This book was a gift from my friend for my birthday. It is a true life story of a little girl named Anna who died when she was less than 8 years old. The author of the book, Fynn found her abandoned in the docks of London and bought her home. He recounts his memories of this little girl with whom he spent 3+ years of his life before she died in an accident.
If you are thinking this is just another sentimental story of a friendship forged and remembered with nostalgia, you are mistaken. Anna was an amazingly intelligent 4 year old who came up with extraordinary insights on life and god and love. She had a special relationship with god whom she referred to as “mister god” but had a major dislike for organized religion and the church. This story is about how she comes up with her own philosophy and theories based on the things she sees and learns.
One day Fynn taught her about light with various colored glasses. He also explained to her how we see colors. A yellow flower looks yellow to us because it absorbs all other colors except yellow. Guess what conclusion Anna drew from these pieces of colored glass and yellow flower. “Mister god is empty”. How is that
“Mister god was a bit different from a flower. A yellow flower that didn’t want yellow light was called yellow by us because that is what we saw. You couldn’t say that about Mister god. He wanted everything so he did not reflect anything back; we couldn’t possibly see him could we. So as far as we are concerned Mister God is empty. Not empty because there was truly nothing there but because he accepted everything. Ofcourse you could cheat if you wanted to; you could wear a colored glass marked “MISTER GOD IS LOVING” or bit marked “MISTER GOD IS KIND”, but then ofcourse you would miss the whole nature of Mister God”
On another occasion she invented a number called Squillion and term she used to refer to a very, very large number. She claimed she could give correct answers to a Squillion, Squillion questions and went about proving it. One plus one plus one is three. Two plus one is three, eight minus five is three. There are infinite questions that lead to the same answer, three. She said “isn’t it strange, Fynn. Every number is an answer to squillions of questions”
When Fynn told her that nothing can travel faster than light, she claimed it was wrong. Shadows can travel faster and demonstrated it to the incredulous Fynn. She made him stand near a wall and shone a torch light on him. As she moved towards him parallel to the wall the shadow moved towards him much faster than the rate at which Anna was walking, it slowed down when shadow was directly behind him and speeded up again when Anna started walking away from him!!! (does it really do that. I have not observed. Let me know if any of you have noticed it)
Once, Fynn made a mirror book for her, with two mirrors facing each other and stuck together at one end. You can place anything on a table and open the mirror book over it at any angle and study the reflections. She made many interesting discoveries and theories based on these reflections. Here is what she discovered about words – “Room spelt backwards is a moor. A room is a particular space surrounded by walls and a moor is a space surrounded by no walls. If you spell roof backwards it is foor, can I add an ‘l’ and make it floor. Is rood a window because it is door spelt backwards? Do you know lived backwards is devil, do you know Anna spelt backwards is Anna”
You should listen to her definition of poetry “it is like sewing. It is like making something from different bits that is different from all the bits”
This book gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “looking at the world through the eyes of a child”. How often do we really listen to five year olds? Perhaps if we did we would get some startling insights into life.