Anne of Green Gables Goes Blonde – a controversy that calls for the breaking of some slates over heads


Front covers featuring characters that don’t match the story within – we’ve all seen that before. There’s been plenty of debate in the writing and publishing world about this, and it seems it’s often a bone of contention between the writers, who want a cover to match their story, and the publishers who’d prefer a cover that would sell more copies. I remember reading a while back the controversy that was going on about the new book covers for Cindy Pon’s young adult paranormal book, The Silver Phoenix. There were complaints that the new covers of the book whitewashed the heroine to look more like a white girl rather than a Chinese girl, also that the book covers were too generically ‘paranormal’, featuring only part of a young girl’s face and body – so it looked like just about a million other young adult paranormal books – which could either a) help to sell the book to young adult paranormal fans or b) prevent the book from standing out to potential new readers.

Well, the controversy hasn’t ended there… in fact, it’s been reignited with the new book covers for L.M. Montgomery’s classic Anne of Green Gables.

I’m not happy about this one either.

Anne of Green Gables has always been one of my favourite childhood books – and who can forget the TV series starring Megan Follows? And it’s not just been Anne of Green Gables too…. it’s a pretty funny coincidence but a little over a month ago, I downloaded the full collection of L.M. Montgomery’s works on my iPhone and have been having the best time ever re-reading all the old favourites like the Anne of Green Gables series, the Pat series, the Emily series and Jane of Lantern Hill, not to mention the gazillion short stories Montgomery has written which I’ve never come across before. It’s been such a blast reading Montgomery’s stories again and I can’t wait to share a review on her works pretty soon.

But in the meantime, the Anne of Green Gables cover!

Anne is such an icon. And she’s been described so clearly by Montgomery that any reader can picture her clearly enough, even those who haven’t seen the series starring Megan Follows – slender, pale, red hair with freckles, a pointed chin and starry gray eyes.

And instead… for the brand-new cover, we get… this!!!


The response has been less than positive, needless to say. Instead of that slender, freckly redhead with the starry gray eyes, we get some sort of blonde milkmaid with a round face, blue eyes and… worst of all…what is with that flirtatious expression??? Anne would never have that sort of blatant come-hither look on her face! And what’s with the checkered shirt? Sure, she grew up in the country on a farm, but this isn’t McLeod’s Daughters, people! This was set in the 1900s-1940s where the women wore printed wraps, neat aprons, frilly dresses, especially those of the puffy-sleeve variety (who could forget Anne’s longing for puffed sleeves?) and flowers at their belts. It sure as heck wasn’t in, as one writer commented, Sweet Valley High! (not that I’m against Sweet Valley High, because I grew up reading Sweet Valley as much as I did Anne of Green Gables. But it’s just wrong to have a cover model that looks more like Jessica Wakefield than Anne herself, just as much as I’d be puzzled to see a pair of titian-haired, freckly twins posing as the Wakefields.) In fact, I’d say this blonde model looks more like Anne’s nemesis, Josie Pye, than Anne herself. And while we all know Anne is not a fan of her red hair, I don’t think she’d appreciate what the publishers have done to her either. I’m all for breaking slates over the head of whoever approved this cover!

This is what Anne REALLY looks like, people!!!

This is what Anne REALLY looks like, people!!!

It’s wrong. Just wrong. And judging by the response so far, everyone agrees that it’s wrong. What I’m really hoping is the publishers will take note and pull those covers and replace them with a more Anne-worthy model.

Finally, to end on a lighter note, here’s a couple of great Redhead Anne memes for Green Gables fans.




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