Life Lessons from Anne with an E

Anne Shirley, aka Anne of Green Gables, is my kindred spirit. Sure, she’s a fictional character, but I feel like she’s been my role model and best friend for years. Author LM Montgomery invented her character in 1908, but Anne is still so modern and relevant for me – I’m always forgetting she’s 103 and I’m 24.

We hang out for hours when I watch the Anne of Green Gables television movie trilogy created in Canada between 1985 and 2002. I believe there are like, 10 hours of Anne between the three and I obviously own them all. The set makes a great gift. If you aren’t willing to make the investment, you can catch them frequently on PBS telethons – although you’ll have to spend the entire day indoors to see all three, which to me is an added benefit of the series.

Here are some life lessons I’ve learned from Anne:

Make the most of your life situation.

Anne Shirley was an orphan. When she finally gets adopted, she finds out it was by mistake. The family (brother and sister Cuthbert) had wanted a boy. She doesn’t let that discourage her and always lives her life with a vibrant imagination. People come from all different types of families or create families made up of the people around them that they care about. The ability to move forward made Anne a strong person.

Additionally, imaginations are incredibly important to me. What I may project as sheer insanity is actually just me continuing to use an imagination and I think that’s perfectly acceptable at any age. I learned this from Anne.

Adults aren’t always right.

Anne had to deal with plenty of nosy and gossipy people in Avonlea. She lived her life with her chin up and did her thang. Adults make mistakes and if Anne ever feels like she’s being taken advantage of by an adult who should just mind their own business, she tells them. You better believe I’m all about that. It’s pathetic when you encounter an adult with less maturity than you have, but it happens all the time.

Learn to love your weave.

Anne has some crazy red hair, giving her the nickname “carrots”. She often imagined she’d awake to a head full of hair that was raven black but like, that wasn’t happening. She even dyed her hair once but it turned green.

The thickness of my hair is my problem. I think I have the hair of about 5 normal people on my head. It’s so bizarre and I nearly pass out every time I blow-dry. However, I’ve accepted the fact that hairstylists are not going to be my BFF like other women because they are to exhausted by the process of highlighting, cutting and blow-drying my hair. That’s fine, I hate small talk anyway.

Strong writing is an important and powerful skill.

Anne excelled in academics and was at the top of her class. She worked hard and had an accomplished educational career for a girl during her time period. Outside of academia, Anne was passionate about writing. It became an excellent outlet for her to channel her imagination and wild thoughts.

I love to write and always will. Whether it be creative stories, blogging, sketch comedy – it’s all therapeutic and a great creative outlet. Anne taught me how powerful writing can be for yourself and for those around you.

Look for a man like Gilbert Blythe.

Don’t ask about this photo of me and Gil (you can make your own here.) Instead, focus on Gilbert. He is perfect: incredibly sassy, romantic, smart and adores Anne. I also value his persistence.

Anne is a strong and independent girl and most guys around her just don’t cut it. Gil was Anne’s soulmate. I like how he can handle Anne’s bold personality and I love that they challenge each other. I’m serious here – they are my favorite fictional couple. I think a lot of guys date girls that are wet blankets because they don’t like to be challenged. Not Gilbert.

Hopefully, these lessons from Anne will be inspirational. Let me know if you have others to share and if you haven’t seen those three movies- track them down.

Kindred Spirits 4 Life,

PS. I need to go visit Prince Edward Island soon.

Images via,,,, and

  • Maria Gorre

    Anne of Green Gables was my first and still is my favorite hero.

  • Emily Parker

    i can’t believe there ARE other people out there who adore her as much as i do:) another lesson for me: the importance of that female best friend. Anne+Diana=BFF’s, obvi.

  • Grace Vaitilingam

    OH MY GOSH I LOVE THIS. Anne was always the one character I looked up to in the literary world. :)

  • Stephanie Rudolph

    The movies were great, yeah, but I fell in love with the books. I had all eight (yes, eight!) in a boxed set and read them over and over. Throughout her life Anne was a joy to read about, and always a great role model. Even when she has her own kids, it’s fun to see how she’s grown and pick up tips about what kind of woman/wife/mother it’s possible to be.

  • Brittany Woodell

    I totally just downloaded Anne of Green Gables on my kindle (for free, might I add). I haven’t read it or watched the movies since I was a kid.

  • Emily Koenig

    Anne was my favorite growing up. I have read all the books more times than I’m willing to admit! She was the first literary character that inspired me to grow up to be a writer. And when times get tough (doesn’t it always seem to when you are a senior in college and will need a ‘real’ job soon) it helps to look to my childhood and know that imagination and passion are all it takes to change the world.

  • Mia Kochka

    I own all of the books and love re-reading them whenever I’m feeling down. She’s such a powerful and inspirational character.

  • Cassi Hess

    The best day of my life was when my ten year old sister (who was previously a twilight fanatic) came up to me and told me that Edward was a jerk, and she wanted a boyfriend like Gilbert Blythe. This post is aces.

    • Anonymous

      God help me, I put aside a whole aftnoeron to figure this out.

    • Anonymous

      i604ix hfxkeybwcvkd

  • Katy Ivey Day

    I watch these movies every summer! It’s tradition for me to fall in love with Gil at least once a year.

  • Amy Schramm

    very nice! I so adore Anne too!

  • Carrie Murphy

    i love anne! the books were great. the emily books by l.m. montgomery meant more to me than the anne books, actually, but both were awesome.

    and can i get a hell yeah for laura ingalls wilder?

    also, you guys need a way to comment with twitter!

    • Dana Boone

      Um yes! Little House on the Prairie was the first girl series I concurred. Almanzo may be slightly better than Gilbert Blythe if only for the fact that he was real and played by a demi-god in the Michael Landon TV version :)

  • Cara Jarvis Worley

    Gilbert Blythe was my first love, hands down, no contest. I loved these movies and characters so deeply, I remember using Anne as an example in a writing composition on a standardized test in 9th grade! I received a high score. Anne will always be an intricate part of my preteen/young teen years, and let’s face it, I’m 33, and I still want her as my bestie. Thanks for reminding me of how much I need to watch those movies again.

  • Rebecca Eve Schweitzer

    One of the best slumber parties I ever attended was an all-night Anne of Green Gables movie marathon. I love Anne with an E.

  • Shauna Herman

    I didn’t discover Anne until I was married and pregnant with my second child. I have all the books and movies and read and watch over and over :)

  • Mary Elizabeth Cancilla

    I love Anne and have read the books more times than I can count! I actually just got out the third book yesterday, the one where she goes to college. I’m off for my sophomore year of college in just a few days, and I wanted Anne to be with me. And yes, previous commenter, hell yeah for Laura Ingalls Wilder! They were actually in my life before Anne; I learned to read with those books. My mom and I read them together when I was 5 or 6. And now I live about 15 minutes away from her home in Mansfield, MO. :)

  • Hannah Greene

    Do not, I repeat DO NOT watch the third film. The first two are absolutely perfect and the third will destroy all joy. Seriously. As far as I’m concerned that third film does not exist.

    • Caitlin Fitzgibbons

      This is true, but like you still have to watch it at least once just to see how the story ends. It’s like the Godfather 3.

    • Lauren Semple Stroman

      AGREED wholeheartedly! that’s ok, i just pretend in my head that someday they’ll fix it and resume in the right place–Ingleside!

  • Karen Maria Hickey

    What a lovely post! I have lived on Prince Edward Island my entire life. Needless to say, we are all about Anne! You should definitely plan a visit! I recommend July or August because that is when Cavendish (aka- Avonlea) is at it’s prettiest.
    It’s always nice to find Anne Shirley groupies. She is an epic redhead, there is no denying!

    • Mora Thompson

      I went to PEI this year and although there wasn’t a Lake of Shining Waters, there was plenty of scope for the imagination!

  • Dana Boone

    I have gone so far as to read the books that occur after Anne and Gilbert are married. SPOILER ALERT: they have like 20 kids.

  • Wilma Faye Inocencio

    i need to have an Anne of Green Gables marathon soon! I haven’t seen the movies in awhile, and i’ve read the books over and over again since the 6th grade :)

    • Anonymous

      Econoimes are in dire straits, but I can count on this!

  • Lily Db

    so lovely! I reed this books and this story is amazing, one of my favorites 😀
    I love Gilbert too… he is not a coward! 😀

    • Anonymous

      So that’s the case? Quite a reevltaoin that is.

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