going to get my Gilbert in the end.


heidikins said...

I've never read a single one of the Anne books....can we still be friends? (I've seen the movies, all of them, but I don't suppose that's better?)

I have read, however, all the Laura books and very much identify with her.


Janssen said...

I love this and I've always loved Anne Shirley, although I think if push came to shove, I would have to pick Laura.

Krilafis said...

I am definitely an Anne-girl. I have memorized Lady of Shalott by heart. That is all I will say about that since I don't want to embarrass myself any more than I have to.

My favorite gift for my girlfriends is a simple paper back copy of Anne of Green Gables tied up with a brown string and a flower with a green apple on top.

I swear that reading the Anne books with a green apple makes them both taste better.

Anonymous said...

I just wrote back to you on my blog, but one other thing occurred to me: you must admit, Laura would understand your squirrel-like obsession with gathering ALL the strawberries.


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