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Harriet the Spy (1964)
de Louise Fitzhugh, Louise Fitzhugh
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If I’d read this as a kid I would have struggled with the incessant meanness and how this bully of a main character never really changes her behavior or shows any sort of remorse, and in fact, she’s rewarded for being horrible. I doubt my child self would have been cool with any of that, especially since I could totally have seen myself as a Harriet target.
Reading this an adult however, I guess I was able to take this less seriously or personally than I likely would have as a sensitive kid, and while plenty of Harriet’s actions had me cringing and I did wish to see more of a comeuppance for her than she received, admittedly, I found Harriet entertaining.
Harriet’s obsession with tomato sandwiches was so odd that it couldn’t help feeling funny. Equally odd is reading something that’s considered a children’s classic constantly thinking okay here’s the moment when Harriet’s going to understand how hurtful she is and become apologetic, only this girl continuously doubles-down with her awfulness, her answer to everything seems to be I’ll do worse, that’ll teach them. It’s so unexpected to read a children’s book where basically no lessons are learned, combine that with Harriet’s brazen persistence in being horrible and you get something a little amusing and a bit dark, with an entirely unique feel to it. If you can get on board with the villain winning then this is a twisted sort of enjoyable, just, you know, don’t dwell on how miserable it would be to tangle with someone like Harriet in real life.
Harriet the Spy is an interesting read. The idea of a child who spends her time spying on people is strange. Harriet has some friends but not many, probably due to her standoffish nature. Her parents are there but hardly around so this might contribute to her behaviors. Harriet keeps a journal where she talks about many people, including her friends. I was somewhat happy that it was found and read by her friends, however, she didn't receive any punishment and did not feel sorry for hurting her friend's feelings. This was a point in the book that I definitely disagreed with.
Stopped about half way. I think that's enough to feel comfortable giving it a one star. If it doesn't suck me in by then...
Two stars. I read this so often as a kid that the pages warped and for some reason, quickly yellowed. Inspired and eager to be cool, I too began keeping a crudely-stapled notebook and mispronounced 'dossier.' I got into quite a bit of trouble when my teacher, too, found the notebook. Remembering this, I was interested in reading the book as an adult.
Harriet is a rude, obnoxious, judgmental brat, and I spent 95% of the book wondering what was wrong with this kid. 'Unreliable narrator' doesn't begin to cover it--no child talks like that, even private school ones! No teacher responds that way to a child unless--I just--(shakes head). I have to see the movie now to find out what really happened through a POV that's not from such an odd child. And I -was- an odd child, but not like this. She does break and enter, and she does engage in voyeuristic activity. It's not espionage; that is something altogether different and giving a boundary-breaking child too much credit. And yet, I couldn't put the book down.
I have rarely read anything as an adult so hypnotizingly strange, especially because the writing style was so simplistic and bare. It's--odd. I laughed a lot in places that weren't meant to be funny because it was just weird. When I picked up the book from the library, I expected to like it as much as I did upon first read (I was ten). Upon reading the inside flap, I guffawed and swore at the protagonist, understanding this might be a wild ride. I wasn't looking forward to being inside her head. I was really glad when the book ended.
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Eleven-year-old Harriet keeps notes on her classmates and neighbors in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)813Literature English (North America) American fiction
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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I didn’t read this book as a child, and I don’t think it would have appealed to me then. I was not a snooper as a child, and I avoided the children who were. Harriet’s breaking and entering bothered me. The bullying Harriet experienced after her classmates read her lost notebook was even more troubling, as were Harriet’s payback fantasies. It’s obvious to the reader that Harriet is a budding writer. It takes a child psychiatrist to point out the obvious to Harriet’s parents, who then enlighten Harriet’s teachers and Ole Golly. ( )