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Harriet The Spy Book Three
And now… the final chapters of Harriet the Spy!
Back in her spy route! Which, shows both Harriet back on her route but also gives the reader some resolution.
(also just in general, I kind of like how often Harriet is home from school, home sick — that her parents let her. that she reacts physically, if not intentionally emotionally.)
Harrison and his one cat: as a kid, I read this and thought, how sweet, he has a cat, and I believed that it was his happy ending: one cat. one man. But, now as an adult — I think it’s one cat NOW but let’s check back in with him in a few months, it’ll by kitty heaven once again.
And finally Harriet wants to go to school!
The club — now that they no longer against Harriet, now that the initial anger at Harriet has passed — is beginning to fall apart. Their own differences are coming to light.
A letter from Ole Golly! Why did I remember this as an actual visit?!? And I love that Ole Golly says a writer does more than take notes. They write stories.
I also love how Ole Golly gives her advice as if she has no idea what has happened, when she totally has — and totally has written because Harriet’s parents asked her to write — and again, this goes over Harriet’s head. And Ole Golly gives terrific advice: Apologize. Lie.
And this is part of growing up: “little lies that make people feel better are not bad.” Because also turn this around: Harriet wants those little lies, from others, even if she doesn’t realize it. Yet. But how she reacted when they were all being “honest” to her after the notebook incident? Yeah. Little lies.
“Remember that writing is to put love in the world, not to use against your friends.”
WOW. WOW, Ole Golly — because she also acts a deeper question, here. How much of what she was writing, even in privacy, was against them? For whatever reasons? Or is Ole Golly just talking about post-discovery notes?
“But to yourself, always be true.” yes. yes. yes. Wear the mask you have to, for the world, to make people feel better, to put love out in the world, to not use as weapons — but still, always, know yourself and be true.
And here is Ole Golly illustrating the truth of all this: “I’m not missing you.”
(OK, in looking for things that may confuse today’s reader –the typewriter.)
And Harriet is now editor of her page for the school paper, and this is where the non-helicoptering parenting shows its strength. In that they recognized the problem as Harriet needing an outlet for her writing. And now figure that out. They give Harriet the space and room to grow, to work it out herself, rather than hovering and controlling.
Oh! Class voting and this goes through, but is it a thaw to Harriet? A bit of a desire to see what she’ll write? Votes for Beth Ellen? Or against Marion and Rachel?
(And I just realized that Harriet got away with all her listed revenge things. Which is great because in real life? Things go unpunished.)
Harriet is smart enough to write about other people!
It’s always different when the target is other people!
…. and I just realized Harriet is a troll.
And now the Welsch parents are talking about their friends, and I look at Harriet, and for all her uniqueness, man, was she just doing a version of what her mother does? Mrs. Welsch talks about her friends, Harriet writes it down?
Also, I’m amused that the Welsch family friends are the parents of Harriet’s friends.
And after writing some positive things, Harriet REPEATS THE THINGS HER PARENTS SAID. Ha ha ha ha. At least it’s not about the kids, right? (And is Carrie’s mom, married to the doctor, fooling around with Laura’s dad?!? So Mad Men of them!)
Since Harriet writes about her own dad — I guess it lessens people being mad at her.
The Spy Catcher club collapses, with a little push from Harriet.
And… “I have a nice life.” And — isn’t this what we all want? And hasn’t Harriet gone through a lot to not just get to this point, but recognize that about her life? To recognize it’s true, even without Ole Golly?
A retraction! So smart! And most importantly: she did it herself. This was Harriet’s choice — yes, Ole Golly told her to apologize and lie; but Harriet figured out the way to do that, to communicate that, to her classmates in a way they’d listen. Harriet did that: ensuring she’d continue the nice life she wanted, with the friends she wants, and, well, without the enemies.
And loving again the skipping school to avoid embarrassment. And that her parents allow that. Because, to me, that is kind parenting.
“the world was beautiful, would always be, would always sing, could hold no disappointments” and I just love this — love —
And there is that, her world, and Sport and Janie, and — “I can get some real work done.”
And Harriet has grown, grown more into herself, but not changed. She is true to herself.
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About Elizabeth Burns
Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is email@example.com.
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