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The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz
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The Hired Girl (edition 2015)

by Laura Amy Schlitz (Author)

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5853529,077 (3.99)15
Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself--because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of--a woman with a future.… (more)
Member:Shareuv
Title:The Hired Girl
Authors:Laura Amy Schlitz (Author)
Info:Candlewick (2015), 400 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

  1. 00
    I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (charl08)
    charl08: Both feature strong teenage characters dealing with first romance, family and growing up.
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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
I really enjoyed this one. The story is told through entries in the bright young heroine's diary. Joan is smart, but young and gets herself into awkward situations as she works as a hired girl in a wealthy Jewish home in 1911 Baltimore. Joan is Catholic by birth, and is learning about her faith, and learning about the faith of the family she works for (as it infuses the day to day routines of the home). The family she works for recognizes she is bright and encourages her reading. Even though religion is a backdrop to the story, this is not a religious book. The comparisons to Ann Shirley in the other reviews are correct: This is Ann Shirley cleans house and widens her horizons. ( )
  wills2003 | Jul 30, 2020 |
Joan Skraggs begins to keep a diary after her beloved school teacher gives her a journal in 1911. She is a miserable 14-year-old girl who lives on a farm with an unloving father and several indifferent brothers. But after her father burns the three books she owns - her most valued possessions, she runs away from the farm and escapes to Baltimore, where she plans to get a job as a hired girl - though she has no idea how to go about doing that.
As she lays on a park bench that first night, terrified and crying, a kind young man approaches her. In no time, she finds that has lied about her age (telling them she is 18) to the man's family, and they do take her on as their new hired girl.
The bulk of the book is what follows. The family is Jewish, and Joan is Catholic. She learns a great deal about Judaism, and her own beliefs as well. She is at heart a romantic, but also a bit of a philosopher, and she learns and grows significantly during the time she spends with the Rosenbach family.
Beautifully written, as all of Schlitz' books are, with a flawless sense of the period. ( )
  fingerpost | Mar 21, 2020 |
Fourteen year old Joan, who loves novels, is forced to give up her education to work on the family farm. Yearning to escape the endless drudgery and her cruel father, Joan leaves home and is eventually hired as a servant in a well-to-do society household. Joan is an optimistic although naive main character, so it helps for the reader to keep in mind many of her well intentioned ideas come from novels such as her beloved Jane Eyre. Her romantic notions based on the the heroines she reads about, leads to some interesting predicaments. Think Little House on the Prairie, meets Anne of Greene Gables, meets a scaled down US version of Downton Abbey.

The major focus on religious beliefs, both Jewish and Catholic, was unexpected and at times detracted from the story. Otherwise, I did learn quite a bit from a historical standpoint, as the book was set during 1911. I don't know that many employers would have been as willing to forgive some of the main character's gaffes and strong willed personality but that was a point I was willing to overlook for the sake of the story. I appreciated the author chose to use a diary format and was greatly relieved it was a single timeline. (For anyone who has read some of my recent reviews of historical fiction books, maybe you've noticed I am quite burnt out on the whole dual-timeline scenario.) ( )
  This-n-That | Sep 15, 2019 |
It's ok. But Joan is an absolute idiot, and her idiocies are so outrageously dumb that I can't forgive her or the book. ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
First of all, the writing in this book is amazing. It's full of personality and character and witty observations. The author brings the characters to life with her wonderful writing.
But it was still a bit boring for my liking. There are only so many times you can read about someone washing or cleaning before it all sounds the same. Main character Joan/Janet longs for adventure like she reads about in novels. I longed for her to have adventure as well!
  ErinMa | Feb 22, 2019 |
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Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs, just like the heroines in her beloved novels, yearns for real life and true love. But what hope is there for adventure, beauty, or art on a hardscrabble farm in Pennsylvania where the work never ends? Over the summer of 1911, Joan pours her heart out into her diary as she seeks a new, better life for herself--because maybe, just maybe, a hired girl cleaning and cooking for six dollars a week can become what a farm girl could only dream of--a woman with a future.

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