Merry Wanderer of the Night  + [young adult]

Harriet The Spy

I remember loving the movie Harriet the Spy when I was a kid, but slightly remembering the movie didn't really prepare me for actually reading Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzburgh. For some reason the Harriet I had in my mind was an angsty 14-year-old girl. In reality, the Harriet of the novel is an 11-year-old genius. Or at least I thought she was a genius. She is encouraged to write everything she sees by her nanny Ole Golly. Harriet thinks about everything in terms of how it will help her career as a writer and detective. She has routes that she goes through every day.

The people she observes on her routes are cat-loving Harrison Withers, a snooty old couple, a woman who (for a period) refuses to get out of bed, and an Italian immigrant family who owns the local grocery store. Harriet's observations of these people are surprisingly astute for a young girl, and they kept someone twice her age (me) in fits of giggles. I had a journal like Harriet when I was a kid and I wrote down my thoughts on everyone in my class too. I always remember my mom telling me not to write anything down I didn't want anyone else to see, and this is something Harriet has to consider in this book.

One thing that annoyed me about this book was how the "romance" between Harriet and her friend Sport was portrayed as this fact that everyone should know. This fit with Harriet's voice in the novel, but I still thought it was kind of weird. Their love relationship was mentioned about twice during the whole book and I wondered why it needed to be there at all.

This novel earned a B.

I read this book as part of the Shelf Discovery Challenge.
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