-A Book Review-
Written by Louisa May Alcott, the beloved author of “Little women”, the story of Polly Milton is another masterpiece of hers, titled “An Old fashioned girl”. It first appeared in the ‘Merry’s Museum magazine’ in 1869 and consisted of only six chapters. However, the story was continued by the author to end up with nineteen chapters in all and was published as a book.
This story is woven around a simple girl called Polly, who is fourteen years old as the story begins. She grows up in the country, under the love and care of her family. She never finds herself strange until she is amidst her relatives in the city, when she pays a visit to her wealthy cousin’s place. Many she meets there, call her “old-fashioned” and this leaves her utterly confused. She is overwhelmed by the fashionable, urban life they live and is puzzled for she senses something missing, in spite of all the glamour and propriety around her. Left out because of her “countrified” manners and outdated clothes, Polly’s only comfort becomes grandma, the old Mrs. Shaw, a kind old lady who understands Polly and helps her through her troubles.
As Polly tackles with her own troubles, having been brought up in a surrounding filled with love, helpfulness, forgiveness and understanding, she tries her best to bring these things into the fashionable and stately house of the Shaws, Quite unknowingly, her mere presence influences each of the Shaws, way more than Polly expected.
“And Polly didn’t think she had done much; but it was one of the little things which are always waiting to be done in this world of ours, where rainy days come so often, where spirits get out of tune, and duty won’t go hand in hand with pleasure. Little things of this sort are especially good work for little people; a kind little thought, an unselfish little act, a cheery little word, are so sweet and comfortable, that no one can fail to feel their beauty and love the giver, no matter how small they are. Mothers do a deal of this sort of thing, unseen, unthanked, but felt and remembered long afterward and never lost, for this is the simple magic that binds hearts together and keeps home happy.”
Slowly sunshine creeps into the lives of Mr.Shaw; who was too busy earning money, to earn the love of his children, Mrs. Shaw; whose gown was too fine for her little ones’ hugs and tears, Grandma; completely ignored and left alone, being old, Fanny; spoilt by vanity and a group of good-for-nothing friends and Tom; who is present wherever mischief is and rarely cares about anything other than enjoying himself.
Polly despite being “old fashioned’, mends the lives of those around her, during her stay in the city. She gives them silent lessons on things that really matter in life. Through few twists and turns, real happiness reaches the house of Shaws, thanks to Polly. She herself grows up learning to deal with life away from her comfort zone.
The story concludes showing that sometimes being old-fashioned is just the right thing. Also, each person we come across should be admired for what they are, for we can never be like them. Though written one centuary and several decades back, this book still has the same power to move its readers and it is surely worth reading!
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