11Dec2018

Book #53: Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.  I wanted to be a spy just like Harriet.  I even got myself a notebook and old clothes good for climbing fences and into dumbwaiters.  Unfortunately, I didn’t live in New York City, I lived in suburban Kansas City, Kansas.  Nobody had a dumbwaiter in their split-level home.  Nobody was even around worth spying on.  I did have my super creepy neighbor across the street, but I was more scared of him than curious about what he did all day long.

What I didn’t pick up on at all in the multiple times I read this was Harriet’s parents’ utter lack of parenting her, nobody even once recognizing that Harriet was suffering when she lost Ole Golly, Harriet’s constant victim mentality, or how the cruelty Harriet inflicted was never resolved.  This book is a mess and surprisingly complicated for the middle grade reader.  It made for an interesting discussion in my book discussion group, though.

Goodreads rating: 4 stars, which probably is surprising.  I still enjoyed reading it, maybe for nostalgia, but also because all the mess made me think about life and attachment and friendship.

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Jenny

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has written 287 articles on Red Hot Eyebrows.

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