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I work for a large insurance firm, and we have very strict rules on data protection at work - no phones, books, paper, e-books, usb-sticks, or pens allowed on desks, and only extremely limited internet access. One of the few sites we get access to at work has a collection of books that have been converted into text format to read. However, since working in a busy call centre doesn't really lend itself to getting into a book with any deep meaning, I've ended up reading classic children's tales, and it was through this that I discovered Pollyanna.
The daughter of a preacher, tragic Pollyanna is sent to live with a relative she's never met - the stern and forbidding Aunt Polly. Aunt Polly immediately makes it clear that is is nothing more than duty that forces her to accept her silly sisters orphaned child into her home - putting Pollyanna into the smallest, stuffiest room in her grand house, and forbidding her from talking about her father.
Luckily, Pollyanna has a sunny disposition, further enhanced by the 'Glad Game' a game of trying to spot the best in a bad situation, taught to her by her father. When faced with any problem or sadness, no matter how big or small, Pollyanna strives to see a positive, and her positive attitude soon seems to have an effect on those around her.
First published in 1913, this book definitely shows some signs of it's age, with regular mentions of 'Ladys Aiders' and a few quaint old fashioned words that may be trickier for some younger readers to understand without a little context provided. It also has that early 20th century feel of trying to give a message to the reader - you get the feeling whilst reading that this being 'Glad' thing is something the author wants the reader to adopt into their own lives. It does work as a simple moral message, and I admit to myself I sat at work reading this on my computer thinking 'Well, I suppose I can be glad I finish at three.'
The very overuse of the word Glad in the book did come to be somewhat annoying though. It was there every other sentence, and I soon started to wonder if the author might not have benefited from some kind of thesaurus! However, it worked within the context of the story.
There were some interesting characters in the book, but I didn't feel they were well enough developed. For instance, we know that Aunt Polly and Dr Chiltern had some major lovers quarrel, but there is no explanation of what the quarrel actually was. And we know that old man Pendleton is still sad about being rejected for marriage by Pollyannas mother, but never discover why he was rejected, or any of the story between them. We know Pollyannas parents were a love match that met with disapproval, but we never see how that disapproval took form.
Like many childrens books from it's era, it's hardly action packed, but more a series of small anecdotes. Girl meets grumpy person. Girl tells grump person about the Glad Game. Grumpy person scoffs at the very notion, but then starts playing the game.
For all it might sound like I'm digging at the book, I actually really did enjoy it. It's a simple story with a sweet idea behind it, though I must say it's hard to play the Glad Game when some bolshy woman is shouting at you because she broke her microwave!
I'd certainly recommend giving it a go - it's certainly a girls book, and would probably appeal to readers of around 9 or over. It's easily available to download free online, or can be picked up from Amazon for as little as 1p with postage and packing.
In conclusion, I'm Glad I read it - and now I'm working through the sequel.
Whilst on Dooyoo a couple of weeks ago I noticed an opinion on Pollyanna. This brought back many memories of me watching the film over and over again as a child. I used to love watching Pollyanna enthusiastically skipping down the road making everyone happy and just enjoying her own life. I decided I would refresh my mind by buying the book. Some people may think I am crazy reading a book aimed at children but as I loved it as a child so much I felt I had to. It was an extra bonus when I discovered it on Amazon for just a pound. Many of you will be familiar with the film but the book has many differences. The story begins with Polly Harrington receiving a letter informing her that her brother in law had just passed away leaving her niece Pollyanna without a home. Aunt Polly feels forced to take the child so she arranges for the child to come and live with her. When Polly arrives the adventure begins. The characters are all memorable and don’t change a great deal from the film. Pollyanna – She is just eleven years old and full of life. To say she never shuts up talking is an understatement. She has not had the best of lives with her mother dying when she was very young and then her father passing away. She is still a very happy child and always makes the best out of everything. Her favourite word is glad and she forever goes around telling people of the glad game. She tells people about her experiences with the Ladies Aiders back home who donated clothes and toys to her. Aunt Polly Harrington – She is one of the most stubborn people you could possibly imagine. She is not used to children and doesn’t treat Pollyanna like one. From the start she sets Pollyanna some rules and makes one thing perfectly clear, she wants no talk of her father. Nancy – She is Aunt Pollys maid who does the cooking, cleaning and also looks after Pollyanna. As Pollyanna cannot play the glad game with Aunt Polly
she plays it with Nancy. They grow very close and build a great friendship. Mrs Snow – She is bed ridden and until Pollyanna arrived she spent most of her days miserable in bed planning her death. Aunt Polly sends her some food every week and she always complains saying she wanted something else. When Pollyanna arrives she realises life is worth living and she looks really forward to her visits. Jimmy Bean – Pollyanna meets young Jimmy on the street. He has escaped from the local orphanage and is looking for a new family to stay with. Pollyanna tries her best to find him a home. He looks mischievous but he is prepared to work for his living. John Pendleton – He is an older man who passes Pollyanna in the woods on a daily basis. She tries to be nice to him but he is a bit grumpy. She does not give up though and when she finds him laid in the woods with a broken leg she has to act quick. A friendship then blooms and Pollyanna finds herself visiting him as often as possible. She gives him a new lease of life. Dr Chilton – He is a doctor in the town although he his not Pollyanna’s family doctor as Aunt Polly has a personally problem with him. More is revealed throughout the book. Pollyanna is a great friend of his and he begins to prescribe her to his patients as medicine. There are many more characters that Pollyanna befriends throughout the story. The main feature has to be the game she plays with everyone apart from Aunt Polly. It is called the ‘Glad Game’. Her father taught this game to her when she received a barrel from the Ladies Aiders. She was expecting a doll but instead she got a pair of crutches. At first she cried and was very unhappy but her father gave her something to be glad about. She was to be glad because she didn’t need the crutches. She finds something to be glad about in every situation. I will not tell you anymore about the book, as some of
you may not have watched the film. This book is not just for children; it can be enjoyed by anyone. It definitely makes you feel better and I have to admit when I have been filing at work since reading this book I have had many reasons to feel glad. It is very different to the book, which disappointed me in some ways but also gave me an unpredictable ending. If you are feeling down, cheer yourself up and have a read. I am know reading Pollyanna Grows Up. ISBN I 85326 145 9 Author: Eleanor H Porter Grimsbygal
Pollyanna--- When I saw the book on the shelf, I stood for a minute and thought of the movie I had enjoyed as a child. I saw my favorite sceens and charactes just as if I was watching it again. So naturally I bought it. Was it the same? Yes and no. Some of my favorite charactes were missing, or different and some of the best scenes were also missing. Yes, I was a bit dissapointed, but the book was the original, after all, and the movie was the copy. Also the book was written in 1913 and the movie made 45-50 years later. Two different times--two different styles. ( Less romance in the book for instance) And when you wrote a book in 1913, you did not think of putting things in that would make a good movie. So I sat back and read the book again, ignoring the movie as much as I could, and I really enjoyed it--as a creation in its own right. Polyana was so popular that Eleano h Porter wrote a second "Pollyanna Grows UP". after her death, four other writers wrote a total of 10 more books. Now to try and find them. When I see some of the books that the children read today, I think of how mice it woudl be if they would read this--who knows maybe they would actually appreciate something called a classic.
When Polyanna Whittier goes to live with her sour-tempered aunt after her father's death, things seem bad enough, but then a dreadful accident ensues. Pollyanna's sunny nature and good humour prove to have an astonishing effect on all around her.