Looking for Anne of Green Gables: The Life and Times of L.M. Montgomery

Irene Gammel, Author . St. Martin's $26.95 (312p) ISBN 978-0-312-38237-7

Anne of Green Gables may be one of the most beloved of books, selling more than 50 million copies since it was first published 100 years ago. But according to Ryerson, a Canadian scholar and co-chair of the L.M. Montgomery Institute, Anne's creator was both secretive and “an emotional and forceful advocate of her own legend.” So Ryerson seeks out the truth about Montgomery and the writing of her novel, including the possible sources for Anne Shirley, a high-spirited, irrepressibly optimistic, redheaded Canadian orphan. Among Anne's antecedents were the bestselling Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and a proliferation of stories and poems about orphan girls named Ann, such as James Whitcomb Riley's popular nursery rhyme “Little Orphan Annie,” based on a girl orphaned during the Civil War. Montgomery's fear of aging and outsider status as a motherless child brought up by aging grandparents also fed into her image of Anne as did her adopted cousin Ellen Macneill, also an orphan. But this lackluster study won't find many takers beyond Montgomery scholars and rabid Anne Shirley fans. 16 pages of color photos. (July)

Reviewed on: 05/19/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Paperback - 312 pages - 978-0-312-38238-4
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-4574-5
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!