Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Barren Bitches Book Tour #15

Okay, I'll admit it. . .with my vacation looming, I forgot what day it was. I was supposed to have this post up late yesterday or early this morning. Except I thought tomorrow was Wednesday, and so I'm a little late.

Well, actually, I'm a little early. About six to eight days early this month. But that's a whole other story, and we'll save my cycle craziness for another time. On with the show. . .

The book this tour was Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh. I cannot lie; I found it oddly depressing. I don't recall reading it as a child, which likely means that I did not read it, but in reading it now, Harriet struck me as a sad and neglected child, as did Sport. I felt sorry for both of them. The thing that was interesting to me is that had I read this as a child, I'm quite sure that this would have gone right over my head, and I would have been enthralled with the idea of a child who was left to his or her own devices, and incredibly envious (I had what I thought were the most strict parents on the planet).

And now, without further ado, my answers to the questions:

In the beginning of the book, Harriet is explaining the game Town to Sport. She goes thru a list of typical town places from the 1960's. What places/professions do you think a savvy Harriet in 2008 would have in her town?

Um, an excellent toy store that had a make-your-own sundae place inside, and those giant stairs that you can "play" like a piano, and really cool video games that you can ride. There would be a fantastic spa that gave fabulous massages in your own private suite. . .the weather would always be nice. . .and there would be really great restaurants overlooking the river. . .lawyers and doctors and governors and teachers and really hot policeman would live in town, and no one would be homeless. The town would have a giant bookstore full of fireplaces and cozy armchairs, and it would be locally owned by people who really like books, and waitresses would come around with free cookies and peppermint cocoa and really good coffee and chai. There would be a Fourth of July parade with antique fire engines and everyone from town would show up, and all the kids would have those pinwheel things and little miniflags, and everyone would be wearing red-white-and blue. And then there would be giant fireworks at night on the Fourth, over the lake (because Harriet's town has a lake AND a river). In fact, there would be fireworks every Saturday night all summer over the lake, but the ones of the Fourth of July would be the biggest and the best all year.

Because savvy 2008 Harriet would know that the world isn't a perfect place, and she would yearn for utopia. Or maybe that's just the grownup Queenie. . .so hard to tell.

What would you have done in Harriet's position after her friends discovered her notebook?

I would've lied and said I was trying to be a writer, and that I'd read that one technique is to take people you know, and make stuff up about them, and write about that. Sometimes a little white lie is better than the truth. . .

How much of Harriet's behavior in the latter half of the book do you think was a direct result of Ole Golly's leaving? Would she have gotten so out of control if Ole Golly was there for her to talk to about the lost notebook?

I think Harriet's behavior wasn't due necessarily to the loss of Ole Golly, but rather the loss of the only person in her life that provided stability and guidance and attention. There was an ocean between Harriet and her parents. When Ole Golly left, Harriet had no one. Her parents did not know her, and she did not know them. The only one she had ever relied on had just left her. The problem was not so much that she did not have Ole Golly to guide her through this difficult time, but that she had no one. Left to her own devices, things spiraled out of control. In this regard, I think Harriet is much like all of us, child or not: we need people to be our beacons in the storm, to shepard us through the tough times. Without them, we can sometimes make very bad choices. Harriet's parents really failed her for quite some time.

Obviously, this book brings up many questions on privacy and journaling. At one point, Harriet journals all day at school instead of doing her work. Has anyone worked on their journal/blog at work? And been caught? When do you blog/journal? Do you do it when you should be doing something else?

I never, ever blog from work. I am too afraid our IT people would discover the link. I know they've got a way to track the sites we've visited, and I would be horrified if they found my blog. I make it a practice to only blog from home. If I am blogging at home, however, it is quite likely that I'm supposed to be doing something else!

Want to keep reading? Hop along to one of the other stops on the tour:
Stirrup Queens
Slaying, Blogging, Whatever...
Clumsy Kisses
Our Own Creation
Aurelia Ann
The Road Less Travelled
Working On It
Journeywoman
Here We Go Again **Gold Star for Jen!!!** She posted while in labor with her brand-new daughter. Read her post, then leave her congratulations!
The Fertile Infertile
Baby Smiling in Back Seat
All Things Deb

4 comments:

Deb said...

I think you are right about why she went awry after Ole Golly left. It was obvious that she felt no connection with "cook" and her mother was confused by her most of the time.

You really think she would yearn for utopia? Hmm... I got the impression that she would find crisis and chaos more interesting. But then again, many of us do find those states more interesting but wish for things to be different.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Kristin said...

I think you are absolutely right about why Harriet lost control.

I loved the time I spent at National Center West. I find it very sad that economics forced them to sell the land.

Cassandra said...

Your Town sounds amazing! But I think Harriet would have invented some drama -- I know that I always did when I created little societies with my Little People. I had probably 50, including three of the same girl -- so the "triplets" were constantly getting into shenanigans.

darla said...

You lost me at Harriet :( but I'm very impressed at the whole book tour thing! Very nice!