I first came to the story of Pollyanna when I went to the cinema at the age of 11 to see the film. Unfortunately I forgot my glasses, needed for distance viewing, so sitting in the circle it was like listening to an audio-book! As a result I soon found the book by Eleanor Porter, to fill in the parts I had found difficult to follow, and it was well worthwhile.
‘Most generally there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it’
When orphaned 11-year-old Pollyanna comes to live with Aunt Polly, she just feels lucky to have an aunt at all. She lives by the philosophy of her father, that there is always something to be glad about. Gradually she conveys that optimism and happy disposition to her aunt and the local community. But she is not a sickly sweet child, for she gets into mischief and never stops talking. Often she lacks tact or understanding of her elders and she has to suffer harsh words from others who do not appreciate her attitude. And then everything falls apart when a dreadful accident paralyses Pollyanna. Suddenly it is difficult to “play the glad game” or find the joy in every day. Will her positivity ever return?
It is amazing how many of the characters I love from 20th century children’s books were likeable but precocious children, often orphaned, who charmed those they encountered and made a success of their lives.