Newest Review: ... into the smallest, stuffiest room in her grand house, and forbidding her from talking about her father. Luckily, Pollyanna has a sun... more
The girl who could never be sad.....
Pollyanna - Eleanor H. Porter
Member Name: thehonesttruth
Pollyanna - Eleanor H. Porter
Advantages: A saccharine sweet, simple tale
Disadvantages: The word Glad does become somewhat irritating, characters not explored in muh depth.
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.
Summary: Glad I read it .