Imagine the late 1800s in Prince Edward Island, Canada – a land of rolling green hills, fields of red earth ready for planting, and all of it surrounded by a black and crashing sea.
Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert are elderly siblings who live a quiet, sensible life on their small farm, Green Gables, near the town of Avonlea. They recognize they can no longer keep up with daily chores and their solution to the problem is to adopt a boy from an orphanage in the province of Nova Scotia.
The child Matthew picks up at the Avonlea train station, however, is not a boy but a precocious eleven-year-old girl with red pigtails. Just so, he meets Anne Shirley – a loquacious and emotionally effervescent GIRL who is as absorbed as much in her transcendent imaginings as she is in nature’s raw and infinite beauty.
When Marilla sees the situation, she is beside herself, exclaiming “You aren’t a girl, you’re a boy. We didn’t order a girl! We ordered a boy! Oh no, this simply won’t do. Tomorrow morning you must go back.”
And so begins the moving and amusing Anne of Green Gables, a rambunctious tale of an outcast child, whose journey leads to the discovery of family, friends, community and the experience of finding one’s true home.
Marilla gives Anne a reprieve and allows her to stay at Green Gables, but the possibility of sending Anne elsewhere remains. Although Anne has ‘a beat’ for getting into trouble, tangled situations get unwound without dire consequences. Anne discovers Matthew is a true kindred spirit, and she also becomes bosom companions with a local girl named Diana Barry. Anne manages to touch the hearts of everyone in Avonlea – even crusty Marilla ultimately feels her heart turned.
When a letter arrives from Montreal holding the offer of adoption by a wealthy family for Anne, Matthew and Marilla face a difficult decision.