Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

(Reread in June 2016, posting my Goodreads review right now just so I can link back for the year end review!)

This was a favorite book as a child and decided to reread it this weekend. Reading it now as an adult–wow. Louise Fitzhugh was a genius. I have so much to say about this book, which I’ll leave for my longer review on the blog. For here I’ll say: it a treat to walk down memory lane. As with a lot of my childhood rereads I was surprised to find that my memory had distorted the proportion of things in the book (for example, Ole Golly leaves pretty early on in the book. In my memory that was at the end. I thought the spy routes were covered frequently, but they actually were also a pretty small part of the overall length of the book.)
Harriet is a terrific character and the emotions are heartfelt and true. One of the things that really stood out to me (that I believe I also really liked as a child) was the , hmm, I really have a hard time finding the right word. Harshness? Nastiness? Not softness? of the vocabulary and writing. Janie calls someone a cretin. Adults are called out as ridiculous. There’s often a quick sentence that is quite cutting. As a kid it amused me and I liked it. As an adult it amuses me, I like it, and I admire it in the writing and see it as a rarity in children’s books.


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