If I’m honest Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables is my favorite literary character of all time. Her vivacious, upbeat, quirky, red-haired spit-fire nature spoke to me when I was twelve and still to this day. She has been my silent hero, beyond Elizabeth Bennet, Fanny Price, or my other favorite spit fire Rebecca Sharp. I picked up a delightful little book the other day entitled, The Heroine’s Bookshelf Life Lessons, from Jane Austen to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Erin Blakemore. The chapter, Happiness, starts with a quote from Lucy Maud Montgomery author of Anne of Green Gables,
“You see before you a perfectly happy person, Marilla,” she announced. “I’m perfectly happy- yes, in spite of my red hair. Just at present I have a soul above red hair.”
How can you not love Anne? She’s a Pollyanna of sorts but not nearly as annoying. She just believes that everything is possible and acts expectedly dramatic and hysterical when it all falls apart. Anne is our, or at least my, inner drama queen, optimist, and believer in love. Anne feels deeply about everything in her life, her friends, her writing, her love of Gilbert, her studies, and her care-takers Marilla and Matthew. My angst-ridden, emoting twelve-year-old self totally identified. She taught me to have a “soul above” whatever particular problem I was having. And to this day whenever I am sick, or emotionally under the weather I need a little dose of Anne to make me believe the world is a lovely place. In one of her more dramatic moments Anne declares,
“Five minutes ago I was so miserable I was wishing I’d never been born and now I wouldn’t change places with an angel.”
Anne is my reminder that life is often a rollercoaster ride of emotions. And being able to stay steady, optimistic, loving and hopeful in the midst of all of it is what makes the ride worthwhile.