Friday Fiction – Anne of Green Gables

Series: Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green Gables (series)
Anne of the Island, Anne of Ingleside, and Further Chronicles of Avonlea
1915, 1939, and 1920 (original publication dates)

Submitter: 25 – 30 years ago, my mom sometimes worked a shift at a tiny branch library near our home. The whole family has since moved away, but a few days ago we did a road trip and visited old friends, and we stopped by the lovely new branch library that has replaced the tiny old one. While browsing along the YA shelves, I was stunned to see these books, sad remnants of the entire series that once lived on the shelves. As a kid, I frequently saw these exact volumes and marveled at their ugliness. They were old and hideous then, and were probably largely responsible for my reluctance to read anything Anne-ish. (Jonathan Crombie later changed my mind, and I read them many times over — in new paperback editions!). I can’t BELIEVE these books are still there. Somebody chose to pack them up and move them to the new branch! And clearly, new generations of young readers are still refusing to pick them up, because they aren’t worn out YET.

Holly: Wow! They really should replace these with newly published copies with modern-looking covers. A brand-new, squeaky-clean library branch deserves some shiny new classics. These have what Mary calls “mom stink” on them. Anything mom loved or that looks like it came from mom’s era is an automatic no-go for some kids. Depending on the publication date of these copies, they might be collector’s items! In other words, inappropriate for your basic public library teen collection where they will not be carefully handled.


  1. My 1964 paperback edition of Jean Webster’s Daddy-Long-Legs has the exact same cover photo as this Anne of Ingleside does. All this time I thought my book cover depicted a scene from an elusive Daddy-Long-Legs movie that I could never track down.

    1. It must have been a lucrative year for the model. Alas, the only DLL movie even half worth seeing is the silent with Mary Pickford. (The “half” in question is the second half, which follows the book pretty closely. The first half is Mary Pickford exercising her obsession with playing children … at age 27.)

      But oh! What ugly covers! They’d do better in plain generic library binding. To think that a publisher spent money putting out these hideous hardcovers.

  2. For me, the one and only Anne is Megan Follows. Period. Don’t give me an other face, I won’t buy it ;o)

      1. Yes. Loved that series! Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth, Megan Fellowes…beautiful frame to frame.

    1. Same. Even the new Anne series on Netflix doesn’t interest me because I just don’t like the look of the new Anne.

      1. You’re doing yourself a disservice if you ignore the new series simply because Amybeth McNulty (the latest Anne) doesn’t look like Megan Follows. I’d argue that the new actress (no beauty and decidedly gawky) is closer to L. M. Montgomery’s description of the character than Megan was. My daughter has loved the books and the original series since she was nine or ten (she’s 26 now); she very much enjoyed the new take on the story. Coincidentally, my daughter was visiting this evening to pack up some remaining stuff to take to her new apartment; something she definitely did not want to leave behind was her set of Anne books.

        1. I watched the the entire first season of Anne with an E. It should have come with a notice “Loosely based on the characters from the Anne of Green Gables books.” The story deviated from the books vwry early in the first episode. Very dark and not endearing. The young actress was fine. Just not my favorite

        2. As an avid Green Gables fan , someone who has visited Prince Edward Island and Cavendish, I love Anne of Green Gables. Amybeth McNulty reflects remarkable maturity and tremendous acting chops; she’s simply following what her director requires in terms of bringing “Anne” to the small screen. But agreed! The new Netflix series “Anne with E” IS decidely awful. It makes Anne appear psychotic (schizophrenic) and certainly someone who would put “strychnine in the well.” My youngest son, also a Green Gables fan, and I have decided not to continue watching the series. It ruins the classic Megan Follows Anne of Green Gables.

        3. I don’t know… a lot of the episodes were just putting the people of Avonlea through stock sitcom plots.

        4. The new Anne is wonderful. Matthew is as touching as Farnsworth. McNulty is a great Anne. I predict she will be a beauty. Hope they get more seasons. Give it a chance!

          1. I agree. We already had a more sanitized Anne with the excellent Megan Fallows series, so this new interpretation on Netflix is most welcome. It’s definitely dark, but also incredibly well done. The only thing I feel is lacking is the song on the opening credits, which feels out of place.

            1. The song is “Ahead by a Century” by the Tragically Hip, a huge Canadian band that last year embarked on their farewell tour as the lead singer is battling brain cancer. The last concert of the tour was televised live and all of Canada came to a standstill to watch it (many cities broadcast it in local parks, arenas, and downtown areas so people could watch it collectively as a group). For Canadians the song is significant but I can see how it would feel out of place, especially with the accompanying surreal graphics. Definitely not the Hagood Hardy music from the Sullivan (Megan Follows) series.

        5. I have my occasional issues with the script of the new Anne series, but the casting is perfect. Especially Amybeth McNulty – she’s to Anne Shirley what David Suchet is to Hercule Poirot.

  3. I never thought I’d see books by what had to be the greatest Canadian author who ever lived on this site, even if it’s mainly about the poor, superficially outdated condition they’re in. 🙁

    1. This isn’t the first time – there’s another from some time ago about a beat-up paperback.

  4. When my daughter was a pre-teen, “Anne of Green Gables” was the first book series she got into (she somehow missed out on Harry Potter). She absolutely loved the TV series that was on in the early 1990s. It’s definitely one of those “evergreen” series that is worth the investment for future generations.

  5. Yes, replace these with new editions. They clearly are not original editions. The cover photos look mid-century. Toss these and get something that appeals visually so kids will pick them up.

  6. The whole “Anne” series is wonderful. I’d hate to think kids aren’t reading them because the covers are ugly. Have they released an edition for the new TV series? (I’m never giving up my personal copy with Megan Follows on the cover, but if the younger generation needs something more updated to start reading L.M. Montgomery, I’m not going to object if the library buys them.)

  7. A classic YA book series, Anne of Green Gables reflects a simpler, gentler time and therefore should be untouchable. Clearly, there are always dissenters. That’s okay. The fan base is there and will always be there. Visit PEI and meet Lucy Maud Montgomery’s descendants, learn about her life from her own journals and her own family; this will provide a backdrop like no magazine article could ever provide. Netflix has desecrated a classic in its new series “Anne with a E”.

    1. People aren’t saying libraries should junk all their Montgomery, though. They’re saying these are really bad editions if you want patrons to actually read the books.

    2. It pays to upgrade to new, well-illustrated editions of this classic. Let’s entice those young Netflix devotees to read the actual books and discover the REAL Anne. It might not happen if all you’ve got are these tired 70s covers that make Anne look like she played a bit part in Room 222!

  8. A lot of ugly books I can get over because you don’t see the cover while you are reading. But I can practically smell the must coming off these through the screen.

  9. Mid-century book covers confuse me… they often didn’t even try to photograph *or draw* period costume. My mum’s Georgette Heyers are like that too… the story is Regency but the drawn cover models are wearing 60s outfits!

  10. It seems foolish to me to try to make classic books look “relevant” to contemporary readers by putting this kind of dumb cover on them. If one actually reads the book, it soon becomes clear that the cover photo is completely anachronistic. I would prefer the original. And if it was something my mother might have read, no problem. I raided my parents’ bookcases for reading matter, starting in about the fourth grade — later, I noticed that some of the more adult titles (such as “Native Son” by Richard Wright) were gone, but they were too late: I had already read them. And I was given all the books my parents had saved from their childhoods, and loved them. My mother’s were probably predictable — Louisa May Alcott’s works, etc. — but my father’s were special: “Little Lord Fauntleroy” in a sumptuous red and gold binding and “Beautiful Joe.” A box got lost in a move and I’ve never seen that particular Fauntleroy, but I finally found another copy of the same edition of “Beautiful Joe.

  11. I have very happy memories of these versions, was sad to see this post. I loved the books in all versions past & present…at a young age these photos probably helped me & others relate to these timeless books. Funny how your own memories reference things “vintage” & “antique” over time!

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