well, she's not really my friend, but I would hope that if she were real she would think of me as a "kindred spirit." I met her when I was 10. Mom bought Anne of Green Gables and my sisters and mom and I all took turns reading it. we passed it around and giggled together about green hair and Gilbert. over the next couple of months we searched every bookstore we went to for the next book in the series. I think I was 14 when I we finally finished collecting all eight. Anne was part of my akward teenage years. I think she helped ground me.
now the first time through, it was hard to read the middle books. 12 year old girls really don't have as much connection with the grown up Anne. Once they got back to Anne's children, I was back in the swing, loving it all. Strong good Jem, wise Walter, silly, vain Rilla. I loved all their adventures.
Over the years, I've gone back and reread the books. I always forget about Davy and Dora until I'm reading Anne of Avonlea again. I always get mad at Anne for telling Gilbert no the first time he asks in Anne of the Island. Silly girl, everyone else knows, how can she not know?! I always read quickly through Anne of Windy Poplars because it's my least favorite (I only read it for the sake of Little Elizabeth and Rebecca Dew.) I always cry for poor Joyce in House of Dreams. Oh but the tears I shed in Rilla of Ingleside! The first time I read that book I knew I had to name one of my girls Marilla. I had to.
I'm rereading them again. Right now I'm skimming quickly through Windy Poplars, enjoying more this time that previous reads. i think because Im getting older. The older I get the more I understand the older Anne. Sure she's only 23 at the end of the book, but she's still dealing with adult problems. She's still Anne. there are days when I wish I could climb up the little steps to her big bed and sit in her tower room while the wind blows and share confidences with her. her little stove would be lit and Rebecca Dew would check to be sure we were comfortable. I would bring her a nice pen nib so she could have one that wasn't scratchy or dull.
I used to imagine a lot as a little girl. I haven't done that much as an adult, not much more than seeing things in corners in the middle of the night. Anne reminds me that imagination is for imagining beautiful things. For dreaming, for hoping.
Have you met my friend Anne? you really should.