About the author: Sarah McCoy is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author. McCoy’s work has been featured in Real Simple, The Millions, Your Health Monthly, Huffington Post and other publications. She has taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso. She lives with her husband, an orthopedic sports surgeon, and their dog, Gilbert, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Sarah is the author of the upcoming Marilla of Green Gables (William Morrow, October 2018). Twitter Handle: @sarahmmccoy
I shamelessly binge-watched both seasons of Netflix’s Anne with an E as soon as they were available. But in a weekend, it was all over, and I was left trolling the Internet in a depressive funk. The problem with binging is that when the final credits roll and there is no sweet “Next Episode” box giving you 5-4-3-2-1 seconds to grab a snack before the next hour, you hit a virtual wall. Post-binge-watching blues are legit. The New York Times did a story on the malady, so it’s practically diagnosable.
At the end of an engrossing series, we feel as if we’ve been ousted from a community where we were wholly embraced. (In this case, Avonlea.) We ache nostalgically for our character friends. (Oh, Anne, Marilla, Matthew, Gilbert, how I miss you!) The comforts of our storied trails. (Sweet home Green Gables.) The musical theme song that welcomed us through the door each episode. (The Tragically Hip’s “Ahead by a Century,” you dear lullaby.) We aren’t ready to move on. We need more. I mean, look at the hours invested in this, right? So we’re left whimpering into the entertainment black hole.
Well, I’m here to give you relief. There is more, so very much.
Anne with an E is an adaptation inspired by the Anne of Green Gables book series. So rest assured, there is plenty more of Green Gables to be binged. The only question is, where to start?
If you crave to know the whole “real” Anne story, read:
Anne of Green Gables, the original 8-book series by Lucy Maud Montgomery
There’s nothing like the original books to give you the intimate details of life on Green Gables. People frequently say, “the book is better than the movie” for good reason. If you haven’t read the series and have only watched the show, you’ve got the creative CliffsNotes. So now pick up the Anne of Green Gables series from your local library or bookstore. I promise, it will only increase your Anne devotion.
If you want to know more about Anne Shirley before Green Gables, read:
Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson
This is a wonderfully drawn and excellently researched novel about Anne’s life before she sat on the train depot in Avonlea. You’ll find out what happened to her parents and how she became an orphan. The resonance to Anne’s future at Green Gables gives readers renewed appreciation for just how much Marilla, Matthew, and the town of Avonlea mean to her.
If you dream of walking the real Green Gables, read:
The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid
Sure, Green Gables was a dream on the screen, but wait until you see the real Prince Edward Island. This lush, vivid, and beautifully executed book takes you to all the storied locations. Having walked these in person, I can vouch for this book’s authenticity.
If you hunger for Avonlea’s cordials and puddings, read:
Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book by Elaine and Kelly Crawford
Who hasn’t watched the show and wished to taste raspberry cordial, homemade ice creams, gingersnaps, plum puffs, puddings and all the delights of Marilla’s kitchen? This cookbook gives you the recipes straight from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s recipe box with corresponding true-life stories. It’s as delicious to read as its dishes are to eat.
If you want to learn more about the plight of African American slaves escaping to Canada during this period, read:
A Desperate Road to Freedom: The Underground Railroad Diary of Julia May Jackson by Karleen Bradford
This is the diary of eleven-year-old Julia May and her family as they flee from slavery in Virginia to freedom in Owen Sound, Canada. Julia May is full of heart and vigor as she bravely tells of the trials, discoveries, fears, and joys she experiences. A compassionate portrait of a young girl finding freedom and herself in a new homeland.
If you want to meet another orphan in a magical setting, read:
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
The orphaned idealist Eva Luna takes us on a journey through the political, social, and metaphysical development of her Latin American town. In the process, we are privy to her whimsical storytelling and growth into an independent woman during a politically tumultuous time. Eva Luna passionately sees the extraordinary in her seemingly hopeless situations and in doing so, opens the eyes of all those in her community. Sound familiar? Unquestionably a kindred to Anne Shirley.
Consider these a kind of “hair of the dog that bit you”—the only antidote to binge watching is to binge read.