How My Childhood Was Not At All Like Anne Of Green Gables

Why Illiteracy Is Sometimes Best

Marisa Demarco
2 min read
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Last week on vacation we stumbled across this funny street sign depicting a dude holding a book with a lightning bolt on the cover. The message was either something like, "Reading will spark your imagination" or "Danger! Books electrocute."

Advocating childrens’ literacy is all the rage. We want them to expand their imaginations and learn, to become empowered by their ability to acquire knowledge. But sometimes children’s literature sets up false expectations.

I’ve read nearly every Nancy Drew novel, including the old-school hardbacks. Never did my examination of "mysteries" result in anything other than the school principal coming to my class to lambaste my petition to "investigate" the gym teacher for making me do push-ups in stickers.

In the
Anne of Green Gables series, Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery writes of a bad-tempered, impetuous and imaginative orphan girl who quickly adapts to her surroundings and is eventually loved by all. The eight books in the series about Anne and her children made it seem as though a big mouth could become an asset, ugly girls all grow beautiful to someone and trials are merely anecdotes to be laughed through.

Of course, I loved them. But life was never quite as idyllic as the one described on Prince Edward Island. Why not blame Canada, eh?

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