London's dockland, outside a baker's shop, night-time two to three years before the start of World War II, is where it all began. Fynn, a young man of age 19, stepped out of the shop and saw what appeared to be a stray four-year old girl sitting near a heating vent. He sat down and shared the silence with her and then shared his hot dogs with her...and so began the biggest adventure of his life.
He enquired and found her name to be "Anna". She came to be known to him variously as Mouse, Hum, Joy, or Tich. Finding that no one loved or cared for her he did what any loving person would do and took her home where she lived with him and his family until her death shortly before she reached the age of 8 years old. In that short time they experienced a lifetime of learning, together.
Fynn had an insatiable thirst for mathematics which he quenched in his spare time. She would request that he read passages of his studies aloud and they would discuss them together; and this was extremely advanced mathematics which lead to the exploration of tengential subjects at whim. Words, numbers, ideas, mirrors, colored glasses all became things...ways to understand God better.
From this Anna determined, and explained to Fynn that:
God has an infinite number of viewing points.
Mister God (her name for him) is empty because he accepted everything as opposed to reflecting it back as light does.
She was never willing to put God in a box because she realized he was bigger than any of our meaningless labels of him.
Examples of a conversations between Anna and Fynn follow:
"Fynn," she said quietly, "compare two with three."
"One less," I murmured in a fug of contentment.
"Um. Now compare three with two."
"That's right, one les is the same as one more."
"Uh-huh," I grunted, "one less is the same as... ~~HEY!"
"Mister God goes right through my middle and I go right through Mister God's middle." This was discovered as she played with two brass rings which were inherently linked.
"Ain't it funny, Fynn: Every number is the answer to squillions of questions?"
"It's all pretty obvious, so obvious that it would take an idiot not to see it! We all know that Mister God made man in his own image and images are found in mirrors. Mirrors turned you back to front or left to right. Images were take-away things. So putting it all together, Mister God was and Mister God is on one side of the mirror, Mister God was on the add side. We were on the other side of the mirror so we were on the take-away side. We ought to have known that. When Mum puts the toddler down and backs off a few paces she does so in order to encourage the toddler to walk to her. So did Mister God. Mister God puts you down on the take-away side of the mirror and then asks you to find your way to the add side of the mirror. You see he wants you to be like him." pg. 102
The bigger the difference between God and his creation, the more God-like God becomes. But Sunday school teachers have it wrong because they emphasize God's God-ness by keeping God the same size...and making people smaller. 105
"Two kinds of light: a pretend one and a real one. Lucifer and Mister God. " 120
"Being safe meant not doing things at all; being saved meant trusting in another." 131
God's biggest miracle was the seventh day because that is when He created rest. Rest could only be created when all the "muddle" was organized (by Him). 133
Ultimately, their world became a world of questions and anwers; one in which the questions were the more important of the two, because they led to more and better questions and deeper understanding, along with a greater sense of how little we really know.
People go to church to understand God less because it is only as we come to understand how little we know that we can truly fathom God's true being. 106
In writing of their story, Fynn never set out to dwell on the hurt that the loss of Anna brought. Anna taught him how to really live and eventually he carried on in that which would make her very happy, indeed. Anna's life was so well-lived and she was so wise that the end of her life didn't really mark the end of something; it definitely marked the beginning of the rest of her adventure.
And so I will end my review of this book on this note:
Once when asked by someone "You're a bit young for this, aren't you, little one?"
...he got his answer, "I'm old enough to live, mister," said Anna quietly.