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July 29, 2008 4:23 PM   Subscribe

Still looking for a vacation destination this summer? 2008 is the centennial anniversary of L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables, the girl Mark Twain called "the dearest, and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice." You can attend the L. M. Montgomery Festival and see Anne & Gilbert: The Musical (warning: exuberant fiddling). Or if you can't make it all the way to P.E.I., you can Blog About Anne.
posted by chihiro (20 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Newsweek: It’s Still Not Easy Being Green -- "'Anne of Green Gables' turns 100 this year, but she's the most modern girl in the bookstore."
posted by ericb at 4:47 PM on July 29, 2008

It's actually hard to imagine PEI turning the Anne dial up to 11 as the whole place is so super-saturated with Anne stuff already that it feels like L.M. Montgomery herself might just precipitate right out the the air at any moment in some sort of crystalline form.

PEI is a lovely vacation spot sans Anne though. Be sure to soak up the Celtic spirit at the College of Piping. 1-877-BAG-PIPE!
posted by GuyZero at 4:59 PM on July 29, 2008

I loved these books growing up, but I'd hesitate to visit the Island. For me, the magic lies in the books themselves, the characters there. Although there are many places in Canada I would want to see, and even live, PEI (for me) is best left within the realms of L.M. Montgomery's charming prose.

To wit, the Anne series was perhaps my third favourite of Montgomery's works. I identified with the Emily series so much more.
posted by thatbrunette at 5:32 PM on July 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

thatbrunette, I absolutely agree. I loved those books growing up, and still do, but I think going to PEI and seeing all the tourist crap would ruin the magic of the books for me. But I'd love to visit PEI for the scenery... and the seafood.
posted by meesha at 5:41 PM on July 29, 2008

I loved, loved, loved Anne of Green Gables, but the more the books wore on, the less enchanted I was with them. I kept hoping that she'd become a Nellie Bly-type girl reporter, and found her eventual fate as a wife and mother kind of disappointing. Obviously, that was what was available to women in the 1910s, but still.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:47 PM on July 29, 2008

Oh, there's less tourist crap than you imagine. The island is basically rural with a couple tiny towns and is largely full of potato fields. Outside of a few shops and LM Montgomery memorials there's actually not very much Anne stuff at all. My impression wasn't based so much on the ubiquity of Anne (although you see a fair bit of her) but on islanders' seeming lack of interest in promoting any of the other elements of island life. The College of Piping was actually a lot of fun, as was eating lobster, going to a ceilidh getting a tour of a potato farm and eating potatoes that the owner of our cottage dug out of her field. The beaches are amazing and after a few hours of swimming, sunning & clam-digging the only thing that will bring Anne back to mind is the deep rust colour of the PEI soil. It's really a very beautiful vacation spot and the real island is nearly as idyllic as Anne herself makes it out to be.

Also, it is wicked small and you can honestly see everything there is there in about a week. Be warned as they only seem to have one size of map paper in Canada which threw me off having come from Ontario.
posted by GuyZero at 5:49 PM on July 29, 2008

Given how remote and provincial PEI is, it is not surprising they will play up anything closely resembling fame. It's kind of sad really, a sort of quiet desperation to be part of the rest of the world. I suspect if AoGG was set in.. Baltimore.. it would not be the same. Although Baltimore does have a certain Poe cult following, but it involves late night drinking and assorted debaucheries better left off the web. Little House on the Prairie has a similar regional following, as she moved around the mid-west, leaving behind little cottages like gravestones that never fade, that are today museums and sites of annual celebrations.

Oh, and interesting the only MeFites who have admitted to reading AoGG are female (even more pronounced since females are a minority on MeFi), which supports the first article which says (younger) boys don't read "chic lit".
posted by stbalbach at 6:30 PM on July 29, 2008

How big would PEI be if it was plonked onto Ontario? Manitoulin-size? Lake Simcoe sized?
And no, apart from a piece that was once asssigned in public school I never did read the books, but I know the whole saga just from watching the CBC series. I can whistle the theme tune rather well too.
posted by Flashman at 6:37 PM on July 29, 2008

I also preferred the Emily books, but I loved AoGG as a child, especially the bit with Gilbert and the slate, and Diana getting drunk.

It's actually pretty easy to avoid Ann on PEI. Just don't go into tourist traps. Which is a good general rule for travel pretty much anywhere. And who needs more sculptures of lobsters made out of maple syrup?

We went camping on PEI every summer for, I don't know, probably six or seven years when I was a kid, and my favourite thing then was Santa's Woods in North Rustico, followed closely by making really red sand castles on the beach.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:49 PM on July 29, 2008

OMG I spelled Ann without an e!
posted by joannemerriam at 6:49 PM on July 29, 2008

Akage no An ("Red-headed Ann") on YouTube. Featuring Eiko Yamada as Anne Shirley, Kazuhiko Inoue as Gilbert Blythe, and a young Hayao Miyazaki on storyboards.
posted by ormondsacker at 7:17 PM on July 29, 2008

We lived very close to here Norval Ont. for years. It was always weird seeing tourists in what was a very small town.
posted by mrgroweler at 7:47 PM on July 29, 2008

I'd go just to see the bridge.
posted by Knappster at 8:08 PM on July 29, 2008

The classiest way to get to PEI was the Abegweit. They also had the best brewed coffee onboard.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 9:56 PM on July 29, 2008

Chalk me up as another who loved Anne but still preferred the Emily books.

Oddly, I am planning a trip to the Maritimes in just about a month. I hadn't realized this was going on. I'm probably going to be on Nova Scotia most of the time, but I'm glad to know about this.
posted by kayjay at 10:14 PM on July 29, 2008

If you're interested in a different Green Gables experience - there's always the Green Gables Love Hotel in Osaka
posted by Arbac at 10:38 PM on July 29, 2008

If you live in southern Ontario you could just go to Uxbridge and visit her house where she wrote her most famous works. Supposedly, she used many local settings and placed them on the east coast. Make it a staycation...
posted by maxpower at 6:11 AM on July 30, 2008

Anne of Green Gables from PEI
An ugly little bug with a beady little eye
She can tackle anything up to twice her size
Anne of Green Gables from PEI
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:35 AM on July 30, 2008

I love seeing the parties Japanese tourists in the Anne wigs SO MUCH.

I often think of Anne. What's coming to my mind right now is the scene where she's talking to Marilla and is desperate to say Gil's name as much as possible, but she's shy about it, so she keeps saying "Gil--some of the others" think this, and "Gil--some of the others" think that.

I kept hoping that she'd become a Nellie Bly-type girl reporter, and found her eventual fate as a wife and mother kind of disappointing. Obviously, that was what was available to women in the 1910s, but still.

Well, there were successful women reporters in the 1910s--Bly, of course, and Ida Tarbell, and Ida B. Wells, and Elizabeth Banks, and others I'm forgetting. But it was disappointing that she wasn't able to break away from the powerful gravitational pull of the whole marriage/family/settling down thing.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:32 PM on July 30, 2008

I had been considering a post on Anne for a while, but this thread on Jezebel a couple of weeks ago reminded me to finally put one together. I was fascinated by the numerous comments on that thread (and now a couple in this one) that indicated some readers felt Anne "sold out" or "gave in" when she decided to marry Gilbert and have a family. It honestly never occurred to me to view her choice in that light, especially since Anne seems to remain vital and happy throughout the books, despite having embraced a different path from the career she originally considered.

This Slate article from earlier this month (which I would have linked in the original post if I had seen it yesterday!) has a different viewpoint in the last paragraph:

"The outlines of Anne's life may not resemble the models of feminine success as it's conceived of nowadays. By the series' end, she has put aside her dreams of writing. And she channels into family life a large part of the energy that might have fueled her as an artist. Critics have argued that Anne's choices undermine her status as a "proto-feminist."

But what this argument misses is the inherently progressive nature of Anne's indomitable alertness, whose power is hardly diminished by the fact that she trains it on her children and the world rather than the blank page. She continues to meet, with her full self, mundane contingencies and tragic losses. If this isn't an overtly political stance, it's capable, if properly contemplated, of inspiring one."

It seems pretty amazing that a character written 100 years ago can still inspire such interesting conversations, no?

And thanks, everyone, for being so kind -- this was my first FPP and I was ridiculously nervous about it. :)
posted by chihiro at 2:08 PM on July 30, 2008

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