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Harriet the Spy (1964)

by Louise Fitzhugh, Louise Fitzhugh

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Harriet the Spy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,4641201,294 (4.06)165
Eleven-year-old Harriet keeps notes on her classmates and neighbors in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge.
Recently added byMeganSt, LRL12, funstm, NikNak73, ariel1234987
Legacy LibrariesEdward St. John Gorey
  1. 60
    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (lorin77)
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    Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech (themephi)
  3. 00
    Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans (kraaivrouw)
  4. 00
    Mixtape for the Apocalypse by Jemiah Jefferson (kiparsky)
    kiparsky: Jefferson claims that Fitzhugh was a direct inspiration for her narrative style.
  5. 00
    The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley (kraaivrouw)
  6. 11
    When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (DetailMuse)
  7. 00
    Elvis & Olive by Stephanie Watson (infiniteletters)
  8. 00
    Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom by Susin Nielsen (foggidawn)
    foggidawn: Both of these books have feisty heroines struggling through that awkward tween phase, making up schemes, getting into scrapes, and delighting their readers.

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» See also 165 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
If I’d read this as a kid I would have struggled with the incessant meanness and how this bully of a main character never really changes her behavior or shows any sort of remorse, and in fact, she’s rewarded for being horrible. I doubt my child self would have been cool with any of that, especially since I could totally have seen myself as a Harriet target.

Reading this an adult however, I guess I was able to take this less seriously or personally than I likely would have as a sensitive kid, and while plenty of Harriet’s actions had me cringing and I did wish to see more of a comeuppance for her than she received, admittedly, I found Harriet entertaining.

Harriet’s obsession with tomato sandwiches was so odd that it couldn’t help feeling funny. Equally odd is reading something that’s considered a children’s classic constantly thinking okay here’s the moment when Harriet’s going to understand how hurtful she is and become apologetic, only this girl continuously doubles-down with her awfulness, her answer to everything seems to be I’ll do worse, that’ll teach them. It’s so unexpected to read a children’s book where basically no lessons are learned, combine that with Harriet’s brazen persistence in being horrible and you get something a little amusing and a bit dark, with an entirely unique feel to it. If you can get on board with the villain winning then this is a twisted sort of enjoyable, just, you know, don’t dwell on how miserable it would be to tangle with someone like Harriet in real life. ( )
  SJGirl | Oct 17, 2022 |
Harriet the Spy is an interesting read. The idea of a child who spends her time spying on people is strange. Harriet has some friends but not many, probably due to her standoffish nature. Her parents are there but hardly around so this might contribute to her behaviors. Harriet keeps a journal where she talks about many people, including her friends. I was somewhat happy that it was found and read by her friends, however, she didn't receive any punishment and did not feel sorry for hurting her friend's feelings. This was a point in the book that I definitely disagreed with. ( )
  aachavez | Oct 11, 2022 |
Stopped about half way. I think that's enough to feel comfortable giving it a one star. If it doesn't suck me in by then... ( )
  Luziadovalongo | Jul 14, 2022 |
Two stars. I read this so often as a kid that the pages warped and for some reason, quickly yellowed. Inspired and eager to be cool, I too began keeping a crudely-stapled notebook and mispronounced 'dossier.' I got into quite a bit of trouble when my teacher, too, found the notebook. Remembering this, I was interested in reading the book as an adult.
Harriet is a rude, obnoxious, judgmental brat, and I spent 95% of the book wondering what was wrong with this kid. 'Unreliable narrator' doesn't begin to cover it--no child talks like that, even private school ones! No teacher responds that way to a child unless--I just--(shakes head). I have to see the movie now to find out what really happened through a POV that's not from such an odd child. And I -was- an odd child, but not like this. She does break and enter, and she does engage in voyeuristic activity. It's not espionage; that is something altogether different and giving a boundary-breaking child too much credit. And yet, I couldn't put the book down.
I have rarely read anything as an adult so hypnotizingly strange, especially because the writing style was so simplistic and bare. It's--odd. I laughed a lot in places that weren't meant to be funny because it was just weird. When I picked up the book from the library, I expected to like it as much as I did upon first read (I was ten). Upon reading the inside flap, I guffawed and swore at the protagonist, understanding this might be a wild ride. I wasn't looking forward to being inside her head. I was really glad when the book ended. ( )
  iszevthere | Jun 23, 2022 |
As an adult not particularly enjoy mystery books but as a child I loved them and Harriet the Spy was one that I read over and over. Harriet is a very relatable character and and so clever I loved her as a child. The movie version of this book is quite god also. ( )
  KateKat11 | Sep 24, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 119 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Fitzhugh, LouiseAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fitzhugh, Louisemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Artl, Inge M.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Artl, Inge M.Übersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
Original title
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Original publication date
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First words
Harriet was trying to explain to Sport how to play town.
[Harriet] hated math. She hated math with every bone in her body. She spent so much time hating it that she never had time to do it.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the book, not the movie.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Eleven-year-old Harriet keeps notes on her classmates and neighbors in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Harrriet M Welsch is a spy. She's staked out a spy route, and she writes down everything about everyone she sees, including her classmates and even her best friends. From Harriet's notebooks: I bet the lady with the crosks-eye looks in the mirror and feels just terrible. Pinky Whitehead will never change, does his mother hate him? If I had him, I'd hate him. If Marion Hawthorne doesn't watch out she's going to grow up into a lady Hitler. Then Harriet loses track of her notebook, and it ends up in the wrong hands. Before Harriet can stop them, her friends have read the always truthful, sometimes awful things she's written about each of them. Will Harriet find a way to put her life and her friendships back together? (0-440-41679-5)
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