Harriet The Spy Review
By: Louise Fitzhugh
Published by Random House Publishing, 1964
source: Nook book
Harriet M. Welsch is a spy. In her notebook, she writes down everything she knows about everyone, even her classmates and her best friends. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before she can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she’s written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together?
This children’s story may have been written almost fifty years ago, but it is still relevant today. Fitzhugh writes an inspiring story about the life of a child, Harriet.
Harriet dreams of becoming a spy and spends her time after school spying on her neighbors. The humorous journal entries and comments Harriet makes while on her spy route makes this book enjoyable from start to finish. Harriet is never caught without her notebook, that is, until her classmates find it; classmates she had written about in her secret notebook. The consequences of this scandal leak into every part of Harriet’s life. Wishing for a turn in events is Fitzhugh’s great power in this story. I kept hoping the best for Harriet, but had to wait to the end to find out how things were resolved. Harriet the Spy is a novel
What I loved about this story is the plot complications. Fitzhugh makes blurry accusations about every character in her novel; the children are nasty to each other, the parents are doting yet clueless, and the other adults in Harriet’s life just don’t seem to understand her needs.
Things are never easy for Harriet M Welsch. Her aspirations of becoming a spy become tangled when she faces the accusations of her schoolmates. I enjoyed reading the personal thoughts of an eleven-year-old and her gradual steps into maturity. Maturity, which Fitzhugh seems to point out, never truly climaxes.
My favorite of Harriet’s reflections is:
“There is more to this thing of love than meets the eye. I am going to have to think about this a great deal but I don’t think it will get me anywhere. I think maybe they’re all right when they say there are some things I won’t know anything about until I’m older. But if it makes you like to eat all kinds of wurst I’m not sure I’m going to like this. (Pg. 59)”
I rate this book a four out of five foxes. It is a story that has been loved by children for many years now and I suspect it will remain popular. Fitzhugh reveals some insights to the challenges of friendship that are relevant in any time period. However, the books setting makes it a little dated and I had some difficulty relating to Harriet in respect to her setting.
If you haven't read this book. You should certainly do so.