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Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me: What My Favorite Book Taught Me about Grace, Belonging, and the Orphan in Us All Paperback – September 1, 2015
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I bought this as a gift for a good friend, who liked to say we were kindred spirits like Anne and Diana. We raised daughters at the time the Kevin Sullivan mini-series of the Anne books was being watched by our girls and ourselves. Admiration for Matthew and Marilla was just one of several bonds we shared. My friend eventually moved away but we still keep in touch through birthday gifts of books and other things that remind us of each other. Funny, the author mentions just such gifts that come from a deep, heartfelt knowing of another person in this book.
Lorilee's book has so much good stuff in it: her Mennonite upbringing (you'll love the chapter about the Big Fat Mennonite wedding with its threads of joy, sadness and hilarity), her journey to Korea to get her adopted daughter and to soak up all she could about her daughter's birth land, the heartbreaking stories of her own and her daughter's birth mothers painfully-alone pregnancies, her self-sacrificing adoptive parents and her real-life Gilbert Blythe. Lorilee sees all these things, through the lenses of God's love for the orphan. A valuable perspective to add to the literary memoir.
I adored this book right from the very first page. As the author takes us through her own journey and connections to Anne's story, it made me think of my own. While adoption is not a piece of my story, I think we can all relate to Anne Shirley's struggle to find her place with the people she hoped to love, and she hoped would love her in return. Anne of Green Gables is possibly the very first book that I ever truly fell in love with (certainly Gilbert Blythe was the my very first book boyfriend), and I have always identified with Anne as someone who was never "popular", who disparately yearned for close friends, and as someone who sincerely enjoyed school.
Any Anne of Green Gables fan will love revisiting many anecdotes from the novels, and I also learned more about Lucy Maud Montgomery herself.
The writing in this book is beautiful. The author's stories and prose brought me to the brink of tears multiple times (saved solely because I was reading in public). Chapter 7! This one just pulled at my mama heart so much. And the chapter on Gilbert Blythe/Jonathan Crombie gave me all the feels. All of them. I fell in love with Gilbert all over again and, again, mourned the much too early loss of Jonathan Crombie.
Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter, and Me has filled me with the desire to re-read all of her books, travel back to PEI, and then re-watch all of the movies.
It speaks to the Anne in each of us and importantly illustrates how our favourite redhead is still relevant today. Craker best summarizes one of the key messages in her book when she says,
"Through Anne, Maud speaks volumes about the desire we all have to belong and to matter to the people we love."
And how Anne is still relevant and beloved today.
I enjoyed learning more about Maud. I agree that she spoke truth and in her own way, ministered to people's needs.