The column Identity Books is a series of letters to books that have influenced the author greatly in her experience in life. The first one is focused on a character from the novel “Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Montgomery.
Dear Anne Shirley-Cuthbert,
You are a symbol of my literary childhood. Your imagination, creativity, enthusiasm and old-soul, flowery diction and speech, have given me a reflection of my childhood.
Of course, I didn’t have beautiful, expressive monologue bursting with energy and life at its very seams. But I had — and still have — that old-soul way of thinking, the creativity shining through little cracks of my shell in day-to-day life.
You embody the ideal bosom friend who would spend two hours carefully picking out the perfect nature-based birthday present in the wild, having previously spent an hour searching for the top ten choices, then half an hour chattering away to the trees and flowers and then forgetting completely until the current state of your dirty dress, dripping and heavy from the stream and scratched by the tiny claws of gnarly branches from apple trees, and the missing status of a green hair ribbon from climbing said trees, finally remind you of the reason you were outside in the first place.
In a way, you are a lot like me.
I was insecure when I was younger. Unsure of myself. You are my thought and identity process that took place between me then and me now. Your growth reflects my growth in life.
How often have I thumbed through your book?
The spine is lovingly and cruelly bent from numerous different angles. They remind me of the refractions of the sun’s light beaming at the world at dawn through the thin binding line of nowhere between the sky and the snow-capped mountain tops.
You are a literature fanatic. A lover of nature and the environment. The loyal, cheerful friend (although I don’t constantly spout ideas and impulsive acts upon them like you do).
You are talkative, the chatterbox (although I am only like that with those I am truly comfortable with). You are a fresh ray of life and love, changing the lives of Marilla and Matthew, your guardians (I have no idea if I measure up to such a compliment).
You are competitive and strong-minded, unafraid to push yourself and to win the respect of everyone around you (and your future husband too, thinking about it).
You’re intelligent. In a way, a feminist too. Mature. Confident. Powerful. Selfless. You are not afraid to speak up.
You are humble, at times. You are frightfully insecure about your looks and your gorgeous fiery pigtails (neither “issue” I am afflicted with). You are the one and only Anne of Green Gables.
Thank you for being an inspiration to me and other avid readers with a ponderous attitude, a thirst for knowledge and a voracious appetite for books.
May you and your marvelous book receive the attention and respect it deserves. Stay you. And bless your guardians for taking you in in the first place and cultivating that fire of a spirit of yours.