Friday, July 5, 2013

More Awesome Fictional Females - Anne

I have always been a voracious reader, a lover of a good story.

As a child, I would lose myself in the world of a book, shutting out all distractions and furiously turning page after page as I let myself become enveloped in the world the author had created. I felt heartache when I finished a series and would find myself wondering what those characters were doing now that the story was done, as if they were real people, living in some far off land.

I have felt that deep sense of loss with many a main character over the years, but few so much as when I finished the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery and was forced to say goodbye to Anne Shirley.


I was first introduced to Anne Shirley through the portrayal of Megan Follows in the 1985 miniseries production of “Anne of Green Gables.”

I immediately fell in love with her spunk and feistiness, her imagination and sense of adventure, her romanticism and zest for life. I always felt that we would be, as Anne says, kindred spirits. And nearly 20 years later, she is still one of my favorite fictional characters of all time.

I didn’t read the eight-book series until about four years ago, and when I closed the last book, my heart broke.

Even though I knew Anne and Gilbert and Marilla and Diana and Miss Stacey and all the other characters in the beautiful stories were fictional, I felt like they were some of my friends. I felt like I would be completely content and comfortable to sit down and have a meal with them.

And of all the fictional characters I have encountered, if there was one I could choose to be real, it would be Anne Shirley.


So what is it about Anne Shirley that makes me love her? What makes her such a fantastic fictional female?

Perhaps the first thing you realize about Anne is that she has a zest for life like no other. Some people say she’s a little flighty because she reads so much and spends so much time coming up stories and exploring her imagination, but as she grows older, you see that Anne’s imagination is such an important part of who she is.

Her imagination allows her to see the positive moments in the bleakest of situations, to see the humor in everything, and to turn the most frustrating moment into a thing of pure joy.

Her imagination allows her to see life in the most positive, exciting, and intriguing way. It sometimes gets the better of her, because (as we all know) real life isn’t always like we imagined it to be. But her imagination makes it so that she never settles for anything less than the best.

Anne has spunk and sass and never apologizes for who she is. Throughout the series, she grows from a feisty, dramatic young teenager to a confident young woman with imagination and zeal, out-of-the-box ideas, a deep love for family and friends, and a deep, deep love for the best things in life.

Her temper — which matches her bright red hair — gets her into trouble quite a few times, but as Anne continues to grow, she softens some, and matures into a woman with a vibrancy for life that people can’t help but be attracted to. She isn’t afraid to put herself out there, to go after the things she wants, to pursue her dreams.

She fiercely loves her friends and her family. She feels deeply, hurts deeply, and loves deeply. She isn’t afraid to be honest with people, even when it hurts. She’s confident in who she is and what she wants to do. She always has a secret delight that gives her joy.

Anne’s love story with Gilbert Blythe is also one of my favorites.

Their relationship doesn’t begin on the most positive note — Anne smashes a slate over Gilbert’s head because he calls her “carrots.” And for years, Anne holds onto a grudge because of that one moment. But as they both continue to mature, Anne’s heart softens. It takes her almost losing him to realize just how important Gilbert is to her, but that’s a recurring theme with Anne.

And more than that, though Anne and Gilbert’s story is fictional, it’s realistic. Their relationship develops slowly, organically, through extreme dislike and eventually blossoms into a beautiful friendship. It’s not the stuff of fairy tales where unrealistic circumstances suddenly throw two people together and they instantly fall in love. But rather, it’s a story about how, when two people live life together, sometimes they realize that they wouldn’t ever not want to be living life together.


Aside from my deep appreciation for her personality, I think one of the reasons I love Anne so much is her story taught me an important lesson for someone like myself to remember.

I’m like Anne in many ways. I’m pretty feisty, spunky, and a little sassy. I love stories and I’ve always had a vivid imagination. Because of that, I’m one of those people that’s always imagined the way my perfect life would end up and I often get disappointed when things don’t go as I expected, when they’re not as interesting or exotic as I thought, when the story doesn’t play out like I imagined.

Despite her extreme love for story and imagination and grand adventures, Anne eventually realizes that sometimes the best things in life are right in front of you and that, when you appreciate what you have, you don’t need to travel across the globe to have an amazing life.

She still keeps her love for story and her vivid imagination. She still keeps her spunk and zeal and zest for life. But she eventually recognizes that life is interesting and imaginative as you make it and what might seem boring to some people, can be the most amazing life imaginable.

Emmy's Note: Last week as I was running around trying to get everything ready for going out of town for awhile, I realized I didn't have enough guest bloggers! When Sarah, from Shades of Shayes, got my plea for help she stepped right up! I love that she caught onto my idea of Awesome Female Role Models and wrote about Anne Shirley! She was one of the characters that I thought of right away, so when I read this post I was excited. It was the perfect post to schedule for today - my birthday! Don't forget to check out Sarah's blog too!


  1. Sounds like I have a new book series to check out! Happy birthday Em!

    1. I haven't read all the books (which is so sad!) but the movies are excellent! Reading all of Anne's books are on my to-read list.

    2. Oh Julie, you really should! It's absolutely wonderful!

  2. Great post Sarah. Anne is one of my all time favourite characters who I have always been able to relate to. I'm currently rereading the books so this is a very timely post!

    Happy Birthday for yesterday Emily! Hope you had a great day!

    1. Thanks so much!!!!

      And I love Anne too. She was one of the first people I thought of for this series, so I was really happy when Sarah wrote about her.

    2. Thanks, lady. Glad you liked it. :)

      It makes my heart happy to see so many people who love Anne just as much as I do.

  3. Ooohh what a great character! Can't believe I didn't think of her. This makes me think of Pollyanna, she would be a good one for this series also.

    1. Oh! Pollyanna! I'll definitely have to add her too!

  4. However, please check out the Emily of New Moon series also by L.M. Montgomery - the books, not the TV series (that stunk). I thought this series by Lucy Maud was even better than the Anne series - so good that I named my daughter's middle name after the main character's last name. Emily Byrd Starr - my daughter is Nikolette Starr. Emily was another feisty orphan, but for some reason I connected with her more than I did with Anne, although being Canadian born, I read all of Lucy's books growing up over and over again. I actually visited the Anne house in Prince Edward Island - it brought the Anne series to life. But check out the Emily series, EMILY!!

  5. The love of Anne that is shown in this post makes me so happy! I was introduced to Anne in a very similar way, through the 1985 mini-series with Megan Follows. It was love at first watch. She has inspired me in so many ways. I really appreciate your deeper look at Anne as an Awesome Female Role Model. I wish there was more like her.

    1. This was a guest post by my friend Sarah (although I love Anne too!) so I'll tell her how much you liked this! Anne is so awesome!


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