Review: “Pollyanna Grows Up” by Eleanor H. Porter

Pollyanna Grows Up is the sequel to Eleanor H. Porter’s first “Glad Book.”  About a year later in the story, Pollyanna has finally recovered the full use of her legs and she is more optimistic than ever.  From Pollyanna’s stay in Boston with morose Mrs. Carew to her return to Beldingsville, Pollyanna Grows Up narrates the events and sorrows of Pollyanna’s adolescence and early adulthood.

At the beginning of the novel, Pollyanna is around thirteen years old.  As time passes within the story, Pollyanna’s “Glad Game” is curiously affected when she is an adult.  She becomes conscious of her ability to change people, and she realizes how her innocent childhood game could be seen as “preaching” when she is an adult.  In media res, Pollyanna is twenty years old, and it is during this time in her life that she and her Aunt Polly experience financial ruin and the loss of Dr. Chilton.  Poverty, a topic that the author concentrates on in this story, is now not only witnessed but also endured by Pollyanna’s character.  Jimmy Pendleton, a.k.a. Jimmy Bean, returns to the story as Pollyanna’s love interest, while the introduction of many new characters like Mrs. Carew provides the background for the mysteries of the missing Jamie Kent and Jimmy Bean’s own past.

The humor and vivacity of the original continues in Pollyanna Grows Up, but the element of romance is more noticeable this time and the author manages to create happy unions between most of her main characters, guaranteeing a happy ending.  Although the novel gives a detailed account of the numerous changes in Pollyanna’s life, the optimism that was prevalent in Pollyanna is still prevalent in Pollyanna Grows Up.  However, even though her sequel is well-written, Porter’s writing style is the same.  Moreover, the unfortunate combination of romance with the author’s personal philosophy results in the entire storyline appearing trite and insincere.

Original review: Part 2: The ‘Glad Books’,


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