Amazon taking heat over blonde Anne Shirley

Dave Stewart
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Lucy Maud Montgomery's granddaughter said to be disgusted by cover of three-in-one set being sold online

It’s Anne Shirley like you’ve never seen her before. This is the image featured on amazon.com’s website, which turns the skinny, red-haired orphan into a blonde bombshell.

Lucy Maud Montgomery’s heirs are not impressed, to say the least.

Online shopping forum Amazon.com has given the legendary character Anne Shirley a new look, transforming her from the skinny, red-haired child into a buxom blonde.

Beth Cavert, with the L.M. Montgomery Literary Society and an independent L.M. Montgomery scholar, said Wednesday Montgomery’s granddaughter, Kate MacDonald-Butler, is disgusted.

“She’s hiding out. She thinks it’s terrible,’’ Cavert said.

Amazon is selling a three-in-one set — Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island — on its website that features Anne wearing a plaid shirt, seemingly leaning against a bale of hay. She’s featured with blonde hair, not red, and she is not … ahem … skinny.

Simon Lloyd, with the L.M. Montgomery Institute at UPEI, said the character’s image is in the public domain where it seems anyone can publish their own rendition of Anne Shirley.

Lloyd said the image is unauthorized, referring to it as a “self-publishing print-on-demand platform.”

He said this type of thing has happened before.

Lloyd said the image was created through Amazon’s self-publishing arm and not from any “reputable publisher’’.

Lloyd said Elizabeth Epperly, the founding chair of the institute and former president of UPEI, was declining to comment.

Cavert said Amazon.com should have a gallery of more free images it could have picked from unless they are trying to cause a stir.

“Maybe they’re trying to add some sizzle to attract who knows what kind of audience,’’ Cavert said, adding that a book should have an image on the front cover that relates, in some way, to the content inside.

An employee at the Indigo bookstore in Charlottetown said staff has heard the talk about the picture but no word on whether the controversial image will make its way into bookstores.

The employee, who only identified herself as Michelle, said there is a new release of the three-in-one set coming out in May but the character’s image on the dustcover is the one people are most familiar with.

“In that one, she’s red-haired,’’ Michelle said. “She definitely looks like a child.’’

Another order is en route to Indigo in July but Michelle said there was no picture attached to it when she looked on her computer.

Anne’s new look wasn’t going over very well with anybody.

Blogger Mike Morrison, who operates under Mike’s Bloggity Blog, said publishers are “pretty much guaranteeing the wrath of fans from all around the world.’’

Amazon was taking heat on its own website as well.

“Worst Anne of Green Gables cover ever. Ever!,’’ one person wrote.

The Guardian left a message with the lawyer who represents the Montgomery heirs but the call was not immediately returned. Cavert said there is nothing the heirs can do to protect the character’s image in the public domain.

On the flip side, Cavert said people are talking about the character, many of whom are fans “who have come out passionate and supportive’’ of the beloved character.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

Organizations: Amazon.com, L.M. Montgomery Literary Society, L.M. Montgomery Institute

Geographic location: Montgomery, Green Gables, Charlottetown

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Recent comments

  • Captain Canuck
    February 07, 2013 - 23:51

    Whut? This is sexy and red hair with freckles ain't? Sexy Anne is important? I guess I gotta go back to shool. Get a life everyone. Did y'all even notice that it was not really Amazon itself that did this gimmick? It's a self-publisher. Get over it and get over yourselves already. sheesh, it has nuttin' to do wit' anyt'ing 'cept it's got Islanders nickers in a knot.

  • Adam
    February 07, 2013 - 23:01

    Imagine if she was Asian!! Or African Canadian. Lol. Anyways Anne's legacy is almost dead. At lease this got it some publicity. Mission accomplished !

  • trueannefan
    February 07, 2013 - 18:03

    all you people saying 'what's so wrong with a sexy anne?' are honestly just plain stupid! have you even READ the books? A huge point of the books are her red hair! Ohh haha i'm going to read the books now that the girl is hot. um sweetie? they're not changing the writing of the book, just insulting people with a ridiculous cover. anne isn't anne without red hair! saying that the public isn't used to it is invalid because of the entire plot around her RED hair. Jezze read the book before you comment.

  • Funny comments
    February 07, 2013 - 14:56

    I find the comments dismissing people's dislike of the new cover so funny. The people who have written these dismissive comments are not readers of anything except maybe the newspaper. If they read novels, they would know that the covers are supposed to give you a little glimpse of what's inside the book. It is ridiculous to have a blonde woman on the cover when the book is about a red headed girl with freckles and pig tails. Also, the girls attire is not appropriate for the time period of the book. It would be different if the novel was rewritten to be more modern but it hasn't been. It is the same classic story. This has nothing to do with Islanders not adapting to change. It has to do with what makes sense on the cover of a book!

  • John
    February 07, 2013 - 13:38

    I think if people really stopped and THINK about all the stories of Anne of Green Gables one of the most important things is the appearance. The little red headed girl! Excuse me but there are beautiful Island red headed girls !!! We don't need a blonde to make a joke of this!!! Get a photo of a beautiful Island RED HEAD!!! Of course, everyone know red heads are hotter and alot more fun to be around!! They tell it how it is and at least have a brain!!!!

  • mirela
    February 07, 2013 - 11:33

    All I have to say is LOL ! Why does PEI oppose to every change ? I wonder how the reaction would be if it was a woman of different race on the race.

    • JO
      February 07, 2013 - 12:51

      DISGUSTING AND AN ABSOLUTE INSULT TO CHANGE LUCY'S ANNE !!!!!...why ruin a wonderful classic

    • The same
      February 07, 2013 - 15:31

      My reaction would be the same because Anne is a white girl with red hair and freckles.

  • Gloria
    February 07, 2013 - 11:07

    These people did not read the books about a very young child with RED HAIR. The bleach blond wouldn't have to worry about being adopted. What were they thinking

  • Danielle
    February 07, 2013 - 11:07

    Twitter has erupted with Anne of Green Gables > it's trending in Canada! > Maybe the whole idea was to bring it back into the light?

  • Stephen
    February 07, 2013 - 11:07

    I would have read this book 30 years ago if the Anne of then was as hot as the Anne of now.

  • SAP
    February 07, 2013 - 11:03

    This is the biggest travesty taking place in the world today. Ignore it, it will go away. The person who put this out must be loving all of this free press.

  • seven
    February 07, 2013 - 10:50

    dye her hair red,and get over it...gheesh

  • D. Advocate
    February 07, 2013 - 10:49

    Where does it say that this is their rendition of Anne? I just saw an ad on the Guardian site that shows an overweight woman under the caption "Dr Oz's Diet - Lose 7 lb. per week." but I didn't just assume that this woman therefore has to be Dr. Oz... Maybe it is just a great looking gal whose image is going to be used as a marketing angle to attract a more hip, sexy clientele. If it attracts new readers and a broader demographic, why is that such a bad thing?

  • countryview dove
    February 07, 2013 - 10:40

    what were they thinking! It is the Red-Headed Anne in Pigtails , that the world loves and has paid millions in books, videos, tourism , etc, over the years that has brought the PEI Economy to where it is. Now someone who doesn't give a hoot wants to change the RED Headed ICON! to Blonde. Blonde is one thing but where are the pigtails and that girlish smiles? Someone please tell me why this pic is good for girls of today. Are you kidding me! If you want to protray girls today with this pic then write your own fiction novel!!

  • Resident
    February 07, 2013 - 10:36

    I wonder if heirs of Wizard of Oz would be happy with Confed Centre distorting their characters?

  • David
    February 07, 2013 - 10:32

    Maybe islanders need to wake and smell the coffee...so what if you don't like the new Anne...who knows maybe we could have whole new industry of a blonde HOT Anne who is a sex symbol instead of freaky looking red head with freckles PULEASEEEEEEEE. We have had Stan of Green Gables for the gay clientele why not a Blonde bombshell for the adult movie industry. Imagine how many people would come to PEI is a new porn start was from here. Islanders need to start thinking outside the box if they want to continue to attract tourists and grow. On separate note I highly doubt if Amazon is taking much note of few tea totallers in PEI who are upset about the new look of Anne. The free press they are getting i bet is driving some extra sales of the book.

  • In the News
    February 07, 2013 - 10:09

    First Mike Duffy and now Anne Shirley - 2 fictional residents of Cavendish making the news this week.

  • baaahaa
    February 07, 2013 - 09:51

    So does that mean that Kermit the frog can now be a brown toad?

  • JonJon
    February 07, 2013 - 09:51

    About time she was updated to this century. Bringing sexy back. Of course everyone on PEI will have their frilly knickers in a knot.

  • gilbert
    February 07, 2013 - 09:46

    Anne looks a lot better since she dyed her hair and lost the pigtails.

  • Paul
    February 07, 2013 - 09:45

    Canada cares- big time. Lovers of this wonderful and iconic book care. I care.

  • fred
    February 07, 2013 - 09:37

    The new and improved Anne . Peoples looks are bound to change .Should of made her look a little older; in a two piece swim suit .Could of promoted all the beaches in cavendish; at the same time.

  • Guy Cousineau
    February 07, 2013 - 09:34

    Maybe i don't know much about PEI, Marie, but I know this: 3 of our prominent resources are potatoes, golf, and a red-headed Anne.

  • Marie
    February 07, 2013 - 09:24

    Who cares.Big deal

  • Ha ha
    February 07, 2013 - 09:07

    Priceless Anne is just a figmement of Lucys imagination.

  • So Her Hair Isn't Red
    February 07, 2013 - 09:04

    With all the things we could get upset over in this world today....this should be the least of our problems. On another note...there is absolutely nothing wrong with the young lady's picture on this edition...it is just not what the public is used to.