Friday, 14 August 2015

Fictional Food Adventure: Reading Pollyanna by Eleanor H Porter

I grew up as a fervent Hayley Mills fan, encouraged by and enjoyed with my Mum; just about tolerated by my patient Dad. He would go and find something do to elsewhere if Mum and I decided we were in the mood for That Darn Cat, Summer Magic, or Pollyanna. This was probably more often than he would prefer but he was usually very tactful, with only the occasional derisive comment slipping out, and off he would go to the garden, saying, "Oh no, it's Hayley Smells!"

Pollyanna was one of the Hayley Mills films that Mum and I enjoyed together the most. When I went to secondary school, I made a friend who gave me my own copy of the book one Christmas, along with a copy of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Both were Wordsworth Classics, the kind you could buy in W.H.Smiths for a pound, and the story of Rebecca at age eleven was a real discovery. I did launch in and read Pollyanna too, and loved it as much as the film. I have no idea what happened to that copy, so I reinvested in a copy recently. It's a shame that Pollyanna hasn't had a new edition out lately. It deserves a gorgeously illustrated front cover just as much as all the classics that Oxford and Puffin are often producing. 

This is one of those life-affirming stories of an innocent, and ever cheerful young girl, that is a real tonic in today's society. Pollyanna's determination to experience life through her father's legacy of his Glad Game is what nurtures the happiness of those around her, and ultimately her own. 

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading Pollyanna again. I'd forgotten the differences between the film and book. For those of you who know the Hayley Mills Pollyanna, in the book there are no massive iced cakes, no big fair, and no falling out of a tree. But the rest of the essentials don't differ too much, and Pollyanna's joy-giving, lively influence over Mrs Snow, John Pendleton, the whole town, and her own stern aunt is wonderful to see. At many times during the book I grinned or giggled, welled up, or relished a warm swell in my heart.

Like so many books of this period, there is so much that we should all take forward with us in our lives. So much has been forgotten or discarded which is still so valuable. I will cherish Pollyanna just as much as ever, and when my copy of the dvd arrives in the post, I'll need to get my Mum cosied up with me in my lounge to enjoy watching that Hayley 'Smells' charming the socks off everyone. 

No comments:

Post a Comment