When I first found Mister God, This Is Anna, I felt compelled to read it simply because of the cover and descriptive text. On my edition, the cover reads, “The heart-rending true story of a little girl…a young man, and the world they shared.” To the author’s credit, this is an accurate statement. The book is almost entirely focused on the relationship between Anna, and the book’s author, who is known as “Fynn.”
It takes place in the first half of the 20th century in the city of London. One night, the then nineteen-year-old Fynn finds a filthy young girl as he roams the docks at night. He takes her home to his mom, gets her cleaned up, and gives her a place to stay. Much of the book describes the conversations and discoveries they have over the course of three years. As one quickly finds out, Anna has a knack for asking incredible questions about life and God, and also providing fascinating answers. What she says seems to have a surprising impact on the lives of many who read this book.
It speaks of spiritual matters often. There are references to Mister God, Jesus, angels, and other Bible concepts and words on almost every page. This is seen from the very beginning. Fynn opens the book with the words, “The diffrense [sic] 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.” This quotation comes from the mouth of six-year-old Anna, and is one of many supposedly profound statements she makes.
What she means by inside and outside is explained later in the book, but my first impression of her is that she doesn’t know what an angel is, and is just making stuff up. These ideas of not knowing, and making stuff up, stayed with me all the way to the last page. Sometimes she is cute and charming, but my opinion of her never really improved. I found that almost all of the “important” things that the book claims are nonsense, or a perversion of the Word of God.
As I already mentioned, the vast majority of the book is spent recording the conversations between Fynn and Anna. She asks questions, talks about people and events they see, objects she shares with him, and so on. The nature of God, her opinion of Jesus’ name, why numbers are important, and what is outside or inside a person are all explored. She is obviously an intelligent girl, and asks some good questions, but uses her own experiences and wisdom to answer them.
In a particular portion of the book, I found her opinion on the Bible, going to Church, and Jesus’ name. Anna tended to regard reading the Bible as merely a primer, strictly for the infants. The message of the Bible was simple and any half-wit could grasp it in thirty minutes flat (pg. 19*)! One went to church to get the message when you were very little. Once you had got it, you went out and did something about it. Keeping on going to church was because you hadn’t got the message or you didn’t understand it or it was “just for swank” (pg. 20). At one point, Fynn read a Bible concordance with proper names in it. As he went along, Anna would determine whether or not the name and its meaning were right together. When they came to Jesus, Fynn said His name… and Anna immediately said “No!” and wagged her finger (pg. 21). She asked for the next name. Apparently she referred to him as “Mister God’s boy” instead.
It is flippant teachings like these that demonstrate the vanity of Mister God, This Is Anna. I guess the girl wasn’t taught that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and that it is profitable for many things (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Perhaps she wasn’t warned against forsaking the assembling of the saints (Heb. 10:24-25). She didn’t even have respect for the name given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:10-12). All of the above illustrates the need to teach children the Way of God from a young age. Letting them make stuff up and share funny statements is entertaining, but some topics are far more serious than that. By not teaching such children, they are unprepared for the Right Way. Anna surely wasn’t (pg. 124).
As I implied at the beginning of this review, the book tries hard to pull at the heartstrings of readers. It may make you quite emotional or want to cry. As I read it, I could see where certain parts would try to make me want to respond in such a way. Unfortunately, I never became too emotionally involved with the people in it because I couldn’t trust any of them. Most of the book seemed emotionally manipulative.
Another fault I have with it is that it contains so much unscriptural nonsense. The “Mister God” that Anna describes is an idol she made up, and nobody seems to be willing or able to teach her out of her false fantasies. When Anna rejected the name of Jesus, the book described Fynn’s response as, “Who was I to argue? I pressed on.” The book is filled with people just giving in to Anna nearly all the time. It really got old. Some of her questions and answers seem amazing. The life her and Fynn share does make some readers cry. However, Mister God, This Is Anna is still not worth reading because it contains so much false teaching.
My Rating: 1 of 5 stars
*The page numbers in this review are based on an edition of the book that is 192 pages in length. Not all versions of the book are the same number of pages.
Girl at a Dock by Günther Schneider from Pixabay.