Pollyanna

by Eleanor H. Porter

Other authorsKate Hindley (Illustrator)
Paperback, 2017

Status

Check shelf

Call number

J Po c.2

Publication

Alma Classics (2017), 288 pages

Description

When orphaned, eleven-year-old Pollyanna comes to live with austere and wealthy Aunt Polly, her philosophy of gladness brings happiness to her aunt and other unhappy members of the community.

Local notes

0000-0265-6505

User reviews

LibraryThing member octobercountry
I've just finished a re-read of Eleanor Porter's "Pollyanna," which apparently I had read a number of times when I was younger, because I remembered every single little aspect of the plot. I suppose many people already have at least a passing familiarity with this tale, which was first published in
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1912 and has been reprinted many times since then, as well as having been adapted for the screen on numerous occasions.

I confess, I was surprised at how well this story held up when read through adult eyes. Oh, it's rather sentimental, true enough, but perhaps I'm not as jaded as I would like to think I am because some of the sentimental/emotional passages totally did a number on me!

Obviously this book has staying power, though the nearly dozen sequels that followed (written by a number of various authors) have long since faded from the public's memory. To the best of my recollection, the first Pollyanna book is far superior to those that followed, but I still wouldn't call it perfect. The "plucky orphan" character has long been a staple of children's literature and has appeared in many guises throughout the years, but immediately after I started reading the book I got a very strong "Anne of Green Gables" vibe, "Anne" having been published four years previously to the first printing of this story. This feeling of déjà vu continued on and off throughout the novel, and I couldn't help but wonder if Porter was influenced by Maud Montgomery's work.

Despite a number of interesting little sub-plots, the narrative of Pollyanna is rather loose and episodic, and I think I would have liked to see all the story elements woven together more completely. I also noted that a handful of key scenes were played off-stage, and only referred to by the characters in passing, which seemed a bit odd to me.

But, I suppose the primary problem I have with Pollyanna is the heroine herself. She's just TOO good, TOO sweet, TOO everlastingly charming and upbeat to be the least bit believable. Now, I wouldn't say that she is OFFENSIVELY good---unlike the horribly sanctimonious Elsie Dinsmore (a favourite Victorian child heroine), Pollyanna doesn't preach to the other characters or give the impression that she's morally superior to everyone else. But Pollyanna didn't come across as a natural little girl for me; she pales not only into insignificance, but into invisibility, in comparison to the marvellous Anne Shirley of the "Green Gables" books. In addition, I would say that Pollyanna's general naïveté might have a certain charm in a child half her age, but in a ten- or eleven-year-old character, it just seems a bit odd. I don't want to sound too mean-spirited, but you'd almost think that she has some sort of developmental disability. So, the portrayal of the main character is kind of a major drawback to the novel.

Still, despite a somewhat mixed review, I'm going to recommend this story; I think at least some young people of today would enjoy it, though obviously it will probably have more appeal to young girls than to young boys. And if you have even a passing interest in vintage children's literature, this book should be read at least once, as it's been so iconic in the field of American juvenile lit. I'll give it four stars, with the high rating due in part to the nostalgia factor, since I did enjoy this very much when I was young.

(You know, from my youthful reading I remember Aunt Polly as being very old in this book---so imagine my surprise to learn that the character is actually five years younger than I am at present. Man, I am so totally depressed now...)

This book has been published in many varying editions over the years (including an abridged paperback version for the school market, sold by Scholastic). The copy I've just read is the same one that I had as a child, published by The Page Company in 1914. It really is a lovely edition, and I would recommend this particular version if you can find it. The boards are covered in a green patterned cloth that catches the light in different ways, depending on the angle you look at it. Tilt it one way and you'll see a diamond pattern of light fleur-de-lis on a dark background, tilt again and it's dark fleur-de-lis over stripes, tilt again and you'll mostly see just the stripes, tilt again and the light stripes turn dark and the dark stripes turn light----okay, okay---you get the idea I'm sure! Now, I know there must be a name for this sort of material---but I know almost nothing about fabric and so can't describe it using the correct terminology.

This edition also has eight illustrations tipped in; full-page black-and-white paintings printed on glossy paper. This once again reminds me that it's a real shame so few juvenile titles contain pictures in the present day---these are quite nice.
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LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Although I've heard many references to people being too "Pollyanne-ish" I had never actually read the book - and I have to say that Pollyanna gets a bad rap. If more of us had the habit of finding things to be grateful for, we'd find that we were happier - even in the face of terrible troubles.
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Pollyanna didn't deny that things were bad - she just didn't dwell on them and she tried to look for the best in everyone and in all situations. The story is an old-fashioned one, but is enjoyable even so - and there's even a little romance at the end!
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
There are many classics that I did not read as a child. Treasure Island, Frankenstein, Robinson Crusoe, Around the World in 80 Days, and Little Women are but a few.

However, I vow to systematically read these treasures in the next few months. Today I read Pollyanna.

Published in 1913, this gem stands
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the test of time. It is delightfully sappy, corny and wonderfully filled with old fashioned fun.

Pollyanna is an orphan whose father left her with the wonderful gift of optimism and the ability to find something to be glad about even in the most difficult situations.

When chatty, gregarious Pollyanna is taken in by her stern, hardened Aunt Polly, magic occurs. Not only is Aunt Polly changed, but the entire town is transformed as well.

If you haven't read this classic, I recommend you do so! Grab a pair of rose colored glasses, a cup of sugared hot chocolate, a sprinkling of holiday cheer and be prepared to smile.
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LibraryThing member edwinbcn
Pollyanna (1913) by Eleanor H. Porter is now mainly read as a children's book, but is wasn't written or intended as such. It was an immediate bestseller and influenced many people and popular culture during the first quarter of the twentieth century.

The story is about a young girl, who, as an
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orphan, is sent to live with her aunt, the stern Miss Polly. Pollyanna's father has taught her a game, which consists of always seeing things and situations in a positive light, and always being delighted with anything, in short, always be glad. The young, bright, innocent Polyanna spreads this belief, and starts influencing the people around her.

Within a few months she has made friends with most people in the community, even people, such as Mr Pendleton, who was considered to be unapproachable. Her unlimited optimism cheers up all the people around her, and brings people together, who were separated through years of miserly sorrow and anguish.

Underlying Polyanna's "glad game" lies the idea that everyone should be happy with small things. There are subtle suggestions that money is not the most important thing in life, and that apart from money there are many other things that may make people happy. The novel also suggests that Americans should care for each other before caring for others, far away, as there were still many poor and needy people within the US, at that time.

To the modern reader the book may appear repetitive and very simple, probably why it is now seen as a children's book. Because of its young protagonist, and its message, the novel also seems aimed at children. However, it is likely that children will merely focus on the superficial and rather simplistic message about being happy with anything, while missing the more subtle criticism on a society which is increasingly ruled by money, turning people in miserly Scrooges, having a lot of money, but unable to find happiness in life.
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LibraryThing member debnance
Pollyanna is that joyful book character that we never find in contemporary children’s literature. It was so refreshing to read this old story and revel in her ability to play the Glad Game, to find something good in any situation, and to see how this ability changed the lives of all who were
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around her.

Pollyanna, to my surprise, was not the priggish, bamby-pamby, goody-goody-two-shoes I’d been led to believe she was. Instead she was a real girl who actually put into action the ideas of joy and service to others in her everyday life. A delightful read.
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LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
Originally published in 1913, this tale of a young orphan girl who comes to live with her aunt in a small Vermont town, transforming everyone she meets with her "glad game," is one of those classic stories featuring a hero or heroine whose name has become a byword for a particular quality or idea.
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Just as we speak of someone who refuses to act maturely as having a "Peter Pan complex," or describe a rags-to-riches transformation as a "Cinderella story," so too do we refer to someone with a tendency toward optimism as a "Pollyanna." Before we had an entire industry of self-help gurus advising us of the power of positive thinking, we had Eleanor H. Porter's Pollyanna, which follows the story of the eponymous Pollyanna Whittier, and her "overwhelming, unquenchable gladness for everything that has ever happened or is going to happen."

Arriving in Beldingsville, Vermont from the western prairie, where her missionary father has just recently died, Pollyanna eagerly anticipates living with her Aunt Polly Harrington, for whom she is (partially) named. Although her reception is far from ideal - stern Aunt Polly looks upon her young niece as a duty, rather than a joyful addition to her well-to-do household - she perseveres in looking on the bright side of matters, viewing punishments as rewards, and laughing off many of the cold rebuffs she receives. Finding friendship elsewhere, Pollyanna teaches everyone in town, from the Harrington housemaid, Nancy, to reclusive neighbor John Pendleton, how to play the "game" - in which the player looks for something to be glad about in every occurrence in their lives - taught to her by her father as a young girl. When Pollyanna is struck by an automobile, and loses the use of her legs, the "glad girl" suddenly finds that she can no longer play the game, and that it is she who needs a little cheering up.

Chosen as our February selection over in The L.M. Montgomery Book Club to which I belong, where we sometimes like to read book that are "in the spirit" of L.M. Montgomery, Pollyanna is one of those classics of which I have long been aware, but which I have never happened to pick up. Being familiar with the general story, I have always associated it in my mind with the kind of orphan narrative to be found in books like Anne of Green Gables, or Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I'm very glad it was chosen by the club, as this has given me the push I needed to finally read it, thereby confirming my impression of it as being akin to L.M. Montgomery and Kate Douglas Wiggin's work. That said, although I found it readable enough (I got through most of it in one sitting), it wasn't quite as appealing as I'd expected it to be, and I thought that the charm sometimes wore a little thin. I appreciate the message of trying to find the good around us, but discovered that Pollyanna was just a little too positive for my taste - so positive that I started to become irritated with her. There was a point, midway through the book, when I felt that if I had to read one more scene involving Pollyanna laughing off something nasty, I would tear my hair out!

I vacillated quite a bit between a two and three star rating with this one, trying to balance my irritation with the heroine, and my overall engagement in the story. I can't deny that I enjoyed reading Pollyanna, despite my irritation, so I rounded up. Of course, I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough to hunt down the sequels any time soon.
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LibraryThing member ctpress
Orphaned Pollyanna is a very bright and cheerful girl who are sent to live with her cold and reserved aunt. Throughout the novel she plays "the glad game" - always finding something positive in the most unhappy circumstances - and she befriends several persons and helps them while the aunt is kept
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completely in the dark. Her "glad game" comes to a difficult personal test in the last part of the story.

It reminded me a lot both in story line and spirit of Heidi and Little Lord Fauntleroy - also both children who have a very innocent and gullible nature - thinking always the best of people.

I liked this american Children's classic a lot. The audiobook was read by S. Patricia Bailey - with just the right innocent voice for Pollyanna.
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LibraryThing member PollyMoore3
An American children's novel set in Vermont. Pollyanna is an orphan sent to live with her severe Aunt Polly. Her cheerfulness and determined optimism change the lives of many around her, including Aunt Polly herself. It's quite humorous, particularly Pollyanna's naive references to the "Ladies' Aid
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Society" who feed and clothe her out of charity. Most things seem an improvement after the well-meaning but rather deficient Ladies' Aiders.
Pollyanna has become a byword for stupid inane optimism that takes no notice of reality. But in fact it's not like that at all. Pollyanna is naive only because she's a child; her optimism is often deliberately willed in the face of sorrow and misfortune, and is a real force for good. Sometimes it simply shocks people out of their pessimism and self-centredness! She is not a cloying or sanctimonious character at all. This has been added to my shelf of children's classics.
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LibraryThing member HarryMacDonald
Before anybody gets too arch about this classic, let me say that it compares remarkably well with the feel-good fiction of our time, juvenile or adult.
LibraryThing member leslie.98
Rebecca Burns does a fine job narrating this children's classic. Overall, I enjoyed it but the (overly) optimistic Pollyanna character is a little grating and to my mind, completely unrealistic. If you thought Louisa May Alcott's books were too sweet, don't read these!
LibraryThing member ndubyz
A very interesting novel.
LibraryThing member SandDune
This was one of my childhood favourites and I was prepared to be disillusioned - I read What Katy Did last year and came away wondering why I had ever enjoyed something so apparently sanctimonious - but that didn't happen. I could see exactly why I had loved Pollyanna as a child and sat sniffing at
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the sad bits and wishing I has a tissue.

For those that don't know the book, here goes. Incredibly happy young orphan girl Pollyanna goes to live with her bad-tempered spinster Aunt Polly in the early years of the twentieth century. Pollyanna's cheerfulness touches the heart of everyone she meets, changing lives and eventually melting the heart of the stone-faced Aunt Polly. Obviously there's more plot than that but that's it in a nutshell. Incredibly sentimental and I loved every minute of it.

I have to say though that I can't imagine a modern child reading and enjoying it the way I did. Childhood's moved on too much. But I still loved it.
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LibraryThing member Saretta.L
Penso che tutti conoscano Pollyanna e il suo gioco di trovare sempre qualcosa per poter essere lieti.
Il romanzo è - come tutte le trasposizioni che ne sono derivate - pieno di buoni sentimenti. Pollyanna può risultare vagamente irritante all'inizio - e troppo esageratamente buona per essere vera
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- poi una certa ingenuità rispetto ad alcuni temi più adulti le restituisce lo status di bambina (quasi) normale.

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I think everybody know about Pollyanna and her game to found something to be glad on everything.
The novel - such as all the its transpositions - is full of empathy and good emotions.
Pollyanna is quite annoying at the beginning - and to much good to be true -, then some naivety about adult issues gives her back the status of (almost) normal child.
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LibraryThing member rrossi1
This book is about Pollyanna, who is an orphan who ends up living with her wealthy but stern aunt Polly. Pollyanna's father always encouraged Pollyanna to play "the glad game", where she finds something to be happy about in every situation, so now, she makes use of this game. Soon, Pollyanna
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teaches the game to other people in town that are having a tough time. The town is transformed by Pollyanna's bright, shiny attitude.
Pollyanna is hit by a car, and loses the use of her legs. She has a tough time finding anything to be happy about in this situation. Eventually, she marries, and is put in a hospital where she learns to walk again.
This book is a great way for children to learn that not all things in life have to have a bad side only. It teaches that even the worst situations have some good aspects.
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LibraryThing member JalenV
I've read Pollyanna several times, but this was my first time listening to an audio version. Aside from finding Nancy's habitual repetition of phrases more annoying to hear than read, I liked it fine.

Pollyanna may seem too perfect by today's standards, but for when the book was originally written,
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she wasn't. That she would climb down a tree, bang doors, and wander about the village on her own made her close to what we used to call a 'tomboy,' so please keep that in mind if you're not familiar with early 20th century children's literature. (I grew up on old books as well as new.)

It's also not fair to judge John Pendleton by what we know about child abusers today. It's clear, from the dialogue, that Mr. Pendleton has no interest in using Pollyanna as a substitute for her late mother. If Jenny had married John, Pollyanna would have been his daughter. He wants only to give her a [good] father's love and receive a daughter's love from her.

Pollyanna and her 'glad game' are still good things to learn about. It is all too easy to see only the dark side of life. Pollyanna doesn't just look for things to be glad about. If something is wrong, she strives to make it better -- and she doesn't give up if she doesn't succeed the first time.

Aunt Polly may consider herself a good woman who knows her duty, but we readers know better. For a woman who calls herself a Christian, she lacks the true spirit. How she treats Pollyanna in the beginning is proof of that. I love the way she learns about how much true good her young niece has been doing about town. Polly is rich, but Pollyanna does better for the locals with her smiles, words, cheerful personality, and sincere interest in their welfare in the months since she came there to live than Aunt Polly has done in her entire life.

I agree that it's too bad that Pollyanna's name has become an insult. I think if more persons knew what she's really like, the name would be a compliment.
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LibraryThing member vonze
There was a time in my young life that I probably knew Disney's version of Pollyanna line-for-line. I-kid-you-not. As the granddaughter of much older grandparents, Pollyanna is universally-grandparent approved. It was watched frequently at their house, along with Shirley Temple and Little House on
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the Prairie.

While I will always cherish the Disney movie and my memories surrounding it, the book tried my patience at times. In the movie, Pollyanna is more of a tomboy and sneaks away from her aunt for a good cause. In the book, she is annoying goody-goody. She is the perfect, unrealistic, angel child. I don't care if your parents were missionaries, you're going to get in trouble sometimes! She is like the anti-Anne of Green Gables and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Pollyanna would totally tattle-tell on them.

I probably could have got passed the perfectness if the story hadn't taken a creepy turn. In the movie, the creepy old man who lives alone in the woods adopts Jimmy Bean. And notice, there's never a scene where Pollyanna is alone with the old man. Well, in the book, the creepy old man wants to adopt Pollyanna. Why, you ask? Because the creepy old man was madly in love with Pollyanna's mother and now he wants to raise Pollyanna. But Pollyanna has Aunt Polly, right, her relative? Creepy old man doesn't care.

Maybe in 1913 it was sweet that your mom's old recluse boyfriend wants to adopt you...in 2013 it was just creepy, I couldn't get over it.
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LibraryThing member Shimmin
Definitely saccharine at times, but I did find this genuinely moving when I read it, so it pushes the right buttons.
LibraryThing member bookworm12
The name Pollyanna has become synonymous with an overly-cheerful person, but the original story isn't nearly as irksome as the name's co notations suggest. I was completely charmed by this book. A few years ago I read Heidi and the main character came across as saccharine sweet and far too
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optimistic. So despite growing up with two separate film versions of Pollyanna (including the famous Hayley Mills version) I was worried that this one would be all sugar and no substance. It wasn't that way at all!

Pollyanna's joy is sincere and she's been through a hard life already at the tender age of 12. She moves in with her strict aunt after becoming an orphan. Her minister father taught her to find something to be glad about even in the most dire circumstance. Her "glad game" is not pretentious, it's just her way of dealing with life and it's her earnestness that sells the spirit of the book.

Every person she meets is touched by her unbridled enthusiasm. What a beautiful way to live your life. No matter what their circumstances, each person who crossed her path found that their world was a little brighter because of her presence. How many of us can say that?

BOTTOM LINE: A sweet gem that I can't wait to share with my own daughter one day. We could all learn a little something from Pollyanna.

“What men and women need is encouragement. Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened ... Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut ... Hold up to him his better self, his real self that can dare and do and win out! ... People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts.”
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LibraryThing member AliceaP
One of my favorite films growing up (and still to this day much to my mother's chagrin) was Pollyanna starring the magnificent Hayley Mills (remember the original Parent Trap?). The story of a young girl orphaned and sent to live with an aunt she had never met (and who was less than thrilled to be
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taking her in) who brought happiness to an entire town captivated my imagination and never failed to make me cry both tears of anguish and happiness. Yes, I realize that I sound like a TV special but I am being completely sincere. The book that the film was based on was written in 1913 by Eleanor H. Porter and was an instant bestseller that generated so much success that several sequels were penned (the majority by different authors). One of the major plot points in the story was completely changed for the film version but I don't think that it took too much away from the overall storyline (you'll have to read the book to know what I mean mwahaha). The book's positive message to "be glad" is one that I think anyone regardless of their age can appreciate and embrace.
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LibraryThing member Bagpuss
Pollyanna is eleven years old when she is sent to live with her prim and proper unaffectionate aunt Polly after becoming an orphan. Aunt Polly has rules that are to be strictly enforced, but somehow Pollyanna doesn’t seem able to stick to these rules. However, the punishments meted out to her,
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such as having to sleep in Aunt Polly’s bed after she’s discovered sleeping outside on the roof don’t seem like a punishment at all to Pollyanna, who sees them as a treat!

Pollyanna’s natural exuberance melts the iciest hearts of those she meets, from the invalid Mrs Snow to the haughty Mr Pendleton – the villagers, including the kindly Dr Chilton, all grow to love Pollyanna, and even Aunt Polly’s heart begins to thaw, but then tragedy strikes which affects the entire village.

I read this book as part of my Decades Challenge. The language is obviously a little dated, this being first published in 1913 but it’s a sweet story of how to appreciate what you have, rather than looking at what you don’t have.

I haven’t seen the Hayley Mills version of this for years, but there is a version with Amanda Redmond in the role of Aunt Polly and this is a cracking adaptation!
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LibraryThing member sunnydrk
I'm sure I read this book as a child - I just couldn't recall much about it so decided to pick it up when I saw it in the $1 section at Target. A great story about a cheery girl who's been dealt a bad hand. Memorable characters and descriptive yet quick writing. I couldn't help but wish that there
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were more books in the series (like Anne of Green Gables).
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LibraryThing member ThoughtsofJoyLibrary
Pollyanna is orphaned at eleven years old. Her wealthy Aunt Polly feels it's her duty to have Pollyanna move in with her. Right from the start, Pollyanna spreads her "gladness" wherever she goes. As time passes, she touches the lives of many people in her community until her own "gladness" is in
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need of repair.

This was delightful! Of course, I am aware of the Pollyanna stereotype, but now I have a clear image ingrained in my mind. I am so glad that I finally read this uplifting book. I am. I am. (4.5/5)

Originally posted on: Thoughts of Joy
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LibraryThing member seldombites
This was another of my favourites as a child. Well worth giving to your kids to read.

Hardcover. Reserved for the xmas fair.
LibraryThing member FriendsLibraryFL
The classic tale of how one little girl makes all the difference in a turn-of-the-century Vermont town turned sour by her rich aunt.
LibraryThing member bookworm12
The name Pollyanna has become synonymous with an overly-cheerful person, but the original story isn't nearly as irksome as the name's co notations suggest. I was completely charmed by this book. A few years ago I read Heidi and the main character came across as saccharine sweet and far too
Show More
optimistic. So despite growing up with two separate film versions of Pollyanna (including the famous Hayley Mills version) I was worried that this one would be all sugar and no substance. It wasn't that way at all!

Pollyanna's joy is sincere and she's been through a hard life already at the tender age of 12. She moves in with her strict aunt after becoming an orphan. Her minister father taught her to find something to be glad about even in the most dire circumstance. Her "glad game" is not pretentious, it's just her way of dealing with life and it's her earnestness that sells the spirit of the book.

Every person she meets is touched by her unbridled enthusiasm. What a beautiful way to live your life. No matter what their circumstances, each person who crossed her path found that their world was a little brighter because of her presence. How many of us can say that?

BOTTOM LINE: A sweet gem that I can't wait to share with my own daughter one day. We could all learn a little something from Pollyanna.

“What men and women need is encouragement. Their natural resisting powers should be strengthened, not weakened ... Instead of always harping on a man's faults, tell him of his virtues. Try to pull him out of his rut ... Hold up to him his better self, his real self that can dare and do and win out! ... People radiate what is in their minds and in their hearts.”
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Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

1913

Physical description

288 p.; 5.18 inches

ISBN

1847496407 / 9781847496409

Barcode

34747000050043
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