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Harriet the Spy

Am I the only fag who loved this book s a kid?

by Anonymousreply 4406/01/2017


Louise Fitzhugh was a lesbian.

by Anonymousreply 104/09/2013

Loved all of Fitzhugh's books. As a kid, I loved the part in SPORT where he and his buddy had a moment while wrestling.

by Anonymousreply 204/09/2013

Sorry, but I thought Sport was a really bad book. I understand the publishers rejected it, Fitzhugh put the manuscript away, untouched at her death, and it was later published posthumously to capitalize on Harriet's success.

by Anonymousreply 304/09/2013

I have no idea whether Sport is actually good or not -- I last read it 30 years ago and as an 11-year-old, I enjoyed it.

Harriet the Spy was the best, of course. None of the rest of her work was up to that level.

by Anonymousreply 404/09/2013

The estate authorized a fan to write an updated "sequel" to Harriet the Spy ... really lame.

by Anonymousreply 504/09/2013

I enjoyed Sport, especially the scene where he brings all his friends to tea with his snobby mother and Harriet takes notes the whole time.

I loved Harriet the Spy. And weirdly, I enjoyed "the Long Secret" too, even though it's a "girl" book. Beth Ann was an interesting character, the opposite of blunt Harriet.

by Anonymousreply 604/09/2013

The drama about Beth Ann and her crazy mother was the best part of the book.

by Anonymousreply 704/09/2013

We had a pretty long and interesting thread about this a couple of years ago... (see link)... I remember because I had a couple of glasses of wine, thought about Harriet after all these years, and jumped on the Internet to read about her. One more glass of wine and I was on DL.

Since then I reread both Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret. The sequel, of course, wasn't as good as the first book -- but it was far better than I remembered and had a lot of world-weary observations that would have escaped me as a kid. It had the feel of a '60s art film.

Never read the third book in the series, but Nobody's Family Is Going to Change was very good and the message was aimed clearly at (among others) junior lesbians and gays.

by Anonymousreply 804/09/2013

Nice thread - thanks for the link!

Janie was DEFINITELY gay, but I'm not convinced regarding Harriet, who seemed to have feelings for Sport (which in "Sport" Janie seems to resent).

I, too, realized Bunny was gay, but as a kid of roughly that age I already knew (of) similar guys.

As for the movie, I rather liked it.

by Anonymousreply 904/09/2013

It's always a toss up between Harriet and The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright as my faves

by Anonymousreply 1004/09/2013

Someone should make a movie of the Long Secret. Not a kids' movie. R8 is right - it's a 60's art film.

by Anonymousreply 1104/10/2013

I didn't know Harriet but I loved Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

by Anonymousreply 1204/10/2013

Any other Junior Fags who loved the book as a kid? Janie was a dyke, but Harriet ... I'm not convinced.

by Anonymousreply 1308/26/2014

Loved Ellen Tibbets.

by Anonymousreply 1408/26/2014

Harriet was a junior bisexual, of the grumpy dykey sort. More Carrie from Sleater-Kinney/Portlandia than Kinsey 6.0 Peppermint Patty.

by Anonymousreply 1508/26/2014

I loved Trixie Belden too!

Nancy was ok, but Trixie was tough.

by Anonymousreply 1608/26/2014

THE LONELY DOLL by Dare Wright is heartbreaking, as was the life of its author.

by Anonymousreply 1708/26/2014

I loved Harriet so much as a kid - as an adult I went as far as buying a 1st edition 1st print - but I swear it's only now, reading this thread, that I realise that the book spoke to me not only as a secret diary keeper, but as a confused gay 10 yr old who connected with all of the main child characters; Harriet with her tomboy look and attitude, Sport with his purple socks and gentleness, Janie - a female mad scientist!! Tween dyke heaven. And Harriet spying on the world from a place of isolation, feeling so different from everybody else, it all felt so familiar.

Anyone else know the picture book Suzuki Beane? Louise Fitzhugh illustrated it, and Sandra Scoppetone, also lesbian wrote it, a kids book in the voice of a beatnik little girl in Greenwich Village, raised by artist beat parents. It was meant to be a send up of Eloise, I think, tho I loved it to death as a kid, was probably my first vision of life in New York. Wish I still had my copy, they go for 200 and more now so haven't picked one up. But one day ....

by Anonymousreply 1808/26/2014

Desilu produced a pilot of Suzuki Beane, but it didn't sell. There's a piece of it on YouTube.

by Anonymousreply 1908/26/2014

Louise didn't do well with structure so The Long Secret is different from HTS in that she would go into the publisher's office, riff scenes, as the secretary transcribed them.

by Anonymousreply 2008/26/2014

Sport did not wear purple socks. That was The Boy with Purple Socks, whose name, later in the novel, was revealed to be Peter. He wore pruple socks because his mother once lost him in a crowd and decided that if he always wore purple socks, he would be readily identifiable.

by Anonymousreply 2108/26/2014

The Long Secret is Flannery O'Connor for the junior set, with a soupcon of Cheever for good measure. I wonder if Hughes read FOC--Harriet was published just around the time Mary Flannery met the Big Misfit in the Sky.

by Anonymousreply 2206/08/2015

Read Harriet when I was ten and all the Sherlock Holmes books when I was 12. They both had a huge impact ... OBSERVE, OBSERVE, OBSERVE. To this day I'm fascinated by minutiae.

by Anonymousreply 2306/09/2015

If OP doesn't watch out she's going to grow up into a lady Hitler.

by Anonymousreply 2406/09/2015

I thought Sport was a great read as a kid. Of course, nothing can compare to Harriet the Spy. Egg creams! It was such a disappointment moving to NY and finding out what they really were.

by Anonymousreply 2506/09/2015

For years, I thought tomato sandwiches were a new York thing, like egg cremes.

by Anonymousreply 2606/09/2015

The Spycatcher's Club was a precursor to outraged Christian frau fests, targeting the office lesbian.

by Anonymousreply 2706/09/2015

Great book. Horrible, terrible, awful movie starring lesbian star of "Riding the Bus With My Sister" Rosie O'Donnell as Ole Golly.

by Anonymousreply 2806/09/2015

Margaret Hamilton would have been the perfect Ole Golly!

by Anonymousreply 2906/09/2015

Never read it.

I was an Encyclopedia Brown fan myself.

by Anonymousreply 3006/09/2015

[quote]And Harriet spying on the world from a place of isolation, feeling so different from everybody else, it all felt so familiar.

I agree, R18. I was a mad diary keeper, too, a voracious reader and completely out of sync with the hetero world. Writing connected me to my own voice and and when I stumbled on Fitzhugh's Harriet I had found a champion for what seemed like the only sensible way of coping with the insanity of an outside world that didn't match my inner one.

by Anonymousreply 3106/09/2015

In the first book, Harriet's parents are inattentive. But in "The Long Secret," Harriet's family seems so much more together when compared with Beth Ellen's.

And remember Bunny, that big queen in "The Long Secret"?

by Anonymousreply 3206/09/2015

[quote]And remember Bunny, that big queen in "The Long Secret"?

I never figured out what he was all about until my 30s -- despite (or maybe because) of growing up around men like him.

by Anonymousreply 3306/09/2015

Ole Golly's advice -- "Sometimes you have to lie. But to yourself, you must always tell the truth" -- is a pretty heavy, impressive lesson for a children's book.

by Anonymousreply 3406/09/2015

Children's books were once a font of wisdom, before, sadly, Judy Blume.

by Anonymousreply 3506/10/2015

Harriet bump

by Anonymousreply 3606/10/2015

I always scoff at children’s books that try too hard to shove morals down readers’ throats. Children are too smart for that. And that’s something else that made Fitzhugh one of the greatest writers of the genre. She wasn’t trying to teach kids to be good. She was just telling a story. There are many ways in which Harriet and her friends never learn their lesson, which made the book controversial when it was first published and has led to its banning in school systems since then. Consider, for example, this exchange:

“Hey Janie, if you were going to slit somebody’s throat, wouldn’t you do it in the dead of night?”

“I’d poison them.” Janie didn’t even turn around.

I bet you would, thought Harriet. “But, Janie, they’d just trace the poison.”

“Not the one I’ve got.”

“Did you make a new one?”


by Anonymousreply 3706/10/2015

OP here --- never realized the thread was so popular! Her parents must have realized they were inattentive after her visits to the psychiatrist. Surely, he didn't just collect money for playing Monopoly? He must've been asking questions that were under Harriet's radar?

by Anonymousreply 3806/10/2015

On Spies and Purple Socks and Such

If you were a queer kid like me growing up in the sixties, I hope you were fortunate enough to come across books by Louise Fitzhugh. She may have saved your life, or at least made it a bit more comfortable.

by Anonymousreply 3906/10/2015

Bump for Harriet.

Didn't some awful critics recently suggest Harriet Welsch was one of several famous YA characters who would fit on the autism spectrum? I remember reading an article about it and getting mad. Harriet was inquisitive, analytical, curious, and intractable but none of that has to be pathologised. She's just smart and doesn't take bullshit, and it pissed me off that some jumped-up reviewers tried to take that away.

by Anonymousreply 4006/01/2017

I loved the book too. Even started my own spy diary, which promptly was confiscated by my 5th grade teacher and given to my parents.

by Anonymousreply 4106/01/2017

Harriet the Spy was everything to me in my lonely life as an abused child. I kept notebooks and was hyper-aware of the neighbors, too. She was everything I wanted to be.

by Anonymousreply 4206/01/2017

I LOVE Harriet and I love this thread.

by Anonymousreply 4306/01/2017
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