Submitted by mojo on
Okay, while I COULD go on a long complainy rant about everything wrong with ANNE WITH AN E—Netflix’s determined effort to destroy ANNE OF GREEN GABLES—I will instead use this time and space to once more laud the comic genius of Marilla, Anne’s adopted…. well, I guess technically since she adopted Anne that would make her her mother, although that never felt exactly right; more like her Moral Guidance Counselor and Endlessly Patient Tolerator of Anne’s Many Shenanigans.
(I will not mention, among the series' many faults, its UTTER LIBEL of Marilla when--spoiler alert!--she shipped Anne back to the orphanarium. Marilla was NEVER such a monster, and NEVER ONCE did such a thing. But I digress.)
I found Marilla so hysterically funny throughout she quickly became my very favorite character in the all-too-many ANNE books. I lost interest in the series after she no longer appeared, since she was the sole knife cutting through all the sometimes disgusting treacle. Her very last appearance is in the intestine-cloggingly named ANNE’S HOUSE OF DREAMS, wherein Anne decides to curse the world all the more by breeding and having children (and, of course, losing her first one, because it wouldn’t be Anne unless it’s all so DRAMATICALLY TRAGICAL). Leave it to my dearest Marilla, even in the VERY LAST SCENE in which she actually speaks, to be the sole source of straight facts, brevity and, yes, HUMOR among all the gumdrops and lollipops when Anne finally manages to produce a living child:
(Anne is gushing—blah blah blah blah blah—about her dead baby for several minutes before it finally dawns on her that she has an actual LIVING baby now that maybe she should pay attention to.)
“…Oh, Marilla, look at his dear, darling toes! Isn't it strange they should be so perfect?"
"It would be stranger if they weren't," said Marilla crisply. Now that all was safely over, Marilla was herself again.
"Oh, I know--but it seems as if they couldn't be quite finished, you know--and they are, even to the tiny nails. And his hands--just look at his hands, Marilla."
"They appear to be a good deal like hands," Marilla conceded.
GADZOOKS, I LOVE THIS WOMAN. She just busts my gut every time. Of course, she won my heart at the very beginning, when they first meet and Anne first pitches one of her dramatic fits and Marilla has to stop herself from LAUGHING IN THE POOR CHILD'S FACE. But Marilla is NOT CRUEL. She is just an unapologetic realist, afflicted with a child who is decided less so, who ultimately just lets the kid be whichever way she wants to be. Which is a way cool way of raising kids. (This is not to say Marilla doesn't complain. She complains. A LOT. But most of her complaints are entirely justified, usually after several pages of Anne prattling on and on like a hyperactive squirrel, and when she's wrong she is the first to apologize and admit her error.)
You can read the first four books—the only ones WORTH reading—online here, or the whole tiresome shebang at Project Gutenberg.
Thus Endeth My Ranting About AoGG.
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