Tag Archives: Anne of Green Gables

#TheGreatAmericanRead “What we do for Love” Episode #4, #PBS

You can guess by the title of this current episode, that we’re talking about books where love features heavily. And it’s not just romantic love either. There’s love of family, love of country. There’s even love of self.

The books listed fall into different categories of love, starting with love that’s not exactly of the normal definition.

  1. Destructive love. In these books, we see what the protagonist thinks of as love, can be something else entirely. From obsession to unrequited to leaving the love of your life,  these loves fall on the darker side of the emotion. Americanah, Looking for Alaska and the Great Gatsby are part of this category.  Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t think Jay Gatsby is just a little left of stable, mentally? He is so obsessed with Daisy he remakes himself into something he isn’t just so he will fit into the man-mold he thinks she wants. Ultimately and too late, he realizes how destructive that love is. Unrequited love is the major theme in Look For Alaska, John Green’s Debut YA Novel. The story concerns Miles and a classmate of his, the out-of-his-league Alaska. Americanah is told from a Nigerian immigrant’s perspective and deals with coming to a new country and leaving a first love behind.
3. My favorite category, of course, is romantic love and the two books listed, Pride and Prejudice and Gone With The Wind are my two favorite books of all time, as anyone who is a frequent reader of my blog knows! Pride and Prejudice set the tone and example for what a romantic novel should be almost 3oo years ago. Jane Austen quite literally redefined the blueprint of the romance book. And, like Little Women, the protagonist is a second sister. Independent, outspoken, opinionated Elizabeth Bennet is Fitzwilliam Darcy’s foil on every level. Or is she? That’s the crux of their story. This may be the first enemies to lovers trope written and it is still at the top of the heap.
Mitchell’s GWTW tells the tale of another independent and opinionated woman, Scarlett O’Hara, but where most people who have seen the movie think Rhett Butler was the love of her life, they’d be wrong. Which is why, in my mind, the book is always better than the movie. Hands down. Scarlett’s one real, enduring love is her home, Tara. Keeping it is the motivator in almost all of her actions and thoughts, something the book details way better than the movie ever could.
4. The last “Love” category explored was the Enduring love story, or the love that lasts eternally. Some of the choices here were a bit odd to me, but when delved into, do deserve to be here. They include Call of the Wild, The Notebook and (another fav of mine) Anne of Green Gables.
Call Of the Wild tells -at its  basic level – the story of a man and his dog – and how that love they have for each other endures even when one of them dies. While I am not a Nicholas Sparks fan, the Notebook does a good job of showing how, when you love someone, you will go through all the trials and fires of life with them and still love them even when they don’t remember who you are.
Anne Shirley is another of those protagonists who just settles into you heart from the first page. By her shear love of life, living, and people, she turns a sour, dour spinster who doesn’t even want Anne, into a woman who is devoted to Anne entirely. This book covers all aspects of love, from family to friendship, to romantic love, and enduring love. It’s a great book!!
 
This documentary series has been so wonderful to watch and learn from, I sincerely hope you catch it when it’s aired or watch it on demand or on-line later. Since it’s so much easier for me to speak than write – go figure!- I’ll be giving a facebook Live talk this afternoon on my FB author page at 2pm EST of you want to join in and discuss some of these books. Here’s my link: Peggy Jaeger, Author Hope you can join me.
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So, who was your first FICTIONAL crush?

With the advent of boy bands, teen heart throbs, and movie bigger than life superheros, do any young girls-commonly called TWEENS- read nowadays? Other than the Twilight series, I mean? I remember vividly, long summer days spent on my bed or on a blanket at the beach, reading book after book. Summer was my favorite time as a tween because it meant no reading list from school. I could read what I wanted, when I wanted. I binged read Nancy Drew Mysteries like people binge watch on-demand television shows these days.

My first ever fictional school girl crush was Brian Beldon from the Trixie Beldon books. Trixie, a pre teen  like me, had two brothers, the oldest of who was Brian. Jet black hair and a winning grin, Brian wanted to be a **sigh** doctor. He was frequently the voice of almost-grown-up reason when Trixie got caught in her hair-brained snooping mysteries and I just thought he was “it” for me. I had no real-life boyfriends until I graduated from college, ( I know: late bloomer!) so I had to live vicariously through my fictional one.

And of course, this got me to thinking: Who are some of the most popular and beloved boyfriends in fiction. This could potentially be a hot button issue because true fans are devoted to the boys they feel are the absolute best, so here goes. In no best-to-least-best order

All these  boyfriends are good guys, do-gooders, love their girls, and treat them well. They love their girls so much they put up with mood shifts, dangerous jobs, evil warlocks and vampires, societal restrictions, financial setbacks, and even terminal cancer.

But through all the foibles and follies of dating, the end result is they simply love, support, and respect their girls.

What more could you ask for from a boyfriend?

So. Who was your first fictional crush?

 

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Here’s to Dads…everywhere. Real and fictional

We live in a society that for some reason values LISTS. My Google search this lovely father’s day morning was for the BEST DADS IN LITERARY FICTION. I had upward of 20,000 links I could have clicked on to. I chose a random 1o, and from those I whittled the names down to the dads who showed up on each list. I must admit, I was impressed – but not really surprised.

1. Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockinbird. I’ll admit this even though it’s embarrassing, but I don’t know a great deal about Harper Lee’s background. I don’t know if this fictional father was based on her own, someone she knew, or a total compilation of her imagination of what she wanted in a father, but Atticus Finch, for me, is it. If I could have personally ordered a dad from God, this is the man I would have selected. Calm, patient, kind, smart, fair…the descriptors could go on and on, but the aspect  of Atticus Finch that I took away from the book was his incredible sense of morality and Godliness. He not only believes all men are equal, he lives and breathes it. He walks the walk, talks the talk, and backs up when he says with his every action. This, this, is the man I would have gladly thanked God for daily, if he were my father.

2. Mr. Bennett, Pride and Prejudice. Some people describe him as a sad-sack, a man married to a harpy who disappears from the world to his solitary library whenever the pressures of his wife, daughters, and life in general get too hard for him. Well, maybe that’s true. But it can not be denied Mr. Bennett loves his daughters and simply adores his second girl Lizzy. My favorite line- hands down-he delivers to Lizzy is this, and it shows how much he truly values her not only as a daughter, but as a woman as well: “I can not believe that anyone can deserve you.”  Call him what you will, but the man loves his daughter to no end.

3. Matthew Cuthbert, Anne Of Green Gables. While not exactly, biologically her father, Matthew is the first male during Anne’s formative young life who shows her kindness, acceptance, and ultimately the unconditional love of a “father.” It’s not often you read or hear of a confirmed, lifelong bachelor, set in his ways, who has an orphan thrust upon him and learns how to be a better person for it.  As Anne tells him, they are kindred spirits who found each other among all the people in the world.

After writing this, I realized the men listed above all had daughters. (Atticus had a son as well, but the book is Scout’s.)Maybe the reason why I am not surprised these three are top rated is because I am a daughter as well, and what daughter wouldn’t want a father with all the qualities of character these men possess. To be loved unconditionally; to be valued as a person; to be treated with respect and love in equal parts; to be guided through and into life; and to know there is always, always, someone right there who will protect, love and support you, is tantamount to my thought of the perfect person.

On this day we celebrate our fathers, the men who would be dads, and the special men who are as close to being fathers as can get, take a moment and think about what your dad means or meant to you. What qualities made him the man he is(or was) and for what kind of man do you think he would like to be remembered.

And then…call him, talk to him, give him a physical or spiritual hug. But most of all, acknowledge all he has done for you, simply because you are his little girl.

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