There are few authors whose names trigger an instant, irrepressible response. They cause our hearts to balloon with emotion, waves of nostalgia to ebb and flow over our memory-filled souls, and they motivate our minds to recall the exact moment when we first read their words. There’s no doubt about it: Lucy Maud Montgomery has earned her place amongst such novelists.
Today would have been Montgomery’s 141st birthday and, to celebrate her on this day, Google fashioned not just one doodle for her – but several. Thanks to illustrator Olivia Huynh, each digital work of art pays homage to the literary world’s cherished Anne of Green Gables series. In her collection of vibrant, sentimental creations, Huynh perfectly captures the essence of Anne Shirley’s dynamic world.
Just like Anne herself, L.M. Montgomery lived a formidable life. For many years, the writer faced rejection after several publishers turned her down and she ended up storing Anne of Green Gables in a hat box for two years. Then, in 1907, the author persevered, pulled her manuscript out, and decided to try again. One year later, in 1908, the novel was published and 19,000 copies were sold during the first five months of its printed genesis.
After she released her novel, the writer continued to establish her spot on many a historical timeline. Namely, Montgomery was the first Canadian woman to be appointed a member of the British Royal Society of Arts. She also became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. To add to these incredible feats, the author proceeded to prove that the word woman isn’t synonymous with inferior when she was one of the few women who pursued higher education during the late 19th century. By 1903, Montgomery earned an annual salary of $500, which was an unheard of sum for women at that point in time.
Through her writing, Montgomery won over the hearts of countless fellow writers. Mark Twain was a fan of Anne of Green Gables and once said that Anne is “the dearest and most lovable child in fiction” since Lewis Carroll’s Alice. In 2008, Margaret Atwood expressed her love for Anne Shirley by dedicating an entire essay to the classic narrative. She writes about how, as Anne continues on her life’s path, she selflessly encourages Marilla Cuthbert to sustain her own metamorphosis. Atwood writes, “Anne is the catalyst who allows the crisp, rigid Marilla to finally express her long-buried softer human emotions.” (Now if that isn’t a beautiful representation of sisterhood, then we don’t know what is.)
Not only did the iconic Anne Shirley support other book-based characters – she also supported Montgomery. As the writer encountered various obstacles in her personal life, she lived vicariously through Anne, but she also addressed her own misadventures by incorporating them into her writings. Because of this, she gave us a realistic protagonist who represents both life’s light and life’s darkness.
Overall, Anne of Green Gables is one book we’re happy to re-read and today’s Google Doodle serves as the perfect inspiration to do so. But first, we’d like to glorify this L.M. Montgomery quote because it makes us bubble over with positivity:
[Images via Google]