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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations


****Pollyanna Grows Up

by Eleanor H. Porter

Reviewed 03/03/03.
Barbour Books, New York, 1993. Originally published in 1915. 204 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #1, Young Adult and Children's Classics

Pollyanna Grows Up is the first romance I ever read.  As such, it has a special place in my heart.  I think the very old edition we had was my mother’s book before me.  Now my sister has it, I believe.  I hope that her daughters will enjoy it as much as we did.

After reading Pollyanna for the last issue of Sonderbooks, I simply had to reread the sequel.  Actually, I didn’t read the first book until years after I had already read Pollyanna Grows Up many times.  They both do well on their own.

Pollyanna Grows Up begins only a few months after Pollyanna ends.  Young Pollyanna goes to Boston for the winter to stay with a lonely and sad lady who has long been mourning the disappearance of her dead sister’s child.  Once there, of course Pollyanna revolutionizes the house and the neighborhood.  She plays her “glad game” and unconsciously changes everyone around her.

The second half of the book shows Pollyanna at twenty.  It’s hard to imagine vibrant little girl heroines grown up, but Eleanor Porter does a wonderful job.  Pollyanna still plays the game, but she no longer tells every acquaintance she meets about it.  In fact, circumstances have changed for Pollyanna and her aunt, so the game is becoming much more difficult.  I like the chapter where Aunt Polly gets fed up with Pollyanna’s everlasting gladness, so Pollyanna makes an effort to spend a whole day complaining.  This adds a nice touch of reality!

It is an old-fashioned book, but delightfully refreshing.  There are some old-fashioned attitudes toward a “crippled” boy and several coincidences.  But the book does transcend all that.  The romance is delightfully tangled, with everyone thinking the one he or she loves is in love with someone else.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a child and teen, and it still delights me today. 

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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