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February 01, 2021
Hello! I’m Jenna Goldsmith and I’m from Newmarket Ontario, Canada.
I’ve lived in Ontario for all of my 27 years, growing up in Newmarket, studying English Literature and History at Trent University in Peterborough, then coming home to Newmarket after graduation. I also have a Post-Graduate certificate in creative writing from Humber College. If it’s not clear by my education, I love books and reading. By day, I work for a pet sitting and dog walking company, but by night, I’m a writer who’s working on a novel. On the side, I also own a small online bookshop—The Littlest Online Bookshop.
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know about Anne of Green Gables and I received my first copy of the novel—which I still have—as a small child. Even before I could read it myself, I was immersed in Avonlea and Prince Edward Island at a very young age. In 2002, my family took a vacation to Prince Edward Island, where, of course, we visited Green Gables and several different L.M. Montgomery landmarks.
But, my passion for the books didn’t really spark until I graduated from university. I was just starting my first job after moving back home, my big dreams and ambitions for what I was going to do post-grad were coming back to earth and I was feeling a little disillusioned. Everything changed when I listened to the—very well done—audiobook version of Anne of Green Gables, narrated by the lovely Rachel McAdams. Getting back into the world of Avonlea and reintroducing myself to Anne Shirley was a bit of a refresh for me.
Suddenly, I was reminded to appreciate the little beauties in life; the first sprouting of flowers in the garden after the frosts of winter melted away, the way the trees sway in the wind, the feeling of seeing a friend after an absence.
What I love about Anne, more than I did as a child, is her ability to find beauty in everything and to let herself relish in it.
Her childlike wonder for the world, even as she grew up into adulthood, never faltered, which was so important for me to see as someone who was facing my own sudden adulthood. She reminded me it’s okay to be whimsical and silly sometimes and to never forget the power of imagination.
What I’ve taken away from reading Anne of Green Gables then— and all the times I’ve read it since — is acceptance of myself, fierce loyalty to those I love, gratitude for this amazing world we live in, and that a good imagination is something to value. Anne is fully herself at all times and holds strong to her values while staying optimistic and dedicated to getting the most out of life. I may not be an 11-year-old Victorian orphan from Prince Edward Island, but I’ve since rediscovered a child-like wonder about my own little world.
I read—or listen—to the Anne of Green Gables series whenever I need my spirits lifted, usually once a year at least. L.M. Montgomery has become a serious inspiration for me, as I’m also reading her journals, and in my writing. Her descriptions are so immersive and, to use an “Anne word,” delicious to read.
In late June 2019, I took another pilgrimage to PEI to revisit all the Anne of Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery monuments—this time with more reverence. It was there I began handwriting the novel I’m writing now, as I let the sea breezes and beautiful scenery inspire me and fill me with my own story.
I’ve even taken my Anne obsession so far as to dye my hair red. Naturally, my hair is a medium brown, but I’ve always felt an affinity for redheads. And, as someone who has an Anne-like temper that sometimes gets the better of me, red hair seems to suit me.
Now, I have collected three copies of Anne of Green Gables and some of the rest of the series, including a paperback set for reading, the Kindred Spirits edition of AoGG, and a set of 1940s vintage copies of Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, and Chronicles of Avonlea. My dream would be to own a first edition someday if I ever have the money to afford it. For now, my small and well cared for collection is enough.
I think Anne Shirley will always be a big part of my life, and to quote Anne herself: “I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. […] I wonder how the road beyond it goes—what there is of green glory and soft, checkered light and shadows—what new landscapes—what new beauties—what curves and hills and valleys further on."
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