Do you have a friend who is annoyingly positive? This person reminds you how lucky you are to have a job, even though you hate it, or how blessed you are to eat when you get the wrong order.
Every time they speak, you tend to roll your eyes and shout, “OK, smarty-pants. Can you please shut up now?” “Thaaaaaanks.”
When I was around 14, I was that person. My motto was, “for every negative, there is a positive.” It used to annoy a lot of people around me. I carried that motto around and used it whenever crises struck! Telling someone who just got out of a car accident that there is a “positive” with a weird smile, can only land you a smack on the face. Thankfully, I did not get punched (ha)! However, thinking about it now, there is a thin line between bringing positivity to the world and preaching. Once people assume you are preaching, then you are a done deal. Plus, what can a 14-year-old possibly know?
Moving along to our subject at hand: Pollyanna! She is a filtered version of that “optimistic friend” and far from annoying. She has a distinctive happy charm that does not come off as irritating or preachy. She is some sort of a miracle worker in the other characters’ storyline and hopefully yours as a reader.
I came across the title Pollyanna a few years back from Jeannette Maw. I downloaded the book but just couldn’t go through it. A few weeks ago, I got inspired to read it. Pollyanna is a cheerful 11-year-old girl who has lost both of her parents and ends up living with her grumpy aunt. From the moment we meet Pollyanna in the story, we can sense her unusual talent, the ability to find a gift even in the darkest realms of life experiences; she calls it the “Glad Game.” Pollyanna’s genuine cheer and attention to blessings bewilders everyone she encounters, and something shifts in them as if she unveils a whole new world to the people around her.
“… there is something about everything that you can be glad about, if you keep hunting long enough to find it.” ― Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna
What is also interesting about Pollyanna is that she knows how to feel her feelings and when NOT to play the game! When she is sad, she gives herself a good cry. She acknowledges pain, and when there is an enough space for some new energy, she goes hunting for gladness, which makes her “Glad Game” more realistic and relatable.
“Oh, yes; the game was to just find something about everything to be glad about—no matter what ’twas” ― Eleanor H. Porter, Pollyanna
I finished Pollyanna with joy and frustration. I was upset it was over. After all, it is a children’s book, so it is a short read. Nevertheless, I wanted more of Pollyanna. To my surprise, there are plenty more “Pollyanna – Glad Books”. I finished Book Two a few days ago, but unquestionably, I loved the first book more.
Eleanor H. Porter wrote the book in 1913. It became a best-selling novel and developed into a Disney movie. If you need a change of perspective and some optimism, read this book!
Porter, E. H., & Reed, N. (1994). Pollyanna. London: Puffin Books