Published: February 1st, 2002 (First published 1913)
Pollyanna (Pollyanna #1)
By: Eleanor H. Porter
When orphaned 11-year-old Pollyanna comes to live with austere and wealthy Aunt Polly, her philosophy of gladness brings happiness to her aunt and other members of the community, somewhat to their surprise.
I love reading classic children's books, for the simple fact of them drawing me into their stories in a way that adult, or even teen books can't seem to manage quite as well. I can lose myself in my childhood again when I pick up an old friend, or a new one that is centered on the story of a child. Children's books from a hundred or more years ago, like Pollyanna, are no exception to this particular feeling of enjoyment. I never read this one as a child, but did see the Disney movie of the same name starring a young Hayley Mills (I found it a little saccharine to be honest). The book isn't exactly the same as the film, thankfully. It actually reminds me quite a bit of Anne of Green Gables, as it's the same style of writing. The book is made up of what is could almost be classified as vignettes, but not quite since they are a coherent story thread with and obvious timeline.
The plot is centered around young Pollyanna, whose minister father has just died and now that she's an orphan, she's being sent to live with her rich Aunt Polly across the country. Polly of course is absolutely miserable, and lives by herself in a big house on the hill. Polly likes things neat, orderly and quiet. So of course young Pollyanna's presence, with her "glad game" and constant cheerfulness is a thorn in her side. Pollyanna plays a game every day that she calls the "glad game," which she started with her father. In everything that happens in her life, good or bad, she looks for something to be glad about. Before she knows it, Pollyanna's encounters with the townsfolk while playing her game, have managed to transform the lives of a great many people. But then tragedy strikes Pollyanna - can she find something to be glad about, even in her darkest hour? I highly recommend this to adults and children alike. It has a great moral to it, the individual stories are all rather funny (especially the one about young Jimmy Bean trying to be the "India boy" for Pollyanna's Ladies Aide back west), and the conclusion had me on the verge of tears. I think fans of Anne will especially enjoy it, because as I said before it's definitely in the same literary vein.
VERDICT: 5/5 Stars
**No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book is now available in stores, online, or maybe even at your local library.**