Children’s book authors like to make kids cry, a tradition that goes back to parricidal folktales and fairytales. L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables is no exception:
In the parlor lay Matthew Cuthbert in his coffin, his long gray hair framing his placid face on which there was a little kindly smile as if he but slept, dreaming pleasant dreams. There were flowers about him–sweet old-fashioned flowers which his mother had planted in the homestead garden in her bridal days and for which Matthew had always had a secret, wordless love. Anne had gathered them and brought them to him, her anguished tearless eyes burning in her white face. It was the last thing she could do for him.
With Anusha of Prospect Corner–the updated Anne of Green Gables story I’ve been writing with my twins that reflects our ethnic background and community–I’ve dreaded getting to the point where we have to do something about Manoj, our version of Matthew.*
When we started this project, my daughters made one request: “Whatever you do, don’t kill Matthew.”
“Okay,” I said, wondering if it was a promise I could keep. We’ve made many changes to L. M. Montgomery’s classic tale–and not only to the names and heritages of the characters. However, Matthew’s death is an important turning point in the original. What can be analogous to that in our version?
I thought I had come up with a solution, a compromise. Well…
With my twins’ permission, I have posted the following picture to show you how they responded to the “compromise” in the final chapters of Anusha:
I took this picture with my phone while giving my daughters a few minutes to calm down. Then, we spent the next hour tweaking the story to their satisfaction.
Quite frankly, the girls improved it. I should’ve listened to them in the first place.
A full draft of Anusha of Prospect Corner is now finished! 🙂
*For more on the process of writing Anusha, see:
*Update: Anusha of Prospect Corner is out now. Find it on: