Anne With An ‘E’ Has Trauma With A Capital ‘T’

I have no new adoption updates. We’re still waiting for paperwork and biding our time. This is where the process frustrates me the most. I have a pace at which I want this process to move along, but it is completely out of my control. Bureaucracy is what it is.

I have been keeping myself busy with Ally and her little printing business. You can find us here!

While we’re printing many, many items, and Ally is getting an idea of all that running a business entails, I have been mentoring her, keeping tabs on her profit/losses and suppliers, etc, and, I’ve been binging on Netflix.

I was so excited to hear that one of my childhood favorites, Anne of Green Gables, was getting a reboot on Netflix as ‘Anne With an E.’ I loved the 1980s mini-series that came out when I was just the PERFECT age for it. I won’t tell you what age that was, but it was perfect. My copy of Anne of Green Gables and then Anne of Avonlea were completely dog-eared. They eventually, literally, fell apart.

I started to watch, and binged the entire season in a weekend as I worked away in our little workshop, all alone, totally enthralled with the story. This was the Anne of my childhood, but at a much, much deeper level.

It was also the story of my own daughters in so many ways.

Many other people were watching too. The series became the talk of social media. But, this version of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne wasn’t what other people were used to. I saw so many social media friends comment, “Blech, they ruined it.” “This isn’t the Anne I know.” “I shut it off in the first 15 minutes.”

I have something to say to that, and please, bear with me.

This is the Anne you should know. You should learn about her too.

Before you go digging for my email address, please let me explain. I have no idea if L.M. Montgomery would enjoy this version of Anne, and I have seen the criticisms of this version as “the destruction of whimsy” in its attempt to turn what was supposed to be a child’s story into something that people describe as “dark and gritty.” I understand that line of thinking.

But, while Anne of Green Gables was a story about a child, it wasn’t necessarily for children. To Kill A Mockingbird was about a child, but isn’t necessarily for children. The same can be said of Hunger Games. There are themes in Anne of Green Gables that lend themselves to some of the themes that ‘Anne With An E’ explores. Some of these themes involve major childhood trauma, the kind of trauma some of my children have lived through.

I am so proud of how Anne is portrayed in this series. She is realistic. Her sequela from the trauma caused by the loss of her parents, and subsequent out of home placements she endured, are the reality of what often happens to children who live in institutionalized settings. The abuse and the neglect are a sad reality. This is what would have happened to Anne in the time period in which the story was set. There is really no way she would have escaped it. I am so sorry if that detracts from the whimsy. I understand why some people wouldn’t want to think about this fate for Anne. In our home, there is no escape from this reality.

I appreciated the accurate portrayal of Anne’s struggles with her past. The glassy eyed stare, the fight, flight or freeze response, the incessant chattering, the complete inability to regulate herself, or to navigate social situations, these are ALL realities for a child who had no one to guide them through critical periods of childhood. Someone within the production team for this show obviously did their research or has personal experience with this.

Within my short tenure as a mom of children who lived through trauma I have seen a shift towards acknowledging what complex developmental trauma does to a developing brain. The accurate portrayal of it in this program is another step toward mainstream understanding. While my kids who have lived through this won’t be watching this program, because it hits a little too close to home for them, it is an important watch for adults who want a different perspective on Anne and her life.

–FullPlateMom, who is mom to a couple of Annes with an E.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this insight! I’m glad that this “new” Anne is realistic to the hard and dark parts of the effects of trauma. As a woman who loves the Anne books and the original Sullivan Entertainment movies…..but who has experienced her own childhood trauma and abuse and is still raw in many spaces, I’m ever grateful to know that this “new” Anne is not the best for me to watch. It sounds like it would hit too close to home for my “inner” child. From me and my therapist – Thank you!

  2. Thanks so much for writing about this. I too grew up watching the Sullivan Entertainment versions of Anne Of Green Gables on the Disney Channel and read the books even before that. I adored Anne!! So I was questioning whether I’d watch the new series.

    But now, 30 some years later in my life, I’ve become a mom of a kid through foster care and adoption. Now I’m a mom of a child who was neglected as an infant and spent the first 2 years of her life jumping from home to home and I know has endured trauma. She definitely bears the scares physically and emotionally of that trauma…and her brain too!! Her first mom chose to drink alcohol and do drugs while she was pregnant with my youngest child. So my kiddos trauma began really early on. I’m definitely going to give this series a watch now!! Thanks for insight!

  3. I loved what they did with this series! (SPOILER)

    I love that they kept Matthew because he was one of my favorite characters.

    I love that they show the effects of trauma on Anne. I love that a family doesn’t make it all go away.

    I hope that it educated people about how our children can sometimes act out of control because they are feeling (and have a right to feel) out of control!

    I love that Anne was pissed with Matthew for “sending her away” again.

    I love that they hinted that the rich Aunt was gay – and lived a loving life with her!

    Oh I just loved it all to pieces.

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