This week, I’m remembering books I read during my middle school and high school years. I was incredibly fortunate to have librarians and teachers throughout my education who handed me an incredible array of books that made me think about my own life as well as exposed me to experiences that were vastly different from my own.
But before we get to some of those other life-changing books, I have to start this week with the author who most girls of my age and socio-economic status adored: Lucy Maud Montgomery. I think it’s interesting that, though Anne of Green Gables was published in 1908, her books resurfaced in the 1980’s and 90’s in popularity. My mom doesn’t remember reading the Anne series but I know many women my age who look back on those books as pivotal in their reading journies.
Though Montgomery has written prolifically, the stories I most connected with were the seven Anne of Green Gables books and the Emily of New Moon trilogy. My Anne books are worn with all the rereadings over the years. While I was pregnant with Elle, Frank read the first book aloud and I loved reliving that story, knowing we were about to raise two girls.
I think what I loved most about Anne and Emily is that they leaned into their passions. They struggled with girlhood drama and stresses but their lives weren’t very much like mine. But what I did respond to and hope for was the fact that they knew what they wanted to do and they followed those dreams. Both were writers and, while I didn’t imagine that path for myself when I was a teenager, I knew I wanted to live a creative life. I wanted to follow my dreams and pursue my own dreams with the same hopeful energy.
I haven’t read the Emily books since my high school years but when I reread Anne with Frank, I remember connecting more with Marilla. Perhaps because I was a new mom raising my own feisty daughter, I understood Marilla’s exasperation more than when I was younger. Maybe I need to revisit these books again with the eyes of age and parenthood.
Recently, both the girls watched Canadian miniseries of Anne of Green Gables and I saw a new favorite emerge. Bea has watched it quite a few times now but Elle still talks about the “girl who walked on the roof.” I love that our own inquisitive, intense, spirited daughters will have a literary friend to turn to when they’re a bit older.
Is there a book or series that was published well before you were born that resonated with you, either in your younger years or now?
This post is Day 6 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. You can find the entire series over at my A Literary Life page. Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site.
7 thoughts on “When Literary Friends Teach Life Lessons”
I confess to reading my mom’s entire Nancy Drew collection. But my favorite was Canterbury Tales. I read everything honestly.
Love this! It’s true – I did (and still do!) read nearly anything. That’s what made narrowing all the books down to 23 so difficult! 😉
I didnt realize there is another series. I don’t think I’ve heard of the Emily series before reading your post today.
Oh, I think I like Emily better than Anne… You should definitely keep your eye out for them!
I still have the entire Anne of Green Gables series from my childhood. I absolutely loved them!
I want to reread them this winter…