Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms

I've always loved Pollyanna. She was one of my childhood friends, and I feel a fierce, protective friendship for the happy little girl who tried to bring gladness to a bunch of jaded realists in the town of Beldingsville. She was one of my childhood fandoms, along with Sherlock Holmes and Kidnapped--a detective, a Scottish outlaw, and a little American girl all jumbled together in a golden dream of fictional reality. I loved Pollyanna and Pollyanna Grows Up--and when my mom and I discovered Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms, by a lady who continued on the Glad Series, I was enchanted.

The last book is the subject of today's review. I will warn you in advance that it contains spoilers for Pollyanna Grows Up, and the identity of the man she marries. The spoilers probably won't ruin your reading experience, so you can go ahead and read them if you like. :) But if you want Pollyanna Grows Up to be a surprise, then now is the time to click away....



The Book
Happily engaged to (oh, did you keep reading?) Jimmy Bean, Pollyanna Whittier has all the reasons in the world to play the Glad Game. Her friends are gathered around her to help her start a new life, her Aunt Polly is throwing open the house to host their wedding at the grand old mansion, and Pollyanna has Jimmy's mixture of blunt teasing and sweet love to keep her happy.

Wedding, honeymoon, first apartment, slip one by one into her life, and she and Jimmy move from sweethearts to established life friends. It takes time to adjust to him being gone to work all day, but with her knack for finding people who need encouragement, Pollyanna meets a young wife, Judith, in the next apartment over and tries to make friends. Not only Judith's splitting marriage, but young, neglected Gladys Moore and many other people are recipients of her cheerful help, and she blesses yet another place with her joyful outlook. She finds that early marriage is not easy dealing with relatives, finances, her husband, and the impending world war, but her and Jimmy's mutual love and exercising give and take helps them over the rough spots that come along.

And when Jimmy enlists as a soldier in World War One, she will have yet another test to prove her Glad Game to the world.

My Thoughts 
The absolute charm of this book is how seamless a transition it is from Eleanor Porter's writing style. Some authors can carry on in another author's style just like them--I've read a couple of women who can write Sherlock Holmes mysteries like Arthur Conan Doyle, and Arthur Quiller-Couch finished Stevenson's unfinished novel St. Ives (PG-13 for content) to perfection. The same award goes to Harriet Lumis Smith for her continuation of Pollyanna. Aunt Polly is the same lady as in Porter's edition. ("Just like an old nut." -- "You can say that again."--"No, I mean you just have to find a way to crack open the shell to get at the goodness inside.") Jimmy is same old Jimmy Bean, albeit a young man now, and quite the nice average American head of the household. Everything is the same, and yet, in a way, better. It's been a while since I've read the book, but I think Smith tones down Porter's heavy sentimentalism and stuttering characters, and generally makes them more mature without losing any of their authenticity. The solutions Pollyanna finds in this book (and helps others find) are not always fast, or simple, or easy--in fact, Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms has some downright sad plotlines to balance the happy cheer. But the ups and downs combine to make a perfect light novel.

What I loved about this book was the beauty in the mundane detail. Hosting company without breaking the budget, adjusting to living in a small apartment, and enjoying the challenges and joys of being best friends together.

It also contains quite a few laugh-out-loud moments, from trying to figure out where to dispose of unwanted wedding gifts, to Jimmy's less-than-successful attempts to buy Pollyanna a hat as a surprise, to Jimmy's hapless escapade of drinking the company cream by mistake.

Pollyanna had hurried to the ice box. She looked inside, saw the plate of chicken cleared except for a few scraps, and made another discovery. "Why Jimmy, what has happened to my cream?" 
"Cream!" Jimmy repeated thickly. "Was that--cream?"
Pollyanna turned a tragic face upon him. "It wasn't ordinary cream. It was whipping cream." She saw by his expression that he did not understand her, and gave the necessary explanation. "Very rich, very expensive cream that will whip." 
"Golly!" muttered the abashed Jimmy, "I thought it was extra good." 

A happy and satisfying continuation of the adventures of Pollyanna. There are around thirteen sequels in all, and I have read four of them. Alas, I have read all I can get my hands on. But someday I should like to read the entire Glad Series and live the adventure again.


Please do come back Friday, folks! I'm starting an exciting new feature on My Lady Bibliophile to merge my writing and reading interests, and I'll be posting the first installment then. :) I can't wait!

Blessings,
Lady Bibliophile

8 comments:

  1. Aw, this brought back some good memories from when I read it last year. :) I loved the part where Jimmy drank the cream...
    I hope that we're able to get our hands on more of these someday. Speaking of that, I really need to read, "Pollyanna's Jewels" sometime. ;)
    Love,
    Carrie-Grace

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    1. I didn't know you had read this!! Yes, Pollyanna's Jewels is great fun. Just as good as this one. My copy is quite tattered, but you are more than welcome to borrow it. <3

      Love,
      Schuyler

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  2. How interesting! Before you mentioned it the other day, I had no clue that there were more Pollyanna books than the first two. I think Pollyanna and Jimmy would be a really sweet couple. :) I loved the cream excerpt--rather real and rather like Jimmy, I think. And I can see, since there is some WWI in it how you would think fondly of this book. : )
    Oh, oh, what is this exciting new feature, Schuyler?? You can't keep us in suspense! I really must know!
    --E.H ;)

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    1. Some of them might be available through Melcat, so you might be able to get it through the library system, if you like! I love the fact that in this story the author did what was obviously right--make Pollyanna marry Jimmy and have a stable, happy marriage. Some people would have tried to make it follow their own stamp, but she honored the personalities and the spirit of the tale, with wonderful results

      Ach! I wish I could tell you! But this place is entirely too public. Don't worry, your suspense shall be relieved in just a few days. :D

      Love,
      Schuyler

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  3. What??!! Ohh, I want to read this book so much RIGHT NOW! (I didn't even know such a book existed!). . . I will quickly add it to my Goodreads before I even dare forget about it. . .

    I love Pollyanna so, so much (our whole family does!), and enjoyed "Pollyanna Grows Up" quite a lot too. . . so this will be so special, I am sure; thank you for sharing this with us, Schuyler. And wait. . . is there a whole "Glad Series" ??

    I've read a continuation to a book by another author in the story of Heidi. "Heidi Grows Up" (similar in title to Porter's novel), is really sweet and special, and continues Heidi's story in a lovely way, very similar in form to Spryi. It would be interesting to see this continuation to Pollyanna!

    Blessings,
    Joy.

    P.S. I am so excited that you're now going to merge your love of writing with the book-related topics you share on your blog. That is so thrilling, and I can't wait for Friday's installment!

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    1. Yes, there's a whole Glad Series! I read another one by Virginia May Moffitt who doesn't really capture the Porter style; it's sweet, but Harriet Smith does hands-down best job. Pollyanna of the Orange Blossoms, Pollyanna's Jewels, and Pollyanna Goes West were all great. (Picture a Pollyanna western-style that actually works!)

      I loved Heidi Grows Up. :) I've read that too, and the author did a wonderful job of continuing the story. Junior B owns it, I think.

      Can't wait for Friday, to show you the writing feature. Hopefully the first of many! :D :D

      Blessings,
      Schuyler

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  4. How interesting! I did not know of this series. I enjoyed the book and the movie(s) when we read/watched them a long time ago. I shall have to keep an eye out for other Pollyanna books. :)

    I'll be back on Friday. Looking forward to it very much! :D

    Btw, I really like your new profile picture here. ;)

    Love,
    Kaleigh

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    1. I think you'd smile at Jimmy. :)

      Oh, thank-you! I'm so glad you like the picture. :D It's so fun to have new ones to choose from.

      Thanks for commenting!

      Love,
      Schuyler

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