Although these two stories seem to scream, "We're total opposites!", they have more in common than you may think. I recently read them one after the other, watched the movies in quick succession, and discovered many striking similarities.
Therefore, I am happy to announce the second installment of "10 Wild Similarities You Never Noticed." (Missed the first? It's about The Giver and The Lion King. Man, I really like book titles with "the.")
Caution: Spoilers ahead! If you haven't read both of these books already, I recommend you skip this post. They're two of my favorite books of all time, and I wouldn't want to ruin them for you. If you have read them, I talk about both Anne and Liesel in another post you can read here.
1. The young female protagonist is adopted by an old man and old woman at the beginning. This similarity breaks down when we think about the brother/sister relationship of Matthew and Marilla versus the husband/wife relationship of Hans and Rosa. Very different!
2. The girl is asked, "Where's the boy?" upon her arrival. This second mind-blowing similarity is that both adoptive parents were expecting a boy. Marilla and Matthew were expecting a boy instead of Anne, and Hans and Rosa were expecting Liesel's brother in addition to her.
3. Old man seems nicer than old woman until he is gone (dead or off to war) and the old woman softens toward the protagonist. I love seeing how Marilla and Rosa melt my heart over and over with their surprise affection after the girl used to confide in the old man.
4. The girl's best guy chum is a love-hate relationship until he turns out to be a romantic interest. Shoutout to Gilbert and Rudy! Those little stinkers make us love them somehow.
5. The girl ends up getting into lots of scrapes. Whether stealing, lying, or dying their hair green, these two feisty heroines are always in trouble!
6. The girl loves to read. Anne and Liesel are both constantly pouring over a book. And like every book-lover, each has a favorite book she returns to over and over, whether that is The Lady of Shalot or The Grave-Diggers' Handbook.
7. The girl ends up writing her life story down as a result of a guy's influence. Gilbert tells Anne to just write about Avonlea and the people she knows. Max encourages Liesel (they're word-buddies, my favorite kind of friend) and even gives her the blank book to get started in.
8. Her life-story book ends up saving a life. Anne's book gives Gilbert courage to push through pneumonia (because he knows she loves him still), and because Liesel was working on her book in a basement, it keeps her from dying in an air raid.
9. The girl makes unlikely friends with a neighbor woman. Anne and Rachel Lynde get over their differences. Liesel and Isla Hermann, the burgermeister's wife, also have trouble in the middle but have a happy ending.
10. The girl lives in a small community. Anne of Avonlea and Liesel of Munich both find unexpected gems in their new homes. And whether or not they have happy endings, they have a group of people around them who will support them and whom they will protect loyally to the end.
I know Prince Edward Island and WWII Germany are so very different. One is so bright and one so dark. But the similarities I found are pretty crazy, aren't they?
It's almost as if Mark Zusak rewrote Anne of Green Gables in a completely different world.