Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Sunday Salon: Reading Pollyanna Grows Up (1915)

Pollyanna Grows Up. Eleanor H. Porter. 1915. 304 pages.

In January, I read Pollyanna and loved it. I definitely wanted to read the sequel. The novel begins with a nurse (Della Wetherby) visiting her cranky (grieving) sister (Mrs. Carew). The nurse is wishing that her sister could meet Pollyanna. She's bold enough to write to Pollyanna's guardians (aunt and uncle) to ask them to send Pollyanna to visit Mrs. Carew in Boston. As the couple is about to go to Germany, they agree that Pollyanna can remain behind and go and stay with Mrs. Carew for a year. The first half of this sequel is about her year in Boston: the friends she makes, the experiences she has, etc. The second half of the novel is about Pollyanna when she is grown up (20+).

Mrs. Carew is a wealthy, cranky widow. Her "good excuse" for being cranky and shutting the world out is that she is mourning the loss of her nephew, Jamie. After Jamie's parents died, she lost all contact with the young child. She was never able to find out what happened to him, where he went, who took him in, etc. He 'vanished' from her life and she desperately wanted to adopt him and raise him herself. She's searched and searched but to no avail.

Will Pollyanna change Mrs. Carew? Perhaps the better question is HOW MUCH will she change Mrs. Carew's life?

Pollyanna Grows Up offered few surprises. I was able to predict almost everything that happened in this one. That didn't make it less compelling. I was guessing something specific and I had to wait and wait and wait and wait for it. So it ended up keeping me reading all the same. I didn't love everything about this one. There are a couple of awkward scenes between Pollyanna and Jimmy Bean. I liked seeing Pollyanna in Boston, and I enjoyed seeing her perspective on the world change throughout the novel. How her eyes were opened to the misfortunes of others and the very real dangers that others faced on a day-to-day basis. Readers meet Jamie, a boy who can't walk, and Sadie, an (honest) working girl who is afraid of being noticed too much by all the wrong people.
I long ago discovered that you can't TELL about Pollyanna. The minute you try to, she sounds priggish and preachy, and--impossible. Yet you and I know she is anything but that. (10)
"Aunt Polly is all stirred up over it. You see, she wants Uncle Tom to have what he wants, only she wants him to want what she wants him to want. See?" Mrs. Carew laughed suddenly. (22)
Have you read Pollyanna Grows Up? Did you enjoy it as much as Pollyanna? Would you recommend it? What did you think of Pollyanna and Jimmy Bean and the conclusions they make about each other?

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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