by Eleanor H. Porter

Unconditional Recommendation: Eleven-year-old orphan Pollyanna, full of happiness and love, goes to live with her cold, strict Aunt Polly and turns the household and the town upside down in the best way.

Age: Middle Grade
Series: Stand Alone
Pages:  224-333, depending on edition
Published: 1913

Genre: Classic

There’s so much I love about this book that it’s going to be hard to cover it all in this review. And I’m not going to try—you’ll have to read the book and derive your own enjoyment from it! This book is a good one. It’s heartfelt, humorous and uplifting, with fascinating characters an interesting plot and the cherry on top: it’s loaded with spiritual truths. It’s also very similar to Anne of Green Gables; so if you enjoy Anne you will certainly enjoy Pollyanna.

Summary from the Publisher

The eleven-year-old orphan girl, Pollyanna, moves in with her strict aunt in New England. Despite a difficult start, Pollyanna’s exuberance and positivity affect everyone who meets her, and she spreads joy and love wherever she goes. But when tragedy strikes, Pollyanna finds her optimistic attitude tested, and she must learn to find happiness again. A heartwarming tale that has become one of the most loved children’s stories of all time.

An Enduring Theme

I love this book for how much truth it demonstrates that reminds me of the way Christ is with believers and living under grace rather than law. For the Christian, grace should be a major theme of life because of our position in Christ and grace is a major theme in this book. Pollyanna’s character exemplifies what it is to live under grace. She personifies freedom.

Goodness and Truth

I found so much goodness and truth in this book! When you read, notice this parallel: Pollyanna is Christ and Aunt Polly is us—Aunt Polly is standoffish, curt, and full of rules regarding life and Pollyanna. She constantly approaches her relationship with Pollyanna and anything she does for her as a “duty”—something a good person would do but she’s not going to be happy about it. Pollyanna, like Christ, offers her unrestrained love and displays of affection; she offers Aunt Polly happiness and explains that living isn’t just breathing and doing your duty. She says, “Aunt Polly, please, isn’t there any way you can be glad about all that duty business?”

Pollyanna lives her life by “The Glad Game” where the point is to find something to be glad about in every situation. Pollyanna’s game reminds me of these verses:

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17)

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Memorable Characters

Pollyanna – She’s a sweet, thoughtful child full of life, light, and love—all of which she’s happy to share. In the joyless home of Aunt Polly, Pollyanna is a foreign creature and the household doesn’t quite know what to do with her at first. Everyone is bettered by Pollyanna’s presence. Pollyanna shines light and brings goodness wherever she goes and to whomever she meets. In her naivety and persistent endeavor to be glad, Pollyanna assumes the best about everyone. She exemplifies what love is as stated in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Please enjoy this book and try to find all the goodness and truth this story contains!

Recommendation Note

There are old uses of words such as “ejaculated” and “gay.”

Books Like This: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Where to Find this Book: Amazon* or your local library!

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