The Washington Post

Anne of Green Gables is not a Blonde

We shall overlook the clingy, farm-girl plaid shirt (no, really, we shan’t; that shirt is an atrocity), and we shall do our best to ignore the come-hitherness of the stare, with the bedroom eyes and the bee-stung lips, and we shall even forgive the fact that the girl on the cover of this new, horrid edition of the book that we used to re-read until the pages fell out is raking her fingers through hair that cascades loose down her back as if she’s a Canadian Rapunzel.

But the hair itself. The hair cannot be ignored. Anne of Green Gables has red hair. And this saucy impostor is a blonde.

(Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set, 1998)

CreateSpace independent publishing platform released an edition of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s 1908 classic last fall. (The book is in the public domain, and therefore may be released with any cover whatsoever; we are really going to have to re-think this “public domain” business). In doing so, they ignored a major Anne character trait, and gave their cover girl golden locks. On Thursday, the Internet discovered it. The Internet was appalled.


In Montgomery’s novel — nay, formative life experience — the erstwhile orphan describes the epic sadness of her life: “Now you see why I can’t be perfectly happy. Nobody could who had red hair. I don’t mind the other things so much – the freckles and the green eyes and my skinniness.”

This new cover was ginger discrimination. This was literary idiocy. This was stamping on the innocent hearts of 113 years of childhood. Gilbert Blythe cannot affectionately refer to Anne Shirley as “Carrots” if her hair is the color of butternut squash.

CreateSpace was emailed for comment. This post will be updated if a response is received. In the meantime, the image for the blond cover appears to have been removed from

Tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #BlondAnne.

Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.



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