“The difference from a person and an angel is easy. Most of an angel is in the inside and most of a person is on the outside.”
Mister God, This is Anna is a novel that I (literally) just finished reading. According to the cover of the book, it’s “The heart-rending, true story of a little girl…a young man, and the world they shared.” Every single word quoted there is true. It’s the story of young Fynn, the author (a pseudonym that Sydney Hopkins wrote under), and his meeting of a little four-year-old girl named Anna. Fynn takes Anna home to his mother’s house, and together the two explore science, math, philosophy, theology, poetry, and much more. Anna was a very extraordinary girl who viewed the world in a different way than most. With the help of her good friend Mister God, Anna was able to look at the world for its goodness and wonder.
There is so much to say about this book, but it’s hard to put it into words. As a general rule, I don’t read religious novels, because to me, it seems like the author/characters take on the better-than-thou sort of stance that many people seem to have (especially here in the Bible Belt.). But this book was different. It seemed like Fynn was just as religiously obtuse as I, and that even little Anna, who was very involved with Mister God, was sort of sceptical toward organized religious practices. Don’t get me wrong, I most definitely don’t think religion is a bad thing, and neither did Anna. However, Anna was more focused on what she thought God wanted her to do. She thought that one ought to go to church as a child, so that they could learn everything, and then they were supposed to go out and put it into practice. Although as a Catholic, I believe that one always ought to go to church, I like how Anna was very focused on her actions, thoughts, and just general outlook. According to Anna, the world was a beautiful place, and it was such a beautiful place due to the indescribable Mister God.
Last time I posted, I mentioned a book called Love Story by Erich Segal. That book started with the words,“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?” If Hopkins (aka Fynn) had wanted to employ similar words, he might have asked what one could say about a girl who didn’t make it to her eighth birthday. For that is what happened to Anna (No, I’m not spoiling the whole book here, because Fynn mentions Anna’s death in paragraph two, page one.). From what I could tell, although Fynn only knew Anna for three years, a mere blip in the average lifespan, she seriously impacted the rest of his life. To Fynn, Anna was a guide in the darkness.
Although to Anna and Fynn, the darkness was a place where once could stretch their souls out. Most people think of the darkness, and of night, as a time for creepy-crawlers, demons, thugs, and general bad things. Anna and Fynn weren’t limited to this view though. Darkness was a time for exploring, wandering, searching, finding. “…the darkness is for the heart and the wits.” It’s easier to go to bed when it gets dark. Turn out the lights, shut off your brain, and stop your devilish thoughts. But sometimes the easy way isn’t the course to take. Anna blazed her own trail. In the midst of her blazing, she met an older man who went by the name of Old Woody. While sitting around a fire one night, joined by other night wanderers, Old Woody told Anna, “‘They will tell you and encourage you to develop your brain and your five senses. But that’s only the half of it, that’s only being half a human. The other half is to develop the heart and the wits. …There’s common wit, there’s imagination, there’s fantasy, there’s estimation, and there’s memory.'” I’m willing to lose the ease of turning off my thoughts to develop those hidden senses. And so was Anna.
Though this book was a mere 180 pages, it made me think. Which, although it isn’t always obvious, is what literature is supposed to do.
On the very last page of the book was a poem that Anna had written. I liked it so much that I’ve decided to share it here. Just as a warning, there will be a few spelling mistakes and such. That’s okay. It was written by a seven-year-old.
WHEN I SHALL DIE
When I shall die,
I shall do it for myself.
Nobody shall do it for me.
When I am redy,
I shall say,
‘Fin, stand me up,’
and I shall look
and lagh merry.
If I fall down.
I shall be dead.
It’s rather simple, and obvious, but it’s still honest in a way that is quite nice. Thought-provoking in a way that only a child can be. Honest in a way that only a child could be. And fearless, in a way that only a child would be.
Hope I’ve spiked someone’s curiosity enough for them to actually read the truly wonderful Mister God, This is Anna.