Eleanor H. Porter produced Just David, a male version of “the glad girl,” three years after Pollyanna.
The similarities are striking; the differences work to Just David‘s detriment.
Just David by Eleanor H. Porter
1916 bestseller #3. Project Gutenberg ebook #440. My Grade: C.
As the story opens, David, a 10-year-old prodigy, is living in the remote woods with his father.
Realizing he’s seriously ill, the father starts down the mountain with his son, their violins, and a few belongings.
Two days later, the father dies in a Hinsdale barn in which they’ve sheltered.
The surly farmer and his wife take David in.
David transforms their village, has a nearly fatal illness, and recovers in time to arrange a marriage.
Whereas Pollyanna was notable for her unusual attitude, David is odd in nearly every way a boy can be:
- He knows French and Latin but not his own last name.
- He knows the names of all the local plants, but has no idea what money is.
- He’s spent days in the woods, but never seen any dead animal.
- He understands the necessity of training for a musical career, but not the necessity of having wood for a fire.
The other characters are as implausible as David.
You’ll be glad not to have to read this novel.
© 2016 Linda Gorton Aragoni
Credit: Violinist, a double exposure photograph by Dora Mitsonia