Publisher: William Collins & Co., Great Britain
Price: INR 233
I pride myself in being an atheist (or maybe agnostic) and when this book was forced down my throat, I was all prepared to rubbish it as an attempt to turn me into a God-believer. But, ‘Mister God, This is Anna‘ by Fynn and Papas blew me away, not because of its religious sentiments. Instead, it isn’t tied to any religion at all. But yet, it speaks volumes about the relation between us and God.
Fynn, a 16-year old dock worker meets Anna, a runaway. He takes her home and she instantly becomes a vital part of his family and his life. They share an indestructible bond that goes way beyond anything that can be described. The book gives a detailed account of their friendship. It shows how Anna, with her ever-inquisitive nature questions everything, be it religion, mathematics, science, colors, people, anything. And then, with Fynn she unravels answers that are so simple, yet so deep. It would literally take us years of mundane living to arrive at these observations. And slowly yet steadily, she solves her favourite mystery of all, Mister God. The book ends with Anna’s untimely death and Fynn’s grief. It shows us how Fynn deals with this grief and lets go of his angst against Mister God.
“At five years Anna knew absolutely the purpose of being, knew the meaning of love and was a personal friend and helper of Mister God. At six Anna was a theologian, mathematician, philosopher, poet and gardener. If you asked her a question you would always get an answer – in due course. On some occasions the answer would be delayed for weeks or months; but eventually, in her own good time, the answer would come: direct, simple and much to the point.”
What is so explosive is Anna’s character. She charms you away with her mischievous yet delightful endeavours. She involves herself in anything and everything around her, living life to the fullest. She is much wise beyond her years. Anna is, in short, spectacular and alive! Every fibre of her being hums like a well-oiled machine and you feel her excitement, imagination and joy! Anna asks the real questions and she resonates with the innocence of the child mixed with the deep understanding of a philosopher. Her ability to find God everywhere is astounding. The friendship between Fynn and Anna too is touching. It definitely strikes a chord.
The book is complex, I will admit. Some parts often need re-readings and every reading gives you a renewed understanding, and possibly thousand other meanings that you overlooked the first time. Though you are forever questioning the validity of the claims made by Fynn regarding the existence of Anna, you feel like Anna is your new best friend! Even if we choose to disregard these claims and assume Anna to be figment of the author’s imagination, the book it still as eye-opening. Truly a beautiful book, it sums up the essence of living through the eyes of a 4 year old.
“Anna had bypassed all the nonessentials and distilled centuries of learning into one sentence: “And God said love me, love them, and love it, and don’t forget to love yourself.”
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