Book Review: Pollyanna Grows Up

01 Jul

Eleanor H. Porter | Pollyanna Grows UpGenre: children’s literature; classic; romance; humor

Plot Summary: A year has passed since Pollyanna’s paralyzing accident.  A year older, but still playing the Glad Game as much as ever!  In this book, Pollyanna travels to Boston, where she meets an ex-convict, gets lost in the city, saves a young woman from degradation, and makes friends with a boy who keeps a Jolly Book.  In the second half of the book, Pollyanna comes home from a trip to Europe as a young woman of 20, pretty as a picture yet convinced she’s unmarriageable.  With three potential suitors, whom will Pollyanna choose?

My Review:  I’ve been brought up on the Disney version of Pollyanna starring Hayley Mills.  I’ve probably seen it a thousand times.  I had a lot of fun reading the first installment of Pollyanna several years ago.  When I discovered that I could read about what happened to Pollyanna when she grew up, I knew I had to get my hands on it!

In the early 1900’s, the Pollyanna books were quite popular.  Other authors wrote more sequels after Mrs. Porter’s first two (a complete list can be seen here).  It really is quite a shame that today the name Pollyanna is usually used to mean ‘unrealistic’, ‘in denial,’ or ‘wearing a happy mask.’  While reading this book, I found a heroine who came face to face with the fact that sad things do happen in life, and not everything can be fixed.  She struggles at low points to play her Glad Game.  It is difficult to be brave when things go rough.  But with the encouragement of friends, our heroine does find good things to be glad for.  Is this to cover over the bad, pretending it doesn’t exist?  Not at all.  Pollyanna just chooses to put as much energy into hoping for the best as expecting the worst, being grateful for what is while lamenting the loss, and finding a positive to balance the negative.

And there are even times when Pollyanna so much as admits that instead of playing the Game, it is more appropriate to take action to help people who are less fortunate.  It is indeed touching to see how Pollyanna spurs others on to make the world a better place.  By the time we make it halfway through the story, our heroine has been the lead influence in: improving living conditions in a poor tenement building; beginning a safe haven to protect girls from resorting to degradation; and the adoption of yet another orphan.

I have to admit I was a bit impatient during the first half of the book to get part where Pollyanna comes home from Europe and her romance begins.  We have quite a love triangle going (or maybe I should say love hexagon).  Just as I found with the first book, this one had me laughing out loud in several places (for example, Pollyanna having the outrageous notion that she had to marry a potential suitor even if she didn’t love him because she may hurt his feelings!)  There is also a plot twist I wasn’t expecting (I DON’T RECOMMEND READING THE BLURB ON THE BACK COVER!!).

What a healthy, delightful children’s book!  For being published in 1915, the reading is not stodgy nor overly childish and sticky-sweet.  It makes for a nice family read aloud book.

I really had to laugh at the 1 star ratings of this book on amazon.  It seems more people could do with a bit of sunshine!

You can read Pollyanna Grows Up for free here. Or listen to it for free here.

Have you read this book?  Feel free to share your thoughts!



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Posted by on July 1, 2014 in Book Reviews


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