Required Reading

I read an article yesterday about a new cover for the Anne of Green Gables series. As someone who gobbled up the books as a tween and still watches the PBS version religiously when it airs at telethon time, I was horrified. It’s Anne, for crying out loud! Red-haired, spunky, messy, tomboy Anne!

Sex sells. We know this, as unfortunate as it may be, but the fact of the matter is that Anne of Green Gables is infinitely superior to the other vampire smut that tweens and teens are gobbling up these days. So, maybe, just maybe, the publishers of this edition are actually on to something.

Imagine a twelve year old picking up that book thinking that he or she is going to be reading about some hot dutch blond teenager and her racy escapades. While busy thumbing through to find the juicy scenes, they might — gasp! — actually begin to like the story. And read it. A real piece of literature, and not one forced upon them! Stranger things have happened, you know. (Like horribly written soft-core porn topping best seller’s lists.)

So, I’m thinking some other transformations to required reading might be in order…

The Catcher in the Rye, Smutified

Little Women, Smutified

Romeo and Juliet, Smutified

A Separate Peace, Smutified

The Crucible, Smutified

Not such a bad idea, huh?

OK, never mind. It totally is.

About the writer


In addition to being the founder of all things Scary Mommy, Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)


Kati 3 years ago

That’s just stupid,Ann is a RED HEAD ppl,and the books center around her coming to terms with that among other things. I read all 8 of the books and have personally made sure my teenage step daughters have as well.

Lollie @FortuitousHousewife 3 years ago

Would have loved to have that copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” to keep me warm during the big blizzard here in Boston.

Rachael 3 years ago


From my understanding, they’ve left the text as written. So on the very basis of cover to content, it’s false advertising. Also, a friend had mentioned that PEI owns rights to the image of Anne as a red-head and the new cover publishers didn’t want to pay royalties. ( please correct me if that’s wrong).

Anne requires red hair because aside from her personality being so vibrant (like her hair), How else will Gilbert tease her? (Carrots! Carrots!)
How is this girl anywhere close to age 11? Fitted plaid shirts is certainly not traditional Anne garb!

Kids grow up so fast these days and Anne of Green Gables is one of the classic growing up stories that has preserved some innocence of the past.

Poor L.M. Montgomery is rolling in her grave.

Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson 3 years ago

You have mad, mad skills. Hilarious. But so very sad.

On the other hand, your Holden is totally hot. 😉

As a former English teacher, I am devastated by how publishers are making these choices to sex-up the classics. Won’t the readers be confused when they learn Anne is a red-head? Or did they change that, too. DISLIKE.

lauren scheuer 3 years ago

oh good lord. You’re absolutely right. That chick doesn’t even have a mess of red hair!
That said, if a cover like that can trick a kid into reading an awesome piece of literature, then… well… maybe it’s not all bad. After all, my twelve year old daughter’s first experience with Romeo and Juliet was the Leonardo DeCaprio movie version, set in gangland Los Angeles. She loved it. And it is a work of art.

Alison 3 years ago

You. Are. Brilliant.

Jennifer 3 years ago

This was why I was never into literature. No good book covers.

Seriously though, there is SO much wrong with them changing the cover of the book. The sexification of our daughters needs to stop.

Erin S. 3 years ago

You are so right! Lots of authors use sex to cover-up for lack of a plot or creativity in literature! Kids don’t know how to annalyze and read into the meaning of text. A lot of times classic literature has deep meanings/lessons that are missed because they are looking for fast obvious thrillers. There is nothing new under the sun but what is exceptable to talk/write about in day light seems to have expanded.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 3 years ago

You know how get teens to read : tell them they can’t read it because it is ‘not for their age-group’. This got me reading Umberto Ecco’s “The name of Rose” at 13…

Becky 3 years ago

Ok, the Anne of Green Gables thing is just wrong. She HAS to be a red head! A red headed harlot would probably equal my daughter not reading that book, even if I do know the story line.
Hot damn though. If I could picture that guy while reading Catcher in the Rye, I might actually get around to reading it. Jeez. Someone hose me down over here.

    Erin S. 3 years ago

    Down girl! Too funny!

Denise 3 years ago

They’ve been doing that for years in the sci-fi/fantasy section. When I was a kid in the 80’s I devoured any fantasy or sci-fi book I could get with a female lead. I just wanted a book about a woman hacking up orcs. I was terribly disappointed one day when mom wouldn’t by a copy of Red Sonia for me because the cover art had the female hero all sweaty in a tin bikini and chained up. My mind saw “oh, a jail break story” and mom saw…bondage.

Nina 3 years ago


ModernHouseDad 3 years ago

No!!! My beloved Anne! I’d love to see your version of “Life of Pi”.

Jenny Isenman AKA Jenny From the Blog 3 years ago

Dying over the Crucible!!! I love how slutified all the dolls have gotten. Hello, my daughter’s Bratz dolls came with a Brazilian waxing kit and a diaphragm. (No,they didn’t, but they should’ve)

tracy@sellabitmum 3 years ago

I would totally pick up A Separate Peace now….

My Half Assed Life 3 years ago

I really loved Anne of Green Gables when I was a child. Part of me wants to say don’t mess with it, but if it gets one pre-teen to read anything other than twilight isn’t it a good thing?

mamabear 3 years ago

Wow. It might work though…I first read the Catcher in the Rye when I was a teen because it was on my school’s ‘banned books’ list. I love it still and have since gone on to read many of the other classics. Sometimes all teenagers need is for something to feel bad or forbidden to get into it.

Jane 3 years ago

My mum used to teach illiterate high school kids to read. These where troubled kids, labeled as a problem that no one else had time for. But they listened to her and her no nonsense, tough love style and she had a pretty good success rate. Her rule was always – learning to read comes first – what they read comes second.

She would let the kids read anything – and I mean anything – comic books, their learners permit manual, playboy magazine – whatever it took to get them to park their butt in a chair and learn the basics of reading. Maybe some of them went on to learn to love reading and maybe some of them just leaned to read well enough to get a job. Either way she helped those kids – who cares about a bit of smut, swearing or bad cliched tween crap.

Andrea 3 years ago

I’ve noticed the trend to sell the ‘sex’ at a younger and younger age. Have you ever been in Justice? I shudder and I refuse to let my kid go in there. Anne of Green Gables is a wonderful story, one I loved as a child. It’s sad when the only way to get kids to read is to slap a sex symbol on the front.

Victoria KP 3 years ago

Okay, “The Crucible” cover made me howl. Scarily enough, it just might work!

    Mercy 3 years ago

    Pooh’s butt is already naked. :)

      Arnebya 3 years ago

      Yeah, Pooh’s been ass out forever. And covered in honey….oooh, wait….

        Kiran 3 years ago

        LOL. Yes. I know guys! I was being silly.

        Oh, poo(h). You didn’t get it!

kc @ genxfinance 3 years ago

Yes, sex sells and that is the reason why all of those crappy-movies-that-ruined-the-book make such a huge money. (although, there are some movies that gave the book some justice.) 😉

Chantelle 3 years ago

I love it lol. I’ve always been a book worm but I suspect the “The Catcher in the Rye” and “A Separate Peace” covers would convert many of my “I only wanna watch the movie” friends hahahahaha

Angie 3 years ago

they could of at least found a pretty auburn girl for the cover. Its deceptive. The story is about a redhead orphan girl

Talia 3 years ago

The Anne cover would be okay if the girl had red hair and and was posed a little less provocatively. I must admit I LOVE the Romeo and Juliet cover. That one is actually right on the money considering the passion and chemistry the two protagonists have throughout the play/book. The rest of them however, made me giggle!

realmomofnj 3 years ago

LOL Little Women. Perhaps the new cover of Of Mice and Men could have kind of a slasher edge?

Kristen Mae 3 years ago

Ew. Ew, ew, ew.

Just ew.


Brenda 3 years ago

Actually, the Anne of Green Gables cover works. They just changed the cover girl from Anne to Josie Pye.

Kristin 3 years ago

I couldn’t believe what I saw when I clicked on that link. And I have connections in publishing who are baffled as well. WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO?

What would they come up with for Little House in the Big Woods? Sheesh.

Stephanie 3 years ago

I love the idea. I think this would get a lot of teenagers reading, as a 25 year old (me) who has custody of my 16 year old who doesn’t read. . . this actually might help!

susan 3 years ago

I saw in the bookstore about a year ago “if you like twilight, you’ll love…” And under this sign were repackaged Jane Austen books…dark covers with buxom ladies. Initially I was upset (I’m an Austenite) but then I figured if one girl was coverted from Jacob/Edward to Darcy, it was worth it.

    Rachel 3 years ago

    Hahaha! Love it! Worth the pain if even one soul is saved 😉

Debbie 3 years ago

Where have all our little Tomboys gone? I toldly agree with this. Why mess up a good think. As they say, “You can’t tell a book by its cover.” it is like advertising a toy on TV and you know it really isn’t going to work like they say it does and most likely is going to fall apart the first time the kid plays with it. Thanks for sharing this info


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