Harriet the Spy
February 23, 2018 9:26 AM - by Louise Fitzhugh - Subscribe

...she scribbled in her notebook: “LIFE IS A GREAT MYSTERY. IS EVERYBODY A DIFFERENT PERSON WHEN THEY ARE WITH SOMEBODY ELSE?”

Harriet the Spy is a 1964 children's novel written and illustrated by Louise Fitzhugh. Eleven-year-old Harriet M. Welsch is an aspiring writer who lives in New York City's Upper East Side. Harriet is precocious, and enthusiastic about her future career. Encouraged by her nanny, Catherine "Ole Golly," Harriet carefully observes others and writes her thoughts down in a notebook as practice for her future career, to which she dedicates her life.

The Horn Book: A Second Look: Harriet the Spy

NPR: Unapologetically Harriet, the Misfit Spy

New Republic: 'Harriet the Spy' Predicted Our Surveillance State

Metafilter: Harriet the Spy, Queer Hero

Buzzfeed: What 17 Adults Learned From Rereading Their Favorite Childhood Books (Harriet is #2)

Bustle: This 'Harriet The Spy' Halloween Costume Only Requires 5 Simple Steps
posted by roger ackroyd (8 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Possibly the greatest book of all time.
posted by praemunire at 10:18 AM on February 23, 2018 [8 favorites]


I agree. I was obsessed with this as a child and is probably why I have been keeping a journal since then.
posted by kanata at 11:25 AM on February 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


Simply a brilliant book, I distinctly remember reading it and wanting to be a writer at that age.
posted by Sphinx at 12:48 PM on February 23, 2018 [1 favorite]


This might be my favorite book ever. I still cling to my harriet_thespy Hotmail address. I also recommend the two follow-ups, Sport and The Long Secret. I am off to read all these lovely links and then shall return to the thread.
posted by skycrashesdown at 10:09 PM on February 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


I also recommend the two follow-ups, Sport and The Long Secret.

I read The Long Secret but I had never heard of Sport. I see now that was because it was not yet published when I was in my Harriet years. That'd do it.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:59 PM on February 24, 2018 [1 favorite]


This post brought up memories as well now that i've thought about the book more. This is where I learned what a dumbwaiter was (and was so jealous and immediately wanted one) and also maybe the inspiration for the first story I ever wrote in grade one about a girl named pinky who lived in a pink house and drove a pink car and was a detective who investigated pink fluff she found (I just learned to spell the word pink I believe) and why I said so young that I wanted to be a writer. I wouldn't be surprised if its also behind my life long interest in the mystery genre.

I hope we weren't supposed to go away from it with the idea that spying was wrong :)
posted by kanata at 8:35 AM on February 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


>I hope we weren't supposed to go away from it with the idea that spying was wrong

I went away from it with the idea that spying had CONSEQUENCES, but I remember appreciating even when I read it that the book accepted some moral ambiguity in everyone's actions. I could understand why Harriet spied and why people were upset about it when she was discovered.

I had a short shelf of books and a lot of free time as a kid, so I reread this one dozens of times. I should go back to it and see how it holds up.
posted by tchemgrrl at 12:39 PM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Did anyone ever begin to understand what was up with the nickname "Ole Golly"?
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:05 AM on March 5, 2018


« Older Movie: Waiting for Guffman...   |  RuPaul's All Stars Drag Race: ... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

poster