The Road to Understanding is a road not taken

If Burke Denby had not been given all the frosted cakes and toy shotguns he wanted at the age of ten, it might not have been so difficult to convince him at the age of twenty that he did not want to marry Helen Barnet. That opening sentence of The Road to Understanding made me […]

O, Money! Money! financially sound fun from the glad girl author

Eleanor H. Porter recovered from writing two Pollyanna novels with the 1918 publication of Oh Money! Money! a rollicking tale that makes “the glad girl” look downright dull. It also manages to make good financial sense. Oh, Money! Money! A Novel by Eleanor H. Porter Helen Mason Grose, illus. 1918 bestseller #5. Project Gutenberg ebook […]

Just David is just dumb

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 […]

Pollyanna grows older but no more mature

Eleanor H. Porter’s “Glad Girl,” Pollyanna, captivated readers, who clamored for more about the plucky orphan. Porter obliged with Pollyanna Grows Up.  Pollyanna Grows Up by Eleanor H. Porter Page, 1914. 306 pp. Project Gutenberg ebook #6100. 1915 bestseller #4. My grade: B-.  Worried that her niece will be spoiled by being treated as a […]

Dawn Shows Work Is Necessary to Happiness

After hitting the sales charts with Pollyanna in 1913 and Pollyanna Grows Up in 1915, Eleanor H. Porter repeated her feat in 1919 with Dawn, a novel that’s better than either of them. As the story opens, young Dan Burton learns the man who mends toys for neighborhood kids has gone blind. Dan immediately decides […]

Orphan Stories My Favorites from 1913

To say bestsellers of 1913 haven’t held up well is an understatement. Of the 10 novels that topped the sales charts in 1913, only Pollyanna is a title that will ring a bell  with most modern readers. It’s fame is probably due more to the 1960 movie version starring Hayley Mills than to Porter’s novel.  […]

Pollyanna Shows Kids Power of Positive Thinking

Pollyanna is Norman Vincent Peale for children. Orphaned at 11, Pollyanna Whittier comes to stay with her spinster aunt in Vermont. Aunt Polly never approved of her sister’s marriage to a penniless preacher, but she feels it is her duty to give her niece a home. Friendly and outgoing, Pollyanna was taught by her father […]