By Mary Teck
I have always considered myself an avid reader. Through the years there have been times when my reading slowed down, or even stopped altogether, but deep down I truly love to read –it is part of who I am. Looking back, I can see how certain books influenced the way I view the world, and have formed me as much or more than the people or experiences in my real life. The book that has had the greatest effect on me is also the one that started me on my lifelong reading obsession when I was ten years old. Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery, began for me a journey on which I am still traveling.
I was introduced to Anne when I was ten years old, and fell in love with her story, her life, and Prince Edward Island in general. I worked my way through all eight books in the Anne series, and the love of reading was sparked in me. L. M. Montgomery’s enchanting, flowing writing captured me and filled my mind and spirit with beauty. Reading Montgomery’s books gave me the hunger to read more, and for the next five years all my free time was spent reading. Through all that reading, though, I was still faithful to the friend who started it all, and as a “wise” 10-year-old, I decided that although I just wanted to read the Anne books over and over again, I would get bored with them if I read them too often. So I made the plan to re-read the whole series every five years, but not at all in between. It was hard those first few years not to pick them up again, but I held fast and didn’t read them again until I was fifteen. It was worth the wait! Every five years I pick them up again with excitement, and each time I enjoy them just as much as I ever have. As I get older, it gives me something to look forward to on those milestone birthdays!
Anne walked with me through that early age of development, and was an excellent guide. As I consider the role models girls are supposed to look up to today, I see such an “in your face” manner full of aggression and almost a chip-on-your shoulder attitude. Anne, however, is spunky and strong without being obnoxious or aggressive – “Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing”. She is bright and ambitious, but also respectful and kind. She has plenty of faults, but always strives to be better – “But have you noticed something encouraging about me, Marilla? I never make the same mistake twice”. Although I have a quiet, reserved personality that is so different from Anne, I could still relate to her and admire so many of her qualities – “She had looked her duty courageously in the face and found it a friend – as duty ever is when we meet it frankly.” Anne gives girls a positive, genuine, and character enriching model to follow and grow up into.
In this Well-Read Mom ‘Year of the Pilgrim’ I have been thinking of Anne again, and how she continues to walk with me on the pilgrimage of my life on earth. Although Anne of Green Gables is the most well-known book of the series, Anne’s story spans eight books and follows her through childhood, young adulthood, marriage and children, and even seeing her children grow up. As I grow older and experience marriage and children, I find myself still able to relate to Anne and her life, and find her a continual friend on this journey.
Mary Teck is happy to be re-kindling her love of reading by working on the Well-Read Mom team. She lives in Ironton, MN with her husband and three little ones. Besides reading, she loves cooking Belizean food for her Belizean husband, playing piano, and getting involved in her parish.