Children’s classic Anne of Green Gables is remembered for many reasons, one of the principal ones being poor Anne Shirley’s struggles with her red hair. Now fans of the book (and this red-haired writer) are angry about a new cover for an anthology of the Anne books that depicts the central character as a sexy farm girl in a plaid shirt with BLONDE hair.
ABOVE: The new look Anne of Green Gables, as envisaged by CreateSpace
The anthology, which includes Anne of Green Gables and its two immediate sequels Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island, is due to be published in November by a self-publisher called CreateSpace. Fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s books are flocking to Amazon to write one-star reviews and demand that Anne remains ginger.
ABOVE: More traditional versions of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s heroine
Here’s why we know the cover is all wrong:
• Anne’s hair colour, obviously.
• The first book was published in 1908 and set in the same period. Anne’s wardrobe consisted of poplin dresses, Sunday bonnets and, after her adoptive guardian Matthew Cuthbert insists, a puffed sleeve dress made of “a lovely soft brown gloria”. Not flannel shirts, not at all.
• Anne, as a nice young lady, didn’t do much field work. Her chores took place in the house and farmyard. Lounging on bales of hay would not have been encouraged.
• “Anne Shirley, what have you done to your hair? Why it’s GREEN!” When poor Anne does try to dye her hair she aims for black (like her friend Diana Barry) but ends up with green. She has to have her long, thick curls shorn away, suffers taunts from Avonlea mean girl Josie Pye about “looking like a perfect scarecrow” and a lecture from Marilla about the wickedness of vanity.
What next? Laura Ingalls dressed as Daisy Duke?