Some time ago we confessed to some of the literary lies that litter our lives. And readers, we recommend you prepare yourselves - it's confession time again.
In circles such as these it is often wiser to keep some things quiet. But I am casting caution out into the wind, no, the sun, no, the hail, no, the passing shower - oh, no, it's the sun again.*
Okay. Here we go, ready or not: Anne of Green Gables is not my friend.
There. I said it. And it's true. In fact, I might even go as far as to say that at one stage Anne Shirley was my arch enemy.
I know. It sounds extreme, but they were desperate times.
Here's the thing: my best friend was introduced to little orphan Anne, and her literary ambitions and her quaint misadventures and her charming chatterbox manner and her winning red hair - and immediately adored her (of course, who didn't?). And then she talked about her incessantly, as you do when you make a new friend.
I tolerated the initial round of "Anne says this" and "Anne says that" with mild flutterings of newly-awakened jealousy. But then it segued into: "Anne would do it. She would come to my aid at once, without the slightest hesitation." And: "Anne would be unafraid to embark on this adventure." And: "I wish Anne were here, she would understand."
Well, clearly it was a competition and I had no choice but to take an anti-Anne stance. So I did. I refused to read about her; I refused to watch her; I refused to engage with her in any way. (Of course later I realised that, KNOW YOUR ENEMY would have been a far better strategy to employ, but at the time I chose DENIAL.) And everybody knew it. And so the Anne-baiting began in earnest. Alas.
The piece-de-resistance of the Anne Wars occurred many years after the initial outbreak of hostilities. While in Canada my friend's sister went to Prince Edward Island to visit Anne's house. She sent me an official Anne of Green Gables House postcard. It read:
This is the view from my tent!
(ps: I signed your name in the visitor's book.)
So, as it happens, not so much kindred spirit over here.**
*Melbourne weather - you do like to show your range - a bit like Toni Collette.
** Over here! Over here! There's a kindred spirit stuck over here in the footnotes! This Onion is a proud, card-carrying member of the race that knows Joseph. This Onion turns to Anne for comfort, wisdom, amusement and scope for the imagination. But ... this Onion has always been a bit sceptical about that Diana Barry - is she really worthy of being Anne's bosom friend?