One of my favourite books I read as a child was by the author Fynn, titled “Mister God, this is Anna.”
Fynn, a pseudonym for Sydney George Hopkins, tells the story of his chance meeting with a little abandoned girl one evening on the foggy streets of East London. He paints a scene of the streets and docklands that he loves to wander around at night, in vivid tones. London in the 1930’s before World War II was a flurry of activity with barrow boys, trams, and street cafes.
Fynn loved to walk the docklands and streets of East London, especially at nights and when it was foggy. He is an intelligent young man with a penchant for mathematics, physics, science, biology, and theology. He has a gargantuan appetite for knowledge which is constantly being tested and researched using all kinds of brilliant home experiments.
Fynn was 19 when he met Anna who was 5. She was sitting on the grating under the window of a bakery with her back against the shop. He sits down next to her and a beautiful friendship is born. The story that unfolds is one of profound love. Fynn takes Anna home and his darling Mum duly accepts her into their eclectic home. Their home was a constant flurry of activity. As Fynn describes it, “Some people collect stamps or beer-mats; Mum collected waifs and strays, cats, dogs, frogs, people, and as she believed, a whole host of ‘little people’.
Anna is a child filled with a deep desire to learn and understand the world around her. Her meeting Fynn with his mastery of physics and mathematics is fortuitous. Together they go on a journey of endless discoveries and experiments to help Anna make sense of the world. Her capacity to learn and to understand complex concepts is insatiable. Without a doubt to me, she was a genius.
Anna is also an angel.
Anna is on a first-name basis with God, whom she calls, “Mister God”. Her relationship with God is enviable. As she so beautifully says it:
Mister God is in my Middle.
The time that Fynn spends with Anna has a liberating impact on his life and he is forced to reassess his worldview. Their deepest and most insightful conversations included Mister God in some way or other. Anna believed that Mister God was not about reading the Bible or even about going to church. It was simple in her mind: Once you have got the message there wasn’t much point in going over and over the same ground. According to Anna, “I know to love Mister God and to love people and cats and dogs and spiders and flowers and trees…with all of me.”
You can’t fault her there.
Over the last 4 decades, I have bought a few copies of Mister God, This is Anna. Everyone in our family has read the book at least once. I know I keep coming back to it with great fondness and respect. I recently came across an old yellowed soft-cover copy. The name written in blue ink in the front is my Sister’s eldest daughter, my Godchild.
This book is a favourite for the liberating effect it had on me back then and still has on me today. It is a religious book but one with a raw real-world innocence that will leave you liberated.
Have an awesome weekend and please be generous! 😄
As always, thanks for reading 🙏