Why Isn't Anne Shirley Worth of Huck Finn Status?

Illustration for article titled Why Isn't Anne Shirley Worth of Huck Finn Status?

Many of your editors loved the Anne of Green Gables series when they were younger — and, really, who didn't? She was smart and a bit of a fuck-up but she always tried to do the right thing, made her own family, got an education and snagged the cutest boy in town. Eventually, if you made it all the way through Rilla of Ingleside, she even got to wear pink when her hair went grey. And yet how many of you (outside of Canada, it might be required reading there) actually read it in school? How did a book — eventually a series of books — beloved by even sometimes-Y.A. author Mark Twain not make it into the canon of Things You Must Read? And how many of the books in that canon are about girls?


Look, I'm not going to say my Anne doesn't have her flaws. On the other hand (and I'll admit, this might be my public school education or my age showing), I don't remember reading anything Louisa May Alcott or Noel Streatfeild as part of a reading curriculum, either. Most of what I remember about books in school is that when they were written by women about women or girls, they were modern-day books. But there were plenty of historical books — Twain being a good example — that we were expected to read along with Judy Blume.

Anyway, not that I didn't devour nearly everything by all of those authors (and more) on my own, but it seems to me that plenty of girls could stand a little more Anne in their lives, even if they don't know it yet. Personally, my full set had better still be in a box in my closet when I get home, or my mom is gonna owe me some book money.

100 Candles [Slate]



@athenaswisdom: i reread anne of the island a few times each year. it's my happy book.

@HootieHoo: i LOVED orphan train quartet! joan lowry nixon was a fav of mine—she wrote a lot of other books too. some were mystery/thrillers, and two were awesome books about a girl moving to colorado (the wild west!) in the 1880's. @madamequeen will not let you sleep on the couch: i hate that book. well, i hated it when we had to read it in 8th grade english. i refuse to reread it on principle. another book i hated? the fixer. it's some book about a guy in a russian prison in the early 1900's, and it will make you suicidal. we had to read it for AP english, and we BEGGED our teacher to let us read something happy after it. because it made us all depressed.